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Disclaimer: See first chapter
Rating: Chapter PG-13, Story R
Pairing</b:>Spoilers: Anything through Black Market is fair game
Timeline: At the end of ‘Home II’ and the beginning of ‘Final Cut’

Link to - Ch 1 - The Grander Plan


The Broken Road

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By

Lattelady

Ch 2 - Like Northern Stars


Laura Roslin stirred in the pre-dawn darkness. Her body was tucked against Bill Adama’s and his arms and scent surrounded her. For the first time in months she felt warm and safe upon waking. Gradually her eyes opened to be met by his dusky blue gaze.

“Good morning,” he whispered. The camp was quiet. The downpour had stopped sometime during the night, leaving behind only the occasional drops falling from water-soaked trees.

“Did you get any sleep?” She muttered as she stretched to relieve the kinks in her back. It pressed her tightly against the male body she had been using as a pillow and made her catch her breath. She wanted desperately to ask him what he was thinking, but refused to let him see how vulnerable it made her feel to know he’d been watching her sleep.

“As much as could be expected in the middle of a war zone.” Adama’s hand drifted up and down her back and through her hair. He needed to touch her, knowing it might be weeks before they could put their jobs aside long enough to indulge in private pleasures.

“Bill, what are we going to do, now?” Tears filled Laura’s eyes. The night before had been a lovely dream, but she could feel it slipping away with the coming sunrise. Dawn meant back to reality and their jobs, back to the monumental tasks in front of them. Not just finding Earth, but putting the fleet back together, and all the problems it would entail.

She had been so focused on getting the Arrow of Apollo and finding the Tomb of Athena that she’d never really thought much beyond that point. The man beside her had. He’d proved it when he’d put aside their differences and joined her on the surface of Kobol. To him nothing had been more important than undoing the damage they’d done when they’d both let stubbornness and desperation rule over good judgment.

“This is all we have time for,” he cradled her head in his hand and covered her lips with his. One last time he slid his free hand greedily beneath her shirt to feel her soft skin and was gratified to feel her quivering fingers slip under his turtleneck and tanks.

“Gods, Bill, that’s not what I was taking about.” She gasped when he’d finished devouring her mouth.

“Weren’t you?”

“I..ah…,” words stuck in her throat. Was he capable of reading her thoughts? Was she that transparent? “I…a…well maybe I was, just a little.”

“I meant what I said last night.” He watched her carefully, looking for any doubts she might be having. “I gather from your response that you haven’t changed your mind either.

“No,” Laura whispered as she trailed her index finger along his jaw. “I can think of a million sensible reasons why I should lie and tell you last night was only the result of too much stress and fear, but I can’t.”

“Good!” he grunted. “Somehow I think the fleet would be even more outraged if I locked you in my quarters, than they were when I locked you in the brig.”

“Ah…well…yes…” She cleared her throat as a vivid picture of him carrying through the corridors of Galactica, like some pirate of old, filled her mind. “I keep forgetting what a truly dangerous man you are.” He assaulted her senses with ease and left her reeling.

“It’s a good thing for you to keep in mind.” He rolled her beneath him and cupped her face. “But never to you, Laura.”

“To me, most of all.” She turned and kissed the palm of his hand. Didn’t he realize how different they were? If they had met on one of the Colonies, he wouldn’t have given her a second glance and she would have kept her distance. He exuded male strength and sexuality that could easily attract younger pretty women. And she’d always preferred her men polished and sophisticated. But here they were the keepers of humanity and it had broken down walls that should have separated them.

“Remember from here on out, we’re in this together.” He’d pulled back slightly, aware that the camp was beginning to stir. Tyrol had replaced Lee and Kara on guard duty. The young pilots were silhouetted by the fire as they began making coffee. Their soft teasing voices drifted through the clearing.

“And when we don’t agree?”

“Then we argue in private.” He nodded. They both knew it was the only way to recover from what had happened. Together they’d pulled the fleet apart, together they would restore it.

“There’s so much to do and so little time,” Roslin sighed and sat up, her hip snug in the curve of Bill’s body.

“Laura,” he took her hand and laced his fingers through hers. “We’ll make the time.”

She knew by his expression that he was no longer talking about the fleet and hoped with all her being that he was right.

…………………………………

“Gentlemen, have we about covered it?” Laura Roslin snapped closed a folder and looked around the table at Commander Adama, Colonel Tigh and Captain Johns of the mining ship the Trillium Trawler. It was exactly one week since the discovery of the Tomb of Athena and information that could lead them to Earth. In that time, Laura and Bill hadn’t had more than a few moments alone together. In all that time, their usual morning conferences were held in the President’s cramped office on Colonial One instead of Adama’s more spacious one on Galactica, as they had been before the splitting of the fleet.

