Laura closed her eyes and allowed a scream to escape her lips as she heard the gunshot ring. She opened her eyes and found herself staring at Anne, face to face.
"Don't patronize me, damned schoolteacher," she said, calmly and walked away from her. It was only then Laura realized that the bullet Anne had fired wasn't aimed to kill her but to scare her. To terrify her. It had hit one of the pipes underneath the sinks and water leaked little by little. The bullet had grazed Laura's arm and she was bleeding-not profusely-but enough to stain her white blouse. "Did you all hear that?!" she yelled to the door. "Tell Admiral Adama to come here now, or I will put a bullet through the President's head!"
Finally, Laura heard Tory's voice through the door. "The Admiral has been contacted! He is on his way! Please don't hurt the President! Is she all right?!"
"I'm fine!" Laura yelled.
Anne chuckled. "No, of course not. I won't hurt her. We'll wait for him. And then, I'll make him listen to his lover die!"
Laura clutched at her arm with trembling a trembling hand. By this time, her feet were already strained with the weight it had to support. Yet, she struggled to stay upright, trying not to provoke the blonde woman.
"Bill will be here soon," Anne said, thoughtfully. "But he would be foolish to think he can save you. I would be dead as soon as I step out of this door even if I killed you or let you live. So what would I do?" she asked herself and pretended to think for a while. She looked up at the ceiling of the head. "You should know the answer if you're a smart woman."
Laura swallowed. Yes, she knew what the answer would be.
"You would-you would kill me," Laura stammered. I should have listened to Bill about not touring. I should have listened to him. He knew what was best. This is my fault. No, this is not my fault. This is Bill's fault for not believing me in the first place and giving her the chance to escape. What am I thinking?! Focus Laura! Focus!
"That's right. I would like to see Bill's face when he sees you lying there motionless, pale and dead."
Laura stared at her. Then she felt a little pain in her abdomen. Not now… She was relieved when the ebbing pain was replaced by none.
"I just want to talk to him. I want him to hear you die. I will wait until he is right behind that door and then I would tell him that I'm pointing a gun at you and then… BANG!"
Laura flinched as Anne raised her voice.
Anne started to shriek with laughter like a mad woman one might come across in the streets of the lower class area of Caprica. She laughed hard and loud, eyes tearing with insane joy at one's suffering. Laura inched away a little bit as though distance might offer her protection. Anne continued to howl with laughter waving the firearm midair. Finally, she quietened down and resumed her serious façade.
"You're afraid, aren't you?"
"Yes," Laura managed weakly. Bill please hurry up…
"We'll wait for Bill… Is the Admiral there?!" she yelled.
"Well then, we'll have to wait some more."
Bill practically ran all the way to the waiting Raptor and the moment the Raptor arrived at the Zephyr, he ran to the head that Laura was held hostage. Tory had placed an emergency call to the Galactica and Bill felt his heart leap into his throat when he Tory's rushed voice through the comm. Laura was in danger. Anne was back to harm the love of his life and their unborn child. The mere thought of being without Laura caused him to become sick. The mere thought of losing their child was enough to make his head spin.
He raced to the form of Tory and the bodyguards, marines trailing behind him.
"She's in there," Tory told him, worry on her face.
"Laura?!" he called out.
"You're finally here. Bill. It's good to see you too," came Anne's cool icy voice.
Bill knew well enough to not yell at Anne or do anything that might provoke her to do something drastic.
"Can we discuss this like civilised people?" Bill tried.
"Unfortunately not." Bill heard Anne walking towards the door. "I just wanted you to come here so I can ask you why you chose her over me."
Bill kept silent.
"I love her," he offered. Please let Laura be all right.
Anne stood facing her with the gun pointed at her. Laura felt as though her legs would give way. She was going to die. No matter what Bill did or say, Anne would pull the trigger soon.
