Characters: Brendan Costanza, Callandra Henderson, Galen Tyrol, others
Summary: See below
Original Story: Not applicable
Author's Notes: plaid_slytherin and lls_mutant have run bsg_remix up until now, and they were both too busy this year, so I bullied them into letting me take it over this year. Maybe they'll want it back, maybe not. Either way, I wanted each of them to get a special giftfic as a way of saying thank you for keeping BSG fandom alive through BSG Remix. This is lls_mutant's gift.
It is in response to a request from a ship swap letter (which I cannot find anymore, so good thing I copied and pasted while I had it open. lol
Brendan Costanza/Cally Henderson. I didn't like the execution of this pairing in canon, but when I think about it, it's got the potential to be really sweet. Hot Dog is a doof and lives with his foot in his mouth, but he's a good guy overall, and Cally is just great. She's strong and honest and a survivor. What I'd really love is an AU where Cally lived, and they got together after she divorced Galen. Or where she got together with Hot Dog instead of Galen, and maybe how that went, especially if Cally stayed on Galactica or Brendan went down to New Caprica.
It's not exactly what you asked for, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.
Brendan was waiting for her outside her quarters. He might have been standing still, but she could sense he was jumping up and down inside. He grinned at her as she approached, and she smiled back as she pulled at the hatch. "Good news?"
"The best!" He followed her into the empty bunkroom.
She unzipped her overalls, stepping out of the legs. She glanced over to see his eyes roving her shorts-clad thighs and smiled to herself. She methodically checked the overall pockets as she asked, "Are you going to make me ask you, Brendan?"
His eyes jumped to hers and he grinned even bigger. "I got in! Flight School! I got in!"
Impulsively, she stood on her tiptoes and reached her arms up to hug him. He wrapped his arms around her and swung her back and forth for a minute.
When he put her down, their hands still at shoulders and hips, he stood there and watched her for a moment. "The instructor, Lieutenant Thrace, or God, as she prefers to be called, is a ballbuster. I can already tell she hates me."
Cally shook her head. "Brendan, Kara's not all bark and no bite, and she's hard to please, but if you do your job, and do it right, she'll be on your side. And Kara Thrace is a good person to have on your side, I promise."
"No, really. Starbuck's not sweetness and light, but she's solid. Respect her, and she'll respect you."
"I hope so. We have another session this afternoon."
The next time she saw Brendan, he looked gray. Apollo was standing there talking to him, and she watched as Apollo pulled a pin from his own flight suit and affixed it to Brendan's.
He walked away from his plane few minutes later, shoulders slumped, hands tightening into fists. She wanted to follow and comfort him, but she was still on duty. As soon as her shift was over, though, she hurried through a shower and went to find him. She was almost to his old quarters when she realized he'd have moved to junior pilot quarters, and she reversed course and picked up speed.
She got to the hatch, and would have knocked, but it was standing open. Brendan was alone in the bunkroom, lying in his rack kicking the bottom of the rack above him. She shut the hatch and approached his rack. "Hey, Brendan."
He didn't react, and she sat on the edge of his rack, putting her hand on his shoulder. "Brendan?"
His eyes were red-rimmed, and she reached out to wipe a thumb under his eyes. She wasn't prepared when he yanked at her shoulders and pulled her into his rack, but she let him hold her and wrapped her own arms around him as best she could. She slid one hand up and down his bicep, the motion soothing her, even if it wasn't doing anything for him.
His arms loosened, and she tilted her head up. Brendan's mouth met hers, and she relaxed into the kiss. It wasn't the first kiss she'd been hoping for, maybe even expecting, but it was sweet and he tasted good. When salt mixed with the flavor of his mouth, she ignored it and held on tighter.
"Sir?" Brendan stood in the curtain's small opening, waiting for Starbuck to acknowledge him.
"Hey, Hot Dog!" The happiness lighting up her face was foreign, too open for the woman he still barely knew.
He stepped forward until he was next to the bed, then stood at ease. He remembered the stance from his first attempt at Flight School, and hoped it would strike the right note with Starbuck.
"How ya doin', Hot Dog?"
"Glad to have you back, sir."
For a moment, the lines of her face were solemn, and when she spoke, her voice was quieter. "You did good out there. Kept your head. You're gonna make a good pilot," she paused, then added, "Brendan."
Then she picked up a cigar from beside her leg and stuck it into her mouth, grinning widely. "Get while the gettin's good, Hot Dog. Being a hero's a good way to get laid."
