The hour was late and Laura Roslin was attempting to finish several days' worth of paperwork so she could finally crawl into bed, get some much needed sleep. She sat at the desk in her temporary quarters aboard Galactica, long legs bare, curled underneath her in the chair. The only light in the starkly furnished cabin burned from the gooseneck lamp atop the desk, illuminated only the piles of paper and Laura's hands as she put her signature to one last document.
She dropped her pen onto one of the stacks in front of her, pulled her glasses off her face and set them down beside it. She leaned back in her chair, rubbed her temples then stretched her arms above her head and yawned. As she tipped forward to right herself, the comm unit buzzed from the wall behind her. Laura continued her forward motion, folded her arms on the desk and let her head fall heavily onto them with a groan.
Unable to ignore the incessant buzzing, Laura sat up, put her feet on the floor and pushed off, propelling herself backwards toward the bulkhead. When her chair collided with the wall, she reached up and snatched the receiver from the cradle.
"Roslin," she said wearily.
"I hope I didn't wake you, Madame President," spoke Tory Foster in her clipped tone from the other end of the line.
"No, Tory," Laura sighed, slouched in the chair. "I was just looking over a few reports. What's up?"
"I thought you'd want to know that Wallace Gray has been pouring whiskey down his throat in Joe's Bar for the last couple of hours," Tory said, disdain evident in her voice. "He's drunk. And he's becoming belligerent."
Laura closed her eyes, pinched the bridge of her nose.
"I'm sure you can guess what he's railing about," the presidential aid sighed.
After her most recent interaction with Wally, Laura had a pretty good idea about what had driven the man to drink tonight. She could only imagine the vitriol spewing from his alcohol-loosed lips.
"I'll be right there," she said with a resigned sigh, replaced the receiver into its base on the wall at her back and rose from the chair. She looked longingly over at the rack, knew she wouldn't be slipping beneath the covers there anytime soon.
Laura tucked her pink blouse into the waist of her skirt, fastened the two buttons she'd earlier undone and bent to retrieve her shoes. After sliding her feet into the heels, she ran a hand through her hair as she walked over to open the hatch at the front of her guest quarters.
When she stepped over the threshold and into the corridor beyond, the four marines posted outside snapped to attention. If they were surprised to see the president heading out at zero-two-hundred, they didn't show it. Two of the soldiers fell quickly in behind Laura as she charged down the hall, the other two remained behind to ensure the continued security of the president's temporary accommodations.
Wally Gray had been Laura's good friend during the time she'd spent in President Adar's administration on Caprica, before the attack on the Colonies. They had worked closely together, enjoyed days off visiting museums, going to the theater or symphony, dining out. The two had rekindled their friendship on New Caprica and he'd been one of the very few people with whom she and Bill had socialized there, had trusted with the true nature of their relationship. During the Cylon occupation and her separation from Bill, Wally had been solicitous of Laura in her lover's absence. He'd often walked her to or from school, accompanied her to the market, made sure she ate. Though Laura hadn't discussed the resistance movement with Wally, she'd been sure he'd known of her involvement and had been concerned for her welfare. He'd been frantic upon her release from detention and she'd actually had to calm him.
Though they'd seldom had time to interact socially since their rescue from New Caprica, Laura had seen her friend regularly, as he was involved with the government's allocation of resources and was often aboard Colonial One attending meetings. It was after one of those meetings with the president, a week following "The Dance " held aboard Galactica , that Wally had stayed behind to catch up with Laura. He'd asked after Bill and she'd confided in him that Bill had severed his personal relationship with her, had cited the same reasons he'd given his crew from the ring. Laura had admitted that she was having trouble adjusting to the loss of intimacy, that she hoped time and distance would dispel the awkward tension she felt in dealing with Bill now in a strictly professional capacity.
She and Wally had shared a meal after that and he'd offered encouraging words of support, had lifted her spirits by recounting lurid bits of fleet gossip he'd heard. Laura had spent much of her precious free time with him over the next three weeks, had been thankful for Wally's company on what would otherwise have been lonely evenings. She'd enjoyed reminiscing with him, laughing about their many shared experiences in the world of Caprican politics - she'd enjoyed the simple pleasure of having a friend again. Laura had welcomed the distraction Wally's visits brought and had begun to look forward to their time together. Until he'd kissed her. Professed his love for her.
