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18 April 2006 @ 02:50 pm
FIC: Five Senses 4: A Path in the Forest (Helo/Sharon)  
Title: A Path in the Forest
Author: lizardbeth_j
Pairing: Helo/Sharon
Again, written for the stagesoflove "Exploring a Relationship through the Five Sense" Challenge, Prompt 4: Smell
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Through LDYB2

A/N: This is the "Extended Dance Remix" (g) (i.e. it's twice as long as the version actually posted to the challenge comm). I left in the 'plotty' parts for this one, since these five pieces are supposed to form a coherent story and there's some dangling threads that needed addressing before the resolution. If you're curious about how I butchered it the short version, it's HERE.

This follows directly from the previous parts, found here:
Part 1: The Empty Glass
Part 2: The Buzzing of Bees
Part 3: Lack of Perfection

In hindsight, Helo realizes that he knew from the beginning that Sharon was not the Boomer he'd known. She smelled different. He'd been in close quarters with her on the Raptor and in the pilots' rack long enough to know her scent. Even that first hug when she'd 'come back' for him, it hadn't been the same.

Of course, he'd been so glad to see her he'd promptly excused it as an after-effect of his irradiated nose and her lack of Fleet-issue soap, and not thought about it again until much later.

But now that he can't smell her anymore, he finds he misses the pine scent that lingered in her hair from the Caprican forest and the citrus tang of sweat on her skin.

He sits next to the glass so they can talk, and he forces himself to be glad to have even this much. She could be taken away from him so easily, by her own will or someone else's.

They don't talk much about the future or the past. That leaves them the present. He shares the pilots' gossip as well as news about the colonization efforts, trying to give her something to lighten her day.

The day after Kara leaves for New Caprica permanently, Sharon frowns at him and asks, "Who's going to be CAG now?"

He shrugs. "Don't know. Kat maybe. Old Man hasn't said yet."

"A transfer from Pegasus you think?" She tries to make the question casual, but he meets her gaze. He thinks of the last time those bastards from Pegasus came here, and reaches out to her in comfort. His fingers bounce from the glass, forgetting it's there.

"Apollo cleaned house over there. But even so, I doubt we'll get anybody from there. Please don't worry."

She forces a little smile. "I was worried for you, actually. An unsympathetic CAG can make your life rough, Helo."

"Whoever it is, I can deal with it," he reassures her. His fingers stroke down the glass as if it's her face, ending with a tap of what would be her nose. "Most of the pilots are okay. I do my job; they do theirs."

"'Most'?" She glances down at her hands. "You'd be better off without me."

"Never. I'm not letting go, Sharon."

That wins a real smile and a return touch on the glass.

"All the way, together," she promises. In the five months since Hera's death, she's still prone to sadness, but now the grief opens up occasionally - sometimes in anger, sometimes in wry amusement. He's glad to see it, and it makes him feel better as well.

The door opens behind him. Helo turns around, to find Admiral Adama coming in. He jumps to his feet. "Sir."

"As you were, lieutenant," Adama says, heading for the phone. After a glance at Helo, Sharon slowly rises to her feet and crosses to the phone, lifting it to her ear. Her expression is very still, wary and cold. She waits for him to speak first.

Adama looks from her, back at Helo, and then to Sharon again. He takes a deep breath and speaks. "Do the Cylons know about this planet?"

Helo asked her weeks ago, and she gives the same answer, very flat. "I don't know. But they will. Today, tomorrow, ten years from now, they will find it."

Adama nods once, the furrows deepening on his face. "I think so, too." He pauses and then meets her eyes. "Do you love Lieutenant Agathon?"

She hesitates, and Helo watches the bitter and angry answers flash through her face. But she settles on, "Not that you believe me, but yes. I won't endanger him."

Adama nods again, and his eyes don't leave hers. "Fair enough. You may not believe me either, but for what it's worth -- your baby was not killed. She was not murdered by my orders or Roslin's or anyone else's."

