Laura awoke to hear murmured voices. The usual warmth of her companion was missing and Laura found she didn't like waking up without Bill's arm wrapped around her. Sitting up she began to pull Bill's robe off the floor.
As her sleep addled brain began to clear she could make out Bill's voice along with that of the deck chief. Deciding the former president walking out in the Admiral's robe wouldn't look too good, she let the robe fall back to the floor and began to dress in Bill's old sweats. She could hear their conversation as she pulled the tanks over her head.
"Congratulations, I may be jumping the gun, but the first boy born on Galactica." The Admiral sounded pleased. A baby boy born on Galactica, now that would be a first. Of course there was a baby girl already born here, with a pang of guilt Laura realised she was going to have to tell him soon. They couldn't continue pursuing this romantic relationship if she wasn't completely honest with him.
Due to her musings on baby Hera, now Isis, she missed some of what the chief said, however his next sentence jolted her out her daydreams and back into the present.
"We both would like to request to be relieved of duty and settle on New Caprica." Bill laughed softly and replied in an instant.
"No. No way, I need you both here for the duration." Laura stepped out from where she had been dressing, hoping that her presence would calm the two men and that a fight would not ensue. Something in Bill's voice when he denied the chief's request held total determination. Whatever the chief wanted he wasn't going to get it today.
"Madame Pres- , it's good to see you." Laura smiled at his slip of the tongue. Most people were used to seeing her around the ship and as time went by, less and less people referred to her as Madame President. She didn't know was this a good thing or a bad thing.
"Chief it's lovely to see you. Bill told me yesterday that congratulations are in order." The chief's face lit up as he began talking about his excitement at the thought of being a father and the happiness him and Cally felt. He smiled warmly at Laura as he left and gave the Admiral a stiff salute closing the hatch behind him.
"Another one wants to leave." Gaeta had left almost as soon as Baltar had been sworn in, now working for him as his aide, and Bill had been overwhelmed with requests from crew members wanting to settle. Just yesterday he had approved the transfer of Anastasia Dualla to the Peagasus in order for her to be closer to Lee.
Laura reached over to brush her fingers along the hair lining his upper lip. She had been wary of the change at first, but now she felt a secret thrill when it brushed along her own upper lip as they shared an intimate kiss, or as it scraped along her bare skin as he placed light kisses on her body.
Bill smiled as she fondled the moustache and placed a feather light kiss to the tip of her finger that rested against his lip. She soon replaced that finger with her mouth as she received the good morning she had wanted. Bill's arms wrapped around her, pulling her closer and she let her arms slide around his neck. Breaking the kiss Laura's lips travelled down to place several more small pecks on his jaw and neck.
"Good morning" she whispered into his neck. She felt him chuckle as his hands ran in soft motions up and down her back. "I missed waking up beside you."
"I was only in the next room." She shook her head and pulled back marginally to look him in the eyes.
"Not the same thing. I missed your arms around me. The heat from your body." Bill smiled coyly at her confession.
"My body heat? That's what you missed? Well now I feel used." Laura smiled at his deliberate attempt at humour. They were falling for each other, both knew it but neither wanted to acknowledge it. At least not out loud yet. Bill was deliberately trying to steer the conversation in a different direction to avoid that conversation. For now anyway.
"Mm hmm, I had planned to make you feel used in a whole different way." Bill groaned as he rested his forehead against Laura's. "I'm thinking of visiting a friend on New Caprica soon."
Bill pulled back confusion lining his face. She smiled sweetly to ease his rising panic.
"I was thinking the day before that groundbreaking ceremony that Baltar has you planning. I'll stay with her that night and the next day I can be your date to the farce – I mean ceremony." Laughing Bill leaned in to kiss her once more, relief flowing through him.
"Do I know this 'friend' of yours?"
"No, I helped her with an adoption a while back. She kept in contact just to show the child's progress."
"What's the child's name?" Laura froze in his arms. This was the perfect moment to tell him. He would understand. Wouldn't he? Tell him Laura. Tell him it's Hera, she thought over and over, repeating the mantra in her head.
"Isis. She's called Isis."
She could hear soft cooing coming from inside the tent as she approached. There was no door and no place to knock and make her presence known so Laura pushed the tent flap aside as she called out.