Laura had been genuinely surprised by his action, his admission, shocked by his subsequent explosive reaction to her firm but gentle rebuff. Though he'd turned red with the effort he'd put forth in shouting at her, had overturned a chair and threw a lamp in his rage, she hadn't been afraid of him; rather, wounded by his hateful words. She'd been horrified when her security guards had dragged Wally, literally kicking and screaming, from her quarters.
That had been two days ago.
When Laura arrived at Joe's Bar, marines in tow, she turned to the two guards in her detail, put her hand up to halt their forward progress into Galactica's improvised watering hole.
"I'm going in alone," she declared in her most authoritative voice, dropped her hand to her hip, fixed each of them with a glare, daring them to challenge her.
"We can't let you do that, ma'am," Corporal Pryce stated matter-of-factly, began to detail the security risks of leaving the president unattended.
Laura rolled her eyes, looked up at the ceiling and shook her head at the tired argument she was about to enter into with her marine guard. Seeing movement off to the side out of the corner of her eye, she whipped her head around to see Saul Tigh heading straight for her - well, straight for the entrance to the bar, where she just happened to be standing.
"Colonel Tigh!" she greeted him brightly, effectively cutting off Corporal Pryce's recitation.
Both marines watched as Laura approached Galactica's First Officer, linked her arm through his and smiled brilliantly up at him. Tigh was taken aback by the president's exuberance at seeing him, blinked his eye rapidly, looked down to where her slender wrist, pale hand rested on the sleeve of his uniform jacket.
"Uh, Madame President," he replied, flicked his gaze up to her face and leaned his upper body away from her without dislodging her arm. He stared at her suspiciously, eyebrows raised, as though he thought she might be hitting the chamalla again.
"Gentlemen," Laura said, addressing her guards, "Colonel Tigh is more than capable of protecting me from any danger that may present itself. He'll be my escort - won't you Colonel?"
Tigh looked back and forth between the marines and the president, caught the pleading look in Laura's eyes. She squeezed his arm, attempting to prompt him into agreement. The XO cleared his throat, raised his other arm across his middle, patted Laura's hand and turned to Corporal Pryce.
"I'll take her from here, men," he said, nodding. "You two take up position here and I'll make sure she gets back to you in one piece."
Laura graced them with a sugary smile, walked through the entrance with Colonel Tigh and left the marines assigned to protect her to fume at having to follow the Colonel's orders.
As soon as the odd couple were out of sight of the president's security detail, Tigh and Laura dropped their arms as well as their pretense. She looked down at her skirt, smoothed her hands over phantom wrinkles in the fabric while the Colonel inspected the tops of his boots.
"Thank you, Colonel, for, um, helping me with that," she stammered, jerked her head in the direction of the entrance through which they'd just come.
"Uh, yeah. No problem. Happy to oblige," he replied, looked over her shoulder into the crowded space, then snapped his one-eyed gaze to Laura's face. "You don't really want me stickin' to your side in here, do you?" he asked.
Laura laughed, his displeasure at the thought of having to spend any more time with her obvious.
"No, Colonel Tigh, thank you, no," she chuckled. "You're free to go. Enjoy yourself."
"Yes, ma'am," he said, gave her a curt nod and made a bee line for the makeshift bar.
As she took a few hesitant steps forward, Laura scanned the room for her assistant. Her heart rate ratcheted up a notch when she spotted Tory standing beside a table on an elevated section of the floor. The young woman stood, both arms outstretched, between Wally Gray and Lee Adama in what appeared to be an attempt at keeping the two men from lunging at each other. Kara Thrace sat at the table, looked on with amused interest. Laura strode purposefully over and up to the table, a knot forming in the pit of her stomach as she drew nearer.
"You're father's a stupid frakkin' prick, isn't he?" Wally shouted at Lee across the table.
"What did you just say?" Lee asked incredulously, leaning menacingly forward into the firm press of Tory's hand against his chest.
"The dumb bastard let her go,"Wally said with disbelief, shook his head. "She wants him and he let -"
"Excuse me," Laura interjected from behind Tory, cutting short her former friend's diatribe. "Is everything okay over here?" she asked politely.
"Laura - what are you doing here?" Wally asked excitedly, knocked Tory's arm out of the way, stepped around her, stood directly in front of Laura and took her hands in his.
