XXXVI.

Laura was on her quarters, alone, reclined in the couch with a blanket over her legs, reading. She had returned from Emily's funeral only an hour ago. There hadn't been much people there and it had been simple, just as Emily would have liked; not that it really mattered. She wasn't really there anymore; she was already on the other side of the River, with her loved ones.

She suddenly felt observed. She hadn't heard any sound, but it wouldn't be the first time she found herself in a similar situation. She slowly raised her eyes, without moving her head, scanning the room for an intruder. It could be neither Bill nor Lee, both of them were busy working at that time of the day, and it couldn't be Tory. When she noticed the blonde pilot standing beside the closed door, she wasn't surprised at all. She smiled slightly. Who could be standing there in silence watching her beside Kara Thrace? At least that time she wasn't pointing a gun towards her.

The redhead finally raised her head and stared at the other woman, who was looking back at her. For a moment she wondered if the woman Zak Adama had once known and loved was still there, somewhere. Maybe her visit wasn't just a coincidence; she had appeared just when Laura had a message for her.

No matter how hard she tried to at that moment, she wasn't able to feel any kind of resentment towards the woman that had not so long ago held her at gunpoint. Her insistence had ended up with the cylon rebels joining them and promising them a way to Earth; a tangible one. That was all she wanted lately, to finally complete her duty, to be able to give a safe home for all her people.

Kara kept watching her from the door, with her eyes full of doubt. Her last visit there was probably on her mind, but maybe it wasn't it. Laura couldn't be sure, not with someone like Kara. She could have a thousand different things on her mind at that precise moment. With people like Starbuck you could never know.

The blonde took a step towards the couch, what made Laura close the book she had on her hands and rest it on her lap. "You're having those visions, aren't you?" Kara asked, staring right into the other woman's eyes.

Laura wasn't really that surprised; then Baltar's words had also reached Kara. It was something she hadn't expected, but it wasn't strange. She didn't answer or react to the other woman's question; she only kept the visual contact between the two of them, without blinking, while a small smile crept into her lips. It wasn't a mere coincidence.

Apparently, it didn't please Kara. She was looking for an actual answer for her question. She walked towards Laura and locked eyes with her. "Thus shall it come to pass" she started reciting, with a low but steady voice. "The dying leader shall know the truth of the Opera House."

Laura stared at the younger woman, unable to say a word, suddenly frozen. The book that had been resting on her lap fell to the floor as she covered her belly with her hands defensively, feeling her intimacy had been violently violated. Had she heard it right? "What..." she breathed in a whisper, unable to find her voice. She tried it again. "What did you just say?"

Kara was clearly surprised by her reaction; it was not exactly what she had expected. She didn't think the woman would take it that seriously. "That 'Thus shall it come to pass -"

"No" Laura quickly said, cutting her off with a steady voice. "The Opera House."

The blonde took several steps towards her until she was nearly on Laura's side and sat at the other end of the couch. Without breaking the eye contact, she started repeating her words. "The dying leader shall know the truth of the Opera House."

Laura battered her eyelashes, still startled, trying to find a meaning to those words. Where had Kara taken them from? There was no way Kara could know about the content of her visions, and Baltar had never known what they were about; if he had he would have shared it with the Fleet just to expose her even more than he already did. "How did..." she tried, but the lump on her throat forced her to stop her words. She breathed deeply and stared into the other woman's eyes. "Where did you hear that?" she whispered in a thin voice, almost inaudible, feeling her upper lip quivering. "Who told you that?"

Kara's eyes softened as she realized the true impact her words had on Laura; she had never seen the President so exposed before. She didn't want to make it last any longer than strictly necessary. "The hybrid" she simply said. The confusion and horror on the redhead's face became even more evident than before. She owed the woman a better explanation, even if she wasn't a big fan of her at the moment; despite their shared past. They had once had a good relationship; she knew the President had a good heart. "The hybrid from the rebel cylons' baseship, before they unplugged it" she added, lowering her voice.

"The... hybrid?" Laura managed to ask after a long silence. "How does the hybrid know what's on my dreams?"

The younger woman shrugged her shoulders. "I wish I knew, really..." she said truthfully, looking at Laura doubtfully. There was something else. "But that's not all it said, Madame President..." she admitted, softening her eyes even more.

For an instant Laura could've sworn she had seen pity in Kara's eyes. What could the woman possibly say that could affect more than revealing the nature of her visions? Was there something she could say that would hit her even more closely, that would feel like a bigger violation?

Starbuck cleared her throat and looked into Laura's deep green eyes. "I don't understand all of it, but I'm sure it's all about you. Maybe you'll be able to know what it means or what it refers to." The woman paused for an instant and then started reciting the hybrid's words of by heart, from the beginning to the end. "Thus shall it come to pass. The dying leader shall know the truth of the Opera House. The one who leads the Caravan of Heavens to a new home. The one who crossed the River and talks with the dead. The one whose womb carries humanity's hope."

