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31 January 2012 @ 02:16 pm
Dealing - Laura/Lee - T  
Title: Dealing
Author: sira01
Rating: PG-13 / T
Pairing: Laura/Lee, Adama/Roslin
Summary: Lee Adama and Laura Roslin meet after Daybreak
Word count: ~7.100
Disclaimer: Characters are property of RDM and Universal Pictures.
Author’s Note: I hope this story fits the prompt: canon-consistent post-finale Lee/Laura fix-it fic. It's not much of a romantic
story and it's not a shippy fic. Sorry, I couldn't work my way around Bill Adama. He's canon, too, you know. *lol*
It definitely fits the prompts: Laura centric, Laura/Lee. Maybe it fits the prompt: Laura-does-not-die-at-the-end-of-the-series.

I owe a million thanks to the following two people. Thank you, mary_me11 for reading through this fic three times and making me see that the smut just had to go. Without your insights I wouldn't have finished this fic. Thank you, ufp13. I can't apologize enough for making you wade through my atrocious grammar. I owe you! Again.


Dealing

Lee Adama didn’t believe in ghosts, never had, but when she appeared to him one night, he began to wonder if they existed after all.

Wandering the outskirts of the settlement, her body seemed nearly translucent in the pale moonlight. Shaking his head slowly, he thought his vision would clear, her lithe form disappear. It didn’t. However, Laura Roslin was dead, had died about two months ago.

It had to be the lack of sleep that was slowly getting to him, his lonely walks night after night making him prone to hallucinations. Although, if anyone would ask him who he thought he was most likely to see, who was the most likely candidate to haunt him, he’d say Kara. His relationship with Laura Roslin had been… complex, and it had been laced with too much disappointment to be one he liked to remember. In some fashion, it was true for his relationship with Kara as well. With her, though, it had been a case of messy emotions, being in the wrong places at the wrong times.

Laura was almost out of sight now, about to disappear into the woods surrounding their encampment. She was dead, couldn’t be here. Ghost didn’t exist. Still, he had to prove to himself she wasn’t real, just a figment of his imagination. Even while he walked faster, he knew how irrational he behaved. Chasing a ghost or a hallucination. This was him, though, always wanting to prove one thing or the other, running full speed in the wrong direction, preferably the one defying his father. As if he didn’t know what people thought of him, that they were right in most instances, although not in every one.

She was out of his range of vision now, and picking up speed, he all but raced for where he had seen her last. Gone. She remained gone. In the dark, he couldn’t even look for footprints. Did a hallucination leave a footprint? A question to ponder when he got back to his tent where nothing but silence would greet him.

If there was one thing to this place they had chosen for humanity and Cylons alike, it was that it had granted them time to think, time to regret their mistakes. This was true for him just like it was for anybody else. Kara, Dee, Laura… his relationships with any of these women had ended in a catastrophe of some kind. Shouldn’t that tell him something? He snorted.

He didn’t find any sleep that night, old regrets keeping him awake. Kara turning her back at him, Dee leaving him, disappointment written all over her face, and Laura… he would never forget the cold looks she’d given him when he was still a member of the Quorom. They had made their peace in the end. Still, the memory of these looks continued to chill him.

Upon getting up, he wondered if he should visit his father, talk to him about last night, but decided against it. It would be too cruel. Laura’s death had broken something inside the man. He was glad his father hadn’t given up on life, but he hardly talked, didn’t seem interested in what was going on around him. The only one getting a reaction out of him now and then was Saul Tigh. He and Ellen, which was a surprise, yet not when one took the time to truly think about it.

Throughout the day, work kept him mercifully too busy to think. There was always something to do. Shunning nearly all modern technology, their progress in building a life for them all was slow. Lee was convinced it had been the right decision, though. It was technology which had brought them to this point, which all but had destroyed them. He knew everything was bound to happen again at some point, humanity’s curiosity would always bring it to the point of extinction, but he had bought them time, hopefully a few thousand years to live and love.

As he helped cutting wood for what was supposed to be the community centre one day, hour after hour passed. In the evening, he should have been tired enough to drop dead in bed, yet he didn’t.

Tossing and turning for several hours, he eventually got up to take another walk.

When he had first started to walk at night, he had run into people here and there, feeling annoyed by their attempts of small talk even if it should have been obvious he was reluctant to talk to them. After a week, he had learned how to dodge any unwanted conversation, how to make a round in silence. Each night led him a bit farther way from the settlement, making him wonder if he’d simply refuse to turn around one day.

