XXVIII.

She was completely surrounded by darkness, but she wasn't scared by it. It embraced her. In fact, it made her feel safe. With her eyes wide-open, unable to see anything, she started thinking, trying to discover which was that all too familiar surrounding.

Laura quickly noticed she wasn't standing. She was sitting down somewhere, in a cushioned chair.

She looked around her, her eyes slowly adapting to the darkness. Soon enough, she felt a sparkle of life moving inside her belly. A wide smile crept into her lips and both her hands quickly moved to that spot.

When her eyes rose from her belly, she looked around her once more. The walls had started to glow with a golden light, slowly becoming brighter and brighter, and the red carpet under her feet was now evident.

She battered her eyelashes. A low tune started playing somewhere in the Opera House. She closed her eyes, trying to concentrate on it. When she opened her eyes again, she was standing in the middle of a hall. The tune became a little bit louder, and with that she felt her baby moving more noticeably.

Laura started following the tune, walking across what seemed an endless corridor. After a while, she found a crossroad. She turned her head around, trying to see where she had come from and, as she turned it back again, she caught the look of a tiny red-headed figure. Quickly, she walked towards it, but it had already disappeared.

The tune started playing even louder, and she started to walk again, following its source. She soon found herself in crossroad again, and that red-headed shadow appeared again. This time she was sure she had seen it.

She increased her pace, chasing after it, but as she arrived at the corridor, it had disappeared into thin air.

The music was becoming louder each time she saw the shadow, and her baby was also becoming more nervous and moving much more each time.

At some point, she tried to start running after it; but her body didn't allow her to do so. She was too heavy. Her belly was too big. She wasn't able to take deep breaths.

She started panting, trying to regain her breath when, all of a sudden, she became surrounded by complete darkness again.


She awoke gasping for air and with a thin layer of cold sweat covering her forehead. It took her a while to calm down, and it only happened because she had Bill's warmth beside her. One of his hands was resting over her hip and the other was on her belly, both of them caressing her and drawing patterns over her skin through her nightgown and the blanket he had thrown over her when he had arrived from the CIC. He had found her sleeping at their bed, and he just couldn't keep from joining her.

After a while, Bill approached his lips to her ear. "Are you alright?" he whispered, not wanting to alarm her. He knew she was awake and uneasy. It had been one of her dreams.

"Yes" she muttered in response as she moved her body as close to Bill's as she could, seeking peace. He quickly understood what she was looking for, and pressed his body against hers. None of them talked for a while. It had been long since she'd had one of those kind of dreams; she had almost forgotten what they were like. "Why now?" she asked in a whisper, not expecting any answer.

Bill caressed her hip through all the layers that separated them. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Laura smiled sadly and turned her head towards Bill. "No. Not really." Her voice was still hoarse from sleep, and her eyes were drowsy, but he saw her smile widen when both of them felt their daughter's kick.

"She's just said 'Hi, mommy. Welcome back from Dreamland', hasn't she?" he told her with a wide grin on his lips.

She chuckled wholeheartedly. "Hmmm... Maybe... But it was more something like a 'hi daddy' to me." She rolled onto her back to face him and placed one of her hands on his cheek, making him smile. "How was your day, Admiral?"

"Pretty busy, Madam President. But, you know... it's worth it if it means I am allowed to go home earlier." He mirrored her position and rested a hand on her cheek too. "And yours?"

"You want the truth?" she asked with a small smile. He quickly nodded. "Shitty. The Quorum's getting on my nerves with this whole Baltar thing..."

"Shhh... Let's leave it for later" he suggested. He could sense what was probably going on in her mind, and it wasn't the best idea to bring it up right then. "Wouldn't you like to get some dinner first?"


"Lee has no idea of what he has done... He really has no idea" Laura said, looking sadly into Bill's eyes.

He stroked her beautiful legs, resting on his lap, and watched Laura for an instant, reclined over the couch, with some pillows under her back so she was somehow sitting up. That way, she was able to look at him. "Are you sure of it?"