He took a step back, let a hint of a smile form on his lips and said, "Yes, sir." He hit the corridor with a spring in his step. He didn't want to move too fast with Callandra, but celebrating Starbuck coming home ought to be good for a kiss or two, at least, and he did love kissing Cally.
Brendan burst out of his viper, mind not even half on his post-flight checklist. Most everybody was gathered around Apollo's viper, including Cally, who leaned in for a hug. She moved away almost immediately, because Starbuck was approaching, and Apollo had eyes for no one else.
The thing, whatever it was, between Starbuck and Apollo, was one of Cally's favorite topics of conversation. He'd be jealous of the way she talked about them, but since he had a pretty blatant mancrush on the both of them himself, what was the point?
He angled toward Cally and grabbed her around the waist, swinging her along with him toward the stairs off the flight deck.
"In a hurry, Brendan?"
"Yes." He put her on the bottom step and followed her up, his hands giving her ass a shove more than once.
When they reached the corridor above the flight deck, Cally giggled as he pulled her in his wake. When they got to his bunkroom, there was only one rack occupied, the curtain pulled closed. Everyone else was probably still celebrating what was the biggest coup yet in the war against the cylons. Brendan shoved her toward his rack, backing her against a locker door and bending to kiss her.
When they were both panting, he pulled his mouth away just far enough to say, "Callandra? I want - I need...gods, I want to frak you so bad, Callandra!"
She tangled her fingers in his collar and yanked at him. "Then what the frak are you waiting for?"
His eyes stayed locked with hers as he shucked his flight suit and boots, biting his lip when he realized he'd forgotten to take off his boots first.
Cally sat down, snickering, then scooted herself farther into his rack. Brendan flopped down with an "Ooof!" and pulled the curtain across.
His hands on either side of her head felt safe, comfortable, and she leaned forward enough to touch her lips to his. He stroked her cheeks with his thumbs, deepening the kiss, groaning when she worked a knee between his thighs. His erection pressed into her belly, and without warning, she burned with the need to be skin on skin with him.
He kissed the corner of her mouth, little nips down her jaw and neck, then stopped, putting his forehead against hers. "Gods. I wanted this to be perfect, Callandra. I smell disgusting." He started to pull away. "Maybe I should take a sho-"
She shook her head. "If you get out of this rack without frakking me, Brendan Costanza, I will kill you!"
He chuckled. "You're adorable when you're angry." Whatever her retort would have been was swallowed by his mouth devouring hers.
She managed to get one hand worked into his shorts, and she let her fingers glide up and down his erection, teasing him until he shoved her onto her back and covered her with his body. He ground his hips into hers, one leg tight between her thighs, and one hand cupping a breast.
"Brendan..." Gods, she needed them to be naked, right frakking now.
He had the same idea. He raised up enough to get his tanks off, then put a hesitant hand on the hem of her tanks. She nodded at him, wriggled to help him get them off, then put her hands to her sports bra. He probably wanted to take it off slowly, but she was ready now, and she practically ripped it in her hurry.
Brendan stared at her naked chest, his mouth slightly open, and at another time, she probably would have teased him about it. Right now, she wanted something else where his eyes were, so she grabbed one of his hands and set it on her breast.
His hips jumped and he closed his eyes. "Gods, Cally. I'm not gonna last long this first time."
She curled one leg around his hip and dug her heel into his ass. "Then stop talking and frak me now, Brendan, so you can go slow next time."
Cally lay in her rack, knees up, hands behind her head, thinking. About Brendan, of course, but about her parents, too. Grandma Cora had always harped that Cally's parents had married too young, but Cally remembered the way they'd always been with each other. Touching - all the time - a nuzzle to the back of the neck, a hand on an elbow, shoulders together when they were sitting on the couch watching a vid-show. Even in the car, her dad had always had his hand over her mom's on the console between them.
That had been in a normal world, though, not this one. In a way, she was glad her parents had died in the attacks, because what humans had now sucked, but a part of her wished she could talk to her mom or her dad about Brendan. How had her mom known Phil Henderson was the guy? How had her dad known he wanted to marry Cassie despite her mother's wishes?
Besides, was there even a point in thinking beyond what they had? Maybe she should just enjoy it - friendship with some thoroughly delightful fringe benefits - instead of wishing for the cozy, peaceful sense of rightness she'd felt whenever her parents had looked at each other. Then again, if this was all they had, shouldn't she grab it and hold on tight with both hands?
She imagined her mother sitting at the end of the rack, her chin on Cally's knees. Do you like him, Callandra? Can you talk to him about everything? Does he take care of you? Has he ever apologized? Do his kisses make your knees weak and your heart pound?