He saw her again, although it took him a moment to realize what he was seeing. The clouds stole most of the meagre moonlight, making it hard to see anything beyond a few yards. Still, it was enough to recognise her shape, the distinctive way of her walk.

If Laura Roslin was a ghost, there to haunt him, why didn’t she try to make contact, didn’t even acknowledge his presence? He nearly laughed out at the ridiculousness of his own thoughts. Trying to follow her once more, he had to give up after a few minutes. It was too dark. He would break a leg before he managed to keep up with her. The thought of trying to explain to Cottle why he ended up in such a predicament wasn’t one he liked to entertain. He turned around, let ghosts be ghost and went back to his tent with nothing but regrets on his mind.

He saw her a third time, then a fourth. Slowly he became convinced he was either going mad or something like ghosts truly existed. He didn’t know which alternative he preferred. Being mad like Baltar or doomed to be haunted for the rest of his days.

What did Laura want? Atonement? He knew he owed her an apology for all but ignoring her after Kobol, for confronting her with anger when he became a member of the Quorum. Laura Roslin wasn’t a saint, far from it, but it wasn’t she who had betrayed him on the stand. The memory left a bitter taste in his mouth.

He couldn’t go on like this, had to know. It was time to confront her, talk to her. Could ghosts talk? He laughed out loudly, which made the man working next to him look at him warily. Lee shook his head, was glad when the man turned back to his work.

At the academy, he had been good at tactics, had been first of his class. Spending some time contemplating the course Laura had taken the last nights, at least from what he had seen, he decided on a place to wait for her, hoping a direct confrontation might clear matters.

“You look awful,” Saul Tigh commented when they all but ran into each other in the afternoon. He didn’t bother answering. In the last months, he had come to respect Tigh, knew he was one of the driving forces of reconciling Cylons with humans; still, they weren’t be likely to become friends any time soon.

Biting back a ‘go home to Ellen’, he just passed him, ignoring the few other shouts and waves along the way. If he didn’t solve this riddle soon, he’d lose what had remained of his sanity to begin with.


That night, it rained. It wasn’t one of the hard downpours making him worry the camp might be flooded but a soft, ongoing drizzle. He hadn’t even bothered with going to bed, and when it was time, he took a flashlight and left the camp on his usual route. Thanks to the rain, even less people were outside; in fact, Lee only saw the guards. Did it matter to ghosts if it rained or not? Gods, he was truly becoming mad.

He saw her right where he had expected her to appear, she was only later than she had been the last nights. Looking around to make sure there was no one else, that they couldn’t be seen from the encampment, he crossed her path, switched on the flashlight.

She flinched, took a step back. Then she stopped, though, her expression hardening, crossing her arms over her chest. From shock to intimidation in a few moments. This was the Laura Roslin, he knew. It almost made him smile.

“Who are you?” she asked.

Of course, she couldn’t see him in the dark. For a moment, he contemplated letting her guess, but he didn’t mean to scare her.

“Lee. Lee Adama. And you are?”

“You know who I am.”

He didn’t want to ask the question burning inside of him, but it was the one he felt he needed ask even if it made him look stupid. He had a knack for appearing stupid in her company, a bit green behind the ears.

“I do. But… are you a ghost?”

Her eyes widened, and she shook her head slowly. Lee noticed her thick hair had curled slightly in the damp air, reminding him of the last time he had seen her on New Caprica. And like then, she was in jeans and a cardigan, looking beautiful.

“A ghost? Aren’t you a bit old to believe in ghosts?”

He didn’t want to, but he had to smile, a perverted feeling of nostalgia welling up in him. This was the only woman who could make him feel too young, too naïve as if she was always two steps ahead of him. At least, that was the feeling he had had after Kobol. Before then… he had idolized her, wanting to be worthy of her attention, her affection if he was honest.

Realising he had been silent for too long, he shook his head, hoping to clear it.

“What would you think in my place? I’ve seen you less than an hour before your death. Now I’ve seen you a few nights in a row, and I’m sorry to say, but you shouldn’t be here.” He ran a hand through his hair. “Damn, how should I know if you’re real or only a figment of my imagination?”

“I don’t know. I am sorry to tell you that I can’t help you with that.”

Turning her head, her gaze became distant, forlorn before it hardened once more, and she faced him again. A spine of steel, it had always been a trademark of her. Even in times of crisis, she knew how to keep a cool head, alienating people while making decision no one else dared to make. Lee hadn’t agreed with all of them. But in the last months, years, he had learned that sometimes there just was no right decision.

“Oh, frak it,” he muttered under his breath. “Tell me.Aare you real? Are you dead? I feel like going out of my mind.”

