Summary: Takes place after/during Exodus, so spoilers up to there. Zarek and Roslin have a little talk whilst hiding in the Resistance caves. Z/R.
Disclaimer: The mighty Cylon god would surely smite me if I claimed to own that which belongs to RDM and SciFi.
A/N: This is my first attempt at Z/R because, come on, how could we not see the chemistry during the first couple of episodes this season! I would much appreciate any constructive criticism on flow and characterization, as these seemed to be what I struggled with most as I wrote this (and this about the fourth draft, changed entirely from the first). Also, if anything pops into your head while reading this, title suggestions would be awesome, because I always hate my titles. Thanks!
Laura Roslin thought she'd have learned her lesson by now. After all that time hiding in the fleet, all that time laying low…if she was smart she would've remembered how damn boring sitting around doing nothing is. She can't help the Resistance on the streets for fear of being identified by centurions or human models. She's not technical or good with her hands. Down here in the safe house (safe cave?), all she has are the other wanted men and women. She's caught up with Cally about her son, little Nick. Maya's kept her company, when she isn't calming the baby, who's not doing so well. But really, these are temporary arrangements and spending days on end down here with only the occasional meeting is starting to drive her a little crazy.
Not to mention it's freezing. Gods, but she shouldn't complain! She would be a carcass on the side of the road right now if she wasn't here. She's lucky to be alive.
She raises her head and sees Tom Zarek standing above her. She wonders how he'd found her, stashed away in the corner of this little cave, away from the larger ones.
"No more than usual."
"Here." He shrugs off his outermost layer and holds it out to her. She has learned long ago in politics never to refuse something offered in good will, especially by a party with whom you have a relationship wrought with tension. She is glad to be able to accept the vest and drape it over her shoulders.
"Thank you." She smiles slightly, thinking how she would never think of this situation a year ago and how things can change so drastically. He sinks down beside her. Both of their backs are pressed to the wall. His legs lay straight in front of him, while hers are bent up to her chest. She puts her arms around them again.
"So, where have you been for the last year?" he asks. She glances over and sees him watching for a response. She looks straight forward when she answers.
"Teaching. The New Caprica Schoolhouse." She glances over again, for a bit longer this time.
"Is that all you're going to give me?" He grins and she feels a smile tugging at her lips in response.
"Do you need more? Either way, after tomorrow none of it will matter." This last comment dampens the mood significantly, and she sees him trace patterns in the dirt of the cave floor.
"How many kids do you teach?" She rewards his persistence.
"There's about thirty a day, but most only come once or maybe twice a week. They don't get an education like they would in the colonies, but there aren't enough resources or teachers. We try to make do."
He chuckles slightly. "Understaffed and underfunded. Sounds like the school's perpetual issue. I suppose…you should get some mechanics classes going. If we haven't found Earth by the time these kids grow up, we'll need all the technical help we can get."
"You'll have to make it an issue yourself. If we get out of here, I have a feeling it will be minus Gaius Baltar." She doesn't mention the presidency because she doesn't have to. He lays his head back against the wall.
"Hmmn." There is a long silence. She opens her mouth, closes it, and opens it again.
"I'd ask how you've been, but I have a feeling I already know the answer." It's not really funny, but she sees a slight smile form on his face.
"No surprises. Cylons do everything humans do." She feels she should protest this somehow, but nothing comes out. Maybe it's true. He would know better than she would.
"I mean, now is probably not the best time to think about this, and I sure as hell want to blow the frak out of this place as much as anyone, but we need to seriously discuss the consciousness of the cylons." She's paying attention, she swears, but the bobbing of his exposed throat is a little distracting. She wonders if her meant for the "we" to sound like him and her, or if her mind is just playing tricks. "We created this life. They destroyed us, but they don't seem so drawn to that idea anymore. They think of themselves as our "children." What do we do about that?"
She means to take him seriously, but instead she laughs a little. "Are you playing devil's advocate just for the fun of it?" He remains serious for a second or two, then a tiny grin shows. He rolls his head around to look at her.
"Maybe." The authenticity of his grin is infectious and she can't help but return it.
"Times have really changed. We were in such a different place even a year ago."
"War makes strange bedfellows." She is amused at his choice of words but chooses to ignore them for the moment.
"Yes, but we were at war a year ago, too." She laughs lightly and he nods grudgingly.
"True." They sit, smiling, something she would've thought impossible at a time when death seems imminent. She is getting a little lost in her thoughts and so only realizes she is about to be kissed in the split second before it actually happens.
Warmth spreads from his mouth to her entire body, differing so greatly from the cold air around them. He kisses slowly, languorously, at a pace that almost irritates her because he acts like he has all the time in the world and she's just been thinking about how they haven't. His hands cup her face and his fingers splay across her cheeks and jaw, into her hair, eventually entwining themselves in the thick mass. It doesn't take her long to snap out of her surprise and kiss him back because she starts to remember how long it's been since someone kissed her. She knows that when they part, that will be it—this can't be allowed to continue—so she makes every second count. He responds to her willingness, and she thinks to herself that this is more like it. Her hands travel up his chest, not pressing too hard because she doesn't know how many bruises he has from their encounter with the cliff a few days ago, but just hard enough to feel the shape of his body. Oh gods, she realizes with a start. This is Tom Zarek! She can't be doing this with Tom Zarek. She can't be doing this to Tom Zarek. She feels that strange but pleasant flipping sensation in her stomach and tries very, very hard not to think that it is Tom Zarek who is doing this to her. But her mind has finally caught up with her and she feels their bodies pulling apart and realizes with slight disappointment that it is her pushing against his chest.
"Tom," she says very seriously. He grins and seems out of breath, although she swears she didn't let it get that out of control in a tiny side cave that, it appears, anyone could stumble upon.
"Laura." He seems a little starry-eyed as he positively breathes her name, not seeming to understand her reprimanding tone. She hates to ruin his happy mood, especially when there's so little to be happy about, but she can't let him go with a misunderstanding of what just occurred.
"I…don't think that should happen again." He doesn't seem fazed but nods vigorously, catching his breath.
"That's OK. I know you don't even really like me." He grins slightly. "I just wanted to do that, once, before we all potentially die." So he is more concerned than he lets on, but Laura doesn't have a moment to gloat. He runs his fingers through her hair to untangle them, and she isn't entirely sure that she shivers because of the cold. She opens her mouth to speak, but nothing comes out.
"Shh." He places a finger over her lips and it is in sharp contrast to the warmth she felt emanating from his mouth just seconds ago. She must admit that the look he gives her makes her feel a strange mix of longing and satisfaction at the fact that he finds her attractive. He gets up, smiles, and walks away. He is gone from sight within the next second, and even if she wanted to call him back, which she doesn't, she wouldn't have had the time. Instead, she thinks for a moment about what just happened and smiles a little to herself. Then she buries her nose in the vest still draped over her shoulders, because once more it's gotten awfully cold.