Lee took a step back from the table, sucked in a calming breath, bent over and placed his hands flat on the surface, shook his head at Kara. Tory heaved a sigh of relief at the sudden detente, turned to face her boss.
"Madame President," she acknowledged gratefully, dipped her head slightly at Laura.
Having extracted her hands from Wally's clammy grip, Laura turned towards Lee and Kara.
"Major Adama, Captain Thrace," she started, "If you'll excuse us, I need to have a word with Mr. Gray."
As he pushed off the table to stand upright, lifted his gaze to meet Laura's, Lee slowly nodded. His face twitched with the effort of keeping his anger in check.
"Of course, Madame President," he said, jaw clenched, turned to look at Kara.
Kara stood, drained what remained of her drink, slammed the empty glass down on the table, glared at the man who'd antagonized Lee.
"Need a refill anyway, Madame Prez," she said and she and Lee stalked off in the direction of the bar.
"Oh, Laura," Wally slurred, "It's so good to see you. I've missed - "
"Tory," Laura cut in, "is there someplace more ... private Mr. Gray and I might talk?"
Wally had happily followed Laura to the back of the bar, behind a wall which served to separate the main barroom from the head around which the lounge had been built. She'd led him to the corner, past the entrance to the facilities, so as not to be interrupted by the flow of traffic in and out of the bathroom. The lighting was dim, the music muffled to a degree that allowed conversation at near normal levels.
"Gods, Laura, thank you for coming here tonight. It's been killing me, not being able to see you," Wally whined, stepped so close to her that Laura could smell the alcohol on his breath. He dragged his eyes slowly up her body, put his hands on her upper arms, slid them up to rest heavily on her shoulders.
"I'm so sorry, Laura - I should never have lost control like that. It's just that I -"
"Wally," she said more firmly, gained his attention. "You're drunk," she stated plainly. "You should go sleep this off. We'll talk in the morning."
"No," he replied bitterly. "We won't talk in the morning - you won't even see me, take my calls."
"Take your hands off me, Wally," she ordered.
He tightened his grip on her, his fingers dug into her flesh as he spoke and she tried to shrug out of his grasp.
"Why, Laura, still holding out for Bill Adama?" he mocked. "He doesn't want you. He threw you over for - what? - duty?"
"You're hurting me -"
"Then we're even, Laura," he whispered harshly, his hot, sour breath in her face and she stiffened. "I've loved you for years," he continued, "while you wasted your time on that ungrateful frak Adar, then Adama," he sneered.
"Let me go," she commanded, voice icy.
Wally laughed balefully, forcibly pulled Laura to him, wrapped his arms around her narrow form in an unyielding embrace, smashed his mouth down on hers. Laura began struggling in earnest, attempted to push him away but her hands were trapped tightly between their bodies. She clamped her lips shut against the barrage of his probing tongue, rolled her head to the side to escape his vile mouth. Wally groaned, licked the side of her face and pressed his hips into her. The revulsion that swept through her at feeling his erection against her belly fueled her struggle and she broke free of his hold, staggered back a couple of steps and breathed in precious air denied her by his crushing grip.
Laura wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, threw him a deadly glare and made to move around him. Wally snaked a hand out, grabbed her wrist and yanked her back to him.
"You only give it up to men in positions of power, Laura? That your thing?" he asked scornfully, mouth pressed into her hair. "You gonna make me take it?"
She took a quick step back, slapped him hard across the face.
"Frak you," she spat, eyes burning with contempt.
Wally launched himself at her with a quickness she wouldn't have thought him capable of in his inebriated state. He crashed into her, slammed her against the bulkhead behind her, knocked the wind out of her. Laura tried sucking in a breath, felt a stab of pain at her ribs, as Wally came at her again. When he dipped his head, attempted to capture her mouth again, she drew her leg up and kneed him forcefully in the groin. Wally bent at the waist, put his hands on his knees and squeezed his eyes shut while Laura continued to draw ragged breaths into her burning lungs.
She turned her head, eyed the distance between her and escape. Before she could take a step away from him, Wally swung his arm up in a wide arc, struck Laura in the face with a powerful backhand. As her head snapped back on her neck, her vision blurred, went to white with the searing pain of the blow.