"Ah!" Laura felt a strange sensation in her abdomen before a twinge caused her to gasp. Anne looked at her and then between her legs where fluid was running down her legs. Her water had burst and she felt some minor pain in her belly. Gods… They really did have bad timing. From her cancer to the arrival of the baby.
"I forgot, Bill," Anne started to say. "Laura is having the baby now!" she said in mock delight.
"Laura!" she heard Bill's voice come through the door. "Are you okay?!"
"I think-I-the water just burst-ah!" she winced as a sharp contraction pulled and her legs gave way.
"Aren't you happy? You're going to be a father!" Anne cried.
Laura was on her knees, one hand on the floor to support herself while the other holding her stomach. The contractions where coming fast and painful. Was it supposed to come that fast? And that painful? "Gods.."
Anne's gun aimed squarely at her. "But she won't live to deliver the baby, Bill! Count from ten!" she shouted. "Ten…nine…eight…seven…"
"Don't please…" Laura resorted to begging. "Please!" she cried. Lords of Kobol, please help me!
"Six…" Anne narrowed her eyes, joy dancing around her face.
"Anne, don't do it!" Bill shouted. "DON"T DO IT!"
Laura squeezed her eyes shut. Her internal thoughts clouding her hearing. She couldn't see or hear anything. She remembered Bill's face, Billy's face, Starbuck, Lee, Tory, Maya… Everything flashed so fast. This was it. This was her last moment. She was going to die. She continued counting in her head until the would be shot. Three… two… one…
She opened her eyes to see Anne standing in front of her, gun still aimed at her. She wore the funniest expression on her face and collapsed in front of her, eyes open and empty, staring into nothingness. Bill was behind her, his own firearm in front of him. It was so close. Too close. She looked at the knocked down door and back at Bill. The crowd was silent.
It was over. Anne was dead. Gone.
Bill immediately rushed to her side. "Gods.. Laura," he said, holding her shoulders.
"Bill, the baby is coming," she said weakly. Her face was covered with sweat, blood had drained from her face. She was pale and struggling to control her breathing. She winced as another contraction pulled. He easily scooped her up and made his way out of the head, not even turning once to look at the dead woman on the floor.
Laura clutched at his uniform and breathed raggedly into his shoulder. He carried her all the way to the waiting Raptor.
The pilot was trembling and nervous as he shot a glance at the Admiral and the President who was in obvious pain. Laura felt as though the trip back to the Galactica was years long, with Tory occasionally wiping her perspiration away. Bill had insisted that Cottle was the best. He only trusted his Major back on the Galactica. Besides, he was Laura's doctor. The moment the Raptor was secured at the hangar, Bill raced towards Life Station with Laura in his arms.
Cottle as it turned out, had not been watching what was going on or keeping track. So he was righteously pissed and annoyed that Bill had come rushing in with his Presidential patient in labour. Laura groaned as another sharp pain tore through her abdomen.
"Get her out of those clothes," Cottle instructed to a medical aide. Bill reluctantly put Laura down onto the gurney that was wheeled to him and watched as she was wheeled away. "You can go with her," Cottle remarked and smirked as Bill scrambled off.
Bill felt as though his fingers where getting crushed as Laura held onto him. Each contraction caused her to reach out for him and squeeze his fingers. She hated him. She would love him back after this but now, she hated him.
Cottle finally decided to make an appearance and proceeded to check the width of her cervix. "Oh, nine centimetres. Good."
"Is she all right?" Bill asked.
"Oh she's doing magnificent. Aren't you, young lady?"
Laura's reply came in the form of a groan and she snapped at him. "Can't I do this now?"
"We'll wait a while," Cottle said and left.
Laura felt as though her body would break as a contraction made itself scarce only to be replaced by another stronger one. "I hate you, Bill!" she growled.
"I love you, too," he said, caressing her cheek.
The same scene replayed itself for the next few minute-hours, it seemed to Laura-until Cottle finally appeared again. "Ready?"
"For what?" she snapped.
