Disclaimer: Battlestar Galactica belongs to... well, honestly I have no idea who it belongs to, but it's not me.
A/N: Origami always gets the better of me; I wonder if it would do the same to Roslin. Pointless oneshot :P.
Laura Roslin was pacing in the Admiral's quarters. Specifically, she was slowly but surely treading a hole into the carpet in front of his books. She had just finished yet another press conference, in which the interviewers' main incentive was to weasel details about the progress on the journey to earth out of her, and had half an hour before meeting with the Quorum. She knew that Tory had penciled in the break as a time for her to get off of her feet and rest, but for this one afternoon that seemed impossible to her. She had tried laying down on Adama's couch, but a sense of restlessness compelled her to move towards her current position.
Her eyes flickered from book spine to book spine, searching for something, she didn't yet know what. One finger traced the neat rows, passing a thin, white paperback-- and then returning to it. She carefully slid it out from between two larger tomes, confirming that the title on the front was the same as that on the side. It was.
"Origami," Laura muttered, eyebrows raised. She took William Adama to be many things, however a man who spent free time folding paper was not one of them. She continued to stare at the book in disbelief for a moment then, sighing, took the few steps required to reach the chair behind his desk and sat. She flipped through the glossy pages quickly before a picture of a completed paper bird caught her eye. It was labeled to be a crane, though really the manipulated paper only resembled one in the most abstract of forms. Laura glanced up for a second to check the time. Satisfied that she had around fifteen minutes left, she held her place in the book with a finger and turned back to the first pages, which included a large amount of thin, multicolored paper. One square, a cobalt blue, caught her attention.
It's the exact color of Bill's eyes, she realized before pushing the thought out of her head. Nevertheless, it was that piece which she carefully tore out of the book, switching back to her former page. She slowly began to fold the paper in the way that the book ordered, thankful for its detailed diagrams. She smiled slightly as the paper bird began forming-- this was easy, far easier than she had thought-- and checked the next step, then frowned. Somehow she was supposed to turn the thick triangular figure into something that vaguely resembled a boat. She fooled with the paper for a few moments, attempting to do what looked like the impossible, before going back to reread the instructions; she must have made a mistake.
Turn the paper 90 degrees... There. She had missed something. Reluctant to pull out another sheet of paper, Laura carefully studied the creases in the one she had, then read forward in the directions before determining they wouldn't mess anything up. She began again, making sure to turn the paper, only to realize that she hadn't forgotten it the first time. The skin between her eyebrows furrowed as she tried to make sense of the directions, once again struggling to properly fold the paper. She sighed exasperatedly before setting it down, looking toward the table where she had left her folders. To Tory's amazement as well as her own, she had managed to complete all of the current reports, though she was sure that would change as she arrived at her meeting. There were still ten minutes until she would need to leave, and her eyes once again drifted to the piece of paper. In a moment of inspiration, she picked it up and began pulling lightly at certain edges. Nothing happened.
"Oh you stupid," she muttered, pulling a bit harder than before. Part of the paper ripped, and she groaned. If the prospect of the finished bird hadn't been doomed before, it certainly was now. She carelessly tossed it back onto Adama's desk, and fought the urge to give it her usual over-the-glasses glare. As well as that worked on humans, some age-old instinct told her the paper would not respond.
And then Laura Roslin, President of the 12 Colonies of Kabol, did what seemed the unthinkable. She put her head in her hands, elbows resting on the desk before her, and began to cry.
William Adama opened the hatch to his quarters, pausing as he noticed a pair of pumps by the door.
Laura. He smiled slightly, then remembered the reason she was here- they were supposed to attend a meeting with the Quorum in a matter of minutes. His smile disappeared. He glanced over at the worn leather couch, where he so often saw her resting, especially now that her cancer was back at full-force. That thought alone made his mouth tighten. She had come so close, so close...
Coming back to his senses, he realized that the couch was empty, and looked around. At first he didn't see her, but then a mass of dark red hair bent low over his desk caught his eyes. He could tell her head was in her hands, and by the way that her shoulders where shaking, she was either laughing or crying.
Crying, he reasoned immediately. He knew the way she laughed, the way her eyes sparkled and she lifted her head back or higher, how much depending on her mood and her sincerity. However, it was just like her to try and hide her tears, her weakness by covering it with her hair and hands, retreating into herself.
In a few quick strides, Adama had crossed the room and was next to her, bending down closer to her level.
"Madame President?" he asked softly, not sure what mode she was in. She didn't look up. All right then. "Laura," he said, slightly louder, resting a hand carefully on one of her shoulders. This time she raised her head, appearing just to have noticed him.
"Oh, Bill, gods I'm sorry, I didn't mean to--" she started, looking up and attempting to wipe her tears off of her face.
"Shh. It's fine. Do you want to talk about it?" he asked, still unsure where they stood. She had used his first name, so it was doubtful that there was a problem in the fleet.
Gods, please don't let it be the cancer, he thought as the idea crossed his mind.
She shook her head, "It's stupid really, I'm perfectly fine, just... having a moment, I suppose," she replied, her voice gaining stability as she straightened her suit top.