Tory Foster had been trying to persuade him that his altercation with Wallace Gray was simply the result of the man's having drunk too much, but Lee Adama remained unconvinced. He knocked back two drinks as he sat listening to the president's aid make weak excuses for Mr. Gray's behavior, none of which accounted for the slurs against his father. When Lee realized he wasn't going to get a straight answer out of her, he excused himself, left Tory and Kara perched on their stools.
He walked distractedly in the direction of the head at the back of the bar, still puzzled as to the real reasons for the man's outburst. Lost in thought, Lee didn't notice until it was too late that Colonel Tigh had stepped into his path. As both men approached the wall designed to hide the bathrooms, Lee ran into the back of the XO.
"Hey, watch it" Tigh grumbled, turned around to see who'd jostled him.
"Sorry, Colonel," Lee offered. "I didn't see you there."
"Yeah, well, I hope you pay closer attention when you're flyin' our birds, Major."
The younger Adama rolled his eyes at the back of Tigh's head as he rounded the corner, only to bump into his superior again as the Colonel had pulled up short without warning. As he stepped up to Tigh's side to apologize again, Lee saw the bewildered look on his face, his one eye squinting into the darkness beyond the hatch to the head. Lee followed his gaze, didn't have to squint to know what he was seeing.
"Is that -" Colonel Tigh started.
"Oh my gods," Lee cursed and took off, Tigh following closely on his heels.
When the two officers reached them, Wallace Gray had the president pinned to the bulkhead with a hand at her throat. Her face was bloody, her mouth open, eyes wide and she clawed at the hand around her neck. Her shirt gaped open, the white strap of her bra clearly visible on one bare shoulder. The skirt she wore had been pushed high on her thighs and her attacker had his free hand between her legs.
Lee grabbed Wallace Gray by the back of his collar and hurled him violently to the deck with a feral growl. When the son of a bitch scrambled to get up, Lee drew his arm back, intended to knock his head off, but Tigh moved more quickly. The Colonel dropped onto Gray, grabbed him by the lapels of his suit coat and pounded his fist into his face.
Satisfied that Colonel Tigh had Gray under control, Lee turned back in time to see the president sliding down the wall, gasping for air. Her legs splayed out in front of her as she hit the floor, her hands fell to her sides and her chest heaved with her desperate effort to draw breath. Lee went over and dropped to his knees beside her, swept his eyes over her body, tried to assess her injuries without touching her. He saw that the blood on her face had come from her nose - probably broken - and that her lower lip had been split and was swollen. He noted the angry red marks ringing her neck, continued quickly past the exposed skin of her chest and belly, down over her skirt. When he saw the smear of blood on her inner thighs, he closed his eyes and dropped his chin to his chest.
"Frak," he muttered.
"She alright?" Tigh asked urgently, throwing the question over his shoulder so as not to take his eye off the man he'd subdued.
"Madame President," Lee said gently, placed a hand softly on her shoulder.
She slid her eyes up to meet his but didn't turn her face to him. She nodded her head almost imperceptibly, closed her eyes and let her head fall back to the bulkhead. Lee could see that she was breathing shallowly and rapidly, feared she might hyperventilate, lose consciousness.
"Madame President," he soothed. "It's okay. You're okay. I need you to take deep breaths -"
"- Can't," she croaked, shook her head. "Hurts."
Lee glanced back at Tigh, his expression grim. Colonel Tigh had knocked Wallace Gray unconscious, rolled him to his side and was binding his wrists with what appeared to Lee to be his own shoelaces.
When he turned his attentions back to the president, she'd raised her arms and was attempting to shrug her bare shoulder back into her blouse. She winced when she arched away from the wall, settled back against it and dropped her hands in her lap in defeat.
"Here, let me help you," Lee said quietly.
He leaned across her body and tugged her shirt back on, pulled the plackets together in front to cover her. When he looked up at her face again, he saw tears welling in her green eyes before she blinked them back.
"Thank you," she rasped, slid her hand into his. "Help me up," she ordered, voice hoarse, and pushed off the deck with her other hand.
"I don't think that's a good idea, Madame Pres -"
"Into the head," she said, cutting off his protest. "Before someone comes."
Lee lifted her arm, ducked under it and slid his arm around her back. He rose slowly from his crouched position, Laura's arm draped over his shoulders. She hissed in pain a couple of times on the way up, got to her feet with Lee's help.
