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31 December 2012 @ 01:31 pm
Unexpected Advice, Adama/Roslin  
Title: Unexpected Advice
Author: sira01
Rating: PG-13 / T
Pairing: A/R
Summary: Sometimes, unlikely allies give the best advice. Or: How to deal with stubborn admirals who are your friend 101.
A/N: I want to thank ufp13 for betaing the story. Thank you, hon! All remaining mistakes are mine.

An Unexpected Advice

“Sometimes, Bill‘s an idiot.“

Saul Tigh stepped inside her office, acting as if he was invited – which he wasn’t – took the seat opposite of her, put a bottle of liquor and two glasses onto her desk.

Laura wasn’t quite sure if she was amused or annoyed. She dropped her pen, reached up to massage her hurting temples. The headache having started last night refused to leave her alone.

“And you came here to tell me that, why?” she asked.

Saul took his time answering, pouring them both a generous amount of alcohol before handing one glass to Laura. She had a press conference early next morning, really shouldn’t be drinking. To Hades with it. Accepting the glass, she downed its contents in one go, coughing slightly at the sharp tang of the alcohol.

“I came to tell you to give him another chance.”

One had to hand it to Saul Tigh; he didn’t mince words, said what he had to say if someone wanted to hear it or not.

“Apart of the fact I don’t want to talk to you about it, I don’t think he wants one.”

Laura could be just as candid when she chose to be.

Last night, after his match with Chief Tyrol, Bill had made it clear to everyone listening that he wouldn’t let anyone come close, wasn’t willing to pay the price. If he had slapped her into the face, it would have hurt less. He had spit on their memories, the possibilities.

Laura bit her lip so the frustrated growl wouldn’t pass her lips.

“Of course, he does. But I doubt he’ll get his head out of his ass for long enough to admit it.”

Saul took another swig.

“I’m not entirely sure on the protocol, but I think insulting your commanding officer is never a smart idea.”

Saul snorted. “Since when is stating the truth insulting? Never mind, I was talking about the man and not the officer. There’s a difference, even though Bill tends to forget about it from time to time.”

Laura looked from Saul to the glass in her hand and back to Saul. Why was she even talking to Saul Tigh about this? And why had he come to talk to her? They weren’t friends, exactly. They had stopped being enemies some time ago, New Caprica putting a lot of things into perspective, but so far, they had never discussed their private lives.

“Why are you talking to me?” she voiced the question, hoping for the answer she couldn’t come up with herself.

“Because I care for him.”

That was more like it. If he had told her he cared for her, she wouldn’t have believed him, but she knew he would do anything for Bill.

“And what do you expect me to do now?”

“Talk to him. Actually, I don’t care. I only know he can’t starve himself of any emotion, of... anything good in his life,” he looked into the distance, his gaze darkening. “I would do everything to get back the bit of private life I had before... well, before. Bill can’t live for his job alone, and he still has the chance for some happiness.”

Saul poured himself another glass, emptied it with one big gulp. Laura didn’t hesitate, took the bottle from him, taking a swig right out of it. Saul’s good eye widened, but he didn’t comment on it, only stretched out his hand for the bottle.

She handed it to him, watched him consume a generous amount himself. Most people didn’t understand Saul Tigh, only saw the one side he liked to show to the public, the one of the tough, arrogant, cynic officer, or later on, the acid leader of the New Caprican resistance. Laura had gotten to see his other side, the one caring for his friends, the man that had broken apart by doing what he thought he had to do. Ellen. He would never get over Ellen. She would have sworn that killing Ellen had shoved him over the edge forever, and for a while, it had looked like it. Now, he slowly seemed to want to live again.

“I hope Bill knows what a good friend he has in you.”

“I hope so, too. You know, I’ll never quite figure out what he sees in you.”

“If that’s your way of telling me you don’t particular like me, I can only return the compliment.”

He chuckled. “Seems we have something in common then.”

This time, he filled their glasses again, lifted his.

“To mutual dislike.”

Laura smiled, clinked her glass to his one.

“To mutual dislike.”

It wasn’t the first time Saul Tigh had surprised her this way. When she had heard he had helped trying to rig the elections, she had hardly been able to believe it, although she soon came to the conclusion he simply liked Baltar even less than he liked her.

As soon as Saul had drained his glass, he got up.

“Gotta go now.”