Laura smiled sadly and started rubbing her belly with the hand that had been resting over it. Lee was Bill's son; they had had their ups and downs, but their relationship had improved quite a lot since the trial happened. Lee was her step-son; they had had a good relationship when they had first met and during quite a long time in the past, but now Laura wasn't sure of what to think. "There are pragmatic realities he refuses to face." She didn't appreciate him challenging her in front of the Quorum; not when they were now family and when she had chosen him to replace her.

Bill smiled. "Well, that's a problem, of course." He broke the visual contact with her and focused on her feet; her poor swollen feet and ankles. He took one of them, the one that was closer to him, and bent her knee to put it at good reach. Then, he started massaging it gently, giving his best. At first, Laura tried to stretch her leg again, but his skilful work made her change her mind. She allowed her body to sink into the pillows and relax, encouraging Bill to continue with her little hums and moans of pleasure. After a while, he returned her leg to its original position and started massaging her other foot. He looked at her in the eye and opened his mouth, nearly whispering. "He's doing what he thinks is right."

She smiled widely. "Well yeah, he's Lee." In matters like that, she knew Lee nearly as much as his father did. He always acted according to what he thought was the right thing, without giving it a second thought. "Thing is it probably is the right thing," she admitted once again, just like she had done the day before, "but... sometimes the right thing is a luxury." She met his eyes and smiled. "And it can have profoundly dangerous consequences. And yet it's almost as if he doesn't want that to be true..." Bill smiled back at her with a sad smile, and that stabbed Laura right in her heart. "Okay, I gotta stop this..." she said with a small grin on her lips, "I'm not supposed to get upset during pregnancy."

He caressed the calf of her bent leg and brought it down to its original position, smiling widely at his wife. She was right.

Laura rose a little bit from her position and observed him for a while. For a moment, she imagined how things would have been at that same moment if the two of them hadn't been allowed to do the luxury, the right thing. She would have probably been alone and miserable, living her pregnancy all by herself, thinking how it would have been to have Bill by her side. Indeed, she had been lucky. Her hormones quickly started to translate her thoughts into a lump in her throat and some tears that were threatening to escape her eyes. Bill quickly noticed it. "You okay?" he asked with concern in his voice.

She quickly nodded. "It's nothing. I'm happy, that's all" she assured him, but her voice broke at the end of her sentence and a couple of tears ran down her cheeks.

Bill shifted his position and brushed away her tears with his fingertips. "Your hormones, right?" Laura nodded and tried to choke away her tears. "Don't worry, darling. Let it all out." He caressed her cheek and looked straight into her deep green eyes. "I'm here by your side. I won't leave."

Laura grinned and stroked the hand he had on her cheek. She inhaled deeply and tried to calm herself. Her eyes quickly travelled to the coffee table, where 'Searider Falcon' was sitting. Bill followed her gaze and noticed the book too. "Will you read the next chapter?" she asked with her voice as steady as she could manage.

He looked at her with a stern look in his face, as if he was offended by her request. But the small smile he was trying to hide gave him away. She had to fight back her urge to chuckle. "I must warn you that I'm getting into the part that I haven't read yet."

She looked at him with a risen eyebrow, feeling much better. "Oh dear. Are you going to be able to continue?" she teased him, with her velvety voice.

He smiled widely and reached for his glasses and the book. Then, he waited until she rested her legs upon his lap again. "Chapter Seven: 'The raft was not as seaworthy as I had hoped. The waves repeatedly threatened to swamp it. I wasn't afraid to die." He looked at her and smiled sadly. She had closed her eyes and had both hands resting over her belly. She looked gorgeous, more than ever. "I was afraid of the emptiness that I felt inside." He closed the book. He knew the words of by heart. It wasn't like he had lied when he told her that he had never finished the book... but ever since they started reading the book, he found himself reading it over and over on his own when she wasn't around. That made him feel her closer to her. "I couldn't feel anything, and that's what scared me." He paused again, only for an instant. He wanted her to listen to those words closely. "It came into my thoughts. It filled them. It felt good." Amused, he noticed how Laura, still with her eyes closed, curved her lips up.