"Where the hell is your security?" Lee asked, suddenly curious as to why she'd been alone with that man.
In the process of withdrawing her arm from around Lee's neck, Laura locked guilty, apologetic eyes on Colonel Tigh.
"Godsdamnit," he swore, "The Old Man's gonna have my ass."
"Not your fault -" she said, cleared her throat, " - Colonel."
Lee looked back and forth between the two of them, brow knit in confusion. Before he could ask either of them for clarification, Laura began walking gingerly towards the bathroom door and the Major moved to support her with a hand on her lower back. When they'd crossed the threshold into the head, Laura turned to Lee, smiled nervously.
"Thank you, Major, I'll be fine. Just need to ... clean up," she said, clutching the front of her shirt to keep it from falling open.
Lee hesitated, thought it unwise to leave her alone but knew his continued presence would make her more uncomfortable than she already was.
"I'll go get Tory," he said. "You'll be okay 'til I come back?" he asked skeptically.
"Yes, I promise," she assured him, pointed to the door. "Go."
As soon as Lee exited the head, Laura walked unsteadily to the row of metal sinks, gripped the edge of a basin with both hands, hung her head and let the tears fall from her eyes. Gods, she hurt. Her head was pounding, her whole face ached, she couldn't take a breath without sharp, shooting pain - and the crying wasn't helping. She looked up into the mirror, quickly closed her eyes at the reflection.
'Wally Gray did this to me,' she thought incredulously. 'Motherfrakking Wally Gray.'
Resolute, Laura grabbed a handful of paper towels from the nearby dispenser, wet them and began to wash the blood from her face.
After having spoken to Colonel Tigh, agreed that the XO would stay behind to ensure the president's privacy in the bathroom and keep an eye on Gray, Lee set off to locate Tory Foster. He and Tigh had quickly decided not to alert the president's marine detail to the exact nature of the incident, but would assign them the task of hauling Wallace Gray to the brig.
Lee made a cursory scan of the remaining crew and civilians in Joe's Bar, saw that Starbuck hadn't moved from where he'd left her but wasn't immediately able to lay eyes on Tory. As he advanced on Kara's position, he silently berated himself for not having taken down Wallace Gray when he'd had the chance. Had he laid the man out before the president arrived, she wouldn't have had to intervene in their argument. Hell, if he hadn't been so preoccupied with his anger at Gray's confrontation, he would have insisted on staying at the president's side while she dealt with the drunk.
When he reached Kara, Lee put his hand on her shoulder, asked her where Tory had gone.
"Dunno," she replied, shrugged. "Don't think she's very comfortable around me -she took off right after you left to go take a leak."
"Godsdamnit," Lee cursed.
"Why, what's up?" Kara asked, curious about his obvious agitation.
He sighed, rubbed his forehead, looked somberly at Starbuck.
"Kara, something's happened," he said, "And I need your help."
She stood up quickly, turned a worried gaze on Lee.
"What's wrong, Lee?"
"That guy?" he started, "The drunk who got in my face earlier? He ... he attacked the president."
"What? Where is that frakker?" Starbuck asked, nostrils flaring, head swiveling on her neck, suddenly spoiling for a fight.
Lee grabbed her hands, gained her attention again in doing so.
"Kara, he's been taken care of. Colonel Tigh's got him under control and I'm gonna have the president's marines drag him down to the brig," he said carefully.
"The president," he interrupted, "She's in the head. I don't know for sure what kind of shape she's in and I need you to go in there and check on her."
"What? Why?" she asked disdainfully. "Why don't you just ask her yourself?"
Lee looked at the floor, took a deep breath and exhaled in a rush.
"I think he was trying to rape her, Kara," he said quietly.
"Oh my gods -"
"Yeah. He roughed her up pretty good, ripped her shirt," he looked at Kara as he continued. "I think it's better if, you know, a woman -"
"Lee," she cut in, "I'm no good at that kinda stuff, and she's the frakkin' president. What the hell would I -"
"Shut up," Lee bit out. "Shut up, Kara. I don't give a frak if you're 'no good at that kinda stuff.' I need - she needs - someone, right now, who can be trusted and can go in there and help her out. You're it, so suck it up."
