Cue Roslin & Adama theme song
Bill Adama woke at the sound of a muffled knock on the hatch to his quarters. He had nodded off again while reading Blood Runs At Midnight, after having stayed up well past midnight. He set aside the book that had come to rest face down on his chest and stirred from the comfort of the leather couch. There was a second knock, a bit louder this time. He rebuttoned his uniform on his way toward the hatch. When he opened the door there was still one button left undone.
"I'm sorry to disturb you so late Admiral," said Roslin quietly. Bill stifled a yawn and tried his best to transform it into a warm smile. He ushered her inside with a habitual gesture and paused to close the hatch.
"You're always welcome anytime," he replied. "What can I do for you Madam President—" He fell silent once he'd turned back to her. Roslin's whole body looked tense. Not just tense, but fragile, like spun glass, where the slightest of pressures might shatter her self control. A frown of concern permeated his features.
"Bill, I—" He could detect the suppressed tremor in her voice and reached out to rest a hand on her shoulder.
"Laura?" he asked gently. "What's wrong?" He did his best to stifle the sinking feeling that was taking hold of him. She glanced up at the ceiling, clasped her hands in front of her and took a deep breath.
"I thought, that you should be the first to know this time," she began. Roslin dropped her gaze momentarily, but then she visibly took control of herself and forced herself to look him in the eye. "The, cancer, is back."
Adama's jaw clenched and his stomach tightened. He felt like the temperature had suddenly dropped ten degrees and someone had squeezed the air out of his lungs. He reached out with his free hand to clasp hers before they started to shake. Without a word he guided her to sit down on the couch and tenderly drew her close to him. He half expected her to cry, but instead she merely rested her head on his chest and settled herself into his embrace.
Bill brushed a stray piece of her hair out of her face with one finger and shifted momentarily in order to kiss her softly on the cheek. Before he pulled all the way back Laura turned and answered his kiss with one of her own. She slid her left hand over his shoulder and brought it to rest on the back of his neck. Her lips were warm against his and for one intense moment he let himself forget what she had just told him. For just that one, fleeting second, time stopped and nothing mattered.
But then another second passed and the kiss ended. He watched quietly while she blinked and stared back at him. Her expression was calm, but her eyes betrayed her to him. She had come to see him because she didn't want to go through this alone. This he understood while her hand dropped and she relaxed back into arms again.
They didn't need to discuss the present or the future or anything at all. How bad, how long, what they were going to do, all those questions would be dealt with later. They would get through it. They had survived such tests of their relationship before. They had plenty of reason to hope that they would be able to survive again. And yet, none of that mattered. For now, all Laura needed was for him to be here, to hold her and keep her warm.
So Bill didn't ask questions or tell her that everything was going to be okay. Some things were best left unspoken.
Instead, he held her.
He offered comfort and support until she drifted off to sleep.
He stayed awake that night.
He kept his tears to himself.
And he held his breath in a moment of silence while his heart broke for her, all over again.
Author's Note: Keep an eye out after the Season 3 finale for a new story to follow soon after. -SVR