“Define real. But I’m not dead. Lee… it’s a long story.”

He lifted his hands in a gesture of surrender. “I’ve got nothing but time. Why don’t you come to my tent and we can talk.”

She shook her head. “No, I can’t. I… no. I won’t come into the settlement. If you react like this, how will others react?”

He knew she was right about that. If you could count on one thing it was on people and their superstitions. “What do you suggest?”

“That you forget you ever saw me.”

She was serious. He saw it in her eyes.

“No, I can’t.”

Did it always have to be that way? It seemed they were destined to be on different sides of the fence even while basically having the same goal.

“It would be easier for everyone if you could let go, forget.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t.”

Her shoulders sagged a fraction then she squared them. For a long time, giving up didn’t seem to be part of Laura Roslin’s vocabulary, making it all the more surprising when she did, her interest in the people seemingly having waned. Something had broken inside her the day they had landed on Earth or what they had thought was Earth. It had been true for all of them. He would never forget that barren planet, all civilization having died a long time ago. If he thought of Dee… he quickly shoved the thought to the side before his guilt could gnaw on him once more. She had been one of the most courageous women he’d ever met, but she hadn’t survived that version of Earth.

“Alright, come with me. I’ll… I’ll try to explain.”

Was it madness to follow someone who he knew was dead? Although wasn’t it better than to be left wondering who and what it was he had seen these nights? For a while, they walked in silence along a path leading away from the settlement.

“Are you a Cylon?” he asked when he knew the chance to meet any other settlers was over.

“Is that your explanation? That I’m either a ghost or a Cylon?”

“Is that your way to deal with obstacles in your path? To ask questions until everyone gives up hoping for an answer any longer?”

“Does it work?”

“What do you think?”

She stopped, and it was hard for him to see her expression in the pale moonlight.

“It has never worked with you. You could never accept no for an answer.”

The way she said it, laced with wry amusement eased a knot of tension inside him. So often people had told him they considered him a nuisance, someone who stood in others’ paths. If he was honest with himself for a moment, put aside everything tainting his history with Laura Roslin, he had to admit she had accepted him the way he was. She didn’t always like what he did, didn’t always like him, but she hadn’t tried to change him either. And how had he repaid her?

His musings were interrupted when they reached a cave he hadn’t known existed. Guessing they were a bit over half an hour from the encampment, he followed Laura inside. There wasn’t much to see. There was a sleeping bag, a pack he guessed contained clothes and a corner reserved for making a fire, some cooking gear placed there. By the small fire, Laura sat down to stoke it.

“I would offer you something to drink, but…,” she gestured around.

She sat down on a blanket, waiting for him to take a seat as well. The ground was cold where Lee sat down, but he didn’t ask her to share her blanket with him, ignoring the uncomfortable sensation of cold seeping into his very bones.

“Madame…”

Laura shook her head, her expression hardening. “This was the past. I’m Laura. Just Laura. I’m sorry, Lee, but either you are able to accept this or you need to go now.”

He remained silent for a moment, took a calming breath. If he wanted answers, he better didn’t blow this.

“So, Laura. How… just how?”

For a long time, he thought Laura wouldn’t answer, her eyes closing, then, though, she looked at him again, looking tired, smaller than he remembered her.

“I died, Lee.”

“You… well, you don’t look very dead now.” He winced at realising how this sounded.

“I’m… I’m not dead. I was in some fashion, though. Gods, Lee. Do you really need to know?”

“Yes. I don’t understand. Does… does dad know?”

“No, he doesn’t. And he can’t. At least not now.”

She wrapped her arms around her slender frame, shuddering slightly. Lee wished he could warm her, his protective urges nearly making him get up and go to her. For a moment, he remembered Kobol, a terrible time, yet one of the best in his life. Back then, he had had a purpose, a clearly defined goal, something and someone to believe in. It was before his father had come and he had become all but invisible to Laura, when he himself had become too busy with chasing after Kara. All of his life, Lee had chased after things, after people he couldn’t have. Was he destined to be this way or could this, could he change? He was so tired of waking up, feeling alone, longing for someone to be with.

“I… need some time. I need to think.”

“Think?” He didn’t understand. What did she have to think about and why would she hide up here?

“What happened? Why are you alive?” he asked instead.

“I woke up… a day after I died.” She stopped, took a shuddering breath. “The first thing I thought was that if that was afterlife, I didn’t want it. I was angry, felt cheated.” Her mouth curled into a bitter smile.

“But it wasn’t afterlife?”

“No, it wasn’t. I was here, in this very cave. And there was… well, Caprica was here, too.”

“So it all was the… fault of the Cylons.”