“I believe so, thank you very much for your time, Madam President…ah and…ah Commander Adama.” Captain Johns left quickly unsure what to think anymore. He had arrived at the meeting prepared to stand staunchly behind Laura Roslin and four-square against Adama, but it had been impossible, since the two leaders were in complete agreement on all matters. It was as if the last weeks had never happened, no coup, no assassination attempt, no breaking of the fleet, and no juicy gossip to be taken back to a certain man on the Astral Queen.

Adama gathered his papers and stacked them into a neat pile. It took all his effort to keep his hands from shaking. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could reign in his emotions. In the last seven days it was as if the entire fleet had been watching his actions. ‘Do they think I’m going to throw Laura in the brig, again?’ He wondered fleetingly as an image filled his mind. ‘Nope, it won’t do.’ He smiled to himself. ‘Hack has the necessary locked doors, and flat surfaces, but it lacks my only other requirement. There is no damn privacy!’

“Commander,” her voice caught in her throat and interrupted his momentary fantasy. “A moment of your time please.” Roslin tried to smile, but her insides were shaking too badly. She’d never propositioned a man before and was a bit unsure of how to go about it.

“Yes, Ma’am,” he watched her carefully. She was nervous about something and was having trouble meeting his eyes.

“That…ah matter we discussed on Kobol, I think it is past time we studied it a bit more thoroughly.” Laura slid her glasses off and stepped into his personal space. In case he’d changed his mind over the last week, she didn’t want him to have any doubts about where this conversation would lead.

“Hmmm,” he looked at her over his glasses with blue fire in his eyes. He’d begun to wonder if she may have been having second thoughts about the night they’d spent sleeping in each other’s arms, of allowing him the liberties of touching her as a woman instead of as a president. “What did you have in mind?”

“Would you be available for a dinner meeting this evening….say around 1830?” She gazed toward her desk as if double checking her appointment schedule. She’d deliberately instructed Billy to keep her evening free, but needed the ruse to give her some breathing space. “I have an appointment on Galactica late this afternoon, but barring a Cylon attack or other emergency I should be finished by that time.”

She didn’t need to tell him who her meeting was with. Adama already knew she saw Dr. Cottle on a regular basis. If she wanted him to know the details, she would tell him. He cared too much about her to push. “Sounds good,” he nodded and stepped close enough that her hair brushed against his sleeve as she turned back toward him. “You do realize we have rather a lot to cover? I’d hate to neglect any of the…finer details. The meeting could run very late.”

His voice touched her like a caress and filled her mind with powerful images. “Ahhh…Point taken,” Laura cleared her throat and hoped her cheeks weren’t turning as red as they felt. If only Tigh weren’t standing in the door, with his arms crossed, and watching them with a quizzical expression on his face. “Can Galactica put me up for the night? After all we’ve been through; I’d like to be able to send my people on their way at a decent hour.” Her chin rose defiantly. All her cards were on the table, it was his turn now. “Besides I think it would be a good idea for the fleet to see that we are back to business as normal.”

“Business as normal?” Adama whispered as his brows rose at her suggestion. “You’re not worried about fall-out in the press?” With the exception of two joint press conferences that they had held, it would be her first time on his ship since she’d been jailed there. It had been a sore spot with him, but he’d left the politics of the matter to her.

Laura blinked. Her mind was so full of the memory of the feel of his hands on her skin that it took her a moment to realize he was teasing her. He wasn’t trying to find a graceful way to tell her he’d changed his mind. ‘Two could play at that game.’ “Well, Commander, as long as you find somewhere more comfortable for me to sleep than the brig, I doubt very much that it’ll be a problem.” Her lips twitched with mischief as the words tumbled out.

“Touché,” he nodded. ‘The woman was flirting with him in front of his Exec and her assisant!’ “I believe that can be arranged,” he growled. “Until this evening then, Madam President,” he nodded and left quickly before he gave into the need to kiss the sassy expression off her face.

“Are you coming, Colonel,” the Commander called from the President’s outer office. Tigh had been frozen in place observing the strange interplay between Adama and Roslin.

………………………………

The afternoon dragged for Laura Rollins. A strange gnawing in the pit of her stomach grew more and more irritating until it finally broke through her concentration. With iron discipline she refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong and went back to the piece of legislation she’d been editing. When she found herself reading the same sentence over, for the tenth time, she let the document slip from her fingers and pushed back her chair with a sigh.