Sharon stares at him and doesn't move, and Helo steps closer, worried, "Sharon?"

He can barely hear her whisper, "I think I believe you."

"Lieutenant," Adama beckons Helo over to him with his free hand, not letting go of the phone. "Do you want to go to New Caprica?"

Helo's mouth turns dry, and he has to swallow to find his voice. "No, sir. As long as Sharon is here, I want to stay on Galactica."

"Good." Adama answers unexpectedly. "With Starbuck down on the planet to stay, we're missing a CAG. We're short-handed, more so every day, but I think it's important to keep up patrols as much as we can. I need someone I can depend on to stay, and keep some stability for the kids who'll rotate in and out." He reaches into his pocket, and Helo stands there, stunned by what the admiral's saying.

Putting down the phone briefly, he switches out Helo's collar insignia. "Captain Agathon. Congratulations."

Helo blurts before thinking, "Sir, are you -- are you sure?"

Adama flashes a slightly crooked smile that makes him look suddenly younger than his years. "Son, I think you'll find that command is just pretending to a certainty that you rarely have. But in this case, I'm sure." His gaze encompasses Sharon too. "Trust has to begin somewhere."

Helo can't find anything to say as Adama hangs up the phone. He says to the guards on the way out, "Captain Agathon may enter Miss Valerii's cell at will."

One of the guards opens the door.

Feeling like a sleepwalker, Helo enters Sharon's box. She moves in front of him and reaches up to touch his new insignia. "Captain Agathon," she murmurs, and smiles proudly, lighting her eyes. "It has a nice sound."

The realization of where he is suddenly breaks through him. All these long, endless months of being locked away from her ... and now she's there.

He pulls her against him, crushing her, and her arms lock around his body. She's shaking, and he realizes she's crying. He brushes his cheek against her soft hair, murmuring her name over and over again, and closes his eyes to feel every precious second.

Somehow her hair still has the scent of pine trees and sunlight.

to Part 5: the Most Precious Gift of All

Lady Pennyface: Pretty Helo & His Gunoregonblondie on April 18th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
Hee, totally perfect. It was amazing how you intertwined the theme with this amazing senario. I wish that's how it really is. Awsome job. ^_^ I can't wait for the last one.
lizardbeth: Sharonlizardbeth_j on April 19th, 2006 01:57 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! And oh yes, how I wish that this really is what happened with them during The Big Year Gap. I fear it's not, but at least I've got my version to console me later!

Only 'taste' left for Captain Agathon (I squee like a little girl every time I type that) and Sharon. hmm, so many possibilities...
Lady Pennyfaceoregonblondie on April 19th, 2006 05:07 am (UTC)
And 'taste'. Unh, I just know it's gonna be good. ;)
The Proverbial Bull in a China Shop...: won't give upsabaceanbabe on April 19th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)
Well, dammit, you've done it. You've made me cry. *guh* *wibble* I love this. All of it. But especially these bits: His fingers stroke down the glass as if it's her face, ending with a tap of what would be her nose. and Somehow her hair still has the scent of pine trees and sunlight.

You also do a gruff Adama voice very well.

Thank you for this.
lizardbeth: Sharonlizardbeth_j on April 19th, 2006 04:30 am (UTC)
awww, I made you *wibble*. I love making people wibble! (eg) That's great!

Heh, thanks. I liked writing Adama, somewhat to my surprise. I'd never written him before, even in random scribblings, so it was a fun experiment. I felt I needed to make him take some baby steps toward understanding and reconciliation (esp. w/Sharon), even if he hasn't demonstrated very much of it in canon.

