Bill was sitting by Laura's grave again. He made a habit of coming there at least once a day. He talked. He told her about everyday's progress in building the cabin. It gave him a strange sense of calmness when he needed it most. But he also told her about the expanding settlement he was able to see from their cabin's place in the elevated part of the highlands. He mentioned their people were doing fine because he knew it was her primary concern even hours before death. She wanted to be sure that the people they led here fare well in this new, beautiful world.
Every now and then Saul would come and offer some help but even he was coming less and less frequently now, Ellen wanting to move on and explore. Chief came once and helped with some works but it was a one-time occurrence and he did not show up again. Lee's days, as far as William Adama knew, were filled with exploring and building the settlement. Bill told his son right at the beginning to leave him alone For once Apollo understood perfectly. Maybe he understood that seeing 'her capitain Apollo' brought some painful memories.
The settlement closest to the cabin was occupied mostly by what was left of the original crew of Galactica and housed such figures as doctor Cottle with his faithful Ishay, who refused to leave him with someone else. There was Hoshi taking care of communication and there were some pilots who occasionally flew supply runs with few raptors ready for flight. Helo and Athena made a habit of visiting with Hera who was growing really fast. Lee's 'permanent' place was also there, as rarely as he came by.
"So…" asked Cottle lighting a cigarette he still somehow possessed after ten months on this new planet. Before him was Saul who has come back from a three week exploration trip. "Have you visited him?"
Nobody needed to specify who 'he ' was.
"This cabin of hers is nearly finished." Said Tigh grimly. "And so is he."
"You think I should go and check on him?" Asked Sherman quietly probably already knowing the answer. "A could take some medicine… or booze…"
"You're the last person to help him." Saul gulped a good amount of this new alcohol they started to brew here. "He doesn't need another reminder of this frakkin' cancer she died of. I think I understand what's gotten into him." Saul looked at his wife, sleeping on the cot nearby. "He lost something important because of some frakkin' prophecy. Something he never expected to find."
"You suddenly became a romantic?" Sherman grumbled. "Never thought you to be the type."
"Might have something to do with being a Cylon and all." Saul said but he was still looking and smiling at Ellen. "Seriously doc, I couldn't even think of anything to tell him."
"I don't think he wants anyone to talk to him now. We all knew it would happen sooner or later." Said Cottle. "I thought she wouldn't even get through the assault on the colony. I left Ishay with something to ease the pain when the time came. But surprisingly she made it."
"It might have been better if she didn't." Suggested Saul. "Would have spared him that one hard day. On the other hand I think he wanted to be there for her."
"What happens when the cabin is completed?" Sherman asked seriously.
"He has nothing more to keep him here." Saul answered gulping a big portion of his drink.
"A week, maybe two I f he wants to decorate the place." Answered Saul. "They loved books and he brought all of his collections and his furniture so probably…"
"But it's going to be sooner rather than later."
"Yeah. But we all did our part, he did his part, they both did. Maybe it's finally time for them both to rest together after all the fight."
"Still, it's going to break a lot of people." Commented Cottle. "The morale dropped significantly after Roslin's death. Now Bill… It's gonna be frakkin' hard to keep the spirits up."
Lee was travelling on foot for a week now. He was busily exploring the yet unexplored portions of land in the vincinity of the main settlement. It was an afternoon when he noticed a big storm gathering in the area. He was seven days' walk from the settlement and he promised himself that he wouldn't use the comm. device to call for a raptor unless he was in serious trouble or found something that needed immediate attention. Then he saw it. The large stone grave on a ridge from where there must have been a beautiful view on the valley nearby.
Lee came closer and noticed the fresh flowers that laid there and a cross made from sticks. There was also a pair of glasses by it which the young man recognized as his father's. He put all the pieces together and understood that this must have been Laura Roslin's grave, a place where his father put a lover to rest after she finally succumbed to her devastating illness. Lee knew Tigh had visited his father but knew also that the man was not brought to a final resting place of the woman. It was deeply intimate like the relationship Bill Adama and Laura Roslin shared, and just like that relationship it was prevented to become official and public. Being with her made his father happy and willing to fight for another day. The way he took care of his last lover was endearing to anyone privy to their interactions. He didn't remember seeing his father so calm and content even when Roslin was at her worst, needing help even to raise from the hospital bed. It was hard to miss and maybe that was the reason Cottle let her from the sickbay at all. She too was calmer and happier in the company of his father.