“What in the Twelve Colonies was I thinking,” she muttered tossing her glasses on her desk. With a quick burst of energy she began pacing her small private living area until she was drawn to the mirror above her make-shift dresser. “Laura what are you doing?” she asked her reflection, but no pearls of wisdom were forth-coming. “You’re a school teacher and dying. He’s the Commander of a Battlestar and way out of your league.”

The idea made her smile when she remembered the last man she’d had an affair with, the man whose job she now held. The idea made her laugh. She’d had no problems sleeping with the President of the Twelve Colonies, but the idea of sleeping with the Commander of the last remaining Battlestar in the fleet was making her nervous.

Then it dawned on her that she’d known Richard Adar long before he’d become president. She hadn’t been having an affair with the office, but the man behind it. “Too bad he hadn’t been able to make the distinction,” she muttered.

Laura thought back to her last confrontation with Adar, it wasn’t something she liked to dwell on. Their intimate relationship, which had been sporadic over the years, had begun to fall apart completely and he’d started snapping at her professionally. She’d always known that there was no real substance to their affair, but she’d been drawn to him none the less. In all the years she worked for him, she’d never been able to say no to him, until that last afternoon. Looking back she realized he’d set her up and planned to use it as a means to gracefully extract himself from a liaison that he had no longer found comfortable.

“Bill would never do that,” she whispered. He’d proven that when he had gone to Kobol after her, not with the intention of locking her up again, but of helping her.

“Madam President,” Billy called from the other room. “I know you didn’t want to be disturbed, but there is something on the news you need to see.”

Moments later Laura watched with horror as D’Anna Bier’s noon show, Focus on the Fleet, opened with an exploitive tape of the confrontation that had taken place between civilians and armed Marines on the Gideon, weeks earlier.

“Billy, put me through to Commander Adama.” Roslin never took her eyes off the vid screen while she waited. Seconds later her assistant handed her the phone.

“Commander, turn on Focus on the Fleet. You need to see this.” She could hear the rhythm of quiet voices and activity that told her he had taken her call in CIC. For a moment she was soothed by the familiar sounds that moved in counterpoint to his breathing. ‘How many times have we done this?’ she wondered. ‘And how many more times will we do it again?’ Though Galactica was fifteen minutes away by shuttle, Bill seemed very near when he was on the other end of her phone line.

“Frak!” Adama growled in the back ground. “I’ve seen enough, turn it off, Dee, and have Chief Tyrol ready a Raptor for me.”

“Madam President, I assume you have some suggestions?” He could think of a few ways to handle the situation, but none that would help improve the military’s image and none that would sit well with President Roslin.

“A few,” she sighed. This was not how she’d planned on spending her afternoon. “How long to you think it would take to have Ms Bier brought to Colonial One?”

“How fast do you want her?” Adama’s eyes glinted at the idea of having his marines clap the reporter in irons and hall her off without an argument.

“We need to talk first. Be sure we’re on the same page.”

“According to the information I’ve just been given, Ms Bier lives and works on the passenger liner Solarium, which is located on the opposite side of the fleet.” Adama did some quick calculations. “It’ll be a little over an hour before I can have my men escort her to a meeting with us.”

“Good that should give us enough time. I’ll…ah…see you shortly, Commander.”

As commander of the fleet, the news tape had set off his carefully controlled temper. On a personal level, his anger was being fed by something else. He didn’t like that he couldn’t pinpoint the exact source. There was the obvious: this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. He and Laura should have been meeting for dinner and a quiet evening alone on Galactica, not business on Colonial One. But everything had changed when the extremely one-sided video of the deaths on the Gideon were broadcast to the entire fleet. In his mind it was one reporter, out to make a name for herself, by stirring public opinion into a feeding frenzy, just as things were beginning to quiet down.

But even as he thought that, Bill Adama was forced to look deeper. There was more that was upsetting him than public opinion, and the loss of an evening with Laura. He used the solitude while Racetrack piloted his Raptor to Colonial One for some deep soul searching. Unfortunately by the time they docked, he wasn’t any closer to an answer than he’d been when he’d approached the puzzle fifteen minutes earlier and he’d had that much more time to let his anger sizzle.

Laura looked up as Billy brought Adama into her private office/quarters. The stony expression on the Commander’s face didn’t bode well for a diplomatic resolve of the situation at hand.

“Please sit down Commander Adama,” she smiled and indicated the chair across from her desk.

