A/N: As much as I've shied away from the genre before, I suppose this is as close to a Songfic as I'm likely to get. It's an idea that's been hanging in the back of my mind for quite a while. I hope you enjoy it! While you're at it, you should go listen "My Body is a Cage" by Arcade Fire. Fantastic Song.
My Body is a Cage that keeps me from dancing with the one I love. My mind holds the key:
Why, of all the women in all the colonies, (or more properly at this point, I suppose, the fleet) did Laura Roslin have to be the one woman dying of cancer? With the barely-stable status of the fleet, the addition of the Pegasus crew, firefight with the new crew, and a new-born alliance, why did the President have to be on death's doorstep at this very moment?
All ready, newly walking in an Admiral's shoes, I feel nostalgia for the early days of our little fleet. Just a few chaotic months ago, I did not have to worry about sleeper cylons. I lost no sleep over a half-human, half-cylon anomaly lurking in a replica of one of my pilots in my brig. There was no question of loyalty to one battlestar over another. All of these things seemed absurd, almost impossibly complicated when I mull them over from this kind of distance. But I can feel the toll each of these catastrophes have taken on me, and I can only begin to guess at their cost to the woman barely able to sit up across from me.
I can remember back to the time when Laura's cancer was completely hidden to me. Because no one else knew about this until I ended up in the Life Station and she in the Brig, it almost seems like another disastrous consequence of Sharon's assassination attempt. Like the massacre in the fleet (fraking Saul Tigh…), the tragedy of Roslin's terminal illness feels like some terrible aftermath the gods threw at me as some kind of punishment. If only I could somehow turn back the clock even if it was just to that day on Cloud Nine. That moment, everything seemed in control, Laura Roslin appeared to be a well woman, and I knew the path forward. Now, looking into her eyes, I can see she is so very close to the end of her journey. I start to question how long I could survive on this convoluted road by myself.
If I were being completely honest with myself, and with Laura in this intimate moment in her office, I would admit that my worries go far beyond the stability of the government. This hidden list of worries is far more selfish, far more foolish than anything I would ever own up to publicly. I wonder who I will be calling at all hours with major crises in the fleet. I want to know whose voice will be on the other end of the comm. But, since I'm being honest, I'll admit that I don't care whose voice will be on the other end, because it won't be hers. That's all I truly care about. I don't give a frak about a stable government, moral in the fleet or even dealing with the press. I want to know that every morning, when I pry my eyes open, it means I get to hear her voice again, or maybe, if I'm really lucky, I'll get to see her radiant, soft face. I need to know that my day will be one worth getting up for. I need to know that somewhere out there, Laura Roslin is waiting to talk to me, to be in the same room as me, to be there for me, in far more ways that I can ever admit.
I probably won't have another chance for this kind of honesty. Cottle tells me it's a matter of days now. What's the point of honesty, though, if I can't act on it? If I was a brave man, I would have told her months ago, when we first shared a dance. But her betraying body wouldn't permit me the luxury of even one dance at this point. If only I had been stronger, if only I had cared more and thought less. Laura Roslin will go to her untimely grave, never knowing the way I feel.
I'm standing on a stage, of fear and self-doubt:
I may have served in political office. I may have taught hordes of screaming, unruly children. I may have faced the death of everyone I held dear. But at this moment, I can truly say I have never been more terrified. We fled one nuclear holocaust to end up prisoners of war on an enemy controlled planet. I sincerely doubt a species could have much worse luck.
Truthfully, the planet wasn't even that awful before the occupation. As a former president, I had the benefit of a much more private, quiet existence. There was even bliss in an entire year of my favorite occupation: teaching. There was another perk of being an ex-president: Bill Adama and I still shared a comfortably close relationship. Whenever he was down on the planet, for any reason, he would stop by to see me. Together, we would hike, share the occasional smoke, and enjoy the familiarity of each other's presence. It was a warm treat on an otherwise bleak terrain.
Even after the cylons crashed down onto the planet, and long after the fleet had jumped to gods know where, I held out hope. My confidence in Bill ran deeper than mere assurance of his initiative and strategic prowess. I had faith in his desperate desire to reunite the fleet and save the suffering remnants of humanity. I can't even begin to remember how many cold nights I would hide out behind my tent and stare up at the stars, hoping to see one of them move, hoping beyond all rational thought that the Admiral would reappear and sweep our sad settlement off to the relative safety of the fleet.
But then the Cylons pulled me into detention and I lost sight of the sky all together. My last thread of hope was cut. I've lived in a paralyzing fear ever since. Even the brief ray of hope that was this afternoon's rendezvous with Athena has been cut short. The cylons know something is going on. They have never been so desperately blatant before. In broad daylight, pulling me from my own classroom, with every student a witness and broadcaster of these atrocities, represents a new level of despotism.
But now, in the back of a van, next to my former opponent, I know that this is my last, my final encounter with the cylons. If they think their power is being threatened, they will play for keeps. Any political strategist could see that they feel they are in a desperate situation, and I'm just one of the resulting precautionary casualties.
It's a silly thing to be pondering so near the end of my life, but I can't help wishing I could see Bill one last time. I wish he was here with me right now. Even thinking that, I realize what an awful circumstance would have to bring him to the back of this covered truck. But the thought refuses to be bumped by reason. The deepest wound I have felt on this planet was not inflicted by the cylons, but by Bill's abandonment. Why did I trust him with so much of my hope? Why did I give so much trust and faith to a man that has proven just as vulnerable and flawed as any other? But there are no more questions now. The truck has stopped. And I will never see Bill again. I can never see him again.