And then he took her and left to accompany her on her last trip and to bury her. And he knew it when he decided to do that. It was hard enough for Lee himself, when he needed to say goodbye to Dee after she shot herself, but accompanying the loved one to the grave every step of the way and finally burying her with his own hand, laying her in the ground and covering in stones must have taken a lot.
"Lee?" asked a tired voice behind him. "What are you doing so far from the settlement? The storm is coming."
"Dad?" Lee turned and saw a much leaner man than he remembered and was scared to see his father so fragile."Oh my gods, dad…"
Lee virtually ran to his father and hugged him tightly noticing the loose clothes and, after looking into his face, sunken eyes.
"You shouldn't be here, Lee." Bill said.
"I didn't know where you decided to go, Tigh didn't tell me where did he find you. And I was just travelling."
"The storm is coming. You're too far from the city to get there before it hits." The older Adama said matter of factly. "Come, stay with me."
Lee followed his father not far from the gravesite, near the small lake with a clear water, now dark with coming storm. There was also a lot of beautiful vegetation there and flowers, which must have been his father's supply for the grave. He was impressed with a size and overall look of the cabin. Made of timber, it was not too small and not too big, just a quiet personal space for two people.
"It's beautiful, dad." He said when they entered the place and Bill lighted a single small candle to maintain some light since the storm seemed to drain all of it from the outside world. "You did a great job. I think she would've liked it if she was able to see it." Then Lee looked around just to see that there was a lot of furniture he did remember from his father's quarters from Galactica. The couch stood proudly in front of a fireplace that his father was just getting to life, a rug underneath it. There was a passageway into a smaller room where he could see a rack, which has been clearly taken out from the beloved ship with part of the bulkhead, some smaller cases and chests of drawers, a desk near the window in whet Lee suspected was a part for kitchen. The cabin was obviously finished and decorated. It was done now. Suddenly a large and unknown piece came into his vision. Across from a fireplace there was a huge and clearly handmade bookcase filled with precious volumes.
"Wow, so many books." Lee said coming closer and examining the titles. "I didn't know you had so many of them. And so various, I might add. I remember you as a mystery type, not romance and biology one."
"One romance novel was the only book Laura brought for the trip to the Galactica decommissioning ceremony, mine are the mysteries. The rest is a gift from the settlers. Apparently Sherman shared some stories about the sickbay routine the first night we were here and he was drunk. People decided they would make it a gift for the last trip of their beloved President and prophet. It would be rude and not Laura-like if I refused those gifts."
Lee noticed that when his father mentioned Laura his face visibly beamed. He was almost smiling.
"So now you have most of the books that survived two apocalypses?" Lee joked.
"Probably all of them if you don't count Cottle's little stash. He gave one too, you know, but not all of his volumes."
"You know which one is from him?" Lee didn't cover his amusement. Additionally he saw that talking looks to be good for his father.
"A big green one with gold letters on the front. He said Laura was always looking at it curiously when she visited his office."
"Dad…" Lee decided to broach some more difficult topic as well.
"Don't you think someone should be living with you?" Young Adama said. "I mean, to help you, to be there if something happened?"
"We're all afraid that if something happens to you no one will notice and…" Lee wasn't allowed to finish.
"I don't want to be found, son." Bill declared. "When the time comes and I feel it close now, I want to go without all the fuss, just like she did."
"I am tired, Lee, very tired. I didn't even notice until she was gone, how much of my life was fueled by her presence. I felt alive again, a feeling I didn't expect to have when I was finishing my speech at the decommissioning ceremony." Bill looked at his son with so much calm and conviction in his eyes that Lee suddenly was able to understand at least some of it. "My time has come, son, to let go. I've done my share and I need to relinquish control."
"Can we at least visit you from time to time?"
"You, Saul and Sherman are always welcome, Leland." William Adama smiled. "But please, keep Ellen far from me – I need my last days to be peaceful."
Bill's attempt at humor was in fact funny and father and son soon laughed together.
Laying that night on the couch in the living room of his father's cabin Lee contemplated what he saw that day. After dinner they sat in front of the fireplace and talked a lot about those eventful years that brought them to this point. They noticed that a lot of the most important moments, the most meaningful and healing ones have been somehow connected with Laura Roslin and that they were thankfully much closer now than they were ever before. "Good way to go" commented his father and ended their conversation for good. And Lee knew he was right.