“I’d rather stand.”

“Very well,” Laura nodded. “That will be all Billy. I’ll call you if we need anything.” She smiled at her assistant, never taking her eyes off Adama’s frozen features. “Oh, and please phone me when the shuttle docks with Ms Bier.”

As Billy carefully closed the door that separated the President’s private room from the more public front office, Laura studied Bill Adama. The Commander was a master at hiding his feelings. To almost anyone else it would appear that he was in total control, grim-faced and unhappy about something, but in control non-the-less. But Laura wasn’t fooled. She’d been on the receiving end of that particular expression three times.

The first had been when he sat across a desk from her on Galactica and their wills had clashed over the fate of what was left of man-kind. He had simply brushed aside her arguments to get on with business as he perceived it. She never knew what had made him change his mind, but was sure that it was something that she had said in that meeting. Whatever it was, the outcome was the same. He’d chosen to take the civilian fleet and run instead of staying and fighting the Cylons. She thanked the gods many times over that she hadn’t realized what could happen when his frustrations slipped their leash, or she might have been more cautious in her initial dealings with him. If that had happened, she had no doubt that they would all be dead.

The second time had been when Starbuck had been missing. Vipers had been put out of action and fuel wasted, long after the time allotted for the young pilot’s oxygen to have run out. Again Laura had confronted Adama on Galactica. Unlike the first time, he’d fought back and she’d gotten a small taste of what was hidden behind his iron will.

The third time had been the kicker, the one that she would never forget; because that was the time his wrath had coldly exploded around them. She had found herself looking at that expression through the bars of a jail cell which he had closed and locked. She knew that expression well and she knew that if she didn’t disarm it in short order, it could mean disaster because the civilian fleet wouldn’t sit back and take orders as was done in the military.

She stood and slowly made her way around her desk until she was standing inches away from him. “All right Commander, spill it. What has you so worked up?”

“If you don’t know, Madam President, than I’m not sure why I bothered coming here.” He growled as his eyes spit fire.

With her arms crossed she slowly nodded as her woman’s heart smiled. He was angry, he was outraged, but he was dealing with the President and not Laura. A little voice whispered through her thoughts and then disappeared, ‘thank the gods Bill Adama isn’t anything like Richard Adar.’ She took a moment to clear her mind of personal matters before she continued. “The facts are simple; the tape that we saw half an hour ago was seen by much of the fleet. It is probably being aired over and over again. That can not be changed. Suppression is no longer an issue, but containment is and it is a waste of energy to think otherwise.”

“Frak!” Adama’s eyes narrowed to blue slits. “I’m well aware of the facts of the situation.”

“Good, then we both are, so please sit down and we’ll start working on a solution.” She smiled and laid her hand on his arm. “We were foolish to think we would get off so easily.”

“This is my problem, I’d appreciate your input, but I’m not bound by it. This is a military matter.”

“Don’t play that game with me. I saw that tape, but more importantly, I’ve read the reports. What happened on the Gideon was a conflict between civilian and military personnel. It shouldn’t have happened, but it did. Now we have to deal with it.”

“There’s really no need for you to involve yourself in this.” He stood very straight, suddenly realizing that part of his anger stemmed from the fact that she was willing to jump right into the fight beside him. He wanted to make love to her, not hide behind her skirts.

“But I’m already involved. We split the fleet and we decided that we would face any consequences together.” She could see he didn’t like her answer but that was too damn bad.

“This is different.” He argued. “My command may come out of this with a bad reputation, but the fleet needs Galactica to protect it from the Cylons. Your presidency might not survive…might not…” he gasped “…gods, Laura.” Suddenly he was Bill again as he cupped her cheeks and stepped close enough so he could rest his forehead on hers.

She breathed in his presence as they took a moment for themselves. When she stepped back slightly her eyes were bright, but determined. “The truth is that I may not survive my presidency.” She smiled gently. “So it really is best that this came out now. The people need you in command of Galactica and they need to trust you. You can’t do your job without that trust. I think I have an idea of how we can make that happen.”

“I still don’t like getting you involved.” Adama frowned.

“Bill, when you arrived on Kobol, things were pretty much falling apart.” She took his hand and guided him to the small coach that sat under the windows. “I was pretty much falling apart. I’d had no sleep and was filled with doubts I didn’t dare share with anyone. It took every ounce of effort to keep going. Then suddenly you were there and it all changed. You gave me strength. I’ve lost count of how many times you’d give me your hand to help me over an especially bad patch of ground or just touched my back or arm. It made all the difference. I would have survived Kobol, because it was my destiny, but I believe that I may not have lived to get back to the fleet, if you hadn’t come when you did.”