"Laura!" A young woman with long dark hair wrapped Laura in a tight hug. Glancing over the woman's shoulder, Laura could see baby Isis lying on a bed of blankets, gurgling happily.
"It's so good to see you, Maya!" Laura hugged the girl tight once and released her to say hello to the precious cargo now blowing spit bubbles. "And it's very good to see you too, Isis."
Maya picked the child up and went to pass her to Laura. Placing the child carefully in Laura's arms she turned to grab some toys that littered the floor. Isis stared at Laura with wide open eyes, questioning who this strange woman holding her was.
"Hi Isis, remember me? My goodness, look how big you've gotten. You're going to be up and running circles around your mother soon."
Maya laughed as she put the last of the toys away in a little box. She retrieved Isis from her admirer and began to wrap the baby in warmer clothes.
"I've got something to show you Laura."
"Uh oh. A good something?" Laura asked laughing.
"Oh definitely good. You're gonna love it."
Maya led the way passed the tents, passed the landed ships, and finally passed some military personnel setting up a stage for the ceremony tomorrow. I wonder can Bill dance, Laura thought, a smile spread across her face as she pictured being twirled in the Admiral's arms.
"Here we are!" They had stopped in front of a large tent that looked just like all the others except for the size. Stepping inside Laura instantly recognised what this tent was for.
Small chairs and desks lined the room from the bottom almost to the top. There was a larger desk set up at the top in front of a blackboard. Where had they found a blackboard?
"A school." Laura sighed, turning to face Maya. The young woman was beaming and even Isis seemed pleased to be in this particular tent as she bounced her chubby arms up and down.
"Yep. This is the first fully furnished building, or tent I should say, on our new planet. I had a little help." At Laura's confused look, Tory stepped into view.
"Tory!" Laura threw her arms around her former aide. Tory laughed as she hugged back.
"Well Laura what do you think?"
"It's marvellous! I can't believe that the two of you managed to pull this off. When does it open? When can the kids start learning here?"
"How soon can you start?" Laura felt all her excitement drain from her at Tory's words. She gaped at the two women, both still wearing huge grins.
"What do...What do you mean?" Fear gripped her heart as she waited for Tory's reply.
"Who better to teach the future of humanity than the former Secretary of Education turned President? We didn't know when you'd be moving down here, so we thought we'd show it to you today."
"Oh Tory...Maya... this is...amazing, it really is, but I can't teach. I'm not moving down here."
The smiles instantly vanished and Isis began to fuss in her mother's arms. The two women sat simultaneously in the small chairs, both trying to figure out what Laura's words meant.
"But...but...you...Who will teach the kids?" Tory's usual articulate nature had vanished as she spoke.
"Maya was a teacher's assistant before the attacks. And there's no-one better at handling the press and the quorum than you, compared to them a room of screaming children is easy."
"No disrespect ma'am but an assistant and someone who can handle the press is not what these kids need. They need someone to teach them."
"I'm sorry girls. I can't. I can't move down here. I campaigned against settling, this place isn't for me."
The two girls nodded their heads to show their understanding, but the disappointment stayed on their faces even as they walked back to Maya's tent and all through dinner. This is gonna be a long night, Laura thought.
Laura was definitely lost. As she looked around all she could see were trees. She looked across the clearing trying to remember which way she had come from. She had risen early, not wanting a repeat of the awkward dinner conversation at breakfast, so she left to go for a stroll. Last time you try to explore this frakking planet, Laura reprimanded herself.
Hearing the trickling of water in the distance, she decided to follow it. The small stream was beautiful she noticed but not as beautiful as where it ended up. It flowed into a lake and as Laura gazed into it she felt as if she was looking through glass. There were small plants surrounding the lake and the land here didn't seem as barren as the rest of the planet.
An image suddenly came into her head. A cabin. A small wooden cabin with a porch at the front, facing the lake. A rocking chair to sit on and enjoy the beautiful scenery. No. Make that two rocking chairs. The vision of her and Bill sitting side by side as they surveyed their land was breathtaking. Laura sat at the water's edge and continued her dream. Evenings would be spent on a comfortable couch where Bill would read to her by a blazing fire. Then off to bed where they would spend hours making slow, passionate love.