Lee wondered what would have happened if it was Adar that survived and assumed the presidency that was his by law after the attacks. So much wouldn't have happened and so much would have been bad still. Now they were on Earth, on a beautiful, green planet that offered a new life for all of them. Sadly the one who led them there was not alive to enjoy the new home. The only consolation was a fact that Laura Roslin lived long enough to see Earth and, according to his father's words, died happy and amazed about the beautiful place.
Lee told his father about the evening of rememberance ceremony held in the main camp for Laura Roslin the second night after her death. Almost everyone visited and even Athena said some kind words. Tigh mentioned her role in the Resurgence on New Caprica, Ellen just nodded, Cottle was asked to say something but wasn't able to do so in the end.
All this made the old Admiral shed a tear but it was a good tear, one of beautiful memories rather than inconsolable grief. Lee suspected the latter emotion was just hiding under the surface waiting for a day his father wouldn't have strength to go back another mile back to the cabin and deciding to stay by the grave forever.
Lee was trying to make the most of this visit, suspecting that it might be the last one, depending on his travels and his father's mental wellbeing.
The day was nice, Bill decided after a brisk walk up from Laura's grave to the cabin. He had spent more time there today than usually. He was tired and it took him much longer to gather his strength after the walk down. Must have been the tiredness from the building the cabin coming out of him as well as frequent malnutrition since Lee's visit last month. It was hard to find valuable food in the vicinity taking into account his allergic reaction to a plant that was very common and nutricious. Hunger might even push him to visit the settlement next week to get some basic food and ask Sherman for some medicine to alleviate the pain in the back that was troubling him for a while.
While he was nearing the cabin, Bill noticed a familiar shape of a raptor. He smiled to the worn out machine in which he recently disabled the comm so that there will be no more concerned calls if he was alright. Then he looked at the machine again and noticed it was a slightly tidier than the one he was used to. He made his way to it to check it out and was surprised to see that there was indeed his raptor as well as another one, slightly closer to his path and there was someone messing with his one.
"Who is there?" He called when he was closer.
"Dad, it's me!"Shouted Lee from Billl's raptor. "I need to talk to you!"
"What is it?"Asked Bill after embracing his son. "You look like you've seen a ghost. Is something wrong in the settlement?"
"Doc Cottle…"Lee started but wasn't allowed to finish.
"Should've said it immediately." Said Bill pushing his son into the waiting raptor his son came in there. "Let's go."
"What's wrong with Sherman?" Asked Bill as soon as they were steadily flying towards the base settlement.
"He's fine." Answered Lee.
"I thought you said it was about him."
"Partly, I wanted to say you need to talk to him." Lee said pushing the old and worn raptor to a faster flight. "He's well, it's a strange situation that we thought needs your attention."
"What is it?"
"You'll see." Answered Lee uncomfortably. "Just promise me you'll think it through before reacting."
"Sounds strange, son."
"It is, dad, it is. You have no idea."
Half an hour later they touched down and Bill followed his son to the medtent that was awkwardly familiar. It seemed to be almost identical to the one he saw on New Caprica. Tigh was waiting by the entrance looking strange with Ellen visibly fuming by his side.
"Saul… Ellen" Adama welcomed them with a nod. "Glad to see you're okay… both…"
"Bill…" Saul said unsure. "To answer before you ask – we don't really know how this is possible, but…"
"Is he here yet?" Cottle grumbled leaving the tent and keeping the curtain closed tightly. "Good, I would like to wean her off this stuff soon. It's not good for her, no matter her health."
"Sherman, what is going on here?"
"You better see with your own eyes, Bill."
Adama entered the implicated space and froze looking on the still form lying on the bed. He felt a hand on his arm. Had he not he may have fainted there and then. Sherman pulled him out and looked him in the eye.
"How is this possible?" Adama asked shocked.
"I have no idea, really." Answered the doctor. "I've done all the tests I could and it's definitely Laura Roslin, but how…? I don't even try to imagine. Although Lee had an idea, no matter how strange."
Bill looked at his son for a moment before fixing his gaze on the closed again curtain.
"I don't care if she's a cylon but she might. Check it, fast." Said Bill and entered the place.
Adama came to the edge of the bed and looked at the familiar face. It wasn't like Ellen's when she came back, fresh and new, it was the same Laura he buried not so long ago, with clammy and white skin, wrinkled and sunken from the illness and Diloxin treatments. She had her green scarf on and after taking the scarf off he saw that underneath she was bald with a small whiskers that he discovered when he took her wig off to clothe her head in her favorite scarf to the grave. Must have been the effect of stopping the treatment. Her glasses were on the bedside table. Bill took Laura's hand and kissed it just like he did right after her death.
