Interludes and Encounters 2
All Battlestar Galactica characters and places belong to Moore,
Larson and Universal and are used without permission.
Pairing: Laura/Adama; Laura/Zarek
Rating: Teen for language
Archive: Not without permission.
Spoilers: SECOND SEASON through "Resistance". This takes place after the episode but before "The Farm."
"Commander, you're receiving and incoming call, sir," CPO Dualla said urgently over the line. "Sir, it's the Pre – It's the former-President, sir. She's requesting that you go secure."
Bill Adama sat stiffly at his desk in his cabin, the phone clenched in his fist. "Put her through, Dee," he ground out. "And go secure."
He wasn't all that surprised that she'd called. Given how she broke out of Galactica's brig with Lee, he knew she had to have sympathizers among the crew. Someone would have leaked it to her that he was awake and out of the infirmary. Ferreting out the misguided (he refused to use the word "traitors"), however, was proving difficult as no one seemed to know a damned thing about anything when asked.
Tempering his voice, he spoke into the phone as soon as he heard the connection click live. "I suppose it would be too much to hope for that you'd be calling to turn yourself in."
There was silence on the other end for several seconds and just as he was wondering if the connection hadn't gone through after all, Laura Roslin's voice met his ear.
"I'm afraid that under the circumstances, Commander, yes, that is too much to hope for."
He nodded. "So why the call? You have to know we're tracing."
"Yes, I know. We'll be gone before you get here, though."
"We?" He paused. "Is that you and Lee?"
"Captain Apollo is with me, yes."
Adama nodded again, feeling pain in his chest and the pain brought a feeling of impotence, followed closely by anger.
"You shouldn't have escaped the brig. You've broken the fleet."
"You broke the fleet when you deposed the civilian government," she returned coolly. "I take responsibility for a lot of things, but don't lay the consequences of your own actions at my door."
Now his anger raged through him, blocking the pain and sharpening his voice. "You illegally undermined the military command – "
"Commander," the President interjected, "I told Lt. Thrace the truth about a lie you told us all. Yes, I went behind your back. Yes, I talked to one of your soldiers. But since when is breaking a handshake agreement with you illegal?" She gave the slightest of pauses, then continued. "You, on the other hand, have staged a military coup and deposed the lawful civilian government of the Colonies. Your XO declared martial law and sent troops to raid civilian ships for supplies and when they didn't cooperate, four unarmed civilians were murdered. So tell me, is Colonel Tigh enjoying his stay in the brig as much as I enjoyed mine?"
"You know godsdamned well he's not in the brig."
"Yes, I do," Roslin said. "And I ask myself 'why not'? Regardless, Commander, that's not the reason for my call. Now that you're back in charge, I was hoping to appeal to your patriotism that we spoke of not long ago and ask you to lift the imposition of martial law and reinstate the democratic government."
Adama's eyes narrowed. "Turn yourself in and we'll talk about it."
The dry chuckle that came over the line infuriated him. "If I find myself back in your brig, I know it would just be a matter of time before I suddenly become a Cylon and get blown out of an airlock." She paused. "Or shot to death in the corridor."
Lords, she did have a lot of spies on his ship, Bill mused angrily. "You think I'm capable of that?" After everything, he wanted to add but stopped himself. Whatever he thought he had with Laura Roslin was utterly irrelevant now. "Not everyone is like you, Miss Roslin," he said icily.
"I've never openly accused anyone of being something that they're not," she said somewhat dishonestly, but he didn't call her on it. Instead, he said, "But you were not above using sex to try to control me, either. I know that all politicians are whores," he added, his voice quiet and much calmer than he felt. "I just never suspected that it was literally true in your case."
Adama took some satisfaction in the fact that just before the silence on the other end of the line, he'd detected a sharp intake of breath. He'd said it to hurt her. He wanted her to hurt, wanted the words to twist in her gut like Boomer's bullets twisted in his.
After a long moment, she did speak again. Her voice was even and quiet, unflappably calm and he hated her for it.
"I wouldn't expect you to think favorably of me right now, Bill, so go ahead and call me all the names you can think of." She sighed. "It's better than opening fire on civilian ships just because you're pissed that I'm not acting like a lovesick groupie after one night in your bed."
The glass of water impacted the door and shattered loudly and Adama grunted in pain, drawing harsh, ragged breaths.
"You'll hurt yourself," Laura murmured quietly.
"Don't act like you give a frak, you bitch," he snapped raggedly. "Is it that you're too stupid to understand what you've done or that you don't care?"
"Bitch," she breathed in a voice that, remarkably, actually sounded hurt. Tremulous. "Well, I guess it's better than whore, all things considered." He heard her clear her throat. "It's not what I've done, Commander. As I said, if you can stand to, look into the mirror for the cause of our current problem. I'm asking you to work with me to make this right again, for all of our sakes."
"If that's true, turn yourself in."
"Bullshit. If you cared about the fleet – "
"If I cared about the fleet!" she all but screamed, her formerly calm voice cracking. "The fleet is all I care about! You think I wanted this? The prophecies, the visions, the cancer – this may be our only chance. We're running out of time ..."
Her voice trailed off at the last and though Tigh had filled him in on what she had told the Quorum, only now did it hit him that it was true. Laura Roslin was dying and according to Cottle, she had only four or five months left. Somewhere, through the shock and anger and hurt, he understood her urgency but her methods were something he would never, ever understand.