Laura battered her eyelashes and pressed her palms tighter against her belly, trying to understand and process all Kara had just said. The caravan to Earth, the River, the dead... and her child. When Laura realized it a shiver run down her spine. 'Humanity's hope' was what she had called her daughter... What was that supposed to mean? How could the hybrid know about her pregnancy?

She moved her hands to cover her belly as much as she could, to protect her little one. It was crazy. There was no way the cylons could know about her child or her visions. And... how could that hybrid know she would cross the river and talk with the dead, with the loved ones that had come to meet her there? It had happened the previous night... That hybrid wasn't like the other cylons at all. Laura knew the cylons were quite religious and all, but if it was true the hybrid had said those words, then there was something else there she wasn't able to understand at the moment. Those words seemed to fit her just as much as the 'Book of Pythia' and its prophecies had once fit her life perfectly. Was it some kind of prophecy? The realization that she was the 'dying leader' again suddenly hit her. "Am I... going to die?" she muttered under her breath, frozen, no sound really leaving her mouth.

Laura suddenly realized she wouldn't be able to live with a doubt like that. She needed to know more about it all, somehow. She had to hear those words from that hybrid; see it with her own eyes. It all was hitting too close home.

Laura looked at Kara and shot her a pleading look. "I need to know how it knows all this about me" she almost whispered, unable to raise her voice. "I need to... understand... to know. I can't..." She stopped for a moment, trying to regain the control over her voice. "This has got to stop; these visions. I've got to find out about these visions." She cleared her throat slightly and stared into the other woman's eyes. "I've got to know." Her voice came out stronger and steady that time. "Will you help me, Kara?"

The younger woman nodded her head slightly. She didn't enjoy watching Laura being so exposed; the President had never been one for public emotional displays. Kara still remembered the straight face and composure the other woman had once kept as she was telling her she was dying of cancer; she had admired her for that, it had shown her the woman was much stronger than any of them believed. She hadn't done an emotional display then, but at that moment her face was a poem and her emotions were written all over her. Was that one the real Laura Roslin, the woman the Old Man had married? A real woman, with her ups and downs, who worried about the future and tried to protect her child. Her hands hadn't moved from their protective position over her belly ever since Kara had first repeated the hybrid's words. Was the woman scared? That time Laura had told her about her illness it was all about her, only her, but that time it wasn't only about her anymore, was it? It also concerned the child she was carrying and maybe even the Old Man. Maybe that was what had changed her reaction; maybe Laura Roslin was a human after all.

After a long silence, Kara answered Laura's question. "Yes, I will... But before that I want to know something" she said, to what Laura nodded slightly. "That thing about the River and all... is it really true?"

Laura shut her eyes tightly and breathed deeply. She had promised she would give the message and that was the best moment to do it, but if she led it out just like that the woman would think she was crazy and wouldn't believe her, and she couldn't really know how the younger woman could react... "I'm going to tell you something, but I need to know you will believe what I say" Laura said with a thin, exhausted voice. "This is something I can't understand; something I believe because I know is true, without questioning it. I need you to do the same."

The younger woman nodded her head slightly, somehow aware that what she was about to hear was something relevant. "Fair enough; talk. I won't judge. I know how it feels when everyone thinks you're crazy."

Laura caressed her belly lovingly and looked right into Kara's eyes, with a small smile on her lips. "This River you mentioned is the transition between life and death; the final stage the soul has to cross before resting forever. Us the living are somewhere else; we have to cross the river with a boat to get to the shore, where our loved ones await us" she explained. "A friend died yesterday, and she somehow managed to get me there with her, to say goodbye properly." Laura paused for an instant and noticed Kara was looking back at her without blinking. "We were on the boat and the shore was waiting for us. She allowed me to cross and then stay there for a while. There I met my parents, my sisters, and..." She looked at Kara doubtful, not knowing what to do. But she had made a promise and she would keep it. "And Zak; he came to meet me."

The surprise in Kara's eyes was evident. She blinked and looked at Laura with her mouth wide-opened. "What?" she asked in disbelief, raising her voice to a higher pitch. "This can't be true... You never met him. Even if what you say is true, you have no right to see him when those who knew and loved him have never been able to see him..."

The older woman waited until Kara was a little bit calmed to talk to her. "As I already said, I can't really explain why it happened; I just know I was there... And he came after I met my family. He looked so much like Bill... He wanted to talk with me, about his sister," she said resting a hand on her belly and smiling, "but he also wanted me to talk with his brother, Bill, and... you" she finally admitted.

Kara's expression had softened. What reason had the other woman to be lying to her about something like that? She wouldn't lose her chance to hear what Zak had told her, but she needed to be sure before raising her expectations. "Have you told the Old Man?" Kara asked in a low voice, aware that Laura wouldn't lie about something like that to him, knowing perfectly how something like that could affect him.

"Yes" Laura said without losing her smile. "As soon as I woke up and remembered all of it." She paused and looked at the other woman. "Look, I knew it would be hard on him at first, but I couldn't keep it from him, just like I can't keep it from you or from Lee as soon as I see him."