When Lee, Cottle and Tigh entered the room after a few minutes Adama was sitting by the bed, holding Roslin's hand to his face and looking into her face. A book was laid on the sheets like it was used.
"Those scratches on her face" said Bill hearing them enter. "What happened to her?
"We think some wild animal scratched her when she was wondering through the forest where Lee found her." Cottle said. "He called the settlement. Thankfully he had a comm. gear with him. We took the raptor and got her here. She was exhausted and had some kind of seizure so I put her under some meds to calm her and get her to sleep."
"Is she still…" Bill was having a problem finishing the question.
"She's in a bad shape, but she's clean, her scans are clean." Cottle immediately recognized what the question would be. "I need to observe her for a bit but she's not dying anymore, Bill."
"I want to take her home." Adama declared without a thought kissing the woman's hand. "I want her to wake up in her cabin."
"No. She needs to stay here for a while." Said Cottle. "And you need to think it through very well."
"Nothing to think about, Sherman. She's coming with me." Bill fought. "If you think she should stay here and rest then she stays until she's fine enough and then we go. I know she wanted this cabin really bad."
"Dad…" Lee started. "There is something else. When I found her she had something on her finger. And I think I recognize it…" Lee handed his father a ring. "It is much too big for her but she was clutching it…"
"It is mine." Bill explained. "I… "Adama stuttered "I put it on her finger just after she died in the raptor. I buried her in it…and in her green scarf."
Tigh came closer and put a reassuring hand on his friend's arm.
"How is this possible, Saul? Is she a cylon?"
"No, Bill, I don't believe so." Tigh answered. "We talked about it with Ellen and it's clear none of us has known anyone like her before. If she was a cylon we would have known. She is not."
"Kara was not…" Lee interrupted quietly. "But she came back, dad, she came back to us and we had another chance."
Bill kissed Laura's forehead and left the room with his head in his hands. Lee followed.
"I was reading to her just today, Lee." Bill confessed. "'Searider falcon' was her favorite and I decided to read it to her once more. I didn't even leave it in the cabin when you came to me."
"Is there anything I can help you with?" Lee asked.
"Some place to stay until I can take her home?" Bill smiled. "Will there be a place for me to stay?"
"So you've decided."
"I'm going to take her to the cabin, if she wants to. I'm not going to let her go if there is any future for us."
"She will, dad." Lee smiled. "She was clutching that ring like it was the most important thing in her entire life. I hope you'll finally be happy, dad. And you can stay in my place, it's rarely used recently but it should be livable. There should also be a mattress available so your back doesn't kill you."
"Thank you Lee."
Although Lee's place was much better than it seemed to be from the description, Bill spent very little time there. He preferred to keep Laura company. Cottle had to almost literally drag him out several times to do some additional tests he wanted to do before getting Laura out of her sleep. It was an opportunity for Saul to take his friend eat something. Any other time Bill was easy to find sitting by Laura and reading aloud to her.
It was almost a week until Cottle decided to finally wake Laura Roslin. This event brought a lot of people to the front of the tent waiting for what was about to happen. Fact of the president being alive was supposed to be kept secret. However, in such a close knit society it turned out to be almost impossible to keep any secrets, especially of that magnitude. It certainly didn't help that Lee was seen walking with her in his arms to the medtent, escorted by Tigh. And since the people still thought of Roslin like the President of the Colonies, like The President, the news got a lot of attention.
Cottle ordered the crowds to literally 'get lost', but people refused to leave until they knew if the process was successful and Roslin was alright. Into the tent only the closest people were allowed, if you could count Ellen Tigh to be close to Laura Roslin... Lee, Saul and Ellen were standing by the foot of the bed looking anxiously as Ishay and Cottle prepared syringes and medicines and filled Laura's veins with yet another liquid.
"Why is she still sleeping?" Bill asked after a few minutes.
"You better find something to sit on, because this can take a while." Sherman grumbled. "She is now out of the induced coma, it's for her to decide when she will want to wake up."
"You mean you brought us here to wait gods know how long?!" Tigh got angry.
That was when Bill noticed movement from the bed and got quickly to Laura's hand, took it and started to whisper something quietly into her ears. When she opened her eyes Bill smiled widely and kissed her forehead. And then Laura Roslin started to shake violently like she was trying to get away.