Several things to say ran through Laura’s head, but they all seemed meaningless.

“Thank you,” she finally said, hoping he knew she meant it.

“Don’t thank me. Do something for this idiot friend of mine.”

With that, he left, leaving Laura alone with her thoughts and a still half-full bottle of one of Chief’s acid concoctions. She sat like this for a long time, staring into space, ignoring the myriad of other things to do.

Bill had hurt her more than she could convey last night, each of his words a punch to her stomach. She knew where he was coming from, yet it hadn’t made this bitter pill easier to swallow.

After a rough night, she had gotten up, decided to accept his decision, to move on, to work with him but discard the moments of warmth and companionship they had shared before. Now, she wasn’t so sure any longer.

As much as she hated to admit it, Saul Tigh was right. Bill needed more than just his job. Even before that match last night, she had seen the strain inside him, the stress making him crack a little more with each passing day.

He may not have suffered through the Cylon occupation, but he had been out there, worrying, wanting to act but not being able to. It must have been mental Hades.

“Madam President?”

Laura realised Tory was standing in front of her desk. She hadn’t heard the young woman enter, wondered how long she had tried to gain her attention.

“Yes, Tory?”

“Your meeting with the delegates...”

“Has to wait. I need a shuttle to Galactica. Now. There’s something I need to discuss with the admiral.”

In all her time as president, she had always put the people before herself. She would be selfless again. Tomorrow. Tonight, she wanted to settle this once and for all.

Tory looked as if she was about to protest, then she shut her mouth after taking a long look at her boss.

“Is there anything else, Tory?” she asked when the young woman didn’t move.

“No, Madam President. I’ll see about your shuttle.”

Tory turned on her heel, left Laura alone. It took only five minutes until she was back, but these five minutes were time enough for Laura to doubt herself, her decision. It was one thing to make a decision, quite another to see it through.

Her mind and her heart weren’t on the same page. She became still, let the anger run through her veins. Damn, Bill Adama for making her feel this way.

Tory was saying something, but she didn’t listen, only packed a briefcase she wouldn’t need.

It took twenty-six minutes for her shuttle to land in Galactica’s hangar bay, and she began sporting a headache from thoughts that drove her crazy more than they should. At least, she had made sure her arrival wasn’t reported to Bill. She wanted to fight this war in the privacy of his quarters.

People greeted her on the way to her destination. She smiled, returned the greetings. What was if this endeavour served to damage her relationship to Bill even more? If at all they had to work with each other. They didn’t have the luxury to avoid one another.

A quick glance at her watch told her Bill should be in his quarters. If not... It was in this moment she spotted Saul Tigh walking toward her. She didn’t know what to expect but had to smile when he simply nodded, murmured a greeting and was gone. She had seen the expression in his eyes, though. It reinforced her believe she was doing the right thing.

As so often, the hatch to Bill’s quarter was open. For the first time, she wondered if it was to tell people not to hesitate when they had to talk to him or if he didn’t want to be alone with his thoughts. It made her stop for just a moment before she stepped inside. Some music was playing in the background. She closed the hatch behind her, wasn’t surprised to see Bill coming out of his bathroom.

“Madam President,” he said, his voice rough.

He still looked like hell, and she had to fight the impulse to feel pity for him. She shook her head.

“Laura,” she corrected.

He didn’t say a thing, just looked at her. She could see the emotional turmoil in his eyes, although she wouldn’t have if she hadn’t been absolutely still herself.

“Why are you here?” he finally asked after the silence had stretched for a long while.

“You have to ask?” The direct approach would be the best, she figured, at least in this regard. She wouldn’t hide behind nice phrases and subtle hints.

“No. But I think it will be best if you left now.”

“So you don’t have to tell me to my face that we can’t have anything but a strictly professional relationship?”

Numerous emotions flickered over Bill’s face: surprise because of the direct confrontation, shame because he knew she was right, and most prominent, the stubborn will to hold on to what he thought was the right thing.

If she wanted to or not, she could read him like an open book.

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“So you think you can have your say, but no one is allowed to defend himself?”

A sad smile crossed his face.

“I didn’t know I was making any accusations.”

“Don’t you think it is an accusation if you tell people you let them come too close, that they messed with your perspective?”

“Laura, I...”

“No, Bill. You have to decide, once and for all. Either you want us to be friends and maybe more or you don’t. The decision you make now, though, counts. I refuse to play any games.”