She wasn't absolutely certain those were the questions her mother would ask, but she'd overheard similar conversations between her mother and her older sister. And the answer to all of those questions was an unqualified yes. He'd never pushed her about anything, but whenever she was ready to take the next step, he was always right there with her, ready and willing, even enthusiastic.
She knew other pilots who hadn't been like him, men who took for granted the female deck crew was full-service, so to speak. She remembered the guy on Astral Queen, assuming any girl on board was his for the taking. Cally had demonstrated more than once she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but the sense of home she felt with Brendan was a different kind of safe. Maybe safety of either kind wouldn't be important to someone like Starbuck, but Callandra Henderson wanted as much as she could eke out of this post-apocalypse existence.
She reached out to touch her mother's face, felt her fingers slide across her own knee, and nodded both to herself and her mother. I want what you had. I want Brendan.
"She shot the Commander, Brendan! She's a frakkin' cylon!"
Brendan winced at her shrill tone, but squared his shoulders. "Are you more angry about the shooting, or is it more about what she did to Chief?"
Cally's mouth dropped open, then she snapped it shut. "Chief? What's he got to do with this?"
"Cally, come on. I don't know how many times you've ranted about how she used him, about her coming back with Helo in tow, rubbing the relationship in his face. So maybe you're more pissed about the way she hurt your friend than you are about her shooting the Commander."
Cally clenched her jaw. "Well, I think her coming back pregnant proves she never loved Chief, but she shot the Old Man. I don't know why they're keeping her around. Somebody should do to her what she did to him."
The note of conviction in Cally's voice sent shivers up his spine. "I hear they're using her for information, getting intel before they airlock her."
"Yeah, well. I don't see the point. Why should they believe a single lie out of her mouth? Get rid of her. An eye for an eye."
When he heard somebody talking about it in the head, his shoulders slumped. Maybe he could have said something different, something to deflect her rage from her target. But even though she hardly ever talked about it, she'd lost a lot in the attacks. Maybe there would have been no way to make this come out any different. He finished in the head, got dressed, and went down to the brig.
He watched from the other room for a minute or two. There was a blank space where her face should be - like the Cally he'd come to know and love wasn't there anymore. He shook off the fear and asked the Marine to let him in. He couldn't change the past, but he could show her Brendan Costanza was on her side, no matter what.
There was the briefest flash of something on her face when he walked through the door before she shut down again. It wasn't until he was standing there, his arm through the bars, holding his hand out to her, that she broke down. She launched herself off the cot and wrapped her fingers in his shirt. He put one arm around her shoulders and petted her hair with the other while she cried.
"I thought you'd hate me."
"Why would I hate you? Because you snapped?" He put his fingers under her chin. "Us pilots have it easy, in a way. When we're having a bad day, we can blow cylons out of the sky, and nobody thinks twice about it." He rubbed his thumb back and forth on her lips. "You just forgot to get in your plane before you did it."
She sort of laughed and looked away while she wiped her face. "I'll definitely remember the viper next time."
Brendan sat on the floor, and she sat facing him through the bars, and they talked until the Marine interrupted them. He kissed his fingers and reached through the bars to her mouth. "I'll be back tomorrow."
When he looked back just before the hatch shut, she was touching her lips and he smiled.
When Cally reported for her first duty shift after being released from the brig, she was passed around the deck crew for hugs, everybody congratulating her on her bogus stint in the brig. Then Chief walked in, and the mood plummeted. She tried to thank him for whatever he'd done to lighten her sentence.
His terse dismissal, "I need all the knuckledraggers I can get," like she was just another member of his flight crew, hit her right in the chest. She wondered if he'd ever forgive her.
Brendan listened to the ebb and flow of Starbuck and Apollo needling each other in the firing range. He flicked his eyes toward them as he reloaded, and Starbuck was all but climbing Apollo like a tree, and Apollo was looking down at her like she was some kind of chocolate he'd been craving all his life.
His vision wavered, and he shook his head, aiming his sidearm again. They should just frak and get it over with. They weren't fooling anyone.
When he opened his eyes, he was flat on the floor, and he raised his aching head before rolling to his side. Starbuck and Apollo were wrapped around each other, giggling and panting, and he thought It's about time! before he noticed they were still completely dressed.
He groaned and got up. Wasn't his week for the pool, anyway.
Cally was sitting on the edge of the bed in sickbay, waiting for Cottle to release her, when the curtains moved and she saw Chief standing there. He'd already been here, tried to apologize, and what else could he say? He hadn't meant to do it.
"Chief," she said.
He shook his head. "No, Cally. Don't try to talk."
