Rating: PG-13 until the last section and then NC-17 baby!
Disclaimer: All characters are the property of (sadly) Ron Moore and NBC/Universal. If they were mine, this would be canon. ;)
Spoilers: Eh. It's AU from the mini series and a character from season 2 makes an appearance.
Summary: What if Colonial One never rejoined the fleet and Lee and Laura ended back on Caprica.
Notes: Mucho thanks to my wonderful beta k_julia who saves me from embarassing myself. :) This may or may not be a prequel to a larger epic. We shall see. And feedback would very much be appreciated since I tried some new things here.
The first thing he was aware of was a clanging noise, the sound of footsteps drawing nearer. The second, the air from a nearby duct hitting his sweat covered skin and causing him to shiver. The third, that he was still alive.
Though dazed, he forced himself to focus and could just make out someone kneeling over him. It was her. What was she doing down here? He saw concern then relief cross her face as he started to come back to himself.
“That was fun. I think it worked.” He laughed as he said it, the absurdity of the situation hitting him. He’d just cheated death for the second time that day and probably managed to buy them about five more minutes before they’d have to face oblivion again.
”What exactly did you do?” There was disbelief in her voice, and he couldn’t blame her. He was uncertain himself exactly how his hare-brained idea had worked. Still, he provided her and the captain with a hurried explanation, rushing through the technical details knowing they didn’t have time to waste. The Cylons had been fooled; presumably the pulse from the generators had wreaked havoc on their dradis, but they would regroup quickly enough. He needed to get to the cockpit and see if they had time to make their escape or if the Cylons were already launching their next assault.
“Sir, we need to….”
“Get the hell out of here.”
He laughed once more, this time because of her. He wasn’t used to a politician being so blunt. He only hoped he’d have the opportunity to get used to it.
As they made their way to the stairs she asked, “What do you suggest we do?” She was calm, cool, unbelievably so given the circumstances.
“I…” He shook his head. He had just used up his one brilliant idea. Now what? As he tried to come up with an answer for her, he caught sight of something outside the starboard windows. The president followed his gaze, as did the ship’s captain, who whispered, “My gods. What is it?”
Lee’s heart beat quickened, he got a sick feeling in his gut, and the words caught in his throat. His voice was low as he said, “A basestar.”
“A basestar?” The captain seemed taken aback by his answer.
“I think. It’s not like what’s in the history books or movies, but it has to be.” Lee quickly realized that was all he saw. Not a single Cylon raider was in the vicinity. They must have all fallen back until their dradis righted itself. He needed to get them out of there now while there was still time.
“Come on.” He gestured to both to follow him. “We need to get the FTL drive prepped and get out of here.”
“Frak.” Lee slammed his fist on the console.
“What is it, Captain?” She looked concerned. He’d done a pretty good job of keeping his emotions in check thus far. Given this outburst, she had to sense from him how bad it was.
“The FTL. It’s not powering up.” He looked to her for a response. He didn’t expect to see panic; he hadn’t seen her flinch yet. But he thought he was finally seeing resignation, a realization that their luck had just run out. He was mistaken.
Very calmly she asked, “Captain, do you think we could make it to Caprica? The engines are still working, aren’t they?”
The suggestion surprised him. They’d never had the opportunity to discuss what they would do once they reentered the system. They hadn’t known what to expect. Maybe see if there were any other survivors, round up any ships they could find, and head back out into space. Maybe die along with everyone else. But going back home seemed like an impossibility.
“Madam President, there will be basestars, maybe hundreds of fighters in orbit. Even if we were to get past them I can’t imagine there is much if anything left. It’s…”
“Suicide.” She finished his thought before he could. “You’re right, but if we stay here there is no hope is there? As soon as the Cylons figure things out, the next nuke won’t miss.”
She had a point. And maybe, maybe, if he powered down when they got close to Caprica, let the planet’s gravity pull them in, hope the massive radiation was screwing up the Cylon’s sensors…maybe there was a chance he could land the ship.
The determined look on her face was enough to convince him to try. And, really, what options did they have left? He looked at her, forced a smile in an attempt to appear optimistic. “All right.”
“All right then.” She gave him a slight smile, a shared understanding of how dire this all was.
Lee tried to formulate something resembling a plan. “The air bases and ports would have been early targets, but I know of a couple of closed bases away from the cities they may have missed. I just need one intact landing field. Once we’re on the ground our first order of business will be to find radiation meds. There can’t be enough on board for all of us and…”
She rested her hand on his shoulder. It silenced him. “I know, Captain, it’s…” Lee knew she understood how unlikely they were to succeed, but he had also come to know that Laura Roslin was not one to quit. She continued, “Let’s just see about getting us on the ground first.”
“Yes, sir.” He turned back to the controls and began making preparations to return home.
“I don’t understand.”
He wasn’t quite sure what there was to not understand, yet her expression conveyed a combination of shock and confusion. He couldn’t completely figure it out himself, but he knew what he had seen.