"It's okay, Laura, you're safe now" Bill was murmuring into her ear holding her close and making sure she didn't hurt herself trashing around. "It was just a nightmare, you're home now."
Surprisingly he managed to calm her down even before Ishay got to the syringe filled with a medicine for that kind of situation. Laura seemed to lean on him and go to sleep again, with Bill whispering all the time. Adama sat cautiously on the edge of the bed judging its state. He propped Roslin on his arm with her face facing the rest of the concerned group. When she opened her eyes again she tensed for a moment but quickly go her bearings seeing familiar faces and apparently feeling a familiar presence near.
"Where am I?" She asked faintly.
"We're in a med tent, on Earth. You were found wandering quite far from the camp." Cottle rumbled. "Lee found you and got you here. I kept you sleeping so you can heal a little and rest."
"I … I…"
"You're fine, Laura." Bill sensed the question in her words. "The cancer is gone. You'll be fine."
"Am I a…?
"For frak's sake, Laura" Ellen Tigh snapped "you're not a Cylon!"
"Ellen" Saul warned.
"What? She's not and you know it as well as I do."
Laura looked cautiously at Cottle waiting for an answer.
"Don't look at me, young lady. I had nothing to do with it."
"Noone can explain this, Laura." Bill said. "And no one needs to. We're just happy to have you back."
"Don't try to analize this just yet, Laura."
"We shall leave you two alone for a moment." Cottle grumbled and shoved Tighs and Lee outside. "I will come back later to check on you, young lady, you've been through a lot recently."
When Cottle left Laura allowed herself to slump back. Bill helped her lay back gently on the sheets and sat down on a chair by the bed.
"I don't understand it, Bill." She said closing her eyes. "I want to but the only thing I remember before the forest is a beautiful pink mass of… birds I think… and then nothing. I was so happy and then so scared…"
"Lee suggested you may have come back like Kara."
"What do you mean? And where is she, I would have thought she would be there with Lee?"
"She disappeared just after we left in a raptor, Lee told me. She had done what she had been here for and she left. Leoben once called her an angel and it was strange for me to assume that. Now I understand."
"I'm not an angel. I know this and you know this, so just cut the crap, will you?" Laura suddenly was angry. "This is like a cruel joke, Bill, just like the cure from Sharon's baby that was a borrowed time who knows what for."
"I am grateful we had that time, are you not?" Bill froze.
"I'm just tired, Bill. So tired of all this supposedly miraculous recoveries just to work more, to hurt more, to fight longer. I will not be losing my life over and over again for people who would have gladly worked me to the death. No. Just no." She turned and nuzzled her head into his arm suddenly. "I want to spend my last days in peace, with you…"
"Glad to hear that, Laura." Bill interrupted and lifted her chin in a somewhat familiar manner to his lips. "How, why, doesn't even matter anymore. What matters is that I have another chance and I don't want to waste it. I want to take you to a cabin and be with you always. I want you as my wife, Laura, if you'll take this old, worn out Adama."
"Bill?" Laura rose, not without a problem, and looked seriously at him. "What are you saying?"
Bill sat back on the bed, propped Laura on himself again and reached to his pocket. He took out the ring and showed it to Laura.
"I thought I had lost it…" Roslin whispered and touched the gold band. "It's yours, isn't it?"
"I put it on your hand after your death. Although I didn't know if you would've wanted that."
Laura kissed him on the lips. "I most certainly would have wanted this." She whispered against his lips. "I love you, Bill."
"So you will say 'yes' if I asked you to marry me?"
"Hmmm… Let me consider the pros and cons…" She kissed him lightly and then once more, deeply.. "Yes. I will most definitely say 'yes'."
Bill observed how Laura tried to stay awake through the talk and how much it cost her to stay upright, even propped by his bulk. He ignored her protests and put her down, covering closely.
"Go and rest, Laura." He said helping her lay on her side facing him. Just like she preferred to do in the sickbay during treatments. "How does 'Searider falcon' sound to you?"
Laura didn't answer. She just smiled and Bill opened the book in the place they were on just before Hera was kidnapped. He knew she would be out in a couple of minutes and that was partially what he was counting on.
"Bill?" Laura started to mumble after a few pages. "I really like the idea. I really do…"
The motion of Laura's hand clutching his made Bill believe that she was talking, semi-consciously, about the thing he almost asked her. He smiled – they were still on the same page. He read on despite being sure Laura was already asleep. All the nightmares she had were always easy vanquished by reading to her and Bill didn't want them to return if he had time and energy now to take care of them.