He continued to look at her, eyebrows raised. It wasn't like her to break down like this, and she was obviously embarrassed. Out of the corner of his eye, something on his desk caught his attention. He picked up the book in front of her, a slight amount of wonder showing on his face, then he laughed. "Where did you find this?" he asked, looking at the origami book.
"It was hidden by some other books. May I ask what it was doing there?" she asked, managing to fully regain her composure, only her slightly crumpled hair and faint tear tracks evidence of what had just happened.
"Am I not allowed to have a few hobbies outside of the military?" he questioned with a smirk. She simply raised her eyebrows, peering at him through her glasses. He laughed again. "As a kid, I never thought the simple paper planes were enough. I would always fold mini-battlestars and vipers to try and fly. My parents noticed, and one year my mother got me this," he shook the book for emphasis. "Of course I never used it, I was only interested in the aircraft, not so much animals." He smiled. "I guess I never threw it out."
Laura couldn't help smiling back as she imagined him, the age of some of her former students, building a paper fleet. He had obviously ended up with much more than paper. "I would never have guessed."
He shrugged. "I wouldn't think you would try it either," he retorted, gesturing to the small lump of crumpled blue paper to her side. Her face darkened noticeably as she glanced at it.
"Don't even talk to me about that thing," she said shortly, pushing it farther away. Adama chuckled, visibly amused.
"Does that have anything to do with..." he trailed off, watching as what was left of her smile disappeared. She sighed, then nodded slowly, not quite meeting his eyes.
"I know it sounds silly. I... I'm dying. The human race is headed towards extinction. We're being chased by an enemy that outnumbers us ten-thousand to one, and of all the things to cry about, I break down over a frakking paper bird," she swallowed, dreading to think of what he would say next.
She felt his hand, which had remained on her shoulder the entire time, seeming unnoticed by either of them, drift down to meet her own. "Laura, look at me." She forced her eyes away from the point just beyond his head that she had been looking at, towards his blue ones. "It's... okay to let go sometimes. You can't control everything, you know that, and you're not perfect. No one expects you to be. Being strong doesn't always mean blocking out emotion."
She felt the tears rise up again as she squeezed his hand. "Thank you," she said, so softly that it was almost a whisper. He smiled softly as he helped her up, then to his own surprise, embraced her. Laura's eyes widened for a moment before she responded, wrapping her arms around him and wishing that the contact meant as much to him as it did her. They were broken apart all too soon by a telephone ringing. They quickly untangled themselves, and he picked up the wall phone.
"Adama... Yes, she's right here... We'll be there in a moment, we were discussing important-- yes. Right away." He hung up the phone. "Frak," they said at the same time.
"The Quorum?" she asked, seeing that they were nearly twenty minutes late. He nodded. She sighed and straightened her hair before accepting his outstretched arm as they made their way to the meeting.
Three hours later, Adama sat at his desk looking over a stack of reports when the small white book caught his eyes again. He finished the report he was on before picking it up. Laura had said something about a bird... Halfway through the book was a picture of a paper crane. He smiled before returning to the front for a piece of paper. He wondered briefly what her favorite color was before finding a cool greyish green, which reminded him instantly of her eyes. He tore it out before returning to the instructions.
It was nearing 2300 before Laura finally followed Tory down the corridor towards Galactica's guest rooms, listening to the younger woman explain tomorrow's agenda.
"Oh, and the admiral sent you... something, I set it on your table," Tory finished. Laura briefly wondered what it was before deciding it was probably just a folder she had left in his quarters earlier.
"Thank you, Tory," she said, smiling weakly at her assistant. The lack of sleep was certainly getting to her. "Make sure to get some rest." Tory confirmed that she would before leaving the president and her guard at her quarters. Laura sighed and leaned against the wall after shutting the hatch, slowly sliding her shoes off. She would use the head in the morning, now she was too tired to stand longer than it took to get to her rack and the nightgown folded on it. After sitting down on the edge, she scanned the table beside her for anything that hadn't been there before. After looking twice, her eyes registered a small paper bird on top of a stack of folders. She carefully reached over to pick it up, and for a second simply sat and admired it. Had it been made by anyone else, she would have thought it worthless, but somehow this one was... special. She smiled as she set it back down just as gently as she had picked it up, knowing that she'd never lose it.
In the next few months, it never crossed her mind to unfold the paper-- Bill had known she wouldn't. However, in the middle of the small square were printed three simple words.
I love you.
A/N: Mm. Corney? Yes. Did I have another idea of how to end it? No. Unless you count the original verson, in which a note came with the crane instructing Laura to try unsticking the pages the next time.
This is actually my first BSG fic, so please be gentle! I haven't actually seen any episodes, just read a couple transcripts and read a few recaps, so I'm not sure how well I did with Adama's characterization, though hopefully Roslin's is at least fairly accurate P:
And no, origami didn't make me cry. Just stay up until five in the morning trying to fold a dinosaur for my brother's birthday... Next year I'll stick to the paper chains.
As always, reviews love!