Lee stopped his pacing and looked out beyond the stack of crates that separated them from the rest of the survivors. It was the closest thing they had to a private spot in the warehouse they were currently holed up in. He scanned the area once more, making sure that no one was close enough to hear what he was about to say.
“There were two of them, a blonde woman, and several of the Centurion models.”
She did as she always did, quickly analyzing what he had said and pushing forward to find an answer to the problem. “Centurion models? What are you saying, Captain? That Doral and this woman are a Cylon upgrade?” She seemed puzzled at the thought, as well as a little afraid of the implication of her statement. Lee knew as she did that if the Cylons had found a way to look like humans there would be no way to determine who among them was the enemy.
Before she could continue, Lee laid out what they were facing. “Look, worst case scenario, I’m right and the Cylons look like us now. The best case scenario is I’m wrong, Doral has a twin brother, and they’re both conspiring with the Cylons. It doesn’t matter right now. We have to get out of here…” He paused before going on, knowing once he said the words it would make it real. “…and he can’t go with us.”
He watched her take in what he had said. He knew he didn’t need to elaborate. They’d only known each other a short time, but they had gotten good at figuring out what the other was thinking. And she was pragmatic. A little blood on their hands for the greater good was something she was willing to bear and he had agreed to it when he made his choice to follow wherever she’d lead them.
So there was no surprise for him when she looked him in the eyes and asked, “Have you come up with a plan as to how we go about doing that?”
We. Lee had been just a couple months away from getting out of the service. After the ceremony and speeches and parties for Galactica’s decommissioning, he had intended to tell his father that the Adama military legacy ended with him. Now he found himself part of a “we” deciding the fate of a machine, possibly a man, and maybe whether the remnants of humanity they culled together would live or die.
He was still thinking about that when Laura interrupted his thoughts. “Whatever we decide, it can’t be done here. There would be too many questions.” She leaned forward on the crate she was sitting on and rested her elbows on her knees, looking so small amidst the large storage containers. As she contemplated their next move, she absent-mindedly rubbed her chin, something Lee had noticed she did when deep in thought. “We can’t start a panic. Maybe once we get settled we can discuss the circumstances with everyone, but we don’t have that luxury right now.”
She was right. Just make it quick, get it over with, and clean up the mess later. It was their only option. He rubbed his eyes, the fatigue suddenly hitting him along with the weight of what he was about to do. “Agreed.”
She continued, “I can come up with a story to cover your absence, but you’ll….” He removed his hand from his eyes and looked at her. He wanted to spare her from having to say the words. It wasn’t necessary.
“I’ll deal with it.” He sounded abrupt though he hadn’t meant to. It wasn’t her fault. It was the Cylons who were to blame for what they were being forced to become. “As soon as we’re gone, start preparations to move out of here. It would be a good idea to head up into the mountains. The air and water might be better and it will be harder for them to track us, I hope. And try to stick with the smaller vehicles; they’ll be easier to maneuver in the terrain.” He sighed before making one last point. “This shouldn’t take long, but if I’m not back in an hour…”
She didn’t give him a chance to finish the sentence. “I’ll see you in an hour, Captain.” They exchanged grim expressions before he left to go do his duty.
Lee was covered in sweat, dirt and grease, bone tired, and had an ache in his back that would take days to fade, yet it was the best he had felt in weeks. He’d lost track of how long he had been under the raptor. A week ago he’d discovered the downed ship while on an advance scouting mission into the woods. That it had managed to stay largely intact despite a crash landing was a credit to her crew, whose fate he had yet to discover. No one understood why he chose to spend his free time in what they perceived as a futile attempt to get the bird back in the air. Maybe he wouldn’t succeed, but the familiarity of the work allowed his mind to escape from the more tedious and horrific aspects of their daily lives.
And it was a good day. No sound of weapons fire in the distance or sign of Centurions. No arguments over supplies and how far they could make the radiation meds stretch. In the relative peace, he had even convinced himself that killing Doral was the right thing to do and that it perhaps had given them the chance they needed to survive. His only concern at the moment was seeing if he could just scrounge up a few more parts to maybe get the raptor to fly.
Lee heard her before he saw her. He’d familiarized himself with her sounds early on. When she approached it was the only time he didn’t immediately tense up or reach for the sidearm he always kept just a few inches away. A slight kick to his shin signaled that she had arrived at his side. A grin spread across his face and he was thankful that the ship provided sufficient cover that she couldn’t see his immediate reaction.
There was another tap with her foot before she spoke. “Out here again, I see. I’m beginning to think you are trying to avoid me. Or at least the meetings Billy takes great pains to organize. You know, Captain, he swears he saw you hiding behind a tree this morning.”
He tried, but couldn’t manage to contain his amusement. The gentle teasing had become a recent and welcome addition to their relationship. He slid out from underneath the ship and squinted up at his president. The late afternoon sun setting behind her made it impossible for him to read her expression. All he could make out was red hair cascading over her shoulders and her arms crossed in mock disapproval.
