[A/N: While I generally agree with RDM's view on the progression of Laura & Bill's relationship, particularly when they first slept together, this fic is going to follow what Mary and EJO think (which is that they have slept together a number of times, starting on New Caprica). Sometimes it is great fun to have a canon that isn't entirely nailed down.]

Chainless Souls

Usually all their meetings were conducted onboard Galactica, President Roslin happily getting off her ship and keeping OBE away. But this meeting was not like any other and so she had requested that the Admiral come to her instead.

She considered going through her things and finding that red dress. It would certainly set the mood she wanted for both of them tonight. But at the same time, it didn't seem appropriate. That had been another time and, while they may be discussing "that night," things had changed since then. So many things. And so she left on her suit – though she did make sure the jacket was unbuttoned.

She glanced up at the clock, her hand toying with her silver bracelet, spinning it round and round. He would be here soon. Punctuality was one thing that you could always count on in the military. One of many things, she had discovered. Thankfully, most of those discovers had been pleasant ones. She would never have thought it possible, in those early days of her presidency, that she would come to find military order a comfort.

She also would have never thought it possible to feel so much anxiety – both good and bad – about seeing William Adama.

Colonial One was so quiet at night, especially now that repairs had been completed and she had been able to return to her regular office and quarters. Because of this, she was able to hear his footsteps before she saw him. She began to stand up, then changed her mind. Settling back down in her chair, she waited for him to appear.

"Madam President," he said, as he walked through the door mere moments later.

"Admiral," she replied, smiling. "Thank you for coming on such short notice."

He quickly closed the space between them, sitting down on one of the chairs across from her. "You said it was important, where else would I be?"

She smiled again. "It is important, yes," she said, resting her hands on her desk for a moment. "However, I have a confession to make. I didn't ask you here to discuss Fleet business." She looked over at him and saw the confusion in his eyes, confusion mixed with patience as he waited for her to explain herself.

This time she did stand up, walking around the desk until she stood in front of him. She reached into her jacket pocket. "A few weeks ago, we had a conversation, Bill. A conversation that we never quite got around to finishing. Do you remember?"

His expression answered the question before his voice confirmed it. "Yes," he said with a slight smile, "I remember."

"Good," Laura said, pulling her hand out of her pocket. "And I have just the thing to help us," she added, opening her palm so he could see what her hand now held.

"Is that what I-"

"Yes, it is."

Bill reached out and picked up one of the two joints, filled with only the best New Caprican leaf. Laura's hand closed back around the other one.

"I hope you have a light," he said, "because I gave mine away a long time ago."

She raised an eyebrow, sensing a story about to be told.

Bill smiled. "My father had this silver lighter that my mother bought for him. Name engraved and everything. He used to take it into court with him, said he never lost a trial unless he forgot to bring it."

"Even if he broke the clerk's pencil?" They both chuckled.

"Yeah, even then."

"So where is it now?"

"I gave it to Lee, back when we attacked the Cylon tylium refinery. I thought it would bring him good luck."

Laura smiled. "That's very superstitious of you, but it worked out in the end, so..." her voice trailed off as she moved back behind the desk, opening a drawer. "Luckily, it just so happens that I have my own lighter, though I can't say it has such an auspicious background." She brought the lighter and the joint up to her lips, inhaling deeply once it was lit. It tasted just like she remembered.

She held the lighter out to Bill, before sitting back in her chair. "This is all I have left," she said after he took his first drag, "so we'd better make the most of it."

"Shouldn't be hard," he replied, inhaling the smoke deeply. He coughed suddenly, making Laura laugh.

"Or maybe not," she said with a grin.

They sat in comfortable silence for a moment, both waiting for the other to become intoxicated enough to make the first move.

"So…" Laura finally began. "That night. And, what was it you said…other times?"


Now that she'd started, Laura found herself still hesitant to commit. "And exactly what other times are those?"

Bill raised an eyebrow. "If I have to tell you, then maybe they weren't as memorable as I thought."

She laughed. "Mmmm, well, I probably can think of a few of them on my own."

"Only a few?"

Scenes flashed through her memory: the "dance," Kobol, Colonial Day, the Blackbird, the kiss…So many ties between them. More than they had ever been willing to own up to, until now.

"More than a few," she finally relented.

"That's better."

She stood up again suddenly and walked back around the desk, leaning against it. In this position, her feet were almost touching his. "Bill…" she began, then forgot what she was going say next.

"Laura," he said back, watching and waiting.

She took another long drag from the joint, closing her eyes and willing herself to relax. She pushed all memories out of her mind except for that night on New Caprica. She remembered it, in all its glory. His lips on hers. Fingers learning each other's bodies. Skin on skin, heat on heat. And, above all else, the feeling of being free and alive.

She needed that again.

He was still watching her when she opened her eyes. He watched as she placed her joint in an empty glass, the smoke still rising to fill the room. Without speaking, she took his from him and put it there as well.


"That night…" she said, moving closer to him. "That night on New Caprica, Bill, it…" She reached down, resting her hands on his shoulders. And then she kissed him.

It had been a long time since she touched him like this. Too long. Her hands moved to the back of Bill's neck; at the same time as she felt his hands grasp her hips, pulling her forward. Their legs bumped together. Laura shifted her legs apart, then let Bill move her to straddle his lap. She hummed with pleasure, releasing her hold on him for a moment to let her jacket slip off her body and fall to the ground.

Bill's hands soon found their way to the buttons of her shift, quickly working toward gaining access to more. Laura would have done the same, if she could have done so without losing her balance. Instead she satisfied herself by keeping her mouth occupied with his.

The feeling of his fingers on her skin was even better than she remembered. His palms slide up her abdomen, going higher toward their destination. She moaned when he cupped her breasts, freeing his mouth to begin moving down her throat. This was everything she had needed tonight and more.