The next morning welcomed Cottle with an unusual sight after coming into the tent. Young Lee Adama was laying on the bed previously occupied by Laura Roslin, snoring loudly.
"What the frak is that?!" He swore. "Apollo! Where the frak is my patient!?"
Lee opened his sleepy eyes and looked at Cottle for a moment with confusion.
"There should be Laura Roslin in here, not you!"
"Oh, my father took the President to my place in the middle of the night." Lee said sitting up. "I gathered they would like to be alone and the bed was free here, so…"
Cottle grumbled and left the place, obviously heading to the Lee's tent to find his patient. Young Adama decided to follow him and be a witness to what was going to be a nice verbal slapping if he knew Cottle. They stormed through the settlement passing by a strangely smiling colonel Tigh and his wife and entered the tent vigorously. Then Cottle paused like bewitched. When Lee looked over his shoulder he understood what got the doc so out of his usual self.
Roslin was laying on a too small for two cot in Adama's arms, with a little smile on her face and, finally, a little color in her face. There was also a gold band on her finger which was obviously too big to be originally hers. And strangely the whole picture looked just right, like it was how it was supposed to be. And suddenly Lee realized it was right. After all these years his father had finally found an equal, in the midst of cataclysm and tragedy and never-ending duty he met a woman who balanced everything he was and everything he did. And they finally admitted they loved each other and by some miracle they were given one more chance at life together. Lee suddenly started suspecting the smile on Tighs' faces meant something more. He would ask his father later about that.
"I think we should leave them to rest now." He said to doc. "You said yourself – rest is what she needs most. And we both know he will be much better with her nearby."
Cottle agreed and left the tent shooting a hateful look towards Tigh who stood outside grinning shamelessly.
"Maybe we should tell them?" Proposed Ellen quietly. "At least Lee has a right to know."
"Nah." Saul hugged his wife affectionately. "I'll let them handle their fits. And I would certainly like to be there to watch it."
"What the frak were you thinkin', Bill?" Shouted Cottle two hours later when they met in Saul's tent where both were getting their breakfast at exactly the same moment. "She needs to stay under observation for now. What would you have done if something was wrong?!"
"Calm down, Sherman." Bill said calmly, smiling. "Laura wasn't feeling well in the infirmary bed and wanted to go home. The best thing I could do on short notice was just take her somewhere else. Lee's tent was the first that popped into my mind since he has offered me a place there.
"She should be resting, not putting up with your enthusiasm…" the doctor grumbled.
"She is resting, Sherman, just like she was doing the whole night. And this morning she asked to get her some food."
"You left her alone?"
"You left her alone in the tent last night too."
"But I left her under your supervision."
"And look how that worked out." Bill sneered. "Let it go, Sherman, she's fine. By the way, we would like you all to come see us off in the evening."
"Off!?" Saul asked. "What do you mean, you goin' somewhere?"
"I'm taking Laura back to the cabin." Bill said filling another plate with some light snacks for Laura. "Lee agreed to fly us there in a raptor after supper. But we would very much like to see you before we go. We need to tell you something."
With the last statement Bill left the tent with confused people inside.
"How did it go?" was a question that greeted Bill when he entered the tent.
"I hoped you'd be still asleep. How are you feeling, Laura?" Bill asked sitting on the edge of the bed and kissing his woman delicately.
"Much better after this night and I think a little hungry. Just like I told you after you woke." She took the plate and moved it closer to her. "I can't wait till you show me this cabin." She admitted.
"I think I agree with Cottle." Bill risked saying. "You've been through quite a lot, Laura, maybe you should stay here a bit longer in case…"
"I'm not staying here even one day more, Bill, I've spent too much time in that terrible sickbay. I want to live at last. With you, in our cabin, without fear. We earned it and you know it." Laura managed to get up and settle against his bulk. "I'm feeling much better every minute out of Life Station and you know it. I'm healthy and if Cottle or, for that matter you, have any concerns he can visit us and check on me but I will not be a patient any longer. It's a waste of life."
"So I will need to find some decent clothing for you today on the small market we have here, won't I." He smiled when she nodded. "Your suit will just not be practical."
They laughed and ate together and after a meal Bill helped Laura wash a little and handed her a book he brought with him. Then, when he was sure she was well and had everything she needed he left for the marketplace to gather supplies and some clothes.