He sat up and grabbed a rag to clean his hands as best he could, giving himself just a moment to formulate an excuse for his earlier behavior. “I think Billy had the wrong impression.”
“Really?” To anyone else it would have sounded like a pointed response, but he had learned to pick up on the hint of sarcasm in her tone.
“I was, uh…” Lee stood up, putting himself in a position to see her face clearly now. Yep, she wasn’t going to be buying any of this. “I was surveying the perimeter.”
“The perimeter? Had you been at the meeting you could have explained to us the strategic advantage of moving it ten yards from camp.”
Clearly he was going to lose this battle. He decided to try the sheepish, repentant approach. “Did I miss anything important? I’ve been working on a plan to get some more radiation meds and there’s a fuel depot not too far from…”
Lee was puzzled. “Excuse me?”
She sighed before continuing, “Apparently rationing to one cup a day is having adverse affects on some people. Given the tone of the meeting, I have to agree.”
Lee couldn’t stop the laughter from coming now. It felt good. It had been a long time since he had enjoyed a good belly laugh. Still, he tried to offer her some sympathy. “Sorry. Short of offering to shoot a few people, I’m not sure what assistance I could have given you.”
She smiled at his remark before turning to look at the ship, raising one hand up to run along the hull. “Explain to me, Captain, other than to avoid meetings, why it is you are out here so often working to repair this ship? At most we could fit about a dozen people in her. And getting past the Cylon fleet at this point seems doubtful.”
“I did get us down here.” Lee seldom mentioned his accomplishments, but it had been some damn great flying on his part that landed them safely on the ground. And he liked to think, given the right set of circumstances, he could get them off Caprica. “I’ve got the landing gear in pretty good shape and I’ve found some parts I can rig to use on the thrusters. The FTL is the biggest problem, but if I can fix it then I could get you out of here if…”
“Get me out of here?” she cut him off, eyeing him with a slightly surprised expression that softened into something that, if he raised his hopes, could be called affection.
“You are the president. And you are providing the people with some hope that we can survive this. But if things go bad here, we know there were other ships out there. Who knows who else may have survived? Look, I know it’s a long shot, but…”
“So was setting off a pulse generator. Or flying an unarmed ship through a Cylon fleet.” She paused for a moment as if she was choosing her next words carefully. “I’m not sure if I could leave, but I appreciate the thought, Captain.”
Her hand came up to rest on his shoulder, fingers brushing against his neck, the sensation sending a small jolt through his system. Without thinking, he reached up to cover her hand with his. Just before he could make contact, she pulled away, perhaps as struck as he was by the seeming intimacy of the moment.
“I’ll leave you to your work. Billy’s waiting for me.” She started back towards the encampment of tents and makeshift shacks that currently served as their home, but suddenly stopped and turned back to say one more thing. “Oh, I’ll convey your apologies to Billy regarding the misunderstanding earlier today and that you will be attending the morning briefing tomorrow.” Then she smiled. The smile that told him it wasn’t something that he was going to get out of. The smile that made him not want to.
The two of them had been going over the information for hours and with the flaps of the tent pulled down to give them greater privacy, he couldn’t tell if it was still day or night. Lee knew he should be focusing on what was ahead for them and not dwell on past mistakes, but he couldn’t help it. They had felt relatively safe and he’d allowed it to cloud his judgment. That was until Lee and his men stumbled upon the Cylon patrol in the woods. They had been pinned down and Lee had been ready to accept the inevitable when Anders and his people had shown up. Never in his life had he gone so quickly from feeling sheer terror to utter joy. Not only had he cheated death once more, but Anders and his group were their first sign that others had survived on Caprica.
Anders’ group added about a hundred or so to their numbers. He had also provided them with valuable intel which painted a bleak picture. Lee was beginning to believe only luck had kept them alive thus far.
“So we move again?” It was a rhetorical question. They had no choice. What troubled Lee was the exhaustion and resignation he heard in her voice. She was the one keeping them going and if the people saw her falter, even a little, they could begin to lose what scraps of hope they still had and give up.
“Yeah, but who doesn’t want to travel more…meet new people.” He wasn’t good at telling a joke, and his stabs at humor more often than not fell flat, but when he looked up from the map on the table to her he saw a smile spread across her face.
She tried to play along and return the favor. “So, do you think Anders can point us in the direction of the local hot spots?”
He snorted at the retort and she responded with a very un-presidential giggle. He couldn’t decide if this was healthy, finding humor in such a bad situation, or it was an early sign they were both cracking under the pressure. Well, if he was losing it maybe Anders could take over. He seemed good in a fight, willing to make the tough calls. Suddenly, Lee regained his composure at the thought of the former pyramid player being the savior of humanity.
“Captain, I’d think it was the pressure getting to you, but I know better. So I have to ask, when is the last time you slept for more than a few hours?”
He couldn’t remember and…”You know, I could ask the same of you.”