I'm living in an age that calls darkness light, darkness is light. Though my language is dead, still the shapes fill my head.
If we were back on Caprica, things would be different. If the world hadn't been blown up, if we weren't constantly fighting for survival, I would have known what to do, what to say to let her know how I feel before it got this desperate. I'm claiming to be any kind of charmer. How Lee and Zach's mother ever feel for my awkward attempts at romance I couldn't tell you. But I'm not young enough to reinvent the vocabulary of courting. All I know is what I would have done if both of us were back on a Caprica without the Cylons.
I would have taken her on walks. I know she enjoys hiking, and the hills around Caprica are lovely in the spring. But here, a stroll through the Galactica is no more romantic than parade of arms. On Caprica, I would have taken her to a play, something comedic, but thoughtful. We would have gone out to dinner afterward, discussing the merits of the play. I would have complimented what she wore, I would have told her I loved her eyes, and she would have laughed. I love her laugh so much, to think of an evening filled with her laughter; it would be more luxurious than the finest meal I can imagine. But the fleet wouldn't put resources toward a theatrical production. And since the destruction of Cloud Nine, there are no restaurants and the luxury of a fine meal is frowned upon in this austere environment.
If we were back on Caprica, I would ask Laura to marry me, I would have showed her my undying love in a thousand ways, I would have given her the love and security she so much deserves. We would have that cabin she dreams of so often. We would live far away in the mountains, with occasional visits from our beautiful grandchildren. I would be retired, and Laura would be able to leave Adar and the noise of political life. A while back, I took a chance, I dove in head first. I asked Laura if she would have built the cabin on New Caprica. And she deflected, kept moving away from a solid answer. I should have kept my mouth shut. The President seemed so very nervous at the prospect of anything beyond friendship. This makes my ideal dream of professing love and a happy relationship even further out of reach.
I have no words, there is no way to express how I feel in this kind of world where every day is life and death. I love her. I want to be with her for the rest of our lives. So now I'm sitting in a raptor, all alone in the vacuum of space. I don't know how to say that I love her, so I have to show her.
My body is a cage. We take what we're given, just because we've forgotten doesn't mean you're forgiven.
Trapped on one ship while the man I love is about to be killed on another. There is a special kind of tragedy in losing Bill when I have only just admitted my feelings for him. This is the absolute crux of conflict of interest. If circumstances were any different, I would surrender every single soul in the fleet to get my Admiral back. But as it stands, I can only shout across the comm and pray to gods someone hears me.
There is some kind of special curse in being loved by me. Not only will does the object of my affection have to deal with my myriad walls but they always die horrific and untimely deaths. Bill, executed. My morbid side ponders and clenches over how the deed was carried out. Did they shoot him? Did they fire him out an airlock? Was he barbarically beaten to death? Hanging? Strangling? The method of execution suddenly becomes the dominant preoccupation of my mind.
But far too easily, I push back to professional mode. For decades, I have been able to push my personal life out of the way. That's how I kept my sanity after my family was killed, and that's how I maintained boundaries while working with Richard. People's lives are on the line. The future of humanity will be decided in the next few minutes. My former lover should not dictate my choices at this moment in time.
And yet, somehow, his courage, his hard determination help me. I will take down this revolt. I will hold the fleet together. I have sacrificed so much, physically, personally, emotionally to get civilization this far. Bill gave everything. I cannot let his last great act be in vain. I will rally the fleet. I will win. I will honor the love that William Adama and I shared.
I'm living in an age where I'm laughing and dancing with the one I love, but my mind holds the key.
I sit by her grave every day. In this technology-barren planet, time makes no differences; but I feel as though I've spent hours there every day. Somehow, it seems unfair, cruel even, that we would never get to enjoy the peace and quiet of which we both so desperately dreamed. I found earth, then I found us a home, and then I even built the cabin. But Laura is still gone.
There are moments in between sleeping and waking that I feel like she is still in bed next to me, or bustling around the cabin somewhere. She always talked about mountains and the hikes she would take. Some days I wake up and think that she must be off on a hike, about to return from her stroll by the stream.
But worse than that is when I wake up feeling cold and alone. Those days feel like what I imagine it feels like to be airlocked. And so, most mornings, I wake up feeling as though all the oxygen has been sucked from my life.
But those days are not even the worst. By far, the worst days are when I think about being with her. If only I could die and be with her again in death. At this point, I don't even think about what happens after death, or what I believe about the after fraking after life and gods. I only know that Laura isn't here with me. If I went to the vacuum of space to search for her, certainly death can't be any worse.
I know that, somewhere out there, in some universe, I am dancing with Laura Roslin at this very moment. I am just in the wrong moment and universe. I'll search every universe and every moment until I have her in my arms again. I can still hear her laughing…
Set my spirit free
Bill and I were together. In the more ethereal sense, we are One. Time has no meaning after. I was never waiting for him to join with me. He was simply there. He is simply there. He will always and has always been simply there and here. There was no tragedy in our brief time together before, because the real time we were meant to share is this place beyond time. We can know each other so much more fully, because we exist as we were meant to: united parts of a whole. We are complete.
A/N: Happy (late) Holidays! Hope this tiny little fic warms your heart! Reviewers are always lauded.