(Anonymous) on April 19th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
Terrific job. :) The characters, their thoughts and their emotions come through as clearly and realistically as ever, and on Sharon's part, her gradual emergence from her grief couldn't be more believable. Also, you do a great job of writing Adama, and the hints of returning trust between him and Sharon make for an excellent touch. That aside, I can easily see the moment of Helo's promotion playing out like this. Great work!

lizardbeth: Sharonlizardbeth_j on April 19th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
Thanks! It was the promotion scene that was my overriding image for the story, so I'm glad it came through as visually as I saw it in my own head.
Jeffrepr0b8 on April 19th, 2006 04:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, ummm...you got me. :) *sniff*

This is beautiful, and while sbabe already picked out my favorite line, I'll go ahead and throw out another I loved.

He sits next to the glass so they can talk, and he forces himself to be glad to have even this much. She could be taken away from him so easily, by her own will or someone else's.

What they have is so fragile and precious, and you capture that perfectly. Thanks for sharing lizardbeth, I eagerly await your next piece! Until then, I'll just reread this endlessly. :)
lizardbeth: Sharonlizardbeth_j on April 19th, 2006 05:03 am (UTC)
A sniff, not a wibble? Darn it. I was going for wibble. (g)

Glad you liked it!

And thank you for the other comment as well, about being picky. *does happy dance*

weissmanweissman on April 20th, 2006 01:19 am (UTC)
Bob Just sits backs and crys a happy cry, and who knows we might even see this come to pass one way or another.

I have to echo Jeffs commment "What they have is so fragile and precious, and you capture that perfectly"

I don't know anybody could not fathom a happy ending for these two, that's what hope is for.

lizardbeth: Sharonlizardbeth_j on April 20th, 2006 11:35 pm (UTC)
feeling a bit more hopeful after the blog, hm?

me too! :)

weissmanweissman on April 21st, 2006 11:04 am (UTC)
If not totally hopeful, at least not incredibly worried. :) I think our frined RM realizes on what side his bread is buttered.

(Anonymous) on April 20th, 2006 02:32 am (UTC)
well this was better than the actual show . just don't let this be the end .
lizardbeth: Sharonlizardbeth_j on April 20th, 2006 11:21 pm (UTC)
Re: cool

Nope, not the end. There'll be one more in this sequence next week.
polarbear_white on April 20th, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC)
Polar Bear doesn't cry but he almost did, almost.

When October comes, I think we will see something similar on TV. However, there is no way the writers on the show could have it as good. Again, you moved my heart. Like the three parts before this one, I can see Sharon/Helo, I can hear the words from Sharon. You brought them alive in front of us.

Thank you. The story is a gift to all Sharon/Helo fans.
lizardbeth: Sharonlizardbeth_j on April 20th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
Aww, I almost got another one! ;)

You're very kind! I hope we see something like this in Oct, too, though my fear is that we'll pick up with everything fine between them and very little fill-in-the-Gap. As it is, we can only get flashbacks, so I doubt there can be much time devoted to H/S coming back together. :( But those empty places make the best kind of plot bunnies, so I suppose I shouldn't complain too much...

Thanks for your comment!
The Proverbial Bull in a China Shop...: golden Helo - by indulging_brecksabaceanbabe on April 21st, 2006 03:14 am (UTC)
*looks around to see if anyone is watching*

If it helps, I'm still wibbling from the first read-through...

*runs away*
Hatezahonibrownhateza on April 30th, 2006 06:59 am (UTC)
This ficlet proves that if there is a will, there is a way. All one needs in this world is a loving heart and honest soul to get to the root of what it means to be alive. I totally bought everything in this piece and trust me that is extremely difficult to do. Another perfect piece for my KAMPEKI files. I'm definitely committing this one to memories.

If only the BSG writers didn't underestimate our intelligence and realize that we'd completely buy a scene like this because this is how real people function and stay alive.

Thank you for this moment of pure genius.

lizardbeth: Helo-Sharon fanficlizardbeth_j on April 30th, 2006 08:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!

I'm still crossing my fingers that we might get something akin to this ficlet in flashback next season. But sadly, I agree that they might pass, for fear that it would be too romantic or over-the-top, when in fact it is absolutely true to who these characters are and what they've endured.