There was no immediate answer. Instead, she stood up and stretched her arms above her head, which raised her blouse, exposing a small strip of skin. Lee couldn’t help but stare. Quickly, he looked up and was relieved that she hadn’t noticed. It was then she said, “I seem to recall being told once that one good thing about being President is not having to answer to anyone.”
“Maybe I wasn’t asking the president.” He wasn’t quite sure why he said it. His voice sounded lower than usual, a bit rougher. And he felt sudden heat rise from his skin. He’d never been particularly smooth, but being forward was another matter and his growing ease around her allowed him to let his guard down on occasion. Damn. Maybe he really did need sleep. It might bring him to his senses. Definitely stop him from doing what he was about to do.
He rose from his seat and took a couple steps towards her. He stood close enough that he could feel her warm breath on his skin. Tentatively, he reached out and ran the back of his hand along her hair, pushing it behind her shoulder. He then brought his fingers to her cheek, tracing a path down her face and neck, feeling her pulse quicken in response to his touch. Taking that as an encouraging sign, he leaned in for a kiss, gently placing his lips upon hers.
Her mouth was soft, warm, and inviting; his body longing for the intimate contact. Still, he forced himself to pull back for a moment to give her the opportunity to ask him to stop. When she didn’t, he bent forward again, brushing his tongue across her lower lip, tasting the sweetness of the fruit she had eaten earlier. When he applied more pressure, she acquiesced to him. He felt her hands slide up his chest to his shoulders, her fingers digging into the cloth of his jacket and holding him in place. In response, he tightened his grip on the back of her neck and pressed her closer to him to deepen the kiss when, suddenly, she pushed him away.
She was trying to look taken aback, and perhaps she was a little surprised. But the flush to her cheeks and the lack of any visible anger led him to believe his advances weren’t completely unwanted.
“Captain Apollo…” Well, that was one way to put some distance between them. “You shouldn’t have done that.” She shook her head slightly and walked towards the entrance of the tent. He thought she was going to keep walking, leaving him standing there confused and uneasy. Instead, she stopped and he watched as she wrapped her arms tightly around herself, her posture becoming rigid. The fairly casual manner she had adopted with him over the past weeks was gone. All of a sudden, she seemed very presidential to him. He couldn’t understand it. Maybe he had been too forward, but it was just a kiss, it wasn’t life or…
Her voice was so quiet he wasn’t sure if he heard her correctly. But his body reacted. He felt a pain in his chest. He couldn’t breathe. It was as if he was floating in the vacuum of space. Surrounded by so much death, she was the one thing that seemed so alive to him. He couldn’t believe it.
“I have cancer. I found out the day of the attacks.” Her voice was shaky, not something he was used to hearing. “The doctor told me I had maybe six months. I wanted to tell you, I felt you needed to know, but with everything that’s happened…the time just never seemed right.”
He watched as she tried to regain her composure, taking in a deep breath before walking a few steps closer to him and meeting his gaze. “You’re tired and alone, we both are, but whatever you are thinking it cannot happen. But I do need you, Captain, I need your guidance and your strength to see me, to see us all, through this.”
Lee didn’t know what to say. He had thought about kissing her before, possible outcomes ranging from a slap across the face to the two of them curled up in a bunk somewhere, but not this. He never could have expected this. “I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry.”
“I know.” She smiled at him, a genuine smile, not something plastered on to mask the fear and the pain. “Just like I know as soon as I leave here you’ll try coming up with ways to make everything easier for me. And you can. I trust that this will remain between us for now.”
She nodded her head, expressing she had no doubt, and then continued, “The time will come when we’ll need to tell them and they’ll look to you to lead them.”
Lee knew she was right. Who else was there? Yet he felt he needed to set some things straight with her. “Madam President, I appreciate your confidence in me, but I’m not sure I’m the person you think I am. I only recently made captain and, actually, I was planning…”
She cut him off, “Would you feel better if I promoted you to Commander? I can do that.” She smiled at him, the tension in the room easing a bit, and he couldn’t help but laugh a little.
“Thanks, but it won’t really change anything. I’d say something about you and I being in unenviable positions, but I bet there were several billion that would have gladly changed places with us.” Yeah, you’re alive, Lee and she’s still here with you, focus on that. “Listen, this is a lot to take in and I think you’re right about needing sleep. Maybe we can talk about this more tomorrow?”
“Yes, tomorrow.” She began to walk away and then stopped to add, “But just to let you know, I’m not changing my mind…about any of it.”
Lee tried to smile and said, “I know.” As she left the room he said to himself, “Neither will I.”
Lee should have felt guilty, holding out on the rest of them. But there really wasn’t enough for all of them and she deserved something special, a show of appreciation for everything she had done for them. If it just happened to lower her reserve and provided him with an opportunity to readdress some unfinished business, so be it.
