As Galactica flies towards Earth, Bill looks at all of his officers in the CIC. Each of their faces hold a different set of emotions, some are hopeful, some are happy, and others just hold a look of complete thankfulness for finally reaching the end. He then turns and looks at Laura’s face. Her face holds all of these emotions as well, but mixed with others, pride for having seen the journey completed, sadness knowing that her journey is about to end, and love for having completed this journey with Bill. He catches her eyes with his own and sends a reassuring smile in her direction. Looking at one of his CIC officers, he says, “Please send a raptor to the fleet’s coordinates and have them jump here.”
Bill then turns towards his XO and motions for him to come near. “Saul, I need you to hold the fort down here for a couple hours. There’s something I need to do.” At this, he looks over at Laura.
Saul follows his gaze and realizes that Laura is on the other end of it. He never would have guessed in a million years that his friend would have fallen for her, but he did. And now he has to watch the old man’s heart break because the woman he loves is dying right in front of his very eyes. Saul looks back at Bill and sees almost a pleading look in his eyes, the desperation of needing to share a few private moments with her before he can’t anymore. “I understand, Bill. Go.”
Bill returns his eyes to Saul and gives him a look of thanks. He walks over to Laura and says gently, “Let’s go and get cleaned up. Saul is going to take care of things down here for now.”
She looks up at him in exhausted surprise and says in her congested voice, “I really don’t think it matters very much now.”
“Laura, you are covered in blood. Don’t you want to get that smell and feel off of you? I know that I do,” he says, trying to hide the desperation in his voice. He just needs to have a moment alone with her. He needs a chance to say good-bye because he knows any breath could be her last.
Laura gazes into his deep blue eyes, the opening to his soul, and sees his misery. Their journey is complete, so he knows that her journey is almost complete too. “Okay. But I’m going to need your help.” She nods her head at Bill as she braces her hands on the center CIC console. Bill wraps his arms around her tiny waist and gently pulls her up.
Moving the chair out from behind her, he wraps one arm around her back and she wraps one of hers around his shoulders. Slowly they move together and make their way out of CIC. Bill slows his pace as Laura takes one halting step at a time. They watch for sparks flying as they pass all of the corridors. Their home is falling apart. As Laura slows down, Bill reaches out with his free arm and Laura grabs hold of it, gently squeezing. “Are you okay?”
“I just-I just need a moment. Can we stop for a minute?”
Bill looks around hurriedly for something Laura can sit on. He sees a metal crate a couple yards away. “Do you think you can walk a couple more yards to that crate over there?”
“Yeah, I can.” She takes a few more stumbling steps with Bill and then lowers herself to the crate. Resting her head on the bulkhead, she looks up at Bill and gives him a sad smile, trying to catch her breath.
He squats down next to her and carefully places his hand on her knee. “Let me know when you’re ready.” Being as gentle as possible, he runs his hand up and down her thigh, comforting her, letting her know that he is there. He gazes around his ship and notices for the first time in several years that there is no one else walking through the halls besides them. There are no voices in the hall to cover up the groaning of his ship, and it is deafening.
A few minutes later, Laura rests her hand over Bill’s on her leg and weakly squeezes it. “I’m ready, honey. We can keep going.”
Bill stands up from his crouched position and wraps an arm around her waist, taking hold of her hand and tenderly pulling her up off of the crate. Laura puts her hand on the bulkhead for a minute to regain her balance and a moment later she nods her head at Bill. Resuming the walk back towards their quarters, Bill says, “Once we’re done cleaning up in our quarters, I was thinking we could go over to the Observation Deck and look out at Earth from up here. What do you think?”
Catching her breath before she speaks, she looks at Bill and finally says, “I think that would be lovely. A final good-bye to space, the place we’ve lived for five years.”
The remainder of the walk is silent until they reach their quarters. Bill slowly helps Laura down the stairs and they cross the hatchway into their quarters, Bill closing the hatch behind them. He helps her over to the rack and she sits down. Walking over to the head, he pulls out two towels and dampens them from the sink. The faucet is just barely letting out a trickle, so he knows the pipes are giving out on the ship. Moving back out to Laura, he sets one of the towels on the edge of the rack and then starts cleaning the dried blood off of Laura’s face. He hopes none of it is from her.
“Bill, I can do that myself,” she says, taking her glasses off of her face and shakily reaching for the towel.
Bill looks into her eyes and whispers, “Just indulge me.” After wiping away the blood on her cheeks, he presses a kiss on both sides of her cheeks. Next he cleans off the rise of her nose, ending with a soft kiss placed in that same spot. Brushing away the bangs of her wig, he wipes the dirt and grime off of her forehead, leaning up so he can place a kiss there. And then next is her chin, going through the same routine of cleaning and then kissing. Looking at her glasses, he wipes off the tiny blood