She groaned again. Bill was surprised at how strong Laura's grip was but wished that her strength was only confined to her will power. Cottle instructed Ishay and another aid to hold her legs wide open, their grips like iron chains, as she lay propped by pillows at her back. She couldn't find herself in a more awkward position than this, she thought.
Pushing was better that sitting back and relaxing, Laura thought. After the first few pushes, she was certain she was at the point of complete exhaustion and yet, the baby's head was not visible. Bill seemed so be wearing out as well but she would be damned if she would let him leave. If she had to go through this, she would make sure he had to either because he did, as a matter of fact, helped in the making of the thing that was most certainly going to tear her into half.
Cottle was more optimistic, assuring her that she was 'almost there' when she knew she was far from there. Bill was saying encouraging things to her but she was not paying him any attention. Two hours later, the baby's head was finally crowning and Laura was on the verge of breaking down, again.
"It burns!" she screamed.
"It's normal, Laura," Cottle said. "Just a little bit more!"
"Oh gods oh gods oh gods…" she muttered through clenched teeth as the baby's head crowned.
"Almost there Laura," Bill said. "Almost there…"
The shoulders seemed to be the hardest part but she gave all she could, occasionally screaming out in agony. But once the shoulders slid free, the whole baby followed easily. Laura slumped back on the pillows in exhaustion as she watched Cottle cut and bound the cord, handing the baby to Ishay to be weighed.
"Just push a little bit more. We need to get the placenta out," Cottle said.
Laura did as she was told and soon, she finished the job. Bill slid his arms around her to help her sit up properly. She was watching Ishay go about with her job and was glad when she finally came to her and placed the bundled baby in her arms. She looked into the tiny baby's face and at Bill who was right beside her. She couldn't say anything but gaze into the infant's face, the small nose, those blue eyes, dark hair but peaches and cream skin. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, so small and precious.
"Seven pounds, six ounces. And it's a girl," Cottle said, smirking.
Bill kissed her forehead. "You should rest."
She was hesitant at first but she really was exhausted and since Anne was no longer a threat, she could rest, as long as she wanted. "All right," she said, slowly. "I'm sorry if I crushed your fingers," she offered meekly.
"Right…" he said, smiling at her. Only the Gods knew how much he loved her.
"Do we have to get married so soon?" she asked.
"No… Not if you don't want to."
"No, it's not that I don't want to-I just-I want to focus on being happy first." Laura looked up at him and then let her gaze fall back to her precious child.
"Anything to make you happy." He smiled at her.
She was relieved that he wasn't upset. So much was happening at the same time and she didn't know if she could cope. "Have you been thinking of names?"
"Have you?" he returned her question. He had, actually, but he wanted to know what her choices were, if there was any.
"I was thinking Shaunie?" she asked, seeking his approval. He seemed quiet for a while. "If-if you think it's too plain, we don't have to use it," she offered.
"No, I don't. I like it."
"Really? Well, my name has always been plain and well, you know…"
"Your name is not plain. I happen to think your name is beautiful."
Laura blushed at his comment-the first hint of colour that showed in her cheeks. "Thank you."
Bill smiled smugly at himself. He loved to make her smile since it was so rare that she smiled genuinely in public, he wanted to make sure that she was happy in private. "So… Shaunie Adama? I love it."
Laura raised an eyebrow, leaning in to kiss him. "But as for me, I'll be Laura Roslin-Adama."
"I don't mind." He touched the baby's cheek. "As long as you're with me."
She leaned into him as he pulled her closer, brand new Shaunie Adama cradled in her mother's arms. The baby made small soft sounds that both her parents could sit and listen to all day. She extended a tiny fist to her mother and smiled as Laura took it in between her thumb and index finger.
"You're really something aren't you," Laura cooed at the infant.
Shaunie smiled as though she understood what her mother was saying. Perhaps she understood, by feeling what her mother was saying.
Sometimes, feeling was all that was needed to understand.