After the kiss and confession about her cancer, they hadn’t really been alone together. Anders, Billy, Helo, one or all of them always seemed to be present at any meeting or conversation. It led Lee to believe that, contrary to anything she may have said, there was a lingering mutual attraction. Or maybe he was just trying to convince himself he was that damn irresistible and that he wasn’t about to make a fool of himself.
There were only three steps up to the porch of the small cabin and another few to the door, yet it seemed like the longest walk of Lee’s life. He took in a deep breath and forged ahead. As soon as he stepped onto the porch, the boards creaked beneath his feet.
“Who is it?”
The beauty of the old resort was that the dilapidated buildings with no electricity or running water indicated to the Cylons that no one had lived there in many years, making it a relatively safe hideaway for them while they regrouped and planned their next move. The downside was it didn’t allow devious captains to be quite as stealth-like as they would have liked.
“It’s…” No, not Lee, too obvious and it would cause her to question why he was there. He sighed, realizing what he had to say. “It’s Captain Apollo.”
It seemed like it took her an eternity to come to the door. When she finally opened it he was greeted with, “Is there something wrong, Captain?”
He’d only been here once before, helping her carry some supplies back after a successful scavenging mission in a small town several miles away. The town was just a few shops and a gas station, but they were able to retrieve some much needed canned goods, fuel, and clothing. She stood before him now casually dressed in an oversized sweater and cargo pants she had collected then. He’d nearly had an argument with her over taking anything. “Stealing from the dead,” she had called it. He’d pointed out that they weren’t robbing corpses, they needed to survive, and with the nights getting colder she couldn’t afford to get sick. She’d given him a stern look off of that, but had said no more, and silently picked up a few things to take with her.
He must have been lost in his thoughts for too long because he heard her repeat the question, “Captain? Is there something wrong?”
“Wrong? Uh, well, on the recon mission today I came across something I wanted to share with you.”
“And you couldn’t mention it earlier at the debriefing?”
He noted the suspicion in her voice, but he also saw a way to get past the door. “I didn’t feel I could share it with the others, Sharon in particular.”
Her brow creased and he saw her eyes dart around him as if to make sure they were alone. “Oh, I see. Please come in, Captain.”
Nice, Lee, worry her unnecessarily. Still, the first part of his mission was accomplished.
Typical of her, as soon as she’d closed the door behind them, she began strategizing. “You know I still have my concerns in regards to Sharon. She may want to help us, but we only have her word on the extent of her programming. Maybe it was a mistake to allow her so much freedom.” As she turned around to face him her concern fell away, replaced once again with suspicion. “What are you hiding behind your back?”
“Hiding?” He shrugged, and tried to look innocent. “I’m not hiding anything. It’s just what I wanted to share with you.” As he spoke, he revealed the bottle of wine to her, decidedly too pleased with himself.
She, however, looked anything but. “I thought you said this had to do with Sharon?”
“No, actually, I said it was something I couldn’t share with Sharon. She is pregnant. The baby is half human. I really don’t think her drinking would be a good idea.”
He’d prepared himself for disappointment and possibly anger because he hadn’t respected her wishes. He’d thought he might be given a short lecture before being shown the door. But, instead, he watched as Laura rolled her eyes and threw a hand in the air. He hadn’t considered exasperation. “I suppose you think you’re clever?”
He looked at her, smiled, and with another shrug of his shoulders said, “A little.” Before she had a chance to stop him he went on, “Look, I found this in that abandoned house we came across this morning. It seemed a waste to just leave it there and I thought you would appreciate it.” He paused for a moment to read her expression. “And a good bottle of wine is usually better shared with someone. Just one glass and then I’ll go.”
He’d come by late on purpose, knowing she’d be tired and possibly less likely to argue. She sighed and said, “Fine, but just one glass.”
They were not drunk. Though he’d done an excellent job of prolonging the evening and turning one glass into the entire bottle. As he poured the last of the wine into their glasses he decided to make a move, and instead of returning to his chair he sat next to her on the couch. Casually, he leaned back and put his feet up on the table in front of them. A not-so-subtle move, and the knowing smile she gave him told him she picked up on it.
“So much for one glass,” she remarked.
“It would have been a shame to let it go to waste.” He smiled and settled back further into the cushions of the couch, feeling increasingly comfortable there. And looking around the room, with the well-worn furnishings and oil lamp casting a soft glow, it had a homey atmosphere. He hadn’t felt so relaxed and at ease in he didn’t know when. “Besides, you have to admit this was nice. The drinking…” He raised his glass to emphasize the point. “The talking. I can’t even remember the last conversation I had that didn’t involve the Cylons or supply runs or body counts.” He raised an eyebrow as he thought about it. “It might have been with my dad.”
He trailed off recalling the harsh words and accusations he had leveled at his father the last time they spoke. He stared into his glass. His father had offered him a drink that day. He had tried to…no. He didn’t want to go there now. This was supposed to be about her, maybe them, and if nothing else a break from the usual misery. “Uh, what was it you were saying about Adar?”
“He was an ass.”