“Laura…” he tried to cut her off.

“Let me finish.” She gripped his hand because she knew they were running out of time. “Now it is my turn to help you. We’ll do this together.”

“Under one condition,” he voice rumbled very close to her ear. “As long as you’re not doing this for personal reasons.”

“All right, Commander.” She folded her hands in her lap and sat very straight. “As president of the Twelve Colonies, I believe it is essential to the well-being of the fleet for them to regain their faith in the military and you.”

He studied her expression carefully and then finally nodded. “So what was this idea of yours, Madam President?”

“You’re not going to like it, Commander Adama.” A wicked smile made her lips turn up at the corners, and her eyes crinkle.

“To be perfectly frank, President Roslin, there aren’t many of your ideas I do like.”

“Well than it’s a good think I’m the president because I think the best thing we can do is let D’Anna Bier do a documentary on Galactica and her crew. Have her spend a few days on your ship. Let her see what it is really like for the men and woman who protect the fleet.”

“Frak, you’ve outdone yourself on this one.” He didn’t like it one bit, but the more he thought about it the more senses it made. “I won’t give her carte blanche.”

“But she doesn’t have to know that. Galactica is a big ship and your people can be very discrete when needed.” Laura thought about the Cylon locked in a special brig on Galactica and all the trouble it would cause if it were common knowledge.

“I must stipulate that for security reason we have the right of refusal on anything she shoots.” Adama watched Laura nod to herself and was sure they were thinking about the same problem.

“If we can get her to agree to the terms, they should get started as soon as possible.” Roslin stood and stared out of one of the many windows at the huge Battlestar floating among many smaller ships.

“I gather that means our dinner date is off.” As quick as that the Commander had turned back into Bill. He’d moved quietly to stand behind Laura and pulled her against him.

“It has to be. With a film crew on your ship it changes things.” She leaned back and rested her head on his shoulder. “I’ve even canceled my appointment with Major Cottle.”

“Should I send him to you?” It was as close as he could get to asking her if she was having further problems.

“No, it isn’t necessary,” Laura turned in his arms needing to see his face. “The outcome is the same no matter what.”

“As long as you’re not in any pain.” Bill wrapped his arms around her and took her weight as she relaxed against him.

“Nothing has changed,” she rubbed her cheek against the scratchy wool of his uniformed shoulder. “I just want to be careful. The Quorum knows that I’m dying and there are rumors everywhere. The last thing we need is for a reporter to catch me in life station or learn that Cottle was on Colonial One. This story has to be about the men and women who guard the fleet and not about a dying President.”

“Gods, Laura….” He carefully maneuvered her away from the huge windows before he kissed her. She’d said he gave her strength, at that moment, as he explored her mouth and felt her body quiver against his, he knew he’d gladly give her every bit of strength he had if it would keep her alive.

In Progress - TBC

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Quotes

The moving finger writes: and having writ Moves on. nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancal half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it...The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

If I quiet the voices in my head, I would face the day with nothing to write. - Unknown

I must go down to the seas again the lonely sea and sky...J Masefield

Cinderella walked on broken glass,
Sleeping beauty let a whole lifetime pass.
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast,
Jasmine married a common thief.
Ariel walked on land for love and life,
Snow white barely escaped a knife.
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears.
Because love means facing your biggest fears


The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of...French Proverb

I have drempt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after. They've gone through me like wine through water and altered the colour of my mind ...E. Bronte

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage...Lao Tzu

It takes chaos to give birth to a dancing star ..F. Nietzsche

How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter, that is the day when I first met you, appears the words, "here begins a new life".
La Vita Nuova

Midnight courage of the heart...Jen Kirkwood

The three o-clock in the morning courage which Bonaparte thought was the rarest...Thoreau

Did you say it? I love you; I don't ever want to live without you; you changed my life. Did you say it?
Make a plan, set a goal, work toward it, but every now and then, look around, drink it in, 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow. - Meredith Grey

Shakespeare is easy, life is hard...Wheels

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. Let history make up its own mind...Z.Cochron

I had a job to do and I was unafraid...Jack to John Creighton

For I dipt into the future, as far as the human eye could see. Saw the vision of the world, and the wonders that can be...RWW Hipwell

Without diviation from the norm, progress is impossible...F. Zappa

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar...E Lear

Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow, Blow him again to me;... Tennison

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn... Keats

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