She wrung her hands. Lee was transfixed by the movements, was sure Laura wasn’t even aware of doing it. This was so unlike her, he wished she would stop, almost told her it was making him nervous.

“Can you talk of a fault when I found myself alive?”

Lee didn’t understand. “But dad… He told me he buried you. Damn, I saw him… I saw him crying. Something broke inside of him when you died. And now you want to tell me you aren’t dead?!” He shouldn’t be angry, not with her anyway, but this… was he hallucinating? Was she a Cylon after all, no matter what she had just said?

Something hardened in Laura’s gaze, reminding him she had never backed down, that she wouldn’t react to aggressiveness, wouldn’t submit to another’s anger.

“You may believe whatever you want, but you asked me what the truth is. This is it. If you don’t want to listen any longer, please, feel free to leave.”

You only got one chance with Laura. If he didn’t relent now, she’d close up. How could he believe her, though? Gods, didn’t he always want to have faith. He could feel a headache coming on, almost rubbed the bridge of his nose.

“I want. I… I’m sorry.”

She nodded, her gaze becoming distant. “You don’t have to think it was any easier for me. It wasn’t. I asked the same questions you did.” Her tone of voice became wry. “Did you ever try arguing with a Six? They have patience. They wait until you’re done asking or ranting.” She snorted. “Yes, your father buried me. And then he had a break down, at least according to the Cylons. I don’t know, what happened then. All I know is that I woke up here, alive. They refused to tell me the how and why. It’s my life, and they just won’t tell.”

He saw the anger in her eyes, understood. Still…

As so often in life, he knew better than to speak what he was thinking, yet he couldn’t stop himself. “This story is…”

“Crazy? Gods, Lee, don’t you think I know that myself?”

“But why? Why would the Cylons do such a thing?”

It didn’t make sense.

“I asked the same thing. Why let me die when they intended to save me after all? Why let me suffer? Couldn’t they have injected me with Hera’s blood if they wanted to?”

“Would you have let them?”

“Never.” She smiled. “It’s ironic, isn’t it? Here I am complaining about this even knowing I wouldn’t have accepted any help. Anyway, I don’t want anyone’s pity, but I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone. Have you ever had to fight for your very breath? Have you ever sat in bed wondering if your legs would carry you, and if yes, how far?” She was shaking. Lee didn’t know when it had begun, only knew that it made his stomach tighten. To see this strong woman faltering hurt him more than he could say. “I would have wanted a choice, though. Shouldn’t it have been up to me if I died or lived? The answer to this was that some things are meant to be, that our bodies are only vessels to carry out a certain destiny.”

It sounded like the Cylons alright. Lee’s hand curled into a fist. “So why? What was the reason?”

Was it cruel to make her talk about it? Wouldn’t it be the right thing to leave? Shouldn’t he have mercy on her, give her the choice whether to talk about it or not? She spoke before he had made up his mind.

“They said I needed to die to save us all.” Her voice held no trace of bitterness, only sounded tired.

Lee laughed out. “To save us all? Now that’s rich. They played with you, didn’t they?”

How could she sit this still when the very ones who could have saved her the suffering, the anguish had only toyed with her? And what about his father? He was a broken man. Didn’t the Cylons try to build a new life? But on what? A lie? Cruelty? How could they life with themselves?

“I don’t think they played with me.”

“They didn’t? To me, it sounds like they did.”

“Caprica said the Cylons had a vision it had to play out this way or peace would have never been won for the two races. If they had saved me before they had, before we all had settled here, war and hate would have prevailed. Obviously, I was healthy once more in their vision, cured of cancer by Hera’s blood and I was still intent on the Cylons’ demise. In this vision, I succeeded. The resurrection ship was destroyed, all remaining Cylons executed. All but Hera.” She looked disgusted. “They saw a place looking like Kobol’s opera house, how I chased Hera into it and how I separated her from the rest of them so she wouldn’t have to die along with them. I don’t know if it’s true. Never will. But I like to believe it is. Because if that’s the case, then it was worth it.”

It made him angry, angrier than he could let on. “You believe them?”

“Why shouldn’t I? Don’t you think I’m capable of cruel decisions like that one?”

She was. He hadn’t yet forgotten about the abortion ban, about giving away Hera. He now understood how much these decision had weighed on her. She wasn’t the same any longer. Gods, he was so angry. “Don’t you ever think of yourself? Isn’t there more to life than the greater good? You can’t tell me you’re living this way for close to three months now because you think you’re still a danger to humankind.”

For the first time, Laura laughed out. A bitter sound.