Lee snorted. The alcohol seemed to be doing its job, allowing her to let down that reserve of hers just a bit. It wasn’t what she’d originally told him about Adar.
As he took another sip from his glass she tried to clarify, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. When I first met him, he was a different man. I suppose you have to toughen up, shed some of your idealism when you become the president. He was forced to deal with things he wasn’t prepared for and he made mistakes. Given what I know now, perhaps I could have been more understanding.”
He saw the wistful expression on her face, the regret, and it took him back to his father. “Yeah, we’re all guilty there.” He glanced up at her, a mutual understanding passed between them as well as something more. She looked beautiful. She always looked beautiful to him, but there was something about seeing her like this with her guard down. And with the oversize sweater that had slipped off of one shoulder that she hadn’t bothered to adjust.
Maybe he stared a little too long because abruptly she said, “Captain, it’s late and I think we could both use some rest.”
Lee exhaled slowly. He hadn’t even noticed he was holding his breath. He sat up and placed his glass on the table. He was tired, but he hated to end things now as he was making some headway, getting her to lower her resolve. Maybe if he just…no, it wouldn’t work. She was as stubborn as he was and if he pushed the issue again when she still wasn’t ready then the door she had opened for him earlier might not be opened again. Not at least having the possibility of her friendship, it was something he couldn’t risk.
“Yeah, it’s late. And I’m sure they’ll be another crisis first thing.” He shared a knowing smile with her and proceeded to follow her to the door.
As soon as she opened the door, she came to an abrupt halt, stopping Lee in his tracks. He instinctively reached for his sidearm, but his fears subsided when she said, “Hello, gentlemen.”
Lee took a few steps to his right and pulled back the curtain just enough to make out who she was speaking to. It was Anders and one of his men; one of four patrols that routinely guarded the encampment at night.
“Anything wrong, Madam President?” To Lee, Anders seemed surprised to see her at the door. People were instructed to stay inside after dark and, given the hour, unless there was an emergency she shouldn’t be up and about.
“No, nothing’s wrong. I…I just thought I heard something. It appears to have been you.”
“Are you sure?” Anders turned to his partner. “Hudson, you take the left, I’ll go right and meet you around back. Use the infrared, see if you pick up any heat signatures in the woods.”
It was difficult to tell in the dim light, but Lee sensed her tense up. “Mr. Anders, I’m sure that’s not necessary. I…”
“You’re probably right, but Adama would have my ass if anything happened to you.” Lee didn’t know whether to laugh or be embarrassed at learning his concern was so obvious.
Laura sighed in resignation. “Very well. I’m going back to bed, but if you find anything, let me know.” Then she shut the door and turned to address Lee. “Well, it looks like you’ll be spending what’s left of the night here.”
“Excuse me?” The statement took him off guard and he was about to ask if he heard her correctly when she elaborated.
“When we’re not on the move, people have quite a bit of free time on their hands. I don’t want it filled with idle gossip, especially if I’m part of it. Besides, Anders and his men will now be looking for something to shoot at and…” She paused, and Lee tried to stop a grin from forming at what she was about to say. “…I really don’t want to have to explain to everyone how my military advisor ended up shot by his own men.”
“Oh, good point.” Okay, not what he had expected. “You’re right. It might be best if I sack out on the couch.” He shrugged his shoulders, trying to appear nonchalant to mask his disappointment. “Besides, it’s more comfortable than my bunk.”
“Fine. I’ll go get a blanket for you.”
As she left to go into her bedroom to retrieve the blanket, he collapsed back on the couch and contemplated how it was going to be a very long night.
Lee couldn’t sleep. He was exhausted and had half a bottle of wine in him; he should have been out as soon as his head hit the pillow. Yet he was lying here wide awake, dwelling on the fact that she was not more than a few yards away, in bed. He contemplated what she might or might not be wearing, what she might look like, if it was just her and a sheet and…gods he was going to drive himself mad.
Maybe he should do what he wanted to do, get up, go in there, pull her into his arms and kiss her until they could barely breathe. He’d explain to her again why this was insane, being apart, being alone, when they could be together in whatever time they both had left. This time, she’d finally listen to him. She’d allow him to strip out of his uniform and climb into bed with her. He’d kiss her some more, long, deep, slow kisses before he’d work his way down her body, caressing her neck, shoulders, and breasts with his lips, trailing soft, teasing kisses down her stomach and pelvis until he reached….
Frak. Lee felt his erection pressing against his pants. He hesitated for a moment and debated what to do. It wasn’t like he hadn’t dealt with this before with people in even closer proximity. And unlike some of his fellow pilots he had learned to be quiet about it.