She clenched her jaw, which hurt, but got her focused again. "Shut up, Chief."
He stared at her as if she had two heads.
"Your parents were religious, right?"
"Do you remember from the scrolls? There was something in the earliest parts of the scrolls about weddings and brides, and I wondered..." She didn't know how to say it now. Besides, should she? Brendan hadn't actually asked her. He'd hinted, but had yet to say the actual words.
"Cally, I hit you, and I'm sorry, and I don't know what I can do to make it up to you, but I'm not marrying you."
She snickered. "Good. I wouldn't marry you if someone paid me." She hissed in a breath, pulling in the bits of saliva threatening to roll down her chin. "In the old days, a bride was given to her new family, to her new husband, by someone in her blood family." She sucked in a breath again. Talking like this was messy. "My family's dead. I thought maybe you could do it. When I get married, I mean."
"Something you want to share, Cally?" There was a hint of a grin on his face.
She flushed and pushed her wet palms down the legs of her pants. "Not officially. But maybe. I want to."
She nodded her head, looking at her feet.
"He seems like a good kid. Starbuck likes him."
Without looking up, she said, "I do, too." She heard the whisper of the curtain and when she looked up, Chief was gone. Figured.
Moments later, Cottle was going over her duty restrictions, and Brendan was waiting to walk her to her quarters. His arm was warm around her shoulders, and his hand was gentle on her cheek when he held the shake to her mouth, and she savored the sensation of being cared for.
A few weeks later, Brendan was getting up to leave after the morning briefing, and Apollo called out, "Costanza! Give me a minute."
Starbuck snickered as she walked past, and he wondered what he'd done, but he sat back down, pretending he didn't have a care in the world, until the room was empty but for him and Apollo.
Apollo approached, sheets of paper in his hand, and he held them out to Brendan. "Chief and I talked about this, and I talked to the Old Man. Chief hasn't had any problems with Cally's performance, and Kara waxed poetic -"
Brendan raised a brow, and Apollo laughed.
"Poetic for her, anyway. You've become an asset to the Fleet, according to her. And you guys aren't in the same chain of command or anything, so the Old Man signed off on the papers for you."
Brendan was frozen in place. He had absolutely no idea what the frak Apollo was talking about. He took the papers when Apollo poked them at him again, and looked at the heading.
Fraternization: Command Dispensation for Special Circumstances
Brendan felt like an idiot. "Special Circumstances, sir? For what? I don't understand."
Apollo tilted his head and narrowed his eyes. "You and Specialist Henderson? Getting married? You're an officer and she's enlisted. You can't just do that without the proper paperwork, Costanza."
Oh. Oh. "Right. Of course, sir. My mind was still on the briefing."
Apollo smiled and held out his hand and Brendan shook it.
"Congratulations, Constanza. Cally's a good kid. You better take care of her."
"I will, sir." He saluted Apollo, and Apollo waved a hand at him.
"At ease. Get out of here. Starbuck'll have my ass if you're late for CAP."
He tucked the folded papers into an inside pocket on his flight suit, and headed for the flight deck. He smiled at Cally as he approached his plane, pondering all the ways he could take advantage of this to get a rise out of her.
They were snuggled up in her rack that night when he pushed aside her hair with his finger and kissed the back of her neck, loving the little purr he felt more than heard. "I understand congratulations are in order, Specialist Henderson."
She rolled to her back, her forehead wrinkled. "For what?"
"I hear you're getting married."
Her mouth dropped open a little bit, and blood rushed up her face, and she covered her eyes with both hands. "Oh my gods! I'm gonna kill Chief!"
Brendan pulled her closer, kissed the top of her head, and tipped up her chin. "If you're going to get married anyway, I'd like to establish my place at the head of the line. Will you marry me, Callandra Henderson, or were you hoping for a different proposal?"
Cally buried her face in his chest, shaking her head back and forth. "Gods. He coulda just said yes, the motherfrakker."
She pulled back and looked at him. "Yes. I want to marry you. That's how this whole thing got started. I asked Chief if he would honor an ancient bridal tradition by giving me away when I got married. I sort of expected a yes or no answer, but I guess this works, too." Her grin spread wide, and she rubbed her nose against his, then kissed him.
"Costanza! What the hell are you doing?"
Cally looked over her shoulder at Chief Laird. "Replacing the charging coil."
He walked across the flight deck toward her. "Not anymore. You're on restricted duty now."
"Doctor's orders, Costanza. Why don't you take the rest of the shift off? I'll have a list of modified duties for you tomorrow." He turned away, then looked back. "Congratulations, Cally. You'll be a great mother."