Sharon was still humming quietly to herself while searching the shelves for another box of pillowcases. The party had just been getting started in the rec room when she’d left, the beat of drums having left a pleasant echo vibrating through her body. And yes, there had been a little too much Ambrosia, but hell, she was allowed to drink a little too much Ambrosia. She had her baby back, and she couldn’t care less that her husband prefered sleeping off a double while all of Galactica was getting laid. Bacchanalia was just an excuse to celebrate, and she didn’t need an excuse to be happy anymore. Bacchanalia was for other people.
She’d just made a detour to the mainboard storage closet on her way home to get some more of the things she suddenly qualified to requisition, being a mother. The room was pitch black - screw making concessions to human eyesight when no humans were around. Nevertheless, the quiet screeching noise of the hatch behind her made her start, battle honed instincts jumping into action.
“Sharon? Is that you?”
“Dee?” Sharon squinted, and a moment later she recognized the slender silhouette of her friend, who’d slipped through the crack of the hatch without opening it further. Only a small patch of light was intruding from the hallway, illuminating Dualla’s forever straight ponytail for a second, not a hair out of order. Sharon smirked. “Shouldn’t you be off frakking?”
The moment she’d said it, she noticed how loud the words were ringing in the air, because Dee had slipped in on her toes, not causing the slightest noise. Now Sharon could make out her eyes widening. Frantically, she shushed in the general direction of Sharon - before crashing into a box. She hissed a curse.
“No talking!” she whispered with big round eyes of worry. “You have to stay quiet! They’re right out there, doing it in the middle of the hallway like bunnies!”
Sharon giggled. “Who?”
“Hoshi and Felix!” Dee whispered in exasperation, as if there was only a single couple that could possibly be frakking in a hallway during the feast. “I was lucky I even got in here before they saw me!”
“Why didn’t you just go back the way you came from?”
“That’s Hatchway B-40 down there, it’s broken. It doesn’t open from this side.”
Sharon giggled again. She couldn’t help it - looked like her sight being better than 20-20 didn’t mean her metabolism was. “Oh that I have to see.”
She started moving immediately, but Dee grabbed her viciously. “Don’t be a perv.”
“How would you know they’re finished?”
“Oh I’m sure they’ll...” Dee interrupted herself when a strangled, loud sound drowned out her whisper - one that fascinatingly sounded like Lt. Hoshi. Sharon’s eyes lit up in amusement. “I’m sure we’ll know,” Dee finished with a cringe. Sharon started laughing for real, if silently.
“Alright,” she agreed. Looking around, she spotted a box, grabbed Dee’s arm and - carefully - led the other woman to sit down on it. “I don’t have to be anywhere. I was just on the way back to my quarters.”
Dee breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you. I really don’t want to run into them out there. And honestly, Felix deserves to get laid.” There was that noise again, and again, Sharon giggled when Dee cringed, her shadowy frame looking more pained by the second. “Although I’d prefer it if he did it somewhere else.”
“It’s Bacchanalia.” Sharon shrugged. “They probably just didn’t find a room.”
“Yeah.” Dee sighed again. She was in uniform, Sharon noticed, one of the unfortunate junior lieutenants to get stuck on duty in the middle of the orgy - or rituals, as some of the more salacious pilots had insisted on calling it earlier on shift. “So,” the comms officer said, playing with the hem of her sleeves. “You were at the party?”
“Yeah,” Sharon replied happily. “Starbuck was just setting up a ‘nipple contest’ between Pegasus and Galactica men when I left. I don’t even want to know what that’s all about...”
Dee cleared her voice. “Seen Lee anywhere there?” She was trying too hard to sound like she couldn’t care less, and giving her a pitying look, Sharon smirked. Right. That. That explained why Dee was on duty instead of celebrating with the husband.
A tiny girlish whimper suddenly emanated in the hallway, then ebbed off. Hoping that she’d get out of this with her respect for two fellow officers intact, Sharon snickered again, entirely against her will.
She had a feeling they’d be here for a while.
