There is no Valentine's Day in space. Sort of. (Fluff)
It was six months after the Cylon attack and Lee had practically forgotten his own birthday, let alone a relatively minor holiday like Lupercalia.
So it was with some surprise as well as a little bit of irritation that he opened the frilly billet some laughing crewmember slipped onto his rack while he was dead to the universe.
It was pink and scented like perfume stolen from an elderly female passenger. He wrinkled his nose, first at the smell, then at the name of his Lupercalia "draw" -- a woman picked by a friendly (or in this case, joking) matchmaker, as his girlfriend for the day.
"In flight as in love, you are in luck. You've drawn the lot of the lovely Starbuck."
"Oh frak," he cursed under his breath.
Tradition, damn it to Hells, demanded he give a small token to his draw, romantic or otherwise.
And with the upholding of human traditions of any sort being a precious commodity these days ...
Sighing, Lee glanced around his cramped quarters. He wondered momentarily if Starbuck would like an old pen or maybe she had a craving for some stale space wafers from a few years back, when the sight of a pair of relatively new leather flying gloves caught his eye.
He winced. Those were a gift from his father on his last birthday and he'd just started to consider using them when ...
"Frak," he cursed again, but he manfully scrounged through his belongings for some tissue wrap. Luckily, he found some balled up at the very bottom of his locker.
Taking his time, Lee smoothed the wrapping out carefully, laying the gloves between the sheets.
There was no tape but a few artful folds were just as good. Lee got dressed, with some care, as that was yet another tradition of the day (who in Hells thought up this idiot holiday anyway?) and walked down to the hanger with the expression of a man about to be executed.
Because there was nowhere else to present his gift except in front of the crews and boy, oh, boy, weren't they going to have a good laugh at his expense.
Whoever did this, Lee was going to get them, and get them good.
Starbuck wasn't hard to find as she was hanging off her Viper, yanking like a madwoman on some offending wire or another, omnipresent cigar dangling from her lip,
The Chief was yelling at her, she was ignoring him and Lee walked up to them both, heat rising in his cheeks.
"Excuse me," Lee said, as the Chief ranted on to Kara over his head.
"I'm telling you to stop that! You're going to seriously damage the ship and if that thing falls apart under your ass while in flight, that's going to be tough. You're not supposed to ..."
"Frak you," Starbuck grunted, pulling harder.
"Frak ME? No frak YOU and if you think ..."
Lee tried again. "Excuse me ..."
"I ... want ... this ... thing ... gone," Starbuck ground out. "What don't you understand about the word 'gone'?"
"I want a lot of things gone," the Chief shot back. "But somehow things don't always work out the way I like them to."
Starbuck stopped yanking. There was death in her eyes. "Is that a comment about /me/? Because you better not be referring to me."
"EXCUSE ME," Lee interrupted for the third and last time. Traditions be damned, he wasn't going to stand here all day for this.
"WHAT?" Starbuck and the Chief yelled back at him, but Tyrol, being slightly more canny about these things, looked at the poorly wrapped package in Lee's hand and immediately took a step back.
Lee took a deep breath. A small poem was usually in order for the presentation but since he hadn't done this since first school ...
He formally addressed Starbuck. "Today I was gifted with a heavenly draw, to give the fair Starbuck a .. a ..." Lee thought for a moment. What rhymed with 'draw'? He shrugged. "A pair of flying gloves," he finished. "Wear them in good health."
He held the gift out to Starbuck who blinked at him through a haze of cigar smoke. "What in hells are you blabbering about?"
Lee could feel his teeth grinding. "It's Lupercalia and you are my draw. This is the present I'm giving to you. Is there anything else you'd like me to elaborate on?"
"You mean that ... I'm your ..." Starbuck stammered before regaining her composure ... and bursting into a loud, honking fit of laughter.
The cigar fell, her breathing became labored and the rest of the flight crews caught onto the joke until the entire hanger was roaring with her.
Lee's shoulders slumped. So much for upholding cherished human traditions.
But before he could storm out, Kara leapt down from her ship. She put an arm around his shoulders and squeezed hard before bending down to retrieve her cigar.
And upon ripping the package open ...
"Hey," she said, obviously impressed when the gloves were revealed. "These are /nice/." Her face softened ... just a little bit. "That's really sweet of you to follow through like this. But really, you didn't have ..."
"Enjoy them, Kara," Lee said, warming up a little at her appreciation. He turned to address the hanger crews. "Have a good Lupercalia, everyone. Now, let's get cracking. We have a quadrant to scout today. I don't want everyone here spending all day writing mash notes."
A few murmurs to the affirmative and Lee went out to get his flight suit on.
Maybe following the old ways wasn't such a bad idea after all.
Later on, Kara snuck back to her quarters, guiltily wearing her new gloves.
Sure, putting the draw in Lee's rack was a good joke but she never thought he'd follow through with it. However, since he did and since this Lupercalia business could be a pretty decent racket if done correctly ...
Kara bit her lip and pulled out more paper. A quick spritz of some stinky perfume she'd received as a gift a few lifetimes ago and ...
"A quick fix is our Chief, thus the beauteous Starbuck is your next aperitif." she scribbled.
There, that was good enough she thought, sealing up the note. Hopefully, Tyrol would bottle up a little bit of that hooch he'd been cooking in the back and then ...
Oh, yeah, she thought blissfully. This holiday was okay after all.
Author's note: Lupercalia is the ancient predecessor to Valentine's Day, minus the chocolate.