“Wasn’t it you accusing me of having lost sight of the greater good? Wasn’t it you that always claimed to work for the greater good, the noble cause?”

She was right, but time had changed his perceptions. Maybe he had grown up after all. Tired, he felt so goddamn tired all of sudden. All he wanted was to lie down, close his eyes, forget. Only that he wouldn’t sleep.

“Things have changed, haven’t they?”

She nodded and for a moment both of them didn’t speak.

“And now? Now you’re waiting here for…what?”

“I don’t know. I just don’t know, Lee.”

He wanted to protest, insist she knew the answer, but he kept his mouth shut. It wasn’t fair to always expect she knew the answers.

He got up, needing to move, needing to get away. “I’m sorry. I am… I am truly glad to see you alive. I promise I will tell no one about this.”

“Good night, Lee.”

He felt like a coward when she just turned, ignoring him. She knew he couldn’t stand it, surely had expected him to bolt. When times became too difficult, Lee Adama bolted. He desperately wanted to prove to her he was different than that. Hadn’t he matured? Obviously not where Laura Roslin was concerned.

He needed time to think, time to understand, time to... just time.

***

Reckless. To walk to the settlement again and again had been reckless. It had only been a matter of time until someone spotted her, even when she only went there in the still of the night.

If she was honest with herself, she knew she had toyed with the idea of being seen, the idea of human contact. The weeks, months she had gone without any touch, any word from another being had been long and draining. It was on her own volition she shied contact with the settlers, but she wasn’t ready yet, didn’t know when she’d be. Once a week, one of the Cylons came to her, most of the time Caprica. They brought her food and what she needed to survive. Twice, Athena had come, and Laura had felt the other woman’s trepidation. She wouldn’t forgive her for giving away Hera. Laura didn’t blame her. If roles had been reversed, she wouldn’t have forgiven the woman who stole her child either.

Even today, Laura thought her decision had been the right one considering the circumstances, but she knew she had put Hera’s parents through Hades. Interestingly, it was Athena who had nearly managed to make her return to the settlement. It was the disgust in her eyes when she asked her if she was such a coward all of sudden which fuelled Laura’s anger, made her want to prove her she wasn’t a coward. The impulse hadn’t lasted long, though, and so she stayed in the cave, hiding.

She heard Lee’s footsteps, fading with every metre he put between himself and her, for a while longer, then there was nothing but the sound of the wind. Relief and frustration battled inside of her. He wouldn’t talk about what he had seen, she trusted him, but she also knew he would be back. There had been no sense in telling him to stay away. The more she would have insisted, the more likely it was he would be back soon. It was sad to see a man with so much potential feeling the need to prove himself time and again. He might not need his father’s blessings any longer, but he would always do things with his father in the back of his mind.

You couldn’t die and still live without your life changing. How many decisions had she made with the knowledge she wouldn’t live to deal with the consequences? And then she had cheated death, twice. She wasn’t the Laura Roslin she’d been when the Cylons had attacked the Colonies, nor was she Madame President leading her people to Earth any longer. She was a broken woman, one who had no idea how to define her life yet or what she wanted.

One night, she had gone to see Bill, had found him cradling a jar filled with a liquid surely alcoholic. Saul had been with him, talking to him, and although she hadn’t heard what the two men had been talking about, she had seen the way Bill looked. Lost. It had scared her. If only one thing she had always hoped, it was that he would make it, would find her death as freeing as it was terrible. Fighting death twice had made her want to embrace it, to succumb to it, to be free of her burdens, to rest. The Cylons might think they had given her a gift, but Laura wasn’t so sure about it. There was the fear, nagging at her, making her hesitate. She was alive, could live the rest of her natural life with Bill, and still, she hesitated. What if the happy end she dreamed about wouldn’t happen? She loved Bill with all she was, knew he completed her in a way no one else had completed her before. With him she had learned what home truly meant, had gotten to know a peace of mind that had always eluded her. What if they weren’t mean to be, though, if they drifted apart? No relationship in her life had ever lasted, and with Bill, she had always known she wouldn’t be around to see it end. Now, the tide had changed. She believed they could find true happiness together, yet feared she was wrong about that.

She knew she should try to find some sleep, but she wasn’t tired. Looking outside, seeing nothing in the darkness, she longed to go back, to catch a glimpse at others, anyone, to be among people. If it was possible to go back and just live her life, she might do it. A life where nothing was expected of her, where she would be only one of them, one of the people. She wasn’t naïve enough to think they would let her, though. There would be questions, accusations… No, it wasn’t the right time to go back, yet.