Glancing out through the crack of the hatch, Dee’s eyes widened, yet again. She had steadfastly refused to look in the direction of where the action was taking place - rustling of clothes and wet noises and other awful sounds wafting over that she’d never wanted to hear in this context. So when a man in flight gear turned the corner, she spotted him right away. Elsewhere with his thoughts, he’d noticed neither her nor Felix and Louis. But he moved by the hatch closely, so after frantically waving Sharon over, it was easy to just maul him in.
It was good to have a Cylon on your side for something like that.
“What the frak!”
You had to hand it to the guy - he took it in stride, lowering his voice to a whisper without pause. Sharon had pushed him deeper into the room to make it easier to talk, and Dee, whose eyes had grown used to the darkness, finally realized that they’d captured Hot Dog.
“Oi, what are we doing?” he asked, rubbing his shoulder, looking from Sharon to Dee accusingly.
“You can’t go that way,” Dee said in her most resolute whisper. “Felix Gaeta and Louis Hoshi are having sex out there, and I will not allow you to interrupt my friends’ fun.”
“The hatch you took on the way here doesn’t open from this side, either,” Sharon supplied helpfully.
“Really, they’re frakking out there?” Hot Dog’s eyes lit up. “That’s like free porn.”
Hissing a swearword, Dee realized she was too far away to stop him from taking the listening post himself, and Sharon made no move to stop him. “That’s my friends you’re talking about!”
“Doing it in public,” Hot Dog supplied reasonably. He peered outside for a moment. “Now that’s even pretty hot.”
Sharon hiccuped. “Didn’t know you liked guys.”
“Don’t care as long as it’s sex.”
“That’s gross,” Dee pointed out.
She didn’t stand a chance. Still feeling low-level miserable like she had ever since Lee had gone off duty without her, she gave up when Athena joined Hot Dog at the hatch. Both ignored her, so she just rolled her eyes and sat back down on the box. What was wrong with these people?
Felix Gaeta owed her big time.
Sam was deep in thought. He’d spend all day on the Salpica helping the crew form a Pyramid team, and he’d spent most of his visit on the Galactica deeply engrossed his team’s old playbook that Jean had just lent him. The visit had paid off, no matter what.
He started when a resolute hand reached out for him out of nowhere. There was only time to catch a short glimpse of one of Kara’s interchangable bunkmates before he stumbled into a room without light.
“Sam, it’s Sharon! You have to stay quiet!” another voice shushed at him.
“What’s going on?” He whispered automatically, immediately on alert. This was the kind of thing that happened right before you learned that your camp had been found by the Cylons, and your right-hand woman proceeded in giving you a list of all the dead.
“You can’t go that way,” the nameless viper pilot said with a low voice. “Two of the LTs are frakking in that corridor, and if they saw you, they’d stop.”
“What?” Sam asked in confusion, because - what? Then the information caught up to him, and he clarified, “And who cares?”
“You are not going to interrupt my friends having sex,” a new voice announced resolutely.
A slender silhouette came into sight. It took him a moment to recognize the one crew member who always managed to make Sam uncomfortable on sight - Dualla. Great. If there was one person he never quite knew what to say to...
“Okay...” he said slowly. “Can’t we just...”
“Doesn’t open from this side,” Sharon supplied.
He frowned - not that any of them saw. “Wait, you guys are all waiting here because you want some guys to have sex?”
“Pretty hot sex,” the viper pilot corrected. “You can look if you like.”
“I know you don’t have a very firm grip on relationships and what makes them work, Anders,” Dualla said tightly, “so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.”
Sam sighed. He had a look at the notebook in his hand, but of course he couldn’t make out a thing in here. And it looked like he’d miss his Raptor flight back, but he guessed he could always spend the night here.
Maybe his eyes would grow used to the dark.
“Anywhere I can sit down?”
“Happy Bacchanalia,” Louis managed, although he hadn’t quite caught his breath. Then he had to laugh because when he retreated far enough to look at Felix’ face, his lover’s eyes were shining despite his swollen lips and ruffled hair. Felix would eat him alive if he knew how adorable he was looking.
As it was, he just smirked. “I’ll revise my opinion on religious holidays, granted.”
“Glad you liked your gift.” Louis was feeling quite satisfied with himself.
Felix frowned, throwing a look over Louis’ shoulder.
“I could swear I keep hearing something in there.”