Buying meat and vegetables was quite a simple task since there was still not much variety and he knew exactly how much they needed and how much he could store. Since being an admiral he was well known among the setters he was given some advices as well as the best choice of the goods. Buying clothes turned out to be much worse an assignment for a man who had spent his last days in military issue clothing and was still using it. Especially since he was supposed to get some clothes for a woman he didn't know a size of. He knew what she was like before death but present Laura was much fuller and not a skeleton eaten alive by her illness and the treatments. Then he saw something with a bright red color that got his attention. He closed in on the table and fingered the smooth material mesmerized.
"Looking for something special, admiral?" A familiar looking woman asked. "May I know who is the lucky lady?"
"Actually I was looking for something useful for Laura, but …"
"Laura?" mumbled the woman curiously. And then louder "Laura Roslin? The President? So she is alive as they say?"
"If I recall correctly Romo Lampkin is the president now." Bill commented. "But yes, I'm looking for some clothes for Laura Roslin, former president. Where did you get this dress and wrap?"
"It came back from New Caprica on someone. I've had it since then but it was totally impractical back on the ships. But it is nice, isn't it." Then something like dawned on her and she looked at Adama with surprised eyes. "It's the same color like the dress she wore to the Groundbreaking ceremony, isn't it…?" and before Bill realized she was packing the dress and handing it to him.
"Wait, how much do you-"
"It's a gift, admiral." She said with a smile. "It's not really practical here either and I bet she would look gorgeous in it."
Then it dawned on Bill that Laura looked quite similar then to what she looked now.
"Do you have any other clothes in this size?" He asked taking out a pack of what, according to Lee, passed for money these days. He was glad his son decided to share it with him.
Bill was happy to see that obviously Lara didn't push herself like she used to do. When he came back to Lee's tent he saw her sleeping soundly with a book abandoned beside. He was even more optimistic when she ate some lunch with him and agreed to take it slow for at least few days at the cabin before they were to start their own garden. By the time he helped her clothe in the familiar red dress they both smiled at she managed to eat and sleep a great deal and suddenly standing was a hard but not impossible task if he stood there to give her something to hold on to.
This time it was Saul and the others who came with a supper to the tent. Cottle didn't spare Laura a quick check-up but after he was satisfied that her health was progressing he admitted she was fit to leave for the cabin, providing of course that Bill would take good care of her.
"If we're finished with our meal Laura and I would like to tell you something." Bill said coming closer to Laura and hugging her. "Last night before we went to sleep we found a priest and married." He said simply.
The look of shock that registered on the faces of family and friends was almost epic. Ellen was the first to regain her composure and made a whistling sound.
"I guess you approve, Ellen?" Laura asked.
"Frak, yeah…" Ellen came closer and hugged her, then Bill. "At least I know you lost that stick out from your…"
"Ellen!" Saul warned coming to Bill and bear-hugging his friend. "You finally did it, Bill, good luck."
"You'll need it." Ellen's remark made everyone laugh. "You're so gonna need it…"
"Congratulations, dad, Laura." Said Lee with almost tears in his eyes.
"I see you've finally learnt my name, Lee." Roslin said with tears of her own. "It's a good sign, right?"
"I'm really happy for you both." Lee admitted. "You are right for each other. And you both deserve to be happy."
Layne Ishay, who also happened to be there just started crying for which Cottle rebuked her. She just hit him lightly on the arm and hugged Laura without words.
"You're screwed now, big time…"Murmured Saul bending to Cottle's ear. Doctor just grumbled and took Laura's hand and kissed it offering his congratulations as well.
Later, when Lee led his father and Laura to the waiting Raptor Roslin connected some facts and asked Lee when they were stopping for a while to let her rest.
"What is happening with Cottle and Ishay?"
"Cottle and Ishay?" Bill asked having no clue what was on her mind.
"Obviously such things are not really for us men to see, dad." Lee smiled. "I myself have learned about it just a few days ago."
"About what?" Bill was curious now.
"They're living together." Lee said. "I think they started like that to economize the space and living arrangements, like cleaning and cooking, but now…"
"They look in love."Laura mused.
"Cottle? In love with Layne Ishay?" Bill was sceptical. "You couldn't have chosen a more awkward pairing."
Laura started walking again so there was no talking for a while but the talk resumed as soon as Laura was securely strapped into a back seat of the raptor with Bill beside her and Lee in the front part preparing to take off.
