Title: Interludes &
Encounters 2: Something New
A/N: SPOILERS for BSG Season 2, through Home Part 2.
All Battlestar Galactica characters and places belong to Moore, Larson and Universal and are used without permission.
It had been a long time, Laura noted, since she'd been in William Adama's quarters. She couldn't help but smile that it looked pretty much the same as it did the last time she was here. She froze and her eyes involuntarily flicked to his bunk. The last time she was in this room, they'd made love on that bed.
She felt her cheeks color. They had not come here to talk about that. They would have to one day address it – and all the bitternss that had followed – but not today.
"I wanted to thank you," Laura said quietly.
Bill looked at her briefly, then nodded and set about ridding himself of his uncomfortable dress uniform jacket. Laura knew she didn't need to elaborate nor would he want her to. She enjoyed this new level of understanding between them since in the past so many words had gotten in the way.
"I think we will need a similar display in front of the Quorum and the press tomorrow," he said as his fingers unfastened his buttons.
Laura nodded. "Yes. There will be some distrust. They'll want some type of reassurance that what happened -"
"It'll never happen again," he interjected.
Laura paused, accepting that,for his part, he believed that was true. But she, probably more than anyone left alive, understood that sometimes circumstances overrode conviction. He knew that, too, but for right now, if it made things better to ride on that faith, she would go with it. This was, after all, William Adama. There were things that if he wanted, he could make it so and this may well be one of them.
So she nodded and said, "We'll go together. They will understand that you and I act as one entity now."
"Do we?" His voice was as measured as he could make it, she supposed. He finished with the buttons but didn't remove the jacket. Perhaps he thought that given their history, actually removing any clothing was a bad idea.
"Isn't that what you just told your crew?" she shot back with a small smile. When he returned it with an acknowledging nod, she finally relaxed. Laura sank onto the sofa, her body remembering how comfortable it was. "The slow clap, Bill? Really," she admonished playfully.
He laughed outright and it nearly broke her heart at how welcome the sound was to her ears. It had been too long.
"Worked, didn't it?" he said sinking down next to her. He groaned a little with the effort and Laura stared at him with admiration. He'd been shot in the chest, cut open and nearly died and yet he'd still come after them. After her. The power of his physical endurance surprised her even more than his determination. Granted she was dying of cancer but trekking through the woods and up and down the ridges of Kobol had drained her to the point of numbing exhaustion. She couldn't imagine how he managed it so soon after major trauma.
"Would you like a drink?" he offered.
She shook her head. "I shouldn't. Tired as I am, the alcohol would put me completely out," she admitted. "Besides, Major Cottle would not be pleased with me drinking –"
Her voice trailed off and for a moment, they stared at each other. It was something else they had yet to talk about and she fervently hoped that he didn't want to get into it at this moment. She didn't have the strength to talk about it, not with him, not right now. Maybe not ever, though she seriously doubted that he'd tolerate that.
Bill nodded to her once and she was grateful. But he was giving her a look that spoke volumes: Later. She sighed. He had said that, hadn't he? So long ago that she could barely remember, when his voice had come over the phone telling her that one day she would have to tell him the truth. He'd used her given name then, for the first time, and it had come out easily, familiar as if it was how he had addressed her since the day they met.
The day the world ended.
On Kobol, the world where all of their lives began, he'd used her name again. And even though he had been presenting her with the forgiveness she hadn't asked for, she did see that he was offering something else: a chance to start over and to do it better this time. She had asked him for that at a time when he wasn't willing to give it and he had offered it to her at a time when she hadn't expected it. But with those four words – Laura, I forgive you – he'd opened the doors between them. And though she'd bristled defensively at his presumptuousness, Laura had been glad, glad that they were finally at the same place.
She looked around. They really were in the same place. It was familiar to both of them now. In this room, they had flirted and argued and relented and loved. It was probably foolish for either of them to consider it neutral territory or to even try to start something new when the memories of the old were still so very fresh.
As it was, Laura could not even glance in the direction of the bed without being assaulted with vivid memories of how he had tasted and smelled and felt.
Something must have passed across her face because his own eyes flicked towards that damning rack. Laura reasoned that she'd have to work on her control. It had been battered badly on Kobol. Before going down there, he was never able to read her that easily.
"Hard to forget, isn't it?" he rumbled softly. He had settled into the corner of the sofa, lounging back against the buttery leather cushions much the way he had against the hard tree trunks on Kobol. Outwardly, he looked relaxed and comfortable, but Laura could tell, as she had on the planet that he was as uneasy as she was. His hands were twitching ever so slightly and his seemly languid posture was tense and wary.
"Do you want to?" she found herself asking.
There was a brief flare in his eyes before they narrowed down to slits. "Are you sure you want to ask that?"
Laura shook her head and laughed nervously. "No," she breathed. "But I will ask anyway. Do you want to forget it?"
He stared at her for a long moment and she could see his answer unconcealed in his eyes. The turmoil she found there belied the steadiness in his voice. Perhaps he needed to work on his control as well.
"No, I don't want to forget." He sat up fully and demanded her entire attention. "But I think we should."
It had been one of the hardest things Bill Adama had ever had to say. Now, with all the cards on the table, they had a clean slate from which to start over. Yeah, it had been put together from the mess they'd made of things, but now they had a chance to do it right and to carry the fleet together, instead of the separate loads that were breaking them both to the ground. He had meant what he said before going back to Kobol. They had come back together and they were going to stay together.
But the thing between them could be an obstacle. Adama knew his own feelings and down there on Kobol, when he'd seen her that first time over Lee's shoulder. He'd wanted to fold her into his arms. Despite the hurt and the betrayal and anger, he still felt the same and it had hit him like a kick to the chest just at the sight of her.
She was his President. She might never again be his lover, but she still very much his love.
He could deal with that for as long as she lived. And very likely for the rest of his.
The tears that slid from her eyes surprised them both and when she did not wipe them away, he lifted a caring hand and banished them with a gentle brush of the back of his fingers.
She closed her eyes.
"I'm sorry for what I said on the phone," he whispered, his fingers still ghosting over her face. That was very true. He was a man who didn't dwell on regrets or second-guess himself often but he'd begun to hate himself for intentionally twisting what had been special between them into a weapon that hurt her.
Eyes still closed, she nodded. "I knew you didn't mean it."
He smiled with relief, glad that she didn't see it. Still, Adama's hand slid into her hair and he pulled her close. Laura gasped as his other arm slid around her back and his thumb tilted her chin up slightly.
"I – I thought we were going to forget –"
The commander shushed her quiet with a thumb over her lips. "We are," he assured her. "This is something new."
He kissed her cheek tenderly and continued to hold her until she relaxed with one huge sigh and wound her arms around his back. She turned her head outward and rested her cheek against his shoulder.
"I'm so glad you didn't die," she murmured.
Bill chuckled and squeezed her a little. "Me, too."
He could feel her smile against his shoulder. But then he also felt it fade.
"You know I'm going to." Laura's voice was barely a whisper.
He nodded. "Yeah."
"I'm glad you know."
"I'm not." It had slipped out as a fierce growl of anger. Not at her, he hoped she understood. He let her go when she pulled back to look at his face.
Laura's eyes were wide and full of regrets.
"I'll stay as long as I can," she promised and he believed her because there was nothing else to do.
They sat and stared at each other for a long, long moment until she leaned in and kissed his cheek. He inhaled deeply and didn't watch her as she left.
But he did smile. She still smelled like flowers.
A/N: Whoa boy, am I back on this ship or what? I admit it … I've got some Adama love coming back (especially after "Pegasus"). I just hope they can do this right this time.