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23 December 2006 @ 10:16 pm
Fic:The Gift (BSG)  
My BSG muse got all sulky that all my other fandoms got holiday ficathons and she didn't. So here it is. In all its short and unbeta'd glory.

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!. And if you don't celebrate Christmas, don't worry, it's a holiday fic only in the most general way.

Summary: It was gray when he put it in his locker.

Pairing: Helo/Athena

Rating: PG

SPOILERS: "The Passage"

Disclaimer: Not mine, alas.



Helo opened his flight locker, trying to ignore the hunger winding his gut into a tight knot. It was hunger, not fear, and definitely not radiation-induced nausea.

Sharon moved up behind him and helped him into the suit. Then she eyed him up and down and lifted her brows, shaking her head once. "You? A Raptor pilot?" she teased with a disdainful snort. Her voice was still hoarse, and that made her intention to make him feel better not work as well as she intended. "Sending an ECO to do a pilot's job again. When will they learn?"

He took a deep breath and made sure his voice was steady. "It's the last trip," he said. "It'll be fine."

Dropping the levity, she threaded her arm around his waist and leaned her head against his shoulder. "Of course it'll be fine," she reassured him. "I'm just teasing. You're a good pilot and you'll bring the ship through. I only wish I could go with you."

He turned his head to kiss her hair. "You've done more than your share. Rest while I'm gone."

Reaching with his free hand, he pulled down the dosimeter badge and would have mechanically strapped it on.

"Helo. No." Sharon grabbed his hand and turned it over, so he would open his palm and display the badge. "Look."

It was black.

That couldn't be. He lifted his gaze to meet hers, and he frowned. "It wasn't black when I put it in there. I know it wasn't. How did it pick up an extra dose in my locker?"

Her gaze flickered down to the meter and then back up to meet his eyes. "Are you sure it's yours?"

He looked at it but had to shrug. They all looked alike. But if this one wasn't his, then someone had given it to him, and that didn't make sense. "But why would someone trade with me? They've already had a full dose and they're going out again. That's suicide. I need to go tell Apollo."

Her grip on his hand tightened, preventing him from moving for a moment, and then let him go. "All right."

She followed after him and stood nearby when he held the dosimeter up and explained what had happened.

Lee looked at the empty chairs of the ready room and scrubbed a hand through his hair, looking strung out and exhausted, as they all were. "What do you want me to do, Helo? If you're right, then someone did it on purpose, and he or she isn't likely to come forward, are they? Or maybe you just looked at your badge wrong before, and it's really yours. We're all tired and not seeing straight. It doesn't matter. You're off flight status."

"But -- "

"Look, I know you don't want to go out there anyway. So take it as a gift," Lee interrupted, sharp and impatient. He rubbed Helo's name out from the diagram on the whiteboard. "That's all we can do."

Helo stiffened at the implied insult, but Sharon touched his back in warning and he let out his breath slowly, trying to rein in his temper. "All right. Good flight, Major."

Absently, Lee waved him out, staring at the plan up on the board.

In the corridor, Sharon murmured, "We'll find out who it is, Helo. Apollo's right; this was a gift."

So he stayed behind, even though he was still positive that he wasn't fully dosed and someone else out there was.

They found out who it had to be soon enough. For just one moment he thought he had been wrong, when Kat lifted her arms in triumph, after managing to bring her Raptor home.

Then she collapsed onto the floor. He grabbed Sharon's hand and could only watch in horror as the hazmat team rushed in to take care of her.

Nobody had to tell him that she was dying. He was pretty sure she had been dying already when she went out that last time.

As soon as Cottle allowed it, he and Sharon went into the infirmary and stood next to Kat's bed. She seemed asleep at first, so they waited.

Helo watched her sleep, her face ravaged by hunger and radiation poisoning with bruised eyed and pallid skin. Her eyelids flickered open slowly, and she shifted under the sheet, jaw tightening with pain.

When she realized he was there, he forced a smile. "Hi, Kat," he murmured.

"Helo." Her gaze flicked to Sharon, acknowledging her with a small nod, and back to him.

He took her small hand in his. "You traded with me, didn't you? Why?"

She didn't answer immediately, looking up at the ceiling to gather her strength and maybe her thoughts. He didn't press her. If she didn't answer at all that was all right. But he wanted to be here anyway.

But she did speak. "Because ... she needs you." And she looked at Sharon again. "And fleet needs you both."

"And it needs Kat," he objected gently.

She shook her head, and squeezed her eyes shut. He didn't say anything when a tear rolled out of the corner of her eyes into her hairline. He used his other hand to brush it away.

"Once a frak up," she whispered, "always a frak up."

"The best people I've ever known are frak ups, Kat. Then they turn into heroes and save everyone."

She seemed resistant, but she gripped his hand.

Sharon pressed up close to him and laid her hand over his, to touch Kat's hand beneath his. "You could've traded with anyone, if you wanted. But you traded with Helo. You gave me his life, Kat. I'm not used to humans giving me anything, especially something that means so much to me. So, thank you."

Kat smiled -- it was barely a quirk of her lips, so weary, but it was genuine. "Fleet gotta stick together."

"It does," he agreed and Sharon echoed him.

Eyes drooping closed, Kat breathed, and Helo watched her, unable to let go of her hand, even as it loosened in his.

"Come on," Sharon coaxed after a few minutes. "We should let her sleep."

Let her die, was what she meant, but tamely he followed her from the infirmary, turning back at the flap to look once.

