Home, Sweet Home
Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with this show.
Author's Note: This story takes place immediately after the events of Home, parts one and two. I wrote it because the whole way through the next few episodes I couldn't stop thinking that Ok deciding to make up and forgive etc was all very fine. But just offering forgiveness and deciding to move on wouldn't really solve anything. There were still a lot of issues that needed to be worked out and it seemed to me that by the episode that followed Home pt 2 they had been. And this is how I imagine it could have happened. Sorry if it seems out of character or anything. Always appreciate reviews.
Laura Roslin, president of the twelve colonies, stepped down from the podium to thunderous applause, this time spontaneous and sincere. She caught Apollo's eye and grinned at him as his father stepped forward to escort her from the room. She tried to convey to him the message that it had all been worth it. He nodded slightly and smiled. Satisfied, she took the arm offered by Commander Adama and the two of them walked sedately out the door, listening to Colonel Tigh loudly and forcefully dismiss the crew.
"Is there a special class at the Flight Academy that teaches that, Commander?"
"Teaches what, Madame President?"
"Yelling." Roslin glanced at the face of the man walking beside her. She was pleased to see the beginnings of a smile twitch his lips.
"No, Madame President. It's a skill Saul was born with, I think. I never really got the hang of it."
"Or maybe you just don't need to use it. Your people would follow you through fire. Every single one of them. The only reason I got out of that cell and off Galactica was because you were not there. Because your people were lost without you." She glanced at his face again, only to see that he was staring at her, frowning. He stopped walking suddenly and dropped his arm to his side.
"Really? And how do you explain Starbuck and my son?" Roslin winced at his tone, dangerously quiet and intense. Yes, this man definitely has no need of shouting, she thought.
"Do you really think this is the best place to talk, Commander? Appearances are important, especially now." Adama nodded once and strode off down the corridor toward his quarters. She followed, dreading the coming conversation but knowing it was necessary if this new alliance was to last.
They covered the distance in a silence that lasted until his door closed behind them.
"Well?" Commander Adama wheeled round to face her, his expression stony.
"I manipulated Starbuck. I used her reaction to the cylon she interrogated against her. I knew she had felt some degree of …sympathy toward it. And I used you against her. You don't have to spend much time with Lieutenant Thrace to know she doesn't give her trust lightly, or her affection. Yet you she trusted implicitly. I took that away from her. I told her the truth about Earth, that you lied. She didn't believe me, by the way, but you must have done something to confirm what I said. Feeling betrayed can make people act rashly, as I'm sure you know." Adama winced slightly at that last sentence but showed no other reaction. Roslin swallowed and went on,
"As for Apollo… what he did was a sign of his respect for you. I don't know if you got his message but he said to tell you he was following his instincts. He was doing what he believed was right, was thinking for himself. I think his message was meant to tell you that he was doing what you had taught him, being his own man. Your son is the man you made him. And you should be proud. And you should know how hard it was for him." Roslin stopped speaking and continued to hold the Commander's gaze – harsh and angry though it was. Then he dropped his eyes, briefly, and nodded. Roslin could almost feel the anger seeping out of him and she sighed with relief. Commander Adama might have come down to Kobol to offer forgiveness and reconciliation but she knew him well enough to know that he was still hurt. And she people well enough to know that that kind of hurt would fester- that it would lead to the downfall of their alliance. Hopefully what she had just explained had lanced the wound and healing could begin. His next words proved her theory well-founded.
"Would you like a drink, Madame President, before you return to Colonial One?" Adama changed the subject entirely but his voice was calmer, his gaze less intense.
"That would be lovely, Commander. Thank-you." Adama nodded and gestured her toward the couch. She walked over and sat down as he poured two glasses of Ambrosia before joining her on the sofa, handing over one of the two glasses. She took a small sip and couldn't restrain a small sigh of pleasure. Adama raised an eyebrow and Roslin ducked her head a little in embarrassment.
"Life on the run lacked…a certain amount of comfort. I haven't had any Ambrosia since before I was arrested. I'd forgotten how good it tasted." Adama smiled slightly.
"It's been the same amount of time for me. Cottle had me on some pretty strong medication and he was very…frank in describing what would happen if I mixed them with alcohol." Roslin lifted her glass to his and, smiling, the two sat for a while in silence, enjoying a moment of peace, quiet and luxury. Adama unbuttoned the top button of his uniform and slouched down on the couch, eyes closed. Roslin watched him for a moment, hesitating, and then she slipped off her shoes and curled her feet up under her, comfortable for the first time in hours. More comfortable, in fact, than she had been for weeks.
She looked lazily around the room, taking in the piles of books, the paintings and the almost-complete model of an ancient sailing ship.
"I've always liked your quarters, Commander. They're much more homely than most places in the fleet. Certainly more homely than my quarters with their grey wall and two books." Commander Adama opened his eyes and glanced at her.
"These quarters are my home, Madame President. They were my home even before the cylons came."
"Yes, I know. You're lucky, you know. You still have your home. And you still have your son."
"I know. And I thank the gods every day." He saw her look of surprise and smiled.
"Just because I don't jump to believe in vision and prophecy doesn't mean I'm not a religious man." Roslin continued to stare at him and then nodded slowly. Adama closed his eyes again and Roslin sipped slowly at her Ambrosia, reluctant to finish it, knowing that then she would have to leave here and return to her grey, spartan quarters and the troubles of almost fifty thousand people. And that was something she was in no hurry to do. After the hectic pace of the last few days, and all the tension of the past few weeks, all she wanted to do was relax. And, from the start, she'd felt relaxed in this room, even when its owner was at his most infuriating.
