Title: Stratify
Author: A.j.
Rating: Parental Guidance suggested.
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica. Dad and Mom. Spec story, but have only seen up to Flight of the Phoenix.
Notes: Er. Thalia and Amanda's fault. All mistakes are mine.

Summary: Later. Before. Now.




The book is heavy in his hands. He doesn't know how or when he picked it up - isn't entirely sure how he made it back to his quarters, but that really doesn't matter in the long run - but there it is.

She'd given it back to him. Smiled a bit and told him that she'd had it too long.

At the time, he'd wondered why.

Now he knows.

There's a scuff at the top corner of the cover. Nothing overly noticeable, but he's been staring at the damn thing for the last ten minutes so it's obvious. Maybe she'd dropped it or set something on it. He runs a careful thumb over the mark, trying to ignore the pain in his head.

He doesn't have time for this. He's supposed to be in command for a briefing - he glances at the clock - ten minutes ago. The fleet is waiting. The advisors and Quorum are waiting. They need him.

Gently, he sets the book on his night stand, lets his fingers rest on it.

'Dark Day' indeed.

He doesn't have time to read it now. Might never again.

His fingers curl up and away, and he lets go. His spine straightens and he moves towards his door.

Randomly, he wonders who'll get her suits.




She has a nice rack. Good legs too. Compact little body that's just a little soft around the edges.

She's smirking at him under the lights of his own ship - okay, not for too much longer, but for now it's still his - and baiting him.

Decommissioned by a frakking school teacher. And a snippy one at that.

He watches her walk away, her hips swaying in time with her steps.

At least she has a great ass.




"You know, you're cute when you scowl." She's sitting at his desk. Bare feet kicked up on the edge and wiggling just a little. She's in her borrowed denim pants and sweater. She looks relaxed and comfortable, and he thinks it suits her.

Thinks she would have been fascinating to know in their other lives. Realizes that she's a good sight more fascinating now. Probably.

He scowls at her a bit harder, just for effect. "I don't think anyone's called me 'cute' in about twenty years."

She laughs, rocking a bit further back in his chair and considering the ceiling. "Shame. Although, I'm sure you got your fair share of compliments back then, hmmm? Mr. Heroic Pilot."

He smirks and leans back into his couch. There are days when the only way he manages to talk himself out of bed is the promise of finishing his shift and sitting on his couch. Aim small, his mother had always said. "A few."

"I'm sure."

He grins then. She's here for some kind of tests with Doc Cottle. 'Woman things,' she'd said with a raised eyebrow when pressed. His brain had shied away from further inquires and done the first thing that had occurred to it.

Which is why he's bunking in the third mate's quarters tonight. An empty room down the hall that'd been gathering dust for weeks.

It'd have been smarter to offer her those, but. He didn't want to think of her in empty places. Didn't know why he didn't - and he had no real desire to deeply analyze that train of thought - but there it was. And here she is.

"My wife usually told me that I was being a stubborn asshole and to stop sulking."

She laughs again, her face just a little sad. He'd call that a victory. "Well, I think you're cute."

"Crazy woman."

"Maybe." She wiggles her toes more. "But I'm president, and what I say goes."

"I'm thinking you like that a little too much."

She just shrugs and grins some more. It looks good on her. "Maybe. But I'm cute, so I can get away with it."

It feels damn good to laugh like this.

He stands to leave then. He's on early the next shift. He says as much, running his fingers along the edge of his desk, hand coming to rest a few inches from her foot. The familiarity of the gesture is raw in his mind. Suddenly, the entire exchange a little to... close for people who'd wanted each other mangled not two weeks before.

He withdraws his hand slowly, eyes never leaving hers.

"Goodnight, Madam President." His voice is softer than he means it to be.

She doesn't move to stand. To walk him out. Just watches him for a moment, face closed and careful. "Have a good night, Commander."

He nods, smiles a bit and turns away.

Strangely, he gets a full seven hours of sleep.