He reached under the blanket, pulled up his tanks, and undid the belt and zipper of his pants. His left arm resting above his head, he tried to relax while he slid his right hand into his pants to relieve some of his frustration. He ran his fingers slowly along his length and considered various possibilities. Wrapping his hand around himself, he thought about how her hand would feel. As he squeezed, gently, and caressed the tip with his thumb, he contemplated the pressure of her mouth and the feel of her tongue. Grasping harder, he imagined her lowering herself onto him, her hands splayed across his chest as she rocked back and forth, thighs tightly embracing him, and her inner muscles flexing around him. Her long, silky hair would tickle his face and neck as she leaned down to kiss him. Giving into the image, he parted his lips and, barely above a whisper, said, “Laura.”
He froze and silently cursed himself and the gods as he gathered the courage to open his eyes. The moonlight that shone through the window didn’t reveal much, just enough that he could see her standing at the foot of the couch, arms wrapped around her. He could guess as to the look on her face. There would be no graceful or easy way out of this. He searched for words, something clever to diffuse the situation, but could do not better than, “Madam President.”
As she reached down to reignite the oil lamp, he sat up, instinctively bunching the blanket around his waist like it would somehow lessen both their embarrassment. He should have taken the opportunity to read her expression as she stood in the light and stared him. Instead, he allowed his attention to be drawn to how stunning she looked in a pale blue satin gown and robe, something he should not be noticing given the circumstances. The silence between them lingered, disturbing him more than the throbbing in his groin. He decided to get the confrontation over with.
“Look, there’s no point in me making excuses. You know what was happening. I’m sorry if I embarrassed you. I suppose I should have tried harder to…not let it get so far.” He looked up at her and saw there was still no reaction so he decided to change his approach, maybe find the humor in this. “If you would make some noise and let a guy know you were still awake…”
“Excuse me?” That got a reaction. Trying to shift blame. That always works so well for you, Lee “Are you saying this…” - she gestured with her hand in his direction - “…is my fault? I thought you were sick when I heard you moaning out here.”
Now it was Lee’s turned to be surprised. “Moaning? I wasn’t moaning.” No, he couldn’t have been. Breathing heavily, maybe. And, sure, he said her name, but that would have been impossible to hear unless…”How long have you been standing there?”
Her eyes grew wider. Most people wouldn’t have even picked up on it. She hadn’t expected that question and didn’t have an immediate response. That was something he didn’t see very often, her not being prepared.
“You would have had to have been standing there to have heard anything.” He was starting to understand, he hoped, or about to make a bad situation worse. “You couldn’t sleep either, could you? And you came out here to, I don’t know what, but you were watching me.”
“I think you should go, Captain.”
“No.” He didn’t snap at her, but it was a firm response. He wasn’t going to back down from her this time. “You know how I feel and what I want. You’ve known for weeks. You knew tonight when I showed up at your door with that bottle of wine.” He watched her get ready to protest and put up his hand to stop her. “I know you don’t want me to get hurt, but it’s too late for that”
He got up and took a few cautious steps towards her. Now practically toe to toe with her he saw how hard she was trying to keep it together, keep up the wall she’d been building around herself since he first met her. He brushed the hair back from her face and gently placed his hands on either side. “Look, dying, it’s a reality we both have to face. But cancer, Cylons, they don’t scare me as much as the thought of not knowing what might have been between the two of us. It won’t be simple and I know we have bigger things to focus on but…” He swallowed and decided to put all his cards on the table. “But I think I love you and I can’t keep denying it.”
Then he kissed her. It was brief, almost chaste, just enough to reinforce how he felt. When he pulled back to look into her eyes, he wasn’t sure what he’d see. He hadn’t intended to be so direct, but he knew it was now or never and the thought of never weighed on him so heavily he could feel his heart tighten in his chest. She stared back at him for a moment then slid her arms around his body and held him in a tight embrace. He followed her lead, wrapping his arms around her shoulders as his hands began to gently stroke her hair. Having become accustomed to her protests, her well reasoned arguments, he breathed a sigh of relief at what appeared to be progress.
He contemplated what to do next. Words always seemed to get him into trouble. Before he could come to any decision, he felt her turn her head slightly and her lips brush against his neck. The unexpected sensation caused him to shiver. She must have picked up on his reaction because he felt her grin against his neck just before she pulled back to look at him.
Still smiling she said, “Captain, I’m afraid I’m at a loss as to what to do with you.”
They seemed almost at ease with each other so he decided to give humor another try. He raised an eyebrow and said, “I have a few suggestions.”
When he laughed, she laughed with him. It did his heart good to hear her laugh, as did seeing such tenderness in her eyes. He’d felt affection from her before, but this time it didn’t seem tinged with fear or trepidation. She reached up and ran her fingers along his cheek, sliding her other hand up his chest until it reached his neck. Threading her fingers through his hair, she pulled his head towards her and began to place soft kisses along his jaw line until her lips came to rest upon his.
The kiss started out gentle, almost teasing, her tongue darting out to wet his lips, coaxing them apart, slipping into his mouth to meet his own. As he deepened the kiss, he hooked his fingers under the strap of her gown and pushed it off her shoulder along with her robe until she was exposed to him. He first caressed her breast, feeling the flesh become taut, and then moved his attentions to her nipple, brushing it with the pad of his thumb until it hardened. She gasped, breaking the kiss and it allowed him to bring his tongue down to the nub and stroke it a few times before sucking into his mouth. Her hand threaded through his hair to hold him in place as she let her head fall back and moaned in pleasure.