Reaching under her blanket, she retrieved her most valued possession. Dark Day, handed to her by Caprica. Where she had found it and why she had known it was important to her, she didn’t know, hadn’t asked. Opening the book where she had stopped last time, she bent over the pages, began to read, letting the well-known words comfort her.

***

His mind didn’t seem to function all day. He couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t stop thinking about her. Laura. She was alive. He knew, considering the circumstances of her existence, he shouldn’t feel that way, but even while he still felt shocked, he was glad she was alive.

Gods, had she really been living like that, secluded, for over a year? He still remembered when everyone had wondered as she had given up on her job, the prophecies after they found what they had thought was Earth, and Lee had the nagging suspicion it was only because of his father Laura had even bothered enough to help them find this home. Now, with no one to be there for her, with no one she wanted to live for, she seemed to have given up again. It angered him. Laura Roslin wasn’t a quitter. If he knew it, how did it come she couldn’t see it herself? She couldn’t continue like that. People would talk, of course they would, not all voices raised would be friendly, but who cared? He didn’t, and she shouldn’t either.

He was so engrossed in his thoughts he didn’t pay attention to what he was doing, the blow of the hammer on his thumb making him yelp out in pain. Damn. Shaking his head at his own stupidity, he knew he had made a decision. He would go back to Laura and convince her to come with him. For a brief moment, he wondered if he shouldn’t rather ask what she wanted, but he refused to put any more thought into it. Laura deserved a life. He could make her see. If he couldn’t believe in that, in what could he believe at all?

“Do you need any help?” the gentle voice of a Caprica Six made him look up.

For a moment, he could only stare, questions, accusations on the tip of his tongue. How could they let Laura live like that? Why hadn’t they helped her earlier, spared her the suffering?

“No, thank you. It’s nothing.”

Turning his back to her, he was glad when he heard her leave a few seconds later. He didn’t want to hate them, knew it wasn’t the way to shape a future for them all; however, how could he not?

***

Lee had come to see her every night for over a week now. He always brought something with him – a loaf of bread, a bit of coffee, a warmer blanket – and each time, he tried to convince her to come with him, to go back to the settlement. It wasn’t even worth a reaction, so she didn’t give him one.

It was good to see him, though, good to an extent she began looking forward to his visits. At the beginning, their conversations were a bit stilted, but soon they began to get used to each other again. It reminded Laura a bit of the times at the very beginning of the journey. Lee Adama was the first who had supported her, the one listening to her, believing she could be the one leading them out of danger, keeping what was left of humanity together. It had been so easy to talk to him as they had shared a lot of views, that was until she had been forced to make decision that didn’t weigh easy on her mind but that she deemed important nonetheless.

They weren’t talking about these times, the heap of misunderstandings and hurtful accusations between them, though. Instead, they spoke about their hopes for the people, the progress being made.

Tonight, he had brought a pot with stew and a thermos with hot, fragrant tea. Who would have thought a thermos with tea could lead to a confrontation on the stand, one that would thoroughly shatter their friendship? Laura kept this thought to herself. There was no use in warming up an old story. It would only cause further hurt.

“It tastes delicious,” Laura said, eating with a ferocity coming from being used to meagre meals most of the time.

“Glad you think so. It wasn’t easy to get my hands on the herbs.”

“You cooked it yourself?”

He looked a bit embarrassed. “I got my hands on some meat, and it would have been too much for me alone anyway.”

He looked into the distance, then back at her. In the faint light provided by her small fire, he looked older than she remembered him. All their lives had been hard ones since the Cylons had nuked the Colonies.

“Aren’t you tired of eating alone, sleeping alone? I know I am.”

She contemplated her answer, decided for levity. Life was serious enough as it was. “Don’t tell me there’s no one interested in warming the bed of Apollo,” she smiled. Physically, he looked good, was a beautiful man. The hard physical labour of the last months had paid off. He was a man in the prime of his years, all lean muscles. That he was as scared as everyone else was only reflected in his eyes, the haunted gaze of a survivor.

He looked surprised at her joke, shrugged. “I don’t know.”

If she hadn’t already known he had matured, had shaped into a man who had begun to think before he acted, she would know so now. He had lost two women he had loved. Despite being different kinds of love, it had been love nonetheless in either case.

Impulsively, she leaned over, put one of her hands over one of his. “Lee, you’re young. There’s still so much life to be lived. Find a nice woman to love, have kids, settle…”

He held on to her hand, afraid to lose the connection. It wasn’t only the fact she was offering something he hadn’t had in months – skin on skin contact – it was that it was her. At the beginning, he had carried a torch for Laura, had had a crush on her. Over time, these feelings had diminished and something else had taken the place of simple admiration of her mind and body, something he had buried over chasing after Kara, the love of his life, chasing after himself, something he didn’t think he would find within him again.