Tears pooled in her eyes as she thought of what her life could be like. But she wasn't involved with just anyone. The Admiral of the Fleet. A man who needed to stay aboard Galactica to protect the rest of humanity. And although they were both avoiding the subject of their strong feelings, she couldn't even think about moving away and leaving him. No matter how beautiful a picture it made. It wasn't complete without Bill.
Some of these plants had a serene beauty about them; Laura even considered taking a clipping back to Galactica to put in Bill's quarters. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted something, something she hadn't seen since college. Bill might enjoy this, she thought as she set about collecting it.
"Madame Pres?" Laura squinted against the sun as she looked up at the young Captain hovering over her. She didn't know how long she had been on the floor filling her bag with a certain plant.
"Kara? Thank the Gods, I thought I would never find my way back!" Kara smiled at her as she stretched a hand down to help Laura to stand.
"What are you doing all the way out her sir? The Admiral is looking for you."
"I was just going for a walk is all Captain. Well, let's not keep the good Admiral waiting. Lead the way Captain Thrace." The two women smiled and chatted as Kara showed the way back to the civilian camp.
"He's right around there ma'am." She thanked the young officer, whose name she couldn't remember and walked in the direction he had pointed. Sure enough, there was Bill sitting with his back to her. As she neared she noticed he had taken his shoes off and appeared to be playing in the sand!
"I didn't expect to find you playing in the sand." She joked as she sat beside him.
"It's not sand its alluvial deposits, this used to be the river mouth."
"And you just had to take off your shoes and play in the alluvial deposits, how romantic."
"That's a nice colour on you." Laura had almost forgotten about the new outfit Tory and Maya had helped her pick out. She always loved red, and when she saw the skirt and matching wrap she couldn't resist.
"It's good to see you Laura." Laura smiled. They had only been separated a day but she knew what he meant. How could she come down to teach here and not see him every day?
"You too Bill."
"I missed waking up beside you." Laura could have cried at his confession, instead she laid her head on his shoulder and continued to watch his feet play in the alluvial deposits. Their private moment together was broken by Gaeta, who seemed extremely uncomfortable to interrupt them.
"Eh...excuse me...sorry sir but...eh...President Baltar is saying they are ready for the ceremony now...He's...eh...requesting your presence."
He shifted from one foot to the other as he addressed Bill and as soon as his message was delivered he turned and left. Bill chuckled as he slipped his feet back into his boots.
"Are you coming to the ceremony part?"
"Eh, no thanks Bill. Tory and Maya said they aren't going either so I'll probably meet them for a drink and wait for you there. Is that ok?"
"Of course. I'll see you when it's over." Both stood awkwardly glancing at the other, not knowing how much public displays of affection they were willing to share. They seemed to reach the same conclusion as they leaned in to press a kiss on the cheek and abruptly turn and move in different directions.
Tory laughed as she was swung around and around on the dance floor by her partner. Her face was shining with happiness as was everyone else's around her. Laura watched from her seat, sipping her drink. Maybe I shouldn't have judged this place so fast, Laura thought. She was brought out of her thoughts by Saul and Ellen Tigh flopping down into the seats beside her.
"Wow, Laura are you not going to get out there?" Ellen took another swig of her drink as Laura shook her head. "Ah, your dance partner is not here yet." Laura couldn't control her scowl, just like Ellen couldn't control her smirk. Deciding to beat her at her own game Laura rose from her seat and smiled sweetly at Ellen.
"Well I guess I better go find him then shouldn't I?" She left them laughing, Ellen tucking her legs over Saul. She stopped at a market vendor and purchased some necessary equipment. It had been a long time since she'd rolled one of these but it must be like riding a bike right?
Many people smiled at her as she made her way through the crowd. Spotting the Admiral ahead Laura picked up her pace until she reached him.
"Hey you." His smile was contagious and she found herself wanting to smother him with passionate kisses.
"How was the Baltar's speech?" She laughed at his over-exaggerated eye roll.
"You want a drink?" he asked.
"Of course. I found something you might like." Discretely showing him her find from the clearing, she smirked at him.
"You continue to surprise me, woman!" Laura could feel the effects from the first drag. She leaned into Bill as they shared some laughs about Baltar.