Kara looked chastened, didn't resist when Lee pushed her in the direction of the head, went willingly though reluctantly.
By the time Lee returned with Laura's guard, Colonel Tigh had unbound Wallace Gray, had him propped up against the bulkhead.
"This guy's plastered," he said, hooked a thumb indicating Gray. "Threatened the president."
"Where is President Roslin, sir?" Corporal Pryce demanded.
"Ladies room - she's not alone," Tigh placated. "Captain Thrace is with her, she's just fine."
"If you don't mind, sir, I'd like to confirm that with my own eyes."
"Hell, I don't mind, but the president just might," the Colonel warned. "Suit yourself," he said, waved Pryce to the door.
The marine put one foot in the door to the bathroom, saw Starbuck standing outside the closed door to one of the stalls, narrowed his eyes.
"Madame President?" he called.
"Yes, Corporal?" came her irritated voice from inside the stall.
"Are you okay, ma'am?"
"I'm fine, Corporal Pryce, aside from the fact that I'm having a conversation with you while I'm trying to pee." the anger in her voice reverberated throughout the tile and stainless steel facility.
Corporal Pryce reddened, mumbled an apology and quickly stepped from the room. Kara turned and pushed the metal door in, looked down at Laura, seated on the toilet with her head in her hands, a little conspiratorial grin on her face.
"That got rid of him," she said wryly.
"Thank the gods," Laura replied, pulled herself up with a hand on the toilet paper dispenser.
Kara backed out of the way to allow Laura a clear path back to the sink, was surprised when she turned on her heel and ran back into the stall.
"Frak," Kara mumbled under her breath as Laura dropped to her knees, held her hair back with one hand and began retching into the bowl. She noticed that every time the president heaved, she tightened an arm around her ribs. Kara dashed to the nearest sink, grabbed some paper towels and wet them, returned to the bathroom stall. Laura had crossed her arms over the toilet seat, laid her head on top of them, was shivering.
"I, uh, brought you a damp paper towel," Kara said from the doorway.
Laura raised a hand, reached blindly back for the proffered item, didn't lift her head. Kara stretched and placed the wet rag in Laura's shaking hand, watched as she turned her head and wiped her mouth.
"Thank you, Kara" she said faintly, sat slowly back on her haunches.
"Yeah, no problem. You ready to -"
Laura lurched forward and began vomiting again, cradled her ribs with both arms wrapped around her body as she retched violently. Kara hesitantly stepped in behind her, gathered her long curls at the back of her neck and held her hair out of her face.
When Laura was through emptying her stomach and sat back to wipe her mouth again, Kara could see that she'd been vomiting blood.
"Madame President," she said, softly, uncharacteristically, "We've gotta get you outta here, over to sickbay."
Laura nodded her head in acknowledgement of Starbuck's statement, but held a hand up, index finger extended to forestall the move.
"Okay. It's okay," she said, tossing the paper towel into the toilet. "I feel better - I'm okay now."
She kept one arm wrapped protectively around her ribs, pushed herself upright with the other braced on the toilet seat. She bent to flush the contents of the toilet bowl, winced at the movement. When Laura turned to leave the confines of the stall again, Kara put her hand on her elbow but Laura waved her off.
"I'm fine, Kara, really," she said.
"Yeah, you look it," Kara snorted.
Laura, ashen under the remaining blood and the blossoming bruises, still managed a glare. Kara threw her hands up in mock surrender, watched as the president turned toward the sink. She twisted the tap open and when she bent carefully over to rinse her mouth with a slurp of the running water, her blouse hung open. Kara stripped off her outer tank, approached the sink as Laura stood and looked in the mirror.
"You're right, Captain," she said flatly. "I look like hell."
"Yeah, well, no one will notice your face if you walk outta here flashin' that lacy bra," Kara said sarcastically, held her tank out for Laura to take.
Laura turned, leaned against the sink and shrugged out of her buttonless shirt, one arm at a time, let it fall to the deck. She took Kara's gray tank top and made to pull it over her head. She hissed air in through her clenched teeth, dropped the top and clutched at her ribs.
Kara snatched the tank up off the floor, walked up to stand directly in front of Laura. She held it in both hands, reached out and pulled it down over Laura's head, stretching the neck to make sure it didn't come into contact with Laura's tender nose.