“Mice?” Louis smiled. “I don’t think anybody even uses that closet anymore.” He shrugged. It was probably just somebody else having sex, but no need to give Felix ideas that would make him uncomfortable. Not if the alternative was sex.
Really, really good sex that was now sadly over.
Looking down at himself with a sigh, Louis started to re-button his uniform. “Well. Back to work, I suppose.”
“There’s still an hour before our shift...” Felix muttered.
Louis paused, raising his eyebrows in interest. “What are you saying?”
Felix took hold of Louis’ hand, looking slightly awkward and still incredibly adorable. “I haven’t given you your gift yet.” Blushing, he directed two of Louis’ fingers into his mouth and sucked on them. Louis involuntarily shuddered.
“I like that plan,” he said with a smirk, bending down to kiss his lover again.
“You got to be kidding me,” Dee said.
The time ticked off slowly. None of them knew each other all that well - or in some cases, didn’t even want to - and they had soon run out of things to talk about. As far as Dee could make out, Sharon was trying to braid a strand of her hair with the intense focus of the truly bored, Hot Dog was sitting next to the crack of the hatch and peering out with a look of habit rather than interest on his face, and Anders was still sitting hunched against the wall in the same position he’d taken upon arriving, eyes closed. The occasional moan would float through the room every now and then, but it had become just another part of the scenery.
Dee was playing with her sleeve moodily. She couldn’t really say she minded being stuck here as opposed to going back to the most boring watch shift in human history without Lee, but the fact that it didn’t bug her bugged her. She was married. She wasn’t supposed to have no plans on Bacchanalia, and she didn’t have Sharon’s excuse of being so exhausted from celebrating the return of her child that she didn’t want to celebrate anything else. She didn’t have a child. At this rate, she never would have one.
When the tall silhouette of Sam Anders stood up with an eerie quiet he must have learned on Caprica, came over and slid down onto the ground next to her, she involuntarily stiffened.
He utilized a tactic of saying nothing, just offering his presence. Dee couldn’t say she didn’t resent him a little for the generosity, but it still worked.
“It’s a bit early to go back to the Raptor bay,” she said snidely. She knew where Galactica’s corridors came from and let to. Anders had to have been on his way back to whatever ship he was living on. “The wife didn’t have time for you on Bacchanalia?”
Anders shifted his weight into the hint of a shrug. “Neither of us have ever celebrated it.”
“One way to look at it,” Dee muttered.
Both she and Lee were supposed to have been on duty. Lee had taken this shift off on short notice, after looking at the pilots’ duty roster, the duty roster that said Starbuck was off getting plastered, and that hurt.
Not just because Lee was acting like he thought she was stupid.
Anders remained silent for a beat.
“Kara and I...” he started saying, but she interrupted him.
“...aren’t like Lee and I. I get it, okay? I get that you’re okay with... with... whatever this is.” She threw her hands up, indicating ‘Who cares?’. “I didn’t sign up for this,” she muttered, drawing her knees up to her chest. She’d known Lee didn’t love her when they got married, it was true.
She’d thought they’d be friends though, Lee and her.
She’d thought she’d be married to a man she could be proud of.
A hand awkwardly reached out to pat her back.
“None of us signed up for this.” Anders managed to make it sound like an apology.
Dee knew it wasn’t really his fault though, no matter how much she tried.
She sniffed. “I wanted to take him to Joe’s after duty to dance,” she said. “I like dancing sometimes.”
Billy had taken her out for a dance once, although he’d been awful at it, stepping on her toes and blushing furiously the whole time. He’d been the only man - no, boy - she’d ever known who made her feel more experienced.
Anders patted her back again, not wasting words.
Outside in the hallway, Louis Hoshi reached climax.
Dee and Sam were still conversing quietly in a corner, so Sharon decided to give them some room, slipping over to where Brendan had taken up residency in a corner. The effects of the Ambrosia had slowly worn off, and she was starting to get bored.
“I’m surprised you’re even on duty,” she said. “I would have thought the rec room party would be right up your alley. There were a lot of pretty girls out there trying to get laid.”
Brendan shrugged. “Oh, I don’t mind,” he said. “I swapped with Racetrack. She’s having a date with Hex.” He grimaced, like the choice was a mystery to him. “And you know me, I’d never get a chick like that anyway. ‘m not Apollo,” he said, unconcerned.