"I swear Bill, it was like he thought there was someone else in the room with us! It was the strangest conversation of my life." Bill clutched at his side as Laura was telling the story. He was about to counter with a story of his own, when Felix Gaeta decided to join their conversation.
"Admiral, Laura, hope your enjoying the festivities." Both Laura and Bill's hands flew behind their backs, trying to keep their little secret from being found out, all the while Gaeta droned on and on about the systems set up by the new government.
We'll have the infrastructure to deal with any unforeseen eh...excuse me for just one moment, the finance minister just came by, I should really..." And with that he was gone.
"Oh my gods I didn't think he'd ever leave." Laura breathed a sigh of relief before taking another drag.
"You say this stuff grows round here?"
"Mm hmmm, in the mountains north of here there's this stream runs down into a lake. The water is so clear it's like looking through glass" She paused unsure of whether she should divulge the next part. "I could almost picture a cabin being built there."
"It is good." Bill looked as if he was about to say more but Starbuck grabbed his hand.
"Come on Old Man, show us your moves. You too Madame Pres." Laura felt Sam Anders pull her onto the floor. The dance was a spirited one, lots of interchanging partners. After a couple of turns on the floor Laura found herself breathless. Stepping off to the side, she watched Bill as he spun Starbuck and then Dualla, his grin lighting up his entire face.
When his gaze landed on her she felt the air leave her lungs. She nodded her head to the side, indicating where she wanted him to go. He followed her as she strode through the crowds, towards a quieter area. Finally finding a secluded area she flopped down onto the sandbags, Bill following her, both relaxing back.
"Is this really it Bill? Is this how we're gonna spend all the rest of our days?"
Bill turned to face her, trying to figure out what she meant by that. He lifted his arm up in a silent invitation which Laura accepted. Tucking herself into his side, she rested her arm on his chest, leaving her fist under her chin.
"Maybe we should just enjoy this."
"No, no I mean enjoy being here on this planet as long as it lasts I mean maybe the cylons come back maybe they don't but for now, right now we caught a break." Bill didn't like where this conversation was going.
"I got people wanna get off the ship move down here."
"Can't say I blame them, I mean what are you going to do. Maya showed me a school today." Bill closed his eyes tight. He could tell where this was going but they had only been together for a short while, the thought of losing her scared him.
"They ask you to teach there?"
"Did you accept?"
"No" Her answer surprised him and he felt his heart leap in his chest. He pushed away from her until he could see her eyes, wanting to be able to understand fully what she was telling him.
"Why?" She took a deep breath, afraid of what she was about to say. Afraid of what he'd do, when she said it.
"Because I love you. And I don't want to be apart from you. I did dream of a cabin when I saw that lake but you were there too Bill. This whole thing scares me Bill, we've only been involved for a few weeks and already I feel like this. I'm scared, but I do love you, so I'm choosing you over teaching" She finished her declaration by resting her head on his shoulder, too afraid to look him in the eyes.
"I can't tell you how happy it makes me to hear you say that." She lifted her head marginally at his words.
"I love you Laura, with all my heart. And I want that cabin with you too. I want everything with you."
Laura rose up on her hands and hovered above his face. His eyes shone with unshed tears and she cursed herself as she felt her own begin to fall. He lifted a hand to wipe them from her cheek, leaving his palm resting there. She swiftly captured his lips, the passion of his kiss making her go weak.
When they made love that night against the sandbags, it was exactly like Laura had imagined by the lake. Slow and passionate, the only sounds were the distant chattering and music from the partygoers and the eventual screaming of each other's names.
Waking up beside Bill was something Laura wanted to do forever. She smiled to herself when she remembered last night's conversation. He lay on his back, one hand tucked under his head and one arm wrapped around her. She rested her head on his strong chest, a surprisingly comfy pillow.
"You finally awake?" Laura's smile increased as she felt his chest rumble when he spoke. She manoeuvred until she could kiss him good morning. The position reminiscent of last night's make out session but not quite as passionate. These were small pecks, the slightest of pressure when lips made contact.
"I don't know about you Bill, but I'm starving!"
"I'm ok, I ate my share last night." That earned him a smack on the chest, but the smile on Laura's face let him know he was off the hook, the blush on her cheeks let him know the memory was still vivid for her.