Holding her glass tightly, she moved slightly, imitating the Commander's position, closing her eyes. For a few minutes silence reigned again and Roslin used the opportunity to catch her breath, to prepare herself for the next part of the conversation she knew they had to have.
"Thank-you for what you did earlier. Before my speech."
"It was nothing, Madame President. Like you said, appearances are important. I was just showing the crew that we are back together. That we are all back together."
"Still, without your support I don't think the military would have been so gracious in welcoming me back." Adama's snort caused Roslin to open her eyes. She found the Commander looking at her, head twisted to face her and cynical amusement floating in his eyes.
"That could be true. But you still have it easy. You may have alienated 1500 or so soldiers but I have around 47,000 civilians mad at me. So I win." Roslin nodded, glad that he had picked up on the political ramifications of the coup and the division of the fleet.
"I've had some thoughts on that, Commander."
"I thought you might have had, Madame President." Adama smiled at her and she shrugged self-consciously.
"Galactica might know we're back together and your people will believe you when you tell them that everything is sorted out. But the rest of the fleet won't be so easy to convince. They don't know either of us and have no way to know if we're telling the truth or just…"
"Being politicians?" Roslin quirked an eyebrow at Adama but didn't rise to the bait.
"There are already rumours going around. That the Gideon episode was a deliberately planned and orchestrated scare tactic. That I'm nothing more than a puppet controlled by an egomaniacal military despot. Billy even heard a rumour that the cylon threat no longer exists, that we've lost them for good and the military are merely using the cylons to maintain control." Roslin paused, waiting for an explosion from the man sitting beside her. She knew how much he hated his people being derogated. But he surprised her, as he had been doing continually for the last three days.
"I think I see a pattern in these rumours, Madame President." The dry humour in his voice made her smile, despite her concern for the situation.
"We need to fix this, Commander, and I think I know how." Roslin paused again, worried about how her idea would go down
"Are you going to share?"
"D'anne Biers. She's a reporter."
"I know who she is. She hates the military. I've been told she's investigating, and I use that word loosely, the events on board the Gideon." Roslin nodded.
"She even has the video footage." Adama raised a finger to rub the bridge of his nose.
"But this is good for us, Commander. Biers will leap at the opportunity to get unrestricted access to Galactica and her crew. And she may hate the military but she's a good journalist. She even shows signs of ethics occasionally."
"And you're sure she's a journalist?" Roslin smiled at that. A strong dislike of the press was one thing she and Adama had always had in common.
"If we let her do this, Commander, the fleet will see the people behind the military decisions. The military will no longer be seen as a faceless, frightening machine. You have good people on your ship and the fleet should know that." Roslin sat back against the sofa again and took another sip of her Ambrosia, knowing that Adama would have to think over her proposition before reaching a decision. However, she already knew what he would decide. Commander Adama may hate the media and the need for public relations but he wasn't as politically naïve as he would have people believe. After a few minutes he spoke,
"Fine, but I won't air anything that might compromise the security of this ship."
"So that's settled. When will you tell her?"
"I think we should approach her together. Reinforce the image of alliance and co-operation." Adama nodded, once again unsurprised that the President had thought this through so thoroughly. Laura Roslin was a planner. Adama still enjoyed a chuckle every time he saw her colour-coded folders. But he still had one question.
"Is that all it is. An image?" Roslin's head shot up, surprised once again. But then she realised that this conversation was as important as the two she'd forced.
"No, Commander. This alliance is real, it's strong and it's going to last. Because I won't let anything else happen. And I know you won't either."
"We need to be more open with each other. About everything."
"Well, I think we're off to a good start on that today."
"Maybe. But there's one thing we haven't talked about." Roslin dropped her eyes to her glass.
"I assume you've talked to Dr. Cottle."
"I would never breach doctor-patient confidentiality." Another surprise, thought Roslin.
"Okay, then. I have breast cancer. It is inoperable and the non-surgical alternatives are not working. It's terminal. I have, at the most, a few months. Probably less." Roslin's clinical tone shocked Adama slightly until he saw eyes. In them he read fear, grief, regret and embarrassment before she quickly averted her gaze and took a sip from her glass.
"So we have a few months to find something that does work." Roslin glanced up, ready to shoot down his attempts at cheering her up. But his expression stopped her. He wasn't blindly mouthing platitudes. He was simply stating what he meant to do and, in a strange way, his determination made her feel better. And so did his use of the word 'we'. It made her feel less alone.
"It can't hurt to look, I suppose." Adama simply nodded.
"Would you like another drink?" Roslin opened her mouth to say that she hadn't finished her first but then realised that she had.
"A tempting offer, Commander. But I shouldn't drink too much with my medication. And I should get back to Colonial One. I dread to think what my in-box looks like by now." Adama laughed and stood up to accompany her to the door.
"I'm glad we talked, Madame President. And I think we should do it more often. Maybe have a formal session once a week – just you and me- to talk about anything that needs talking about?"
"That's a good idea, Commander. But maybe we should make it an informal session, just like this evening." Adama opened his door and nodded at her.
"Until next week then." Roslin smiled and stepped out into the corridor, turning back just before the door closed behind her.
"Oh, and Bill, I forgive you, too."