Title: Litany
Author: A.j.
Rating: Parental Guidance Suggested
Spoilers: To Sacrifice
Characters: Youngerboychick and Mom. (Billy and Roslin.)
Summary: What might have been a goodbye.

3/29/6: Straightened out the formatting.

&

Her hands are fragile in his. When he walks her from room to room, he avoids looking down. When he does, he can see the veins under her skin. Blue and dark, they crisscross her hands in an odd little map.

Billy hates this fragility. Hates it more that there is absolutely nothing he can do except what he is doing.

That makes it worse somehow.

&

He is reading her the morning report when he catches her staring at the whiteboard in the corner. They're almost back to 50,000.

The writing is still hers and he has no idea how he'll react when Baltar changes it. It has to change eventually. Either more deaths or more births. Who knows, maybe they'll find another battlestar. It's happened once already.

"Ma'am?"

She doesn't turn. Just stares at the whiteboard, an odd half-smile on her face. For one heart-stopping moment he thinks she's gone. Just died there in front of him.

Then she shakes her head and turns to look at him. Her voice, when she speaks, is brittle and dry. "I'm sorry. Please continue, Billy."

And they go on with their day.

He doesn't remember when her voice got like that. A day ago. A week. It could have even been a month. But behind the weak raspy voice and the shakes, he can still see her. Catches her watching everything, and knows that her mind is not gone. Fogged by drugs and pain she is still sharp enough to cut.

He's terrified of not seeing that anymore.

&

There are moments when he remembers that he's only known Laura Roslin for five months. That realization always trips him up, no matter how many times he has it. The life before Colonial One. Before Galactica and Cylons and everything else seems so very far away. Years and years away.

He doesn't remember his twenty-fourth birthday until three days after the fact.

Even then, it's only because Dee hands him two pairs of socks and kisses him softly on the forehead.

He knows the only person who'd even have a remote idea of when it was is President Roslin. She'd seen his application. He's not mentioned it to anyone else. Ever.

He kisses Dee back.

Later, when he refills the President's water pitcher and helps turn her sideways so that she can breathe between coughs, he whispers 'Thank you' near her ear.

He never does find out if she heard him.

&

Billy will always remember Laura Roslin standing in the rain.

The nightmare drop onto Kobol and subsequent hike through underbrush is a rather large - thankful - blur, but her greeting is not.

Standing there surrounded by greenery and rain and wild things, Laura Roslin smiled and told him that she missed him.

She looked whole then. Real.

He will always remember her in rain.

&

"I could get you a job in munitions. After, I mean." He met Dee on the day the world ended. Saw her smile at him, flirty and sure, and was smitten. Lost in her composure and energy. He wonders if he would have asked her out, had things not gone differently.

"Excuse me?"

They are in Galactica's mess. Admittedly, the food is better on Colonial One - one of the perks of being the Presidential Aide - but he's always told himself the company is better here.

Dee shakes her head, tilting it a bit to the side before reaching over and smoothing a piece of his hair down. "Do you want to stay when Baltar becomes President?"

He hopes the complete and utter brain-stall he's just had doesn't register on his face. Knows it does.

"No." He whispers it, before turning away. Staring at something, anything else.

"Yeah. I can find something for you. You're strong and smart." She smiles at him a little then. And he can almost see that thing, that spark he used to see aimed at him exclusively. He almost smiles in return, but then remembers the conversation they're actually having.

"Okay." He says it because he can't imagine staying where he is with Baltar. Being that close to a man loonier than pack of hyenas on stims and being able to stay with it. To keep his eyes on the ball.

"Good. Besides, I don't know why you're even still with Roslin. Not to speak ill of the dying, but she's a little bossy."

He bites his tongue then. Watches Dee turn away, something - or someone - else catching her eye, and doesn't say "She at least asks."

The shuttle ride home is quiet and in the back of his mind, he hums something pretty and sad.

&

His mother had died on Picor. Whether it was in the first blast or by Cylon hand or even in what he knows would be the long radiation-filled aftermath, he knows that she died on her home soil.

He thinks knowing his mother died quickly is a blessing.

The President's breathing is shallow in the night, and he wonders when he'll ever sleep deeply again.

&

She collapses on a Tuesday. He holds her hand for the entire shuttle ride.

He thinks he may have even prayed.

-tbc-