Later, after Kara put Kat's picture up on the wall, he re-lit the stub of a candle that sat on the shelf below. He and Sharon watched the wavering light, until she broke the silence.

"God walk with you," Sharon murmured, resting her head against him, "And carry you when you falter. May the angels of light sing you to sleep and your spirit at last find peace."

Helo listened to her soft voice and found he had nothing to add. Whether there was only one god or several or none at all, he no longer knew, but he did know one thing -- wherever they were, Kat would be watching over Hera. "And when you reach Elysium, Kat, tell Hera that we love her."

Sharon drew in a sharp little pained breath and her arm tightened around his back, but she nodded. After a moment, she whispered, "We won't forget. I promise."

Helo nodded agreement and laid his cheek on her head, grateful that they were together. Two years ago, he had learned that every moment they were together was precious, and he had never taken her, or them, for granted.

He vowed silently to Kat's picture and her memory that he never would.

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Current Mood: jubilantjubilant
 
 
 
entertaining in a disturbing way: Cally Sharon arguelyssie on December 24th, 2006 06:51 am (UTC)
*sniffles* I like this, because it is angsty and kind of not, and proves (as we've actually seen on the show) that the pilots do accept Sharon. Lovely. *mwah*

now write me Sam and Jean and snark *flees very fast*

lizardbeth: Mrs.Helolizardbeth_j on December 24th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC)
yay! thanks! *g* You would not believe the trouble I had with the ending, since I didn't want it too angsty. So I'm glad that part works.

Sam and Jean and snark? uh oh, I'm thinking her giving him crap about the dating and the campaign. damn you, bunny pimp
Mayhem Parva: hera from Torn promo picsraincitygirl on December 24th, 2006 07:23 am (UTC)
Whether there was only one god or several or none at all, he no longer knew, but he did know one thing -- wherever they were, Kat would be watching over Hera. "And when you reach Elysium, Kat, tell Hera that we love her."


Oh dear. That bit just GOT me.

I really like how you attached significance to who Kat swapped badges with. I think you made a better and more meaningful resolution to this plot thread than the show did. Not that they tried (insert rant re: writing sloppiness here). But if they had tried, I hope there would've been a scene rather like this.
weissmanweissman on December 24th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
With you on this one %100

Bob
lizardbeth: Helo-Sharon fanficlizardbeth_j on December 24th, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC)
yay, thank you. and yeah,I definitely agree re 'passage'. I don't even like the ep that much, but I took Kat's action as a deliberate choice of who she was keeping behind. And if Helo knew that his badge wasn't supposed to be black (and he should) then... so forth.

But then, the brilliant episodes rarely leave me space for fic, so I guess that's the upside. Hooray for the return of Pop Tart! :D
weissmanweissman on December 24th, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
Loved every word, and shows that the love between Sharon and Helo can be an inspiration to anyone.

"Because ... she needs you." And she looked at Sharon again. "And fleet needs you both."

Again "sniffles" wonderful

Bob
lizardbeth: Mrs.Helolizardbeth_j on December 24th, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC)
Yay, thank you! Glad you liked it. It seemed like to me that Kat grew to be friends with Helo and Sharon in the missing year. And at a time when she was trying to make amends for her own perceived faults, she would act to preserve what she thought was the best. so who else could it be?
weissmanweissman on December 25th, 2006 02:03 am (UTC)
she would act to preserve what she thought was the best. so who else could it be?In other words who represents the light at the end of the tunnel.

Bob

Big Holiday hug
rebelliousrose: holding outrebelliousrose on December 26th, 2006 12:17 am (UTC)
Good stuff. Thank you. Write more!! ;}
lizardbeth: Helo-Sharon fanficlizardbeth_j on December 26th, 2006 05:41 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's always such a compliment to have people wanting more. *g*
The Proverbial Bull in a China Shop...: Helo writerssabaceanbabe on December 26th, 2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
Heh. You're not the only one who thought Kat chose Helo deliberately, for whatever reason. I like the reasoning that you've put forth here. It's very much in keeping with the episode and provides a logic that we'll no doubt never get in canon for what Kat did.

Thank you for sharing!
lizardbeth: Helo-Sharon fanficlizardbeth_j on December 27th, 2006 12:21 am (UTC)
Kat had to choose someone. The question was just why she picked who she did. If they'd left in that part about Helo being afraid of going out into the radiation, then it might have been a pity thing. But I'd rather give her a more noble and farsighted motive. And yeah, Kat's storyline's done, so we'll never know for sure.

You're welcome! *g*
Jeffrepr0b8 on December 27th, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
So many great little details in this fic, what a wonderful gift to Helo/Sharon fans. :)

Loved loved loved Helo and Sharon praying in their own ways for Kat's soul.
lizardbeth: Mrs.Helolizardbeth_j on December 27th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC)
thanks! And yeah, I originally had a different end (oh man, it gave me fits -- I rewrote the last three paragraphs a gazillion times), where it was Helo's prayer and then Sharon says "so say we all", meaning it as a tribute, but that seemed to imply her faith had changed, and I wanted to keep them separate. So I'm glad the new way worked for you.
sheepfairy: bsg - pulled in too many directionssheepfairy on January 3rd, 2007 10:27 am (UTC)
I liked this a whole bunch! I never even thought about the fact that Kat switched with Helo, but I like this explanation.

And the ending was just beautiful!
lizardbeth: Helo-Sharon fanficlizardbeth_j on January 3rd, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Once I realized that she must have done it on purpose, the story kind of fell into place. I fiddled with the ending many times, so I'm glad it worked!