The blonde nodded absentmindedly, not really listening to Laura's words. If she had told Bill, then it was true; it was as easy as that. After a while, she opened her mouth. "You said he asked you to tell me something."

Laura saw the pain in the young woman's eyes. "Yes, he did." She paused and took a deep breath. "He wanted me to tell you that he's fine. He wants the three of you to know that what happened was nobody's fault. And... he's happy to see you with Sam Anders. He wants you to be happy with him."

Kara looked into the empty space and put a small smirk on her lips. After a while, she looked at Laura with several tears rolling down her cheeks. "It sounds a lot like Zak Adama... I believe you, Laura."

She nodded her head slightly with a wide smile set on her lips. "Thank you" she breathed. "I need your help, Kara. I've got to find out about these visions and why they keep coming."

"What can I do?" the blonde asked, looking at Laura with a serious expression on her face.

Laura shook her head from one side to the other, with her eyes closed, trying to come up with a plan. "Get me Captain Agathon... And once I am on the baseship, tell Bill where I am and why. Will you do that, please?"

The blonde nodded. "Yes, I will. And..." she started, but stopped suddenly, not knowing if it would be right to continue. Laura's warm smile encouraged her to do so. "Take care of you and the Old Man's daughter. He's going to have me personally killed if anything happens to any of you."

Laura's smile widened, touched by Kara's concern. "I will. Don't worry."


The last time she had been on a Raptor had been a while ago. She had been unconscious back then; they had to rush her to Galactica's sickbay after she passed out in Colonial One. No, being there didn't bring her good memories at all.

She sat there, inside the raptor, with a book on her lap. She was starting to feel guilty about not telling Bill about her visit to the baseship. But she couldn't tell him; he wouldn't allow her to go there, and she needed to go. She needed answers. She needed to know what the hybrid knew exactly about her and why.

Laura clutched the book tighter. 'Searider Falcon'. It was like having an actual piece of Bill with her. He wouldn't be pleased; he would be angry. But he would eventually understand the reasons behind her escape to the cylon baseship.

She lowered her eyes to look at the book, only partially visible, hidden by her swollen belly, and smiled widely remembering all the good moments she had shared with Bill while he was reading the book aloud to her. Having it with her, reading it, would help her keep her mind awake during the trip to the baseship and ignore Gaius Baltar.

The man was making them wait for him. When he finally appeared, Laura couldn't help it. "Speaking of the devil..." she whispered under her breath, lowering her head so that the man wouldn't notice her lips moving. Lords of Kobol, she couldn't stand even the sight of the man! He was more than she could take.

When Laura looked at him, she found Baltar looking back at her with a superiority smile on his lips. "Of course... Could anyone tell me why I am here?" he demanded.

She did her best not to roll her eyes. Instead, she sighed slightly and put a fake smile on her lips, her political one, as she avoided breaking the eye contact. She was the one who was in command there. "Have a seat" she instructed the man. "We're going to settle this down" she simply told him.

He raised one of his brows. "What's to settle? And, by the way, why am I being forced to join you?"

She led out a sigh. Lords, that man could be really exhausting. He wouldn't shut up until he knew every little detail. Laura didn't answer him immediately on purpose. After a long silence, brightened by Baltar's sighs and eye-rolls, she opened her mouth. "You are here because we are going to find out about my visions, those I've been sharing with Sharon Agathon and the Six." He didn't need to know she sometimes was alone in them. It didn't change anything; it only concerned her.

The look in the man's face was priceless. Laura had really taken him by surprise. His whole face looked like a poem. "Wha - what? So..." he stammered. "So I was right? You're really having visions? Laura Roslin acknowledging I was only speaking the truth?"

Lords, that man was always a surprise. So he was more concerned about being right about the visions than about the nature of them or the reason he was in that raptor. No, she could never take the man's mind for granted. He was a box full of surprises, most of them unpleasant ones. "Yes, I am having the visions. And if you excuse me, I've got better things to do than listening to a grown man pointing out obvious facts; thank you."

He smirked wickedly. "I see, so this is how we're going to play it..."

Laura shot a death glare towards him. Really, she would never be able to understand how Tory could have ever fallen on his trap, or how she had betrayed her for a man like that... So arrogant, so... ridiculously full of himself.

"And... If I may know, what is it that we have to do now?" he asked with true curiosity in his voice. "Are we supposed to sit here until one of us falls asleep?"

She smirked and held the book on her lap tighter. "The hybrid of the baseship spoke of an Opera House and a dying leader" she explained patiently. "We're going to talk to the hybrid."

Baltar looked at her with a weird look in his eyes. "And why would you require my presence?" he asked without erasing one of his all-knowing smirks from his lips.

That time it was Laura who smiled widely; her first real smile since the man had joined her. She would surely take him by surprise. "Because you are in my visions. Didn't whoever told you about the visions mention that to you?"

Yes, she had been right. Baltar's face at that exact moment was just priceless. He hadn't known anything at all about it.