Throwing a look at the other side of the room, Sharon suppressed the urge to suggest he try his luck with Dee in that case. It might give him an edge. “Oh, come on. I could set you up with Skulls, if you like.”
Brendan smirked. “Don’t know Skulls that well.”
She gave him a look. “I didn’t get the impression that Bacchanalia is about that.”
“It is though,” he said, brushing imaginary dust off his pants.
Sharon raised her eyebrows in interest. “There something you’re not telling me?”
The pilot shrugged. He was looking at something on the ground facing away from Sharon.
“It’s got nothing to do with the real thing, the way they do it here,” he groaned with a surprising amount of vehemence.. “It’s not like we just randomly had orgies in the barns back on Leonis. Bacchanalia’s sacred. There are rules. It’s about giving and... and sharing, and unity. I didn’t know who to ask.” There was an amount of longing in his voice.
“Whoa. I didn’t know there’d still been places where people really celebrated it.”
“It’s a gift,” Brendan said and repeated, “I didn’t know who to ask.”
Sharon sighed in empathy. Right. Because Brendan was one of those people who’d started up surrounded by a whole bunch of friends - like Kat and Chuckles and Cally - and they’d either all died or - well, Sharon wasn’t sure why he and Cally were never seen hanging out together anymore. It was a common thing to happen on Galactica though. People died, leaving behind holes, and nobody had the strength to look out for new friends all the time, not even a guy like Hot Dog, who was popular enough and a good wing man.
Sad but true fact - there were a lot more Hot Dogs in the Fleet now than there were Sharons.
“I’m sorry,” she said. But Brendan just grinned.
“Looks like I’ll just have to take care of mys...” He interrupted himself, frowning.
“What?” she asked.
“Can you hear anything?”
He had a point. She couldn’t.
“Officer of the Watch, you’re relieved.”
Jenkins threw a salute. “I stand relieved, Sir.” Felix returned it smoothly.
Breathing in and out deeply, he felt a new kind of energy flooding his body. Maybe it was a little ridiculous, considering it had just been sex - good sex, admittedly, really good sex, albeit in public. But it felt like it had been the first time something really good had happened to him in forever, and he still couldn’t believe their luck that they hadn’t been interrupted even once.
Looking across the CIC at Louis, who’d taken over Comms, he threw him a smile. Louis smiled back. Most people in the room seemed to take the opportunity to become even more disgruntled, he noticed in the periphery of his vision, considering it was the last shift of Bacchanalia and they were stuck on duty, but Felix couldn’t care less.
“Oh, Jenkins,” he called after the third shift officer, who turned on his way out to look him a question. “Shouldn’t Dee be on duty?”
“She called in some minutes ago, Sir,” Jenkins said. “Said she’d be busy with maintenance for a while.”
Felix nodded him a thank-you, turning back to his station. Maintenance was CIC code for sneaking off and having some fun, and he was glad to hear it, because the Gods knew Dee deserved to have some of that.
“Are you really sure?” Brendan asked, reluctant to follow Sharon further down the corridor. Maybe she was still a little drunk. You never knew. “I mean, you can’t just wake up your husband to tell him you brought a random guy home for a threesome, can you?”
Sharon turned around to smile at him. “Are you kidding? He’ll love it.”
She’d said she felt like handing on the joy. Admittedly, it sounded like a pretty sober line of thought, and much too complex for a drunken brain.
Brendan dared to smile back.
Last shift’s patrons had long filled out of Joe’s to sleep off the booze, and the new shift had yet to fill in. If the bar would have such a thing as a last song of the night, this would be it, the wireless playing an old, lonesome country tune from Aquaria about love lost and home.
“Uh, yeah, sorry.” Anders followed her a step or two behind, his feet not quite sure where to place themselves onto the dance floor. “I'm much better at ball games.”
Dee smiled. She closed her eyes, leaning her forehead against the man’s broad chest, slowly swaying along with the tune. It was almost loud enough to drown out Galactica’s omnipresent engines, but not quite. She liked it better that way.
“Don’t worry about it,” she said. “It’s enough.”