Summary: She fought for her honor.
Disclaimer: The story is mine, characters are not
The crowd of at least two hundred people – civilians, pilots, officers – stood on their feet, hollering. The noise was deafening and the atmosphere was thick with the smell of sweat, smoke and alcohol in the stale air. Kendra Shaw stood all the way in the back as if the fight that was going on in the center of the room was none of her concern, but still, she flinched every time a sound of clenched fist hitting a body thumped across the distance, loud enough to be heard over the yelling of the crowd.
And they rooted for it. They ate it up like it was the biggest and the best entertainment ever witnessed by the human kind. Every time his knuckles collided with her face and the skin split open letting the trickle of blood to run freely down the side of her face, or each time she buried her fist into his side hard enough to crack a rib, they would go wild with the cheer.
Both of their bodies glistened under the muffled lights of the shipyard’s repertory. Muscles strained and tensed in battle stance. Their teeth gritted in need to hurt the other and relieve the tension pent up in every cell of their bodies. Her fatigue uniform stuck to her like second skin, drenched in sweat and spattered with her own and her opponent’s blood. She sneered at the man across from her, taunting him to take a swing.
It was just another display of cockiness for Captain Starbuck as far as they were concerned. No one kept track anymore of how many times she had been called up for a face off in the ring by the member of the crew she managed to piss off or put down in that self-righteous way of hers. She would take on anyone at any time, especially if there was a tumbler or two of ambrosia too many involved in the dispute. “Bring it on, motherfracker!” she growled over the roar of the crowd and when he swung and missed, she swung back and introduced the back of her forearm with the side of his face.
His nose exploded in a bloody mess and the crowd went mad. Kara shook her arm to relieve the pain she undoubtedly caused herself by the punch and then watched as the man stumbled on his feet and then ended in the corner hanging against the ropes and clutching at his smashed nose.
She was a soldier, for gods’ sake, so why then did she feel nauseous at the sight before her, the brute force displayed for such trivial causes like someone’s honor was? But this was Galactica and they were in the middle of a war, and since there was nothing else left for any of them but honor, it was a valid thing to defend. Two crewmen jumped into the ring and carried their colleague out of it and then Kara turned and scanned the crowd, finally setting her eyes on a pair that watched her fight from the back. She swiped the blood and sweat from the side of her face with the back on her hand, keeping her eyes locked with Kendra’s. Other people swarmed the ring and patted her back or ruffled her hair in a general expression of approval. Kara shut all of them out; without responding to the support received she kept her eyes fixed, sending a clear message to the officer on the other end of the depot. There, your honor has been preserved.
“Major!” Kara’s voice echoed through the passageway. Still sore from the fight, she sped up her pace and jogged over to the other woman who was clearly trying to evade her. Kara grabbed her arm to stop her and then spun her in place so they would face each other. “Shaw!”
“Captain Thrace.” Kendra’s voice was cold and low. Her eyes narrowed at the Captain’s disheveled and battered look and then dropped to where Kara’s fingers clutched onto her arm. Instantly, Kara’s hand withdrew and a full two feet of space was established between them.
“Where are you going?” Kara asked, searching the other woman’s features for hidden answers. There were only so many moments when Major Shaw’s face was anything but solid block of stern ice and this moment wasn’t one of them. “Don’t you have anything to say? To me?”
“You expect me to thank you?” Kara clenched her jaw and her fists at the deadpan tone of Kendra’s voice.
“At least, yes.”
“If anything, Captain, I should have half of the Galactica’s crew thrown in the brig for their conduct and lack of discipline. Fleet officers do not act like rabid animals, they act like soldiers.”
“I’m sorry,” Kara stretched her lips in a wide smile, “I forgot you Pegasus people clear out your misunderstandings by shooting one point blank in the forehead of the offending party. Nice and neat.”
Assailing forward, Kendra grabbed onto the collar of Kara’s top, “You will watch your mouth in front of the superior officer, Captain, or all you’ll be flying will be paper planes in the darkest pit of the brig for the duration of this war!”
“Don’t you dare pull rank on me, Shaw!” Kara wrested herself from Kendra’s grasp. “What I did in that ring I did for you!”
“How was that-” Kendra began angrily.
“I heard him call your precious Admiral a Cylon whore!” Kara interjected causing Kendra’s face to drain of blood. “I didn’t want you to do anything stupid, like I’m pretty sure you would if I hadn’t stepped in.”
“I did and I still do respect the legacy of Admiral Cain,” Kendra hissed, “but she fought her battles, personal or otherwise and it is not my duty to fight them now that she’s gone.”
Taking a step closer, Kara shrunk the distance between them, cutting it to a foot of space. “Defending the honor of the woman you love, regardless if she’s dead or not... it’s just something you do, no questions asked.”
“Don’t bother, Major. Some things you cannot hide no matter how well practiced your poker face is.”
Softening her expression, Kendra took in a deep breath, “Still, why would you...”
“Because, Major,” Another step and the space was gone, “No matter how I felt about Cain, to me your feelings also count. I was fighting for my own little piece of honor up there tonight as well. If nothing else, then because this pain that was inflicted upon me tonight is doing a damn good job of hiding the one I feel because I can’t get you to look at me in an even tiny bit similar way like you looked at her.”
“You’re drunk.” Kendra offered weakly.
“And bleeding. And sore. And pissed off, too.” Kara smiled, “Not unlike any other day on this fracking ship.”
The only other time Kendra allowed her professional rigor and defense to fall, Kara closed the space between them, just like she had a moment ago. She tasted like ambrosia and those gods’ awful cigars she smoked but her mouth was so warm and the locker Kendra found herself pressed against hard and cold. It lasted only a few seconds, but it was long enough.
Kendra cleared her throat. “You better go clean up before I put you on report.”
“You’d rather scold me and torture me than acknowledge me?”
With her face as far as few inches from Kara’s, Kendra breathed out, “Yes.”