In his fantasies the foreplay would last for hours, but the reality was that that wouldn’t be happening this evening. His cock was swollen and growing painful and the feel of her nails digging into his scalp and her sweat covered skin told him she too was ready for a release.
He slid his hand down her thigh, bunching up her gown, moving his hand underneath as soon as he felt the hem of the fabric. He dragged his fingers from knee to inner thigh and as her legs buckled, he made sure to steady her with his other hand. Stilling his actions for a moment, he kissed his way across her chest, then her neck. When he reached her jaw line he once again moved his hand, bringing it between her thighs and sliding his fingers along her warm, wet folds. Her legs clamped together, trapping his hand there, and she whispered “Lee” into his ear. It was more a command than plea and he pushed two fingers into her. Immediately, he felt her muscles contract and he knew that a few strokes, a few brushes of his thumb across her clit, and this would be over for her.
Pulling back, he smiled and said, “I don’t think I want to let you off quite that easily.” He removed his fingers from within her and took a step back. He looked at her standing there, glassy eyed, half naked, looking more than a little frustrated, and he was all too pleased with himself.
He began to undress, pulling his tanks over his head. She slid the other strap of her gown down off her shoulder, allowing the material to slide off her body and fall to the floor. Lee was mesmerized by the sight, his president standing before him naked, magnificent, and she smiled knowing the power she had over him. Stepping forward she placed both her hands on his chest, leisurely moving them down his body, letting her fingernails scrape along his abs, forcing him to take in a sharp breath. Once her hands found his hips she slid her fingers beneath the waistband of his briefs and down around his thighs until they came to rest on his back side where she gave him a pinch.
Deciding they had teased each other enough, Lee grabbed both her arms, brought her as close to him as she could get and gave her a passionate kiss. He tried to back her towards the couch, but she escaped his grasp, turned him around and pushed him backwards, causing him to land on his ass with a thump. She quickly set about removing his pants and boxers, tossing them on the floor. The lady wanted to be in charge and he wasn’t about to stop her.
He settled into the couch and rested his head along the back, watching her every move. She placed a hand on each shoulder to steady herself as she raised one leg, then the other to straddle his thighs and settle in his lap. She then brought her hands to his face and, slowly, began sliding them across his sweat covered skin, down his neck, chest, and abdomen until she reached his inner thighs. He tensed as she took his cock in her hand, running one hand along the length, repeating the motion over and over. The intense pleasure caused Lee to buck up and throw his head back. This time he did hear the moan escape from his lips. He tried to focus on her, running his hands over her abdomen and breasts, firmly grasping each and stroking her nipples with his thumbs.
After a moment, Laura rose off his legs and leaned forward to kiss him; her nose brushing against his and tongue darting out to moisten his lips before once more sliding into his mouth. Lee released one breast to take hold of her hair and force her to deepen the kiss. And as they kissed he felt her position herself just about the tip of his cock, teasing his sensitive flesh briefly before sheathing him in her warm, silky flesh.
The kiss was broken as Laura’s head snapped back and she let out a choked cry. Instinctively, Lee brought both hands to her waist and dug his fingers into her ass to hold her steady as he began thrusting up into her. She responded by grabbing his shoulders and moving up and down to meet his movements. When she began to flex her muscles around him, he closed his eyes, losing himself in the moment.
Their actions quickly grew more erratic, their breathing more difficult, and only unintelligible sounds seemed to escape their lips. Suddenly, her body went stiff and he quickly reached up to muffle her scream. The sensation and her reaction sent him over the edge. A few more wild thrusts and she collapsed on top of him, the both of them completely spent. For several moments the only thing he was aware of was the rapid beating of their hearts and labored breaths.
Eventually, they moved, he grabbing the blanket to pull over them; she reaching back to extinguish the light. Looking down at her, he moved aside the sweat soaked hair from her forehead and placed a kiss there, then kissed her lips once more before wrapping his arms around her and waiting for sleep to overcome them.
He would have rolled his eyes had they not been closed. “I think we can stick to Lee now. At least when we’re alone.”
“Hmmm. And here I thought most men would prefer being referred to as a god after sex.”
He laughed. “Putting aside feeding my ego, you’re not giving me much incentive to work harder.”
“I think you’ve worked hard enough.” She grew quiet and Lee thought that maybe she had drifted off, but then she said, “Lee, I’m still not sure this isn’t a mistake.”
“I know. I didn’t think it would be this easy.” She chuckled off his remark. He snuggled closer, the exhaustion setting in, and he mumbled into her hair, “You can remind me of all the reasons this is a bad idea in the morning. I’ll even make you breakfast while you do it. Did you know I could cook?”
She sighed and patted him on the thigh. “See, you really are a god.”