She had been hurt too often, had hurt people in return. At the end of the worlds, there was no time for regrets, no time for games.

“Want a drink?” Bill asked, walking over to his service cart.

She wanted to sigh in frustration. Sometimes, she wished one could shake sense into this man. He turned to her when she didn’t answer, waited.

“Yes, a drink would be lovely.”

Most likely this would border on too much, seeing she had had her fair share of alcohol with Saul earlier on, but this wasn’t everyday business. Bill poured them both a drink, walked over to where she was standing, handing her one of the glasses.

“Why did you come?”

“I thought I articulated myself loud and clearly.”

He shook his head.

“No, what... ,” he shrugged, words failing him.

“You’re still stalling, Bill. But if you ask about the impetus, let’s just say a well meaning friend told me to help you drag your head outta your ass.”

He looked shocked.

“Saul came to see you?”

She didn’t confirm but didn’t deny it either.

“As I said, a friend.”

“Laura... Madam President... it’s not that easy.”

“And now, you’re going to give me the list of exact reasons. Gods damned, Bill, I know them all myself, thank you very much. But this might be our last shot at personal happiness and don’t tell me you don’t know it.”

He turned his back to her, stood absolutely still.

“I never wanted to hurt you. Just believe me.”

“I do. But you did, Bill. You did. Let’s stop the game playing right here and now,” she urged him once more.

“I... don’t think I can give you what you are looking for.”

Bitter disappointment made her stomach churn. So that was it. She had said it herself, though. If anything, she was done playing games. If he wanted to end it this way, she would let him. Saul might be right that Bill shouldn’t shut himself off from anything and anyone, but she couldn’t be his saviour. Not as long as he was more stubborn than a mule.

“Alright. This is your choice. But I hope you won’t live to regret it.”

She walked over to his desk, put her glass down on it before turning her back to him. It was time to leave. Each step hurt, but she knew it was for the best. A clean cut was always better than a slow festering wound becoming a bit more painful with each day.

She was unlocking the hatch when Bill’s hand covered hers. Becoming still, she waited, felt Bill’s warmth from behind, heard his heavy breathing.

“I wish I could do what is right,” he said. “What is right for the fleet. I want to be what is right for this fleet.”

“I won’t come in the way of that.”

He laughed out, a rather bitter sound.

“Don’t you know you already are? There aren’t many things keeping me going, and you’re one of these things.”

Laura’s heart beat painfully in her chest. She wanted so much to believe that not all was lost but didn’t dare.

“What are you trying to tell me here, Bill?”

“That you’re right. That Saul’s right. I...need you in my life. I thought I could do without you, but I can’t.”

“Don’t play with me.”

“I’m not. Turn around.”

His voice held a command, and the contrary part of her wanted to disobey him. The bigger part of her, though, needed him, wanted him, so she turned to face Bill, the soft look in his eyes she encountered undoing her.

“And now?” she asked.

He smiled one of his rare, precious smiles.

“Now, I ‘m going to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

Leaning in, his lips sealed hers. A shiver of pleasure ran down her back as happiness began to blossom inside of her. His lips were soft, and when his tongues skimmed her lips, she granted him access, moaned out.

They would face a rocky road, she didn’t even try to lie to herself about it. However, now she had hope that going on, staying strong had a purpose, that there was something waiting for her at the end of the path.

He pulled back, and they looked at each other for a long time.

When he took her hand, pulling her further into his quarters she didn’t resist.

newnumbertwo: Laura and Bill newnumbertwo on December 31st, 2012 12:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, yay! Thank you so much for writing this. I love what a good friend Tigh is. The confrontation at the end was perfect. And yay for Bill making the right choice. :D Awesome!

Thanks again for this gift. :D

♥ ♥ ♥
our little life is rounded with a sleep: A/R ADFMS public kissagedefyingnormalcy on December 31st, 2012 05:16 pm (UTC)
Apart from adoring the Laura/Bill scene - I simply loved the Saul&Laura scene. You captured their mutual love and respect for Bill so wonderfully, and I find myself wishing that we had been granted a scene like this on the show. Nicely done. :D
fragrantwoods: a-r chattingfragrantwoods on December 31st, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
So good! Saul is prefect as the go-between, and I love their back and forth honest banter (and the image of them passing a bottle between them is awesome!). And Yay for Laura not putting up with any excuses!