Sharon lands the Raptor perfectly.
After almost a year of instinctively bracing herself for Boomer's inevitably botched landings, this is how Margaret knows for sure that Sharon and Boomer are two different people. Boomer couldn't land a bird straight for all the dirt in Sagitarron. Sharon's landings are like gliding into port on a calm sea, with only a tiny bump at the end when the hull meets with the dock.
Privacy was something unheard of before the settlement on New Caprica. Even now, the lower ranking pilots shared quarters, but they aren't packed in like sardines anymore. Helo gets Tigh's old quarters and requisitions an entire month's ration of cleaning supplies to get the smell of alcohol out. Racetrack moves into a small closet because now she is the ranking Raptor pilot and The Admiral asked her if she wanted her own room. She didn't quite believe him, but she wasn't about to refuse.
The Admiral insisted that Sharon's re-instatement into the fleet not be completely ceremonial. He came close to understanding that Sharon and Boomer were different people, but he still landed short of the mark. He insisted that she complete all physical requirement and basic flight again before he gave her her commission. Nobody thought he would withhold it at the last minute because of some technicality.
Racetrack's new quarters are in a hallway parallel to the one that runs to the brig. It's easy enough to slip through the hatchways, even for someone very tall. He never comes to see her on the way, but he stops almost nightly on the way home. He looks so lost that she forgets that the Cylons brought them here in the first place...twice...and suggests that maybe a real bed and some kind of chair would make Sharon feel better, even if he still can't touch her. He sits on her bed because there's no space for anything else once her bed and a small table are in place and sometimes he cries.
Helo keeps them moving forward. They never go anywhere, just fly in circles around the system that was supposed to be the haven of humanity, but he keeps them from stopping altogether. It is Helo who maintains the work-out schedule, Helo who implements the CAP scenarios, Helo who organizes leave on the most pleasant of the remaining colony ships and Helo who makes sure they don't fall into a rut following everything he has organized for them. There was an announcement that anyone who wished to move to Pegasus would be allowed, but very few people took the offer up. Margaret doesn't hear from Dee very often, but has decided that the two ships run in different worlds. She is pretty sure that The Admiral is not the only reason.
There's a tiny light in her private quarters. It flickers whenever someone flushes the head, which happens quite a bit. This would make reading difficult, but she knows most of the Scriptures by heart, so when the light goes out, she sees how many words she can fill in before it comes back on. She always puts the scroll away before he comes though. She's not entirely sure it would offend him, but she cares about him far too much to risk it. She's fallen head over heels for this new relationship, tentative and based on something not entirely real, and she will do anything to keep it solid.
Almost everyone that stayed behind got promoted. Kat and Hot Dog flipped for Galactica CAG because there was no one left with more seniority and they were evenly matched for hours in the air and kills. Kat lost, but The Admiral threw her a party anyway. She asked if Sharon could come because Helo hadn't smiled at his own promotion and was too unsure of his new power to make such requests. Kat pointed out that the room would be full of highly trained people and they were bound to catch Sharon eventually if she tried to kill anyone. The Admiral had smiled. And that had been the beginning.
Her prized possession is a music box. She doesn't tell many people that, because she's pretty sure it's stupid, but the table in her quarters is too small for anything else and no one beside him ever comes in here anyway, so she sets it up next to her pillow. One night, he picks it up and fiddles with it and when it begins to play, he smiles. She knows he isn't thinking of her, he isn't even really hearing the music. Because this song is about the sea and she knows he's back on Caprica, real Caprica, when his world made sense and he was happy. She knows because he smiles that way when he speaks of Sharon in the few moments before he remembers what happened and then his heart breaks again.
The Admiral walked into the Pilot's lounge with an expression on his face that Margaret didn't recognize. He didn't say anything, just posted a notice up on the board. Duck grabbed it down immediately and was reading it out loud almost before The Old Man had left the room. Mustering out was an option, for those who wanted it. Duck sounded so excited at the idea of fresh air and ground beneath his feet and there were plenty of smiles around the room. Kat looked the same as always and Hot Dog looked conflicted, but Racetrack never had a single doubt in her mind.
"You thinking of mustering down?" he asked her when only they were left at the Triad table.
"No." she answered quickly. "The world already ended once and I built myself a new one to take its place. It's not perfect, but I don't want the world to end again."
"I know what you mean." He answered. "My world has ended a lot."
"You staying then?"
"Where else would I go?"
"Do you ever..." she stops herself before she says something stupid.
"Do I ever wish I wasn't in love with Sharon?" He doesn't say it in a hard tone. He says it like he's been asking himself forever.
"Do you ever wish you'd never joined the fleet?"
"Oh." She sees now. The whole horrible picture.
"Do you think we'll get promoted?" he asks lightly, determined to change the subject.
"Unless The Old Man wants to do all the work himself!" She replies, forcing herself to laugh.
Sharon lands the Raptor perfectly.
After almost a year of instinctively bracing herself for Boomer's inevitably botched landings, this is how Margaret knows for sure that Sharon and Boomer are two different people.
Margaret decided right in that moment that she would never leave him. He would never ask her for anything but friendship and he would never ask her to stay on his behalf. But she would anyway. Little things built up and changed them since the world ended for the first time and they have all become different people. It's only fair if Sharon gets the same chance.
The day before Sharon was sworn in as a fleet officer, she married Lieutenant Karl Agathon. She received one present and it did not have a name. It was a music box, and the song it played reminded her of the ocean.
AN: This story really wanted to be about someone other than Helo. I think it might be anyway, but I tried really hard to stop it.
GravityNotIncluded, February 13, 2007