"We were awkward at the beginning, Bill." She reminded. "And then we worked side by side for a lot of time before now. Ishay has always had a great deal of respect for Cottle and after the surgery she performed on you I think he started to appreciate her as well. Then all that happened…" She closed her eyes a little like she was remembering something. "They were rather close on New Caprica, working side by side. And when all is said and done it's not really a matter of what was happening. It's a matter of feelings and those are not about age or how you look. And just like everyone else they deserve to be happy and live a little."
"Yes they do." Bill agreed. "If they want to be happy together that's their choice, I could say."
He wouldn't tell her that he didn't give Layne and Sherman a long time before splitting. If Laura was happy thinking those two can have a 'happily ever after' together then he would not crush this dream. And if by some miracle those two really managed to find their happiness with each other then he was going to be the first to congratulate them.
By the time they got to the clearing by the cabin Laura was sound asleep. The meeting with friends and walking the longest distance since coming back to life took a lot out of her despite her quickly returning health. Just like after the cylon cure she was going to need a few days to regain all her vitality. Bill decided to let her rest. He unbuckled her and picked her up into his arms. Lee accompanied him to the cabin but stayed in the small kitchen.
"Maybe you'll stay here for the night, Lee?" Bill asked making a fire to boil a cup of water for tea.
"No, I should probably go. Would you like me to help with anything before I go?"
"We've got everything we need in the raptor."
"I'll get it." Lee offered before his father even had time to declare to do it himself.
With Lee's fitness carrying all the bags of food and other supplies was an easy task. He made three trips simply because he would need more hands to take more at one turn. He helped his father unpack most of the supplies and drank tea with him before retreating to the raptor and heading back.
"I hope Laura is happy with the cabin when she finally sees it." Bill admitted. "She was so sure about how it should look. I hope I got everything right."
"I think she will love it, dad." Lee then got into the raptor but before the door closed he looked out with a wide green. "I just realized something, you know… Take care of my step-mother."
Bill smiled as he watched Lee fly away. He came back to the cabin and slid under cover beside Laura. For the first time the bed didn't feel so big and so empty. He had fallen asleep with a smile on his face and beloved woman in his arms.
Laura woke with a warm, fuzzy feeling that she was not accustomed to. After some time she managed to recognize the warm feeling as William Adama spooning her from behind.
"Bill…" She mumbled trying to turn to face him. "Bill…!" She tried louder.
"Aha…"Bill just pulled closer.
"Bill… wake up, please."
Adama seemed to be slowly waking and at some point actually managed to came alive enough to get a normal conversation going.
"Good morning to you too, Laura." He snuggled his nose into her neck and started kissing. "Nice to have you back."
"Yeah?" He continued to kiss her neck.
"I'm not ready for this yet." Laura said pushing Bill's face from her neck and turning towards him. "I don't feel strong enough."
"Oh…" He moved back little. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be." She kissed him lightly on the lips. "I feel good that you're still attracted to me this way."
"To you always, Laura."
"I think tomorrow might be long enough for this one to wait.." She kissed him again and pushed up with a grunt but still by herself. "Now, breakfast, Bill. We need to eat. And then I want you to take me to the grave."
"What?" That request momentarily woke Bill fully. "Are you sure you want that?"
"I know I need to put this past me, Bill, that's the only way." Laura said surely. "If I am to live again I need to get over my death and it's the most complete way to do that."
So Bill took her. It was two hours of trek in Laura's state to reach the gravesite. Bill listened patiently when Laura talked about one of the most painful experiences in his life – her death and even more patiently answered all her questions about the event.
The trip back took them about an hour after a good, long rest and a picnic that Bill prepared for them. He could see how fast Laura's health was coming back and truth to be told he was almost happy she died and she came back. It was giving him a lot of opportunities.
"Bill, can you answer one more question?" Laura asked Bill when they were eating their supper in front of the fireplace. She continued when he nodded. "Why did you bury me in my suit and my green head wrap?"
"I know you never liked your wig and frankly, I thought the suit was the important part of who you were then."
"And now?" She asked curiously. "Why did you buy the red wrap?"
"I hope that Laura would be who you are here." He leaned over the plates they held. She allowed herself to be kissed lightly. "That you'll be that happy and carefree and optimistic as that night."
"I'm not." Lara declared with a smile but quickly corrected the misunderstanding when she saw Bill's fallen expression. "I'm happier."
The next morning Laura did not stop Bill.