And then suddenly, he stopped. Laura didn't understand at first, her brain running a few moments behind from the drugs. Then suddenly she recognized where his hand was. On her breast.

Her breast.

"Laura?" Bill's voice was so quiet and unsure that part of her heart broke on the spot.

She pushed herself back, standing up and walking off, not able to look at him. Her shirt was hanging open but she didn't even notice or care. She shook her head slightly, feeling the beginnings of tears in her eyes.

She heard him stand and walk toward her. He gently placed his hands on her, one on either arm. "Talk to me, Laura."

"I discovered the lump a few days ago. Cottle confirmed it, the cancer's back."

His arms wrapped around her and Laura let herself lean back, taking comfort from his bulk. She felt the first tears sliding down her cheek but didn't even try to stop them. She didn't cry often, but at times like these even the cold-blooded President crumbled.

"Where do we go from here?" Bill whispered, his lips beside her ear.

"I don't know," she replied, her voice trembling. Her whole body was trembling, that body which was betraying her all over again.

"You could have another transfusion…"

"No," she said quickly. "No, I couldn't ask that of them. And even if I could…I won't."

"Alright," he murmured, before gently kissing her just behind her ear. "Chamalla then?"

"Yes. I still have some from before. It helps."

She could sense the next question, even as silence fell between them. She answered it before he could ask.

"And I am going to start diloxin treatments as well."

She felt his body stiffen in surprise. "Sure about that?" he asked, an all too rare trace of hope in his voice.

"No," she admitted. "But I'm not ready to just lay down and die. Not until we find Earth and I know that everyone is safe." She trembled again, more violently this time. His embrace tightened, almost painful now but it was still a good feeling.

"I'll be here for you all the way, always."

She laid her hand over his, squeezing it tightly.

They stood like that for a couple of moments, as Laura finally regained control. Eventually she became aware of the image they must make: the President, half undressed and wrapped tightly in the Admiral's arms. Public opinion would never approve, she knew that. That knowledge was what kept them apart…except for moments like these, when the whole Fleet could go to hell around them and they wouldn't notice or care.

But those moments never lasted long.

With a sigh, she gently pushed down on Bill's arms, until he released the hold. She took a step away from him and wiped her tears away, before turning to face him again. It hurt to look into his eyes and see the depth of emotion there but she made herself do it all the same.

There was another silent question in the air, but she didn't have the answer to this one. What do we do now?

Laura closed her eyes, inhaling deeply. She exhaled and only then did she trust herself to speak again.

"Bill, I know this is a lot to ask of you but...I don't want to talk about this any more tonight. I want to just forget about it, just for a moment. That's why I really asked you to come here."

He watched her as she spoke, the understanding in his eyes saying a million things, all of which almost made her tear up again. Finally, he nodded and quickly closed the distance between them.

Her hands quickly began working on the buttons of his uniform, while she once again revelled in the feel and taste of his mouth on hers. There were so many buttons and she had to admit it was a bit frustrating, especially knowing that he was still clothed underneath it all. But it was worth it.

His jacket finally came off, following closely by her shirt tumbling to the ground. She noticed that his hands now avoided her breasts. She didn't blame him.

He helped her remove his tanks, their mouths losing contact for far too long as the shirts came up over his head. And long kiss fixed that, tongues and teeth and lips coming together. Then she pulled back.

"Not here," she whispered, before taking his hand and walking toward the area of her ship nominally known as her bedroom. For the first time, Laura wished that she still had the large bed that Baltar had put in here during his administration. She quickly dismissed that thought though – the idea of doing anything in that bed, especially anything with Bill, left a bad taste in her mouth. This was so different from anything President Baltar had ever done. This was…

Her thoughts were lost as Bill's hands came to rest on her skirt, unzipping it and pushing it down her hips. Laura stepped out of it and out of her shoes at the same time, though she missed the additional height the heels had given her. Her underwear followed soon, leaving only her bra – a necessary barrier.

She settled down in the narrow cot that she called her bed, while Bill finished getting undressed. This was going to be interesting, she thought, smiling.

The cot shuddered as Bill moved to lie over her, but it held. That worry put aside, Laura reached up and pulled him close, finding his lips once again. His hands found her hair, tangling and weaving their way through. She wrapped her legs around him, her hips rising to press against him, his erection hard between their bodies. Her hands slipped down his chest, lightly tracing the long scar.

Our bodies have both been battlegrounds.

As her arms wrapped around his back, Bill shifted his body and then he was inside of her. His lips left hers for a moment, allowing her moan of pleasure to fill the room. They rocked against each other slowly, savouring each moment.

Gradually, the momentum increased, both of them getting closer and closer to orgasm. Moans and sighs and Bills and Lauras were heard more frequently now, their personal soundtrack anticipating the final moment. Suddenly her body arched back with a cry, followed by his final thrust and a guttural sound of his own.

And then the cot collapsed beneath them.

After the initial shock, all Laura could do was laugh. Bill soon joined, rolling over to lie on the floor. And there were tears in her eyes again but these were the good kind, the best kind.

Bill pushed himself up into a kneeling position, then grabbed at the blankets by her feet. He pulled one of them up and settled it over them, settling down beside her with an arm wrapped around her midriff. She knew he was probably lying onto of the cot's legs but he didn't mention it. She also knew that he would have to leave, unless they wanted to set the rumour mill on fire.

But for now she closed her eyes and forgot about the world, forgot about the Fleet, forgot about the cancer. Right now, she just enjoyed this moment and remembered these times that make life worth living.

Yes, as my swift days near their goal:
'Tis all that I implore;
In life and death a chainless soul,
With courage to endure.

(Emily Brontë, "The Old Stoic")