It was a week before Bill was released from underneath Doc Cottle's careful eye and allowed to continue his bedrest in his quarters instead of a hospital bed. It was another two days before Laura was finally able to make the time to go over to Galactica and see how he was doing.
She found him sitting on the couch, reading some documents which looked suspiciously un-recreational. He looked up when she opened the hatch and smiled.
"You know, when Doc Cottle prescribes bedrest I'm pretty sure he means you should be resting in bed," Laura said conversationally.
"I won't tell if you don't." Bill grinned conspiratorially. "Besides," he said as she joined him on the couch, "This is a lot more relaxing than lying in bed wondering what's going on."
"Oh, I remember that one." She returned his grin. "I won't tell."
Bill nodded, satisfied. "How's your cheek?" he asked,
"It's fine." She resisted the urge to reach up and touch it – the bandage had only been removed yesterday. "I'm told the scar will barely be visible."
"Shame. Nothing says 'power' like a good scar."
Laura laughed. "That is one way of looking at it."
Laura smiled back at him, and gathered her nerves to ask the question which had been occupying her mind ever since they had been rescued and the need to focus on survival had become less pressing. "Bill… when we slept together on the planet. I know it was to keep warm, but did you feel… something else?"
The look in his eyes told her the answer before he even spoke, and she clasped her hands together to stop their sudden shaking. "Yes," he said.
"Hmm." She gave him a slight smile, which he returned, and she could tell he was searching her eyes for something more. "Thank you," she said eventually. "That was all I needed to know." And she stood up and strode back towards the hatch.
"Just wait one minute!" Bill protested, leaping after her and grabbing her by the arm. By the time he had spun her around to face him she was giggling like a schoolgirl.
"Oh, you wanted something else, did you Admiral?" she teased.
He responded by kissing her lightly on the lips; a kiss which she responded to happily.
"You know," she said when they broke apart, "This is probably a really bad idea."
"No, it's a slightly bad idea," Bill corrected. "Think you can live with that?"
Laura grinned helplessly. "I think I can cope."
And she kissed him again.
His hand was suddenly under her clothes and on the skin of her stomach, moving leisurely upwards... She put her own hand on it through the fabric of her shirt to halt its movement. "Bill, you're sick," she reminded him.
"Not half as sick as I was the first time," he pointed out, coiling a tendril of her hair in the fingers of his other hand.
"You'll give me your pneumonia," she protested, a little less firmly.
"Fat chance." He leaned forward and began planting kisses down her neck, his hair tickling the skin of her jaw. It was very distracting.
"Doc Cottle would have my ass if he found out." This was more of an observation now than a real remonstration.
"Maybe, but I'm having it first." Having interrupted the careful placing of his trail of kisses, Bill started again from the beginning. 'Very distracting' was now an understatement, Laura thought.
Giving in, she let out a sigh of something between resignation and pleasure and released her hold on the hand under her shirt, instead running her fingers along it, over his bare wrist, up across his arm to his chest, where it was joined by her other hand to unfasten his buttons.
His own hand, now free, continued its meandering progress up her front, pausing just under her breasts to run fingers over the skin there. Those same fingers then moved sideways, tracing the outline of her bra, moving over the fabric slowly, lightly... too lightly.
"Gods, Bill, just take it off," she said, pausing in her work on his buttons to lean her head on his chest.
"Patience, Laura," he chided. "I didn't get to take my time the first time. I'm making up for it double now." He took his hand away entirely, eliciting a small moan of frustration from her, and brought his fingers up to her throat instead to work on the buttons of her blouse. "And I get to see you this time," he said, the grin evident in his voice.
He was right, of course, Laura thought, the slow pace opening up more opportunity for introspection. Down on the planet it had been dark and hurried, with the goal less the physical pleasure itself than its resulting heat. It hadn't been unpleasant, but it was a little... lacking.
This was entirely different from the outset. He could see her; she could see him, see the mischievous grin on his face and the obvious pleasure he was taking in undressing her. Their clothes and their surroundings were dry – no need to strip off quickly to escape the uncomfortable damp of the fabric. They could take their time, delighting in the removal of each piece of clothing rather than pulling them all off without a second thought.
And the fundamental difference, of course; the warmth. No cold to drive them to move as fast as possible, frantically reaching for the heat, the heat, more heat... No. They could savor each moment, committing them to memory as surely as if they were written in stone, not pencil on paper burned up almost instantly in the flame they were fighting to feed.
Laura was brought back to the present by Bill finally doing as she had asked, letting her bra drop to the floor and leaving her naked from the waist up. His grin was infectious, and she found herself returning it as he stepped back to admire his handiwork before making good use of the better access he had just gotten himself. He took one of her breasts in his mouth, and she tangled her fingers in the hair on the back of his head.
Rational thought, she decided, could take a back seat for the near future.
"Bill…" she said sometime later, lying naked and half on top of him in his rack.
"Mmhmm?" He sounded half-asleep. She had worn him out, poor boy.
"Back on New Caprica, when you made me leave you to the Cylons, you said you had a plan. What was it?" She yawned, snuggling closer to him.
"Hmm? Oh, that…" He fidgeted for a moment, trying to see her from a better angle. "Play dead and pray."
"That was your plan?" Laura said incredulously, knocked slightly out of her languid complacency, shifting her own position so that she could look at him in astonishment.
"I would never have left you there if I'd known you were being so… stupidly heroic."
"I know," said Bill. "That's why I didn't tell you at the time." He tapped the side of his nose. "Clever, huh?"
"I believe I just used the word 'stupid'. That would usually rule out being clever as well."
"Ah, but this is an unusual situation." He sounded so pleased with himself to have come up with this response that she didn't quite have the heart to argue with it.
"So that makes it all okay," she said instead.
"Mmhmm." And he rolled over and began to snore.
"Bill..." Laura said again a few minutes later, feel a small pang of regret at waking him but unable to ignore her curiosity.
"Mmm." He didn't even move this time.
"When did you think about this so much that you could decide that it was a slightly bad idea rather than a really bad one?"
"After your cancer was cured."
"Really?" Laura was surprised. That long, and he had never said anything... Then again, neither had she...
"Before that, it was a pretty bad idea," Bill continued.
Laura laughed, wondering now exactly how long Bill had been contemplating this for. "And when did you decide that?"
"When we shook hands after I told you there was no Earth."
She felt her eyes widen at this. "But... you didn't even know I had cancer then."
Bill gave a low chuckle. "Yeah, but I didn't like you much, either. I just wanted you for your body." His grin was more than obvious in his voice.
Swatting him on the arm at this, Laura shook her head, quite astonished. "So..." she said eventually. "It's not a really bad idea, it's gone from being pretty bad to just slightly bad..." She paused, contemplating the answer to the question she was about to ask. "Will it ever be a good idea?"
"Maybe, but then... well, it might be too late." Bill rolled over again to face her. "In all I'd rather have slightly bad now than good never."
"Hmm." She nodded faintly, lost in thought. If it would never be a good idea... shouldn't that mean that it should never happen? But now that she had had a taste of it, of him, of something which in retrospect seemed so lacking in the rest of her life for so long, the mere thought of giving it up again caused a kind of pain deep inside her which made everything else seem insignificant.
So she smiled, kissed him again, and let him sleep.
No more running. She had a feeling she'd be sticking around here, being slightly bad, for a long time to come.