Here we are again. This is light. This is fluff. This is nothing much at all. Hmmmm...I guess 'A/R light' would be the appropriate description..

At any rate, thanks for reading. Leave a comment if you're so inclined. They're always appreciated.

Thanks to Diane for reading this over, even though she wishes it were ALP this was all about...

Disclaimer: They're not mine, but it's fun to treat them as though they were - only not-for-profit, of course. That would be totally against the rules, and I'm all for rules... most of the time. And as always, I have no intent to offend...

Damage Control
By: Mariel

Part One

Laura Roslin stepped carefully inside the room, leaving her guards and Tory behind. Once the hatch door was firmly closed behind her and she knew herself to be finally alone, the President of the Twelve Colonies clenched her fists, stomped her foot on the thick rug, and let out a growl of frustration.

"Bad day?" a low, gravelly voice asked.

She whirled around to find Admiral William Adama slouched comfortably on his sofa, a book held in one relaxed hand. Sitting in the warm glow of a nearby table lamp, his legs were crossed at the ankles and his feet rested on the coffee table beside a half-empty glass of water. His uniform was unbuttoned and hung open.

He'd obviously been making himself at home.

"What are you doing here?" she demanded. Surprise made her tone harsher than the situation warranted, but she didn't care. Her day, as a matter of fact, had been hell, but she wasn't about to admit it. Not even to him.

He lifted one eyebrow. Her day had obviously been hell. Letting his eyes play over his surroundings, he noted in a mild tone, "These are my quarters,"

"Not at the moment, they aren't," she snapped testily.

Technically, she was right: Colonial One, now resting safely in Galactica's huge repair bay, was off limits for habitation while its FTL drives were refitted and critical wiring updated. Roslin had been using the Admiral's quarters as her home base until the work was completed.

"True," he agreed, "but I left CIC on automatic pilot. I was here before I remembered. I suppose I should have left then, but-" He made a gesture with his hands. "I figured I'd be out of here long before you got back." His voice sounded weary, and held a quiet apology for overstepping the bounds of a good host. Removing his glasses, he ran a hand over his face and admitted, "CIC finally quietened down and I needed a break. I wanted to read for an hour or so to unwind before trying to sleep."

The last week had been filled with cylon contacts, and she knew he had barely stepped foot outside CIC in days. Looking at him, she saw the shadows of fatigue under his eyes and felt a sharp stab of remorse for her less-than-pleasant attitude. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound-"

That's all right," he said, overriding her apology. Replacing his glasses, he swung his feet to the floor and rose heavily. "I offered my space to you. It makes sense you'd come back expecting privacy." He looked around. "I haven't had the opportunity to ask if you've found everything you need."

A smile touched her lips for the first time that evening. "It's been lovely." And definitely, she knew, better than the alternative. Thoughts of that alternative prodded her to say, "I really am sorry for snapping at you; it's been a long day." When he smiled briefly and waved off the apology, she gestured towards the sofa with a slender hand. "Why don't you stay and read? I honestly don't mind. I have a few things I need to go over and sign before Tory comes back for them. I promise not to disturb you, if you promise not to disturb me."

His desire to sit again was plain, but still he hesitated.

"Please?" she asked again, "Otherwise, I'll feel guilty for having kicked you out of your own home."

Relief eased through her when his mouth quirked.

"I could hardly have the President of the Twelve Colonies stay in the guest's quarters."

He had shown her the small, barren space reserved for guests and she hadn't been able to help but feel grateful that William Adama had such an innate sense of chivalry. A night there she could have managed, but a week or more? The thought wasn't pleasant. She smiled. "I now understand why people don't line up to be guests on a battlestar," she agreed. "Seems unfair you have to use them, though."

He shrugged. "I've slept in worse."

Looking at his weary face, she thought quickly. "But you won't be sleeping for a while yet. It's barely 1900. Stay here and finish unwinding," she urged him. "You read; I promise not to disturb you for an hour or so. It's going to take me at least that long to go through the reports Tory left."

She felt a flash of satisfaction when he nodded and sank back heavily onto the sofa. Leaning forward, he picked up the book he'd placed on the coffee table when he'd risen and opened it. Looking up at her, he smiled slightly and promised, "I won't say a word." He then turned his attention to the words on the pages in front of him.

Crossing the floor, Roslin took up her station at his table. Pulling the pile of folders Tory had thoughtfully left for her closer, she took a moment to discreetly examine the man whose life had become so entwined with hers. His uniform jacket was still unbuttoned and hung open, revealing the traditional two undershirts and his dog tags. She guessed he'd normally have removed the jacket completely and she debated suggesting he take it off now, if it made him more comfortable.

She stifled the impulse reluctantly. Not a good idea, she decided, to ask the Admiral of the Fleet to strip down for your viewing pleasure.

Sighing softly, she turned her head and opened a file. As she read, the Admiral's pleasant, solid presence formed a comfortable backdrop to her concentration.

End Part 1/3