Disclaimer: Battlestar Galactica belongs to Ronald D. Moore and the Sci-Fi channel. "When September Ends" is by Green Day, from the montage by Roslin14.

When September Ends

Chapter 1: Children of the Exodus

He had wanted to greet her personally, but the crowd had prevented that, carrying him out on their shoulders. Hair freshly cut and moustache shaved, he made his way to Colonial One, hoping that she was not too busy to see him. Word had quickly gotten out that Tom Zarek had appointed her as his vice president.

Laura Roslin had just finished her discussion with Tory Parker, asking the younger woman to continue in her newly acquired duty for a while, when Admiral Adama requested permission to dock. She smiled at hearing his voice and said that he could. However, the smile faded as she waited, knowing what she had to tell him.

After what felt like only seconds, he was standing at her doorway, waiting patiently for her to let him enter. She eyed him from his boots to his face. He took in her appearance as well. Hair washed, back in a blouse and skirt, she sat prim and proper as usual.

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

Each could only look silently at the other. She slowly stood, but he finally broke the silence. "May I come in or not?" he teased.

She smiled broadly, hearing his gravely voice again. "Of course, Bill," she relayed when she found her voice. "How's your hand?"

He glanced down at the gauze mess that Dr. Cottle had cleaned and tightened. "It's not so bad." He took a few steps into the room, but she met him halfway. Now standing only inches apart, both looked aside, fumbling at the next course of action. At last she was able to meet his smoky blue eyes as he met her emerald green ones.

like my fathers come to pass
seven years has gone so fast
wake me up when September ends

"I missed you," she choked, her voice thick with emotion.

"I missed you too," he admitted.

Both seemed to initiate the tentative hug, but it morphed into a firm embrace. Managing to ignore the pain in her spine, she could smell wool and aftershave as she buried her face in his shoulder. His good hand wove its way into her hair. At last they separated and Roslin took a deep breath.

"Sit down, Bill. We've got a lot to talk about," she stated.

He nodded and sat in the leather chair that Tory had vacated. Roslin sat next to him in the adjacent chair. "I'm sorry we had to leave all of you down there," he remarked, not facing her.

She rested a hand on his knee. "You did what you had to do to prepare for battle, and you came back."

He placed a hand on top of hers. "If there'd been some other way-"

"You would've found it," she interjected. Then she reached for the picture on her desk of Maya and Hera. "Bill, I have something to tell you, something you might even hate me for."

Seeing the pensive look in her eyes, he stated, "I promise that I could never hate you."

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

She swallowed and disengaged her hand from his. "Don't make promises you can't keep. The picture is of Maya, you remember her. This isn't her baby though. She had a miscarriage and was willing when I asked her to watch this other child. The Agathons' daughter didn't die. We switched her."

He could only stare at her incredulously, as if she had passed off her stay on New Caprica as a chamalla haze. "What right did you have to go around switching children? Do you have any idea of the loss those two went through? Laura, what in the deities' names were you thinking?" he demanded.

as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when September ends

Hot anger was what she saw in his eyes as she attempted to formulate an answer. "We didn't know if Hera could be controlled by the Cylons, if the Cylons would coerce Lieutenant Agathon to kill her, or if she would be used in some cruel experiments. In a backwards way, it was done to protect her."

"Why didn't you come to me about this?" he interrogated.

"You wouldn't have understood. You weren't down there!" she had said it without thinking and immediately regretted it, seeing hurt in his eyes now as well as his irritation with her. "Bill, I didn't mean to-"

"You're right. I wasn't down there. I still want to know though what possessed you to take the child away from her parents," he drilled. "You have no way of understanding how painful the loss of a child is!"

"We were afraid, for ourselves, and for her," she admitted quietly.

Curbing his anger a bit, he took a deep breath to calm himself. "And where is she now?"

Roslin's eyes misted over. "We don't exactly her were know. Maya was found dead and the child is missing," she paused and let a few tears slip through. "So all of our efforts to protect her were for nothing."

summer has come and passed
the innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends

Seeing her genuine regret softened him slightly. "Is there anything else I should know about?" he probed.

Wiping her eyes, she nodded and made a move to push the button for the intercom. "Tory, send her in please," Roslin requested. "You might need to amend the last thing you said."

Adama watched with curiosity as Tory entered the room partly leading a little girl, who could not have been more than three years old, with the same fiery auburn hair as Roslin's. The girl left Tory and bolted for Roslin exclaiming, "Mommy!" as Roslin scooped the girl up onto her lap.