Her skin was so soft, but it was the look in her eye that drew him to her. The naked vulnerability that she didn’t try to hide. She trusted him, even after all what had happened between them. If she had told him she had forgiven him, she couldn’t have given him a greater gift.

It was only the two of them. He knew there was the shadow of his father looming over them, but if she didn’t bring it up, why should he. All he wanted was a measure of comfort, something to ease the knot of yearning inside him, to make the sadness on her face go away, if only for a moment. Madness, this was pure madness.

His thumb began to rub in circles over the back of her hand, still she didn’t complain, didn’t pull away.

“You smile,” she said, her free hand reaching out to trace his smile with her fingertips.

His skin tingled where she had touched it. Thoughts… too many thoughts. He wanted to stop thinking. His father would kill him for even contemplating this. He didn’t want to think about his father, though. It wasn’t as if he needed his approval.

***

He cupped her cheek with his warm, broad hand, their gazes meeting. He loved Kara, she loved Bill, they didn’t have a future together or rather couldn’t have. Thoughts were whirling in her mind, but they all dissipated when his lips curved into a smile. She had always loved his smile, the mixture of slightly boyish charm, warmth and the look as if he was planning some mischief. It didn’t burden her like Bill’s smiles did. His smiles ran deeper, but with them came the memory of a long life lived, of pain and wounds that had never quite healed. Sometimes, seeing Bill smile felt like looking in the abyss of his soul, of her own soul. Seeing Lee smile, it was as if there was still hope, still life to be lived.

Lee Adama, honest, young, healthy Lee Adama. She liked him, had never seen the boy he had been but always the man he was, could become. He was her friend, a good friend even if they didn’t always saw eye to eye. And gods, she would have to be blind not to know he was attractive.

“Do you ever quit thinking?” he asked.

“No.”

His lips came down on hers, warm, soft; and at another time, another life, something more between them might have been possible... as things were, though, there couldn’t, wouldn’t be.

For a moment, neither of them moved, then she pulled away before they could make a mistake they both would regret. He didn’t say a word, just nodded, shrugged.

“It can’t be,” she said.

“I know. I… no, I’m not sorry.”

Out of impulse, she embraced him. “Me neither, I want us to be friends, Lee.”

“I can do that. Friends, yes.”

She pulled away made sure she held his gaze when she spoke next. “I’m glad it was you who saw me first.”

“Me too.”

For the first time in a long time, she felt good, as if she had done something right. She hoped he would understand what she would ask of him now.

“Stay with me tonight?”

She didn’t want to be alone, didn’t want to think. With him, it could be a bit like their time on the Astral Queen where they had found comfort in the presence of the other.

He smiled. “I would like that.”

They talked a bit longer, but it didn’t take long and she became tired. Sharing her blankets, they cuddled together, both lost in their own thoughts.

This felt good. How would it even feel to be with Bill again? Shouldn’t she fight her depression, her fear for him? What if she let the chance of her life glide through her fingers? Did she want to risk it? Should she go back? Was it time? Wasn’t it unfair to let Bill suffer in vain? Caprica had told her he had begun building their cabin. He was keeping his promise so shouldn’t she give him a reason to live again? So many questions, and she didn’t have an answer for either of them.

***

It took him a while to fall asleep, his thoughts whirling, but for the first time in a long while, he felt content, at peace with himself.

If it had been up to him, they would have made a big mistake tonight. What had he been thinking? It wouldn’t have been fair to Laura, to his father, even to Kara, even though she was gone.

Laura began to shiver slightly under the thin blanket, and he pulled her closer. She shouldn't be cold. He would make sure she wasn't.

***

Watching the sun rise outside the cave, Laura knew it was time to face the day. Lee was still sleeping, spooning her from behind, but it was time to wake him, time to face reality once more.

“Did you even sleep?” Lee asked, sounding fully awake.

Had she been so engrossed in her thoughts she didn’t even notice him wake up?

“Yes. A little.”

He sighed, sat up behind her.

Stoking the fire, she heated some water for tea. They were both silent, yet there was no strain to the absence of talk.

“You should come back into town, Laura. You’ve suffered enough. It just doesn’t matter what people say. Hades, they’ve got used to Cylons around them, so a woman coming back from the dead is just another thing to get used to.”

“I don’t know, Lee. I just don’t know.”

The thought to go back alone made her tired, made her want to curl up and forget. She had had enough of intrigue, gossip and expectations no one could meet to last a lifetime.