It had just been an old man's foolishness that made him think that he had really known anything about her at all.
There was a knock at his door and a young soldier entered carrying a note. The young man stepped carefully over the broken glass and water and handed the paper over. Adama took it and read.
He nodded to the soldier, who saluted and left quickly. Into the phone, the Commander said, "We've traced your location."
In his mind's eye, he would see her nodding knowingly. "No doubt," she returned in a soft voice. "I should be going then."
"I'll find you," he warned.
"You'll try." Her voice now sounded almost fond. "I'll call again when you're less angry and feeling better and maybe we can fix this."
"Turn yourself in."
She sighed. "Is there any message you wish me to convey to your son?"
Not expecting that, Adama paused for a long moment. He then said, "Tell him – tell him, he'll have to live with the side he chose," and with that, he hung up the phone.
"Well, that explains a lot."
Zarek noted with interest that Roslin didn't start or turn around at the sound of his voice. She simply pressed the button that terminated the call that had come through the small speaker. It was almost as if she had already known he was in the room and if that was so, he wondered why she'd chosen to go forward with her rather intimate conversation with the Commander. What was her angle?
"So the fleet is caught in the middle of a lovers' quarrel between you and Adama?" he pressed, walking slowly towards her. Still, she had not turned to face him. He wondered if she was ashamed. "But wait, you weren't exactly lovers, were you? I think I heard you say it was one night only." He continued his advance, smiling a little now. "I don't know why I'm surprised you slept with him." Stepping in close, he reached out and fingered her soft hair with his right hand. "You've proven yourself to be very pragmatic." He breathed the last into her hair as he pressed in close enough to feel the soft curves of her body. Zarek's grin grew as he felt her stiffen ever so slightly and draw in a breath. He let his left arm wind around her waist and pulled her firmly against him. It was a game, for sure, but he did have to admit that she did feel quite enticing pressed against him. The tiny bit of temptation made his heart beat a little faster and he wondered how far he could push this before she turned around and slapped him.
"So this is the price," Roslin murmured with a slight nod that brushed the back of her head against his chin. "And here I thought it was just political gain you were after."
He chuckled. "Oh, there's a lot of gain to be had in this situation."
Again she nodded. "Yes, I supposed there is."
And then she was turning within the band of his arms. Zarek braced him for the inevitable blow – the slap, punch to the gut or knee to the groin – and therefore was surprised when a small but strong hand clamped behind his neck and pulled him down. Before he could register fully what she was doing, the President's mouth crashed into his.
It took a full two seconds for him to unfreeze but by then, the kiss was totally engaged. Having instinctually responded, his tongue tangled with hers roughly and his teeth bit at her lips. Vaguely, he felt her short nails digging into the skin at the nape of his neck, her other fist clenched tightly around the lapel of his jacket. For two more seconds, he indulged in the feeling of having her in his arms, in his power.
But then the rational part of his brain kicked in and screamed What the frak …!
Using the hand that had somehow gotten tangled in her long hair, Zarek broke the kiss by pulling her away. He stared into her eyes with a surprise.
They were cold and dead like space. The only sign of what had just occurred was the swollen moistness of her lips and the bits of color standing high on her cheeks. Other than that, Laura Roslin looked like she could have just been arguing with him in the Quorum, instead of kissing him like a long lost lover.
Amusement welled within him and though they still stood in their embrace, he laughed. The expression on her face didn't change and he didn't really expect it to. If anything, he would have been disappointed if she'd reacted. This, after all, was a game and she had just showed that even with new rules, she could play it like a master.
"You would do this, wouldn't you?" he asked her somewhat unnecessarily.
Now, her green eyes narrowed a bit, crinkling the tiny lines around them. "As you say, I'm a pragmatist," she told him softly. Her breath was warm and moist when it washed across his lips as she spoke. They were still very, very close and he wondered why she had yet to step away.
Or why he hadn't.
"You should know," Roslin continued, "that I slept with William Adama because I wanted to. It was probably a mistake." Her eyes hardened again. "My sole interest is the safety and security of this fleet. Right now, you are in a position to help me achieve my purpose. If going to bed with you is the price for that help, then let's get on with it."
Zarek considered this with great interest. "You are a surprising, surprising woman," he said, stroking his hand through her hair. "I will never, ever underestimate you again." He leaned in again just enough for his lips to brush hers gently; then, he dropped his hands and stepped back. He noted that now it was her eyes that held some amusement.
"It seems Commander Adama wasn't that wrong about you," he commented drily.
And now she smiled, coldly but with a hint of sadness. She reached up and ran her thumb across his bottom lip, presumably removing traces of her lip gloss from his mouth.
"Haven't you heard, Tom," Roslin began as she stepped away and moved towards the door. "Commander Adama is never wrong."
And then she was gone.
A/N: No one is more surprised that I've taken this story up again than me. I'm still pissed at Adama - even more so, if I anything - but my little shipper heart just won't let this completely die. What's weird, though, is that I see some strangeness that could occur between Laura and Tom Zarek. Not necessarily a ship but some weird kind of game of "Frak You". Though Laura says her "sole purpose" is to find Earth, I think she needs something to keep her spark alive along the way, whether it be anger with Adama or playful anger with Zarek.
Anyway, I have no idea when the next one will be. That depends on if I have the time to write and if the mood strikes me and if I can finally finish reading Half-Blood Prince.
Take care. Monica.