"Keep your arm tight against your side and just raise your hand so I can slip it through the sleeve," she directed.
Laura did as she was told, slowly, and Kara helped her into the military issue tank. When she stepped back, Kara noticed a sliver of pale skin showing above the waistband of Laura's skirt. She reached out, tugged gently on the hem of the tank top, tried to breach the gap in fabric as Laura looked at her. Kara gave up, frustrated when the top continued to pull up.
"It's fine, Kara," Laura assured her. "Thank you."
"It'll work," she agreed.
"Now," Laura sighed, "How do I get out of here without everyone in the bar seeing me?"
"We're taking you out the back. And the corridors should be pretty much deserted, so we're hoping for a clear path to sickbay," Kara told her.
"Is he -"
"Colonel Tigh had your guards carry him out through the bar, told them he was drunk, threatened you," Kara explained. "Just looked like they were draggin' another drunk outta here - happens every night."
"Okay. Good," Laura nodded, took her weight off the sink, stood upright and started to head for the door.
"Madame President," Kara said, stared at Laura's legs. "You've got -" she started, put her hands on her hips, looked down and closed her eyes. "Did he -"
"No. No, no he didn't," Laura saw the dried blood above her knees, stopped Kara from having to ask. "Wally - Mr. Gray - wears a ring. I think he must've scratched me, that's all."
As she talked, Laura walked over and scrubbed the blood from her legs with one of he paper towels she'd left on the sink. She pitched the towel in a can near the exit, turned to Kara.
"Shall we?" she asked, motioned to the door.
Kara nodded once, bent to retrieve the president's ruined shirt, marched past Laura and pulled the hatch open.
Having successfully snuck President Roslin out of Joe's Bar and into sickbay, Lee, Kara and Colonel Tigh were awaiting the arrival of the Admiral. Lee had placed a call to his father's quarters after Doc Cottle had taken custody of the president, told him there'd been an incident and that he was needed in sickbay. When his dad had tried to wring more information from him, Lee had said it was a security matter that couldn't be discussed over the comm. He'd also put a call in to Tory Foster, left word for her to contact sickbay when he'd been unable to reach her directly.
"The Old Man's gonna freak out," Kara said to no one in particular.
"That's the understatement of the year," Tigh scoffed.
"What do you expect?" Lee snapped, "I mean, the president's been attacked on his ship," Lee snapped.
"Yeah, that, and his girlfriend's been sexually assaulted, you idiot"Kara retorted, disgusted.
"Nah," Tigh chimed in, "they're not frakkin' any more. Old Man broke it off with her over a month ago."
"Seriously? I didn't -"
"Wait a minute, wait a minute," Lee cut Kara off. "What the frak are you talking about? My dad ... and ... the president?"
"Yeah, kid," the Colonel sighed. "They'd been pretty hot and heavy since New Caprica. But that's over now - has been."
Lee stared at the two of them, wide eyed.
"You honestly didn't know?" Kara asked incredulously.
"I had no idea," Lee replied, shook his head. "Why didn't he tell me?"
"Ah hell, don't get your panties in a bunch, Major," Tigh said. "They kept it quiet, that's all. 'Sides, wasn't anybody else's business."
"You two knew," he whined.
Kara rolled her eyes, slapped her hands down on her thighs, exasperated by Lee's hang-up at not having been in the loop.
"Who gives a frak!" she yelled, remembered her surroundings and lowered her voice. "The point is, Lee, that Admiral Adama's gonna be pissed off, yes, that President Roslin was attacked on his ship. But Bill Adama'sgonna freak the frak out when he finds out that Laura Roslin was nearly raped."
Lee, Kara and Colonel Tigh all spun around on hearing the unmistakable gravelly tone of the Admiral's voice as he'd come up behind them.
"Admiral -" Kara began.
"What the hell's going on?" he demanded gruffly.
"Dad," Lee said. "We have a ... situation. The president was ... attacked tonight. At Joe's Bar. Colonel Tigh and I -"
"Attacked?" the Admiral asked, voice dangerously low. "I heard Starbuck. She said -"
"No," Lee cut in. "No, dad, she ... wasn't. Colonel Tigh and I got to her before ..."
"Who?" The one-word question was spoken ominously, quietly, the Admiral's eyes blazed behind his glasses, his lip twitched.