Disclaimer: This is an original story based on the characters of Battlestar Galactica. No profit will be made from this story and no copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Thank you to all who read and reviewed my last story. I appreciate it and hope you enjoy this next one. Spoilers for Resurrection pt 2.
Her father called her Laurie. He never failed to her bring her home purple bellflowers from the flower cart by the high school where he taught and when he came home he would pick her up and toss her high in the air. If she could close her eyes and concentrate very hard, she could still hear the sound of their mingled laughter. Her mother called her Angel. When Laura was in grade school, they used to eat lunch together underneath the old oak tree and her mother told her funny jokes. Nobody could make her laugh like her mother. They taught together at that grade school for awhile, before Richard Adar and politics, before the cancer and dilotin, and every day they would eat lunch together under the old oak tree. She thinks of her parents a lot these days. It is the only thing that helps her slowly let go of the life she has loved and patiently wait for death. She knows her place as the dying leader and accepts it willingly, but she is not ready and she thinks she will never be ready and so she takes comfort in knowing that she will be with them soon.
She smoothes out her suit in preparation for his arrival, suddenly feeling embarrassed at her appearance. She remembers back to the hospital when she would help her mother with her lipstick every morning. Even in the days before her death, her mother insisted on it. She said she still needed to still feel like a lady. Laura doesn't feel at all like a lady. She smoothes out her hair and then catches Billy smiling at her. She smiles back and thanks the Gods for what must be the one hundredth time that day for Billy. Billy never leaves her now. He even has a cot in the office next to her make-shift bedroom. She is glad. She is glad she won't be alone.
It was hard for her to give up the life that had been sweet to her. Even after the attacks when she was thrust into a position she had never considered let alone desired, it was the little things in life that mattered all the more to her and it was the memories of those times that she clung to. Kara Thrace's impromptu embrace after the tilium crisis was over, the tenderness in Billy's eyes when he looked at her, a blackbird named Laura, the fresh flower bouquets Captain Apollo never failed to bring her from Cloud 9, and Bill. Bill, who called her every morning to ask her how she was feeling even with the recent Pegasus crisis, who had held her hand and who had tried to hide the tears for her sake. She wondered how Richard would have reacted to the cancer. Would he have looked at her with the same gentleness that Bill looked at her now? That was part of the reason why she has done what she did. It's high time, and he deserves it, but more that that, she knows it will make him happy and she wants one of the last things she does to make him happy.
She hears Bill's knock at the door and fixes her hair again as Billy goes to answer it. She can see the worry in his eyes as he sees her, and she tries to sit up straighter to reassure him.
"How's Lee?" she asks.
"He's going to be fine," he replies, and she knows him well enough to know there is more he's not telling her.
They talk for a few minutes, as the commander debriefs the president on the funeral of Admiral Cain and the escape of the cylon. She is so tired; she almost falls asleep as he is talking.
"How are you feeling?" he asks gently and she tries to make light of the overwhelming fatigue that envelops her.
"Well, I could sleep for about a year..." she can't stand it any longer, she is too excited."But you however do not have that luxury because you have a new job...Billy"
Billy hands her the black velvet box and she turns back to Bill, wondering if she looks as sick as she feels. "Rumor has it that I know very little about military protocol but I do believe that someone who commands more than one ship is called an Admiral." She hands him the box and the surprise on his face causes her to giggle with delight. "Congratulations Admiral Adama," she says and thinks that if the only reason she was ever made president was so she could do what she was doing right now, it was worth it.
"Thank you Madame President," he says, "Thank you Billy. I never gave up hope; I just stopped trying to get these things a long time ago."
"Just goes to show you Bill," she says, "Never give up hope."
"Same goes for you Laura," he replies and it is too much. She curses under her breath for starting to cry in front of him, but there is no hope and they both know it. Somewhere out in the stars were the remains of a ship named Laura, a ship that had given her hope after Doctor Cottle had told her it was a matter of weeks. That ship was destroyed, and there was no more hope.
"Alright," she says slowly and then starts to stand, trying to savor some last shred of Presidential dignity. Of course she knows she can't, she hasn't been able to for a few days. Her heart flutters as she feels the grasp of his warm hand and his strong arm lifting her out of the chair. She stands slowly, and starts to say goodbye when suddenly she feels his hand under her chin. She knows she will never forget the feeling of his hand, soft and firm at the same time.
She turns to look at him, and gets lost in his eyes. It warms her heart and breaks it at the same time as she sees the love in his eyes--actual, genuine love and somehow she feels that she has been enough in her life after all. His face gets closer and she closes her eyes like she did when she was in the 8th grade and Mark McKellar took her behind the science building and gave her her first kiss. She feels the gentle pressure of Bill's lips on hers and she kisses him back. It feels the same as that first kiss, her knees go week and her head feels wonderfully dizzy. But there is something more with this kiss. She has never felt loved so tenderly. They break the kiss and the two of them grin like teenagers. He will never know how grateful she is to him. His kiss made her feel beautiful again, at least to him and at that moment that is all that matters to her.
Billy stands, ready to take her to bed. Bill doesn't ask if he will see her tomorrow because they both know with each passing day the chance of that happening diminishes. Billy takes her arm as she painfully moves away from Bill. She puts her head against Billy's shoulder as they walk out together. Billy brings her pajamas, and her hairbrush, pulls down the covers of her bed, and takes off her heels for her.
"Is there anything else I can do for you Madame President?" Billy asks and she wonders what she would do without him.
"No sweetheart, thank you," she says and then reaches out and brushes a hand across his cheek.
"I'll be right outside," he says smiling and after she is ready for bed, she looks at the light from office, knowing that Billy will leave the light on for her, to let her know she's not alone, until she falls asleep.
She leans back against the pillow and feels the memory of Bill's kiss on her lips. She doesn't cry for what could have been, but tears trickle down the side of her cheeks as she closes her eyes and pictures his face, and his gentle hand holding her in his palm. He loves her, she knows that now, and she loves him. And with that knowledge somehow she is no longer afraid. She smiles and as she drifts off to sleep, she thinks she can smell purple bellflowers.