They dressed and walked back towards civilisation. Along the way Bill moved closer to Laura letting his arm rub against hers every now and then until he made the bold gesture of taking her hand and clasping it in his. At her shocked expression he raised the joined hands and pressed a brief kiss against her knuckles.
They spotted Cally and the chief sitting at a table a little further away. Noticing Bill's grim expression Laura gave his hand a gentle squeeze. Flashing a grateful smile to her, he moved toward the young couple, dropping Laura's hand in the process.
"Chief, good morning. Good morning, Cally."
"I've been thinking about what you said. A battlestar's no place to raise a family. So I'm gonna miss you chief. I wanna wish you good luck."
"Thank you, sir." A grin spread across Tyrol's face as the two men shook hands.
"My best to both of you." Cally bounded over to the Admiral, excitement painted across her face.
"You mean it? Really? Thank you."
"I want you guys to have at least a dozen."
"We'll see about that." Cally replied as she leaned in to kiss the Admiral on the cheek.
"Go on, you've got some packing to do." The couple ran off, clinging to each other, unable to hide their excitement.
"That was very nice Bill"
"I'm a nice guy. Now I do believe you mentioned something about breakfast?" At the mention of food, Laura's stomach gave a loud rumble. Laughing he threw and arm around her shoulder to guide her towards the market. It seems no-one wanted them to eat that morning though, as Kara came leaping up to them.
"Admiral I'm getting married. Got a priest but I need witnesses; come on." She didn't wait for a response as she dragged the two of them down to the river where Anders was waiting with a priest.
The ceremony was brief, neither Starbuck nor Anders being the typical soppy romantic, they kept their vows short. Bill kept his arm around Laura the entire time, sometimes pulling her close to drop a kiss to her forehead. Laura liked this side of him. The PDA side of Bill. When the ceremony ended Kara ran up to hug them both.
"Thank you Admiral, Madame Pres. I hope it won't be too long before it's your turn here. Sammy and I will be the witnesses if you'd like." She smirked at the older couple when they blushed and failed to respond.
"I was also hoping to ask for a favour Admiral, think of it as a wedding present to us?" The Admiral nodded for her to continue. "I was wondering about settling here..." She trailed off as she saw Bill stiffen.
He glanced at Laura who offered him a supportive smile, before he turned to face his surrogate daughter once more.
"Consider it done." Starbuck beamed at him. Laughing she jumped onto Anders back as he carried her back to the tents.
"Now can we get food?" Bill laughed at Laura's whine and pulled her close as they finally went in search of breakfast.
Laura practically inhaled her food when they eventually got some. Bill smirked at her enthusiasm.
"Wow, you really were hungry."
"Well I worked up quite an appetite last night. Oh there's Tory and Maya, I'm just gonna say goodbye to them." She kissed Bill on the cheek and ran over to where the young women sat talking. The one he assumed to be Maya was holding a baby. That must have been the baby Laura helped her adopt. He wondered why Laura had helped this one woman and made a mental note to ask her about it later.
"Morning Admiral." Bill turned to see his son strolling toward him.
"You look like you had a good time"
"Ya, it was some party." Bill had to agree, best party he had ever been to.
"It's been a hell of a morning too. You missed all the excitement."
"There's problems at home?" Lee nodded toward where Laura sat chatting and Bill resisted the urge to chastise him.
"No, no. Good things. Kara got married, can you believe that?"
"Ya. About an hour ago. Found herself a priest, went down by the river, and got married." The look on Lee's face spoke of more than shock and Bill wondered if he maybe he shouldn't have said anything. "Are you ok?" When he received no response he continued on.
"I also gave her permission to muster out, along with Tyrol and Cally, and a few of the others. So it'll be up to us to make sure there's no mass exodus." Bill's words seemed lost on Lee and he wandered away from his father in the direction of Starbuck and her new husband.
"Everything ok with Lee?" In all his distraction he hadn't noticed Laura sidle up beside him again.
"Just shocked about Kara is all."
"Aren't we all. Come on, Dualla is waiting by a raptor that's gonna take us and that son of yours back to Galactica. Did you forget we were having them for dinner?" Laura liked the domesticity they now shared. She had never shared that with anyone before. They strolled hand in hand to the waiting raptor that would bring them home.