"Guess who's got a date," Thom grins at them, rocking back and forth on his heels. Leevy snorts from beneath Thom's X-Wing and he glares, kicking her lightly in the ankle.

"Lemme see," Gale ponders with a roll of his eyes, "is it you?"

Thom beams even as Leevy snorts again.

"Yep, with Delly," he explains, voice smiling and Leevy slides out from under the starfighter.

"Has she met you?" she asks with a raised eyebrow and Thom makes a face.

"Very funny. You done yet?"

Leevy scowls at him as she rubs greasy hands on her pants.

"No, I'm not."

"How come? You've been at it for ages!" Thom whines and Gale leans back against his own X-Wing with crossed arms.

"Well, that's what happens when the pilot insists on crashing into everything he passes," Leevy grumbles, waving her hydrospanner at Thom irritably.

"I do not!" Thom protests and Leevy opens her mouth to retort. Gale feels a headache coming on and decides to interrupt.

"So, Delly? That was the girl we met at the bar, right?"

Thom gives Leevy one last beady eyed glare before turning to Gale, his whole face changing, the thought of Delly lighting him up like the sun.

"Yeah, she was great, huh?"

Gale shrugs, doesn't honestly remember much about Delly. He was a little busy with her friend...

"I wouldn't know, I was repairing a faulty hydraulic system" Leevy sighs, returning to Thom's X-Wing

"Well, she was, she really was," Thom assures her brightly. "And she's working in communications, right here on Liberty. What're the odds, right?"

"Yeah, definitely," Gale agrees and Thom suddenly favours him with a smirk.

"And wouldn't you know, her friend Madge is stationed here too."

Gale narrows his eyes and Leevy takes note of Thom's tone, pops up beside him.

"Who's Madge?" she asks and Thom smirks a little wider.

"Just some pretty blonde Gale spent all night chatting up."

Leevy's eyebrows go up and Gale glares at Thom, wonders if he can make him set fire with his eyes. If only he had the Force...wait, can the Force do that?

Gale has been trying not to think about Madge, trying and failing. He fell asleep with her face against his eyelids, the scent of her fruity shampoo lingering in his nose. He dreamt of losing horribly at sabacc, her smirk and firebright blue eyes. Of dancing too close, her body warm in his arms. Her laughter, the teasing tone lacing through all her words. The taste of her, the fever he'd felt as she kissed him before they'd said goodbye, turbolasers firing in his brain.

And then morning came.

As wonderful as that night had been, it could be never be anything more. First and foremost, he didn't even know her last name, didn't know how long she'd be on base, didn't know where she'd be shipped out to. But really, the honest reason, was that he couldn't afford it, the distraction. He had to stay focused on the war, on fighting it, winning it, living through it. He had to see the Empire fall, had to get home to his family.

And Madge, Madge would steal his focus, swallow up a part of him. After just one night, she'd danced through his thoughts all day, how much worse would it be if they were involved? And he'd worry, worry about her when she was working, worry about never seeing her again when he was. It was better he didn't know her last name, where she'd be sent.

It was better this way.

Except apparently the universe didn't agree.

"Pretty blonde...like the one talking to Bristel?" Leevy asks and Gale snaps out of his reverie, whipping around. He finds her immediately. Madge, chatting with Bristel and Darius. She's writing something down on a datapad and Gale feels his stomach do funny things.

damn it man, get a hold of yourself

"Speak of the Sith," Thom whispers eagerly as he peeks over Gale's shoulder. "That's her alright."

"Wow," Leevy says appreciatively. "She looks nice."

Gale nods in agreement and then stops himself. Woah, remember what we decided? We're better off without her. Right?

"She's coming over here!" Thom cheers and Gale stiffens, realizes he's right. Madge is still writing on her datapad, but definitely headed straight for them. Gale has a split second where he ponders doing nothing, acting like Madge is just another crewmember. He turns hurriedly to Leevy instead and tries his best to smooth down his hair.

"How bad am I?" he asks and Thom snickers.

why are you freaking out? he chastises himself, you've already made out with her, talking shouldn't be that big a deal.

"You look fine, a little sweaty maybe, but fine," Leevy assures him with a roll of her eyes and pats him on the shoulder. Gale tries his best to ignore Thom and hopes he doesn't smell as bad as he thinks he does. Madge reaches their little group and Leevy shoves him forward, Thom practically giggling.

"Hello, I'm Lieutenant Undersee," Madge starts and then stops when she recognizes him and Thom, her eyes going wide.

"Oh, Gale, hi," she breathes, looks a little shy and Gale smiles, feels kinda warm.

"Hey, fancy, uh, seeing you here," he tries and then frowns, because what the hell was that? Thom's snickering reaches a new level and Leevy pinches him.

"Um, well, the uh, the General asked me to schedule personnel evals before we ship out, so when exactly would you be free?" Madge asks, cheeks pink and Gale doesn't say anything until Leevy elbows him.

"Right! I'm free the next two nights after 1800 hours," he tells her and turns to glare at Thom, wishes he could kick him in the shin. Madge nods and punches it into her datapad.

"So...how about tomorrow at 1900 hours for your eval and then, the next day, same time, for dinner?"

Gale jerks his head around to look at her, even Thom stunned into silence.

say no, say no. you can't afford this Gale, you know it.

Madge is smiling nervously, eyes not quite meeting his and Gale grins.

maybe I can

"I'll be there."

Madge's smile loses its nerves, her eyes bright as she meets his. "Great, I'll see you then."

Her smile drops when she notices Thom and Leevy's wide eyed looks, her skin flushing red. She clears her throat and offers her most professional smile.

"And the two of you?"

"For dinner?" Thom asks and Madge darkens in embarrassment.

"No, you idiot," Leevy mutters, jabbing him in the side.

"Just, just for your evals," Madge clarifies and Gale can't quite believe what just happened. Madge thanks them and scuttles off, heading for the doors and Thom lets out a low whistle.

"Well, damn."

Leevy shakes her head.

"You must've made one hell of an impression at that bar," she says and Gale doesn't answer, still a little in awe that he's going on a date with Madge in two days. He can see her as she reaches the door, turns back and shoots him a smile with a little wave and Gale grins, stomach swooping.

Maybe this is a mistake, maybe he'll regret it later.

(he won't)

But one thing's for sure, he's definitely not the only one who made an impression that night.