“Dad needs you,” Lee said in a quiet voice.

Laura thought it was a cheap blow. She turned to him. “Do you think it’s a good idea to talk about him now?”

Gods, she knew him well, knew the expression in his eyes way too well.

“I won’t go back today.”

He took the tea she handed him, let it warm his hands. “Maybe not today but how about soon? Just think about it. Please. Don’t do this to yourself.”

Something inside her knew he was right. “I might. Think about it.”

Taking a sip of her hot tea, she nearly burned her tongue. She would think about it. When did she do anything else anyway? Who knew? Her longing for Bill might prevail. Gods, she still loved him, missed him.

She threw a look at Lee. He would be back soon. His hand came to rest on her back, and she let him, let his warmth be a comfort.

Tomorrow, one of the Cylons would be back. Maybe it would be Caprica. It didn’t feel so bitter when it was her and not Athena. Then… she would see.

“Think about it, Laura,” Lee repeated.

“I will.”

* End *
 
 
larsfarm77: Daybreak iconlarsfarm77 on January 31st, 2012 02:27 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. There was something very Laura in the fear that she carries in this fic, that things won't be as they were, that they won't last, and then she would lose what little she did have before she "died". Lee is not a character I give much thought to, but he was lovely here, a wonderful warring mix of idealism and maturity.

Laura Roslin wasn’t a saint, far from it, but it wasn’t she who had betrayed him on the stand. The memory left a bitter taste in his mouth.

There were so many great observations about their past in this -- I liked this one in particular. A really great read!
Sira's Journal: bsg - cute_laurasira01 on January 31st, 2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! It makes me smile. A lot.
I have never hesitated about posting a story before but I did with this one as the prompt was a hard one.
Elfie: writingmarzipanilla on January 31st, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
I have to start off by saying that I have a severe aversion to Laura/Lee stories (I actually feel really weird when I try to read fic about them and generally have to stop) but the dynamic here and the not-really romantic set up really worked. So, this is actually the first (even if just marginally) Laura/Lee fic I've ever read.

You have some wonderful reflections on their past and do a good job of making them evolved versions of themselves, time and their journey has changed them, and it shows really well in this.
Sira's Journal: bsg - laura faithsira01 on February 1st, 2012 05:58 am (UTC)
Thank you so very, very much! I feel humbled that you read through this whole fic, seeing that you dislike the pairing. I know of myself that I'm rather reluctant to read things out of my comfort zone.
I'm glad you thought this story worked though! :) Phew! It nearly had me pull my hair.
astreamofstars: laura lee kobolastreamofstars on January 31st, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
Ooo, I love this! Such an interesting idea.

It really does feel very Laura to be like that. To hide away because she's afraid of herself. And I love that Lee is able to slowly draw her out of it.

Gorgeous stuff :)
Sira's Journal: bsg - mrs adamasira01 on February 1st, 2012 06:00 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)
I'm glad that Laura's decision to hide reads true. I never tried to write such an impossible scenario before. *lol*
charmed8620: new caprica laura glassescharmed8620 on February 1st, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)
She flinched, took a step back. Then she stopped, though, her expression hardening, crossing her arms over her chest. From shock to intimidation in a few moments. This was the Laura Roslin, he knew.

This is so perfectly in character for Laura! I love her interactions with Lee here, and I really enjoy stories where they almost get together and then end up being friends (it feels very in-cannon for them).

You've created a lovely little universe here and it just makes me want to read more! It's so sweet how they sleep curled up together and yet when she wakes up she's still distant enough that she doesn't agree to go back to the village...it really fits their relationship nicely. Thanks for posting this :)
Sira's Journal: bsg - laura - daydreamsira01 on February 1st, 2012 06:02 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
I hoped the two of them would stay true to character, and I am delighted to hear you think they did.
And what you said yesterday is true, comments are SUCH a treat. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)
afrakaday: perplexedlauraafrakaday on February 2nd, 2012 04:17 am (UTC)
What a lovely, original fic! I really enjoyed reading this. Poor Laura holed up in her cave, with only Cylons stopping by from time to time. Really interesting sense of her and Lee's relationship coming full circle, great references to their history together and the evolution (and devolution) of their relationship. Very emotionally satisfying that it ends with this hopeful note. Great job!
Sira's Journal: bsg - laura faithsira01 on February 2nd, 2012 07:49 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this most precious comment.
This fic almost killed me, so I am happy to hear you enjoyed it!
I always thought Laura's and Lee's relationship was an interesting one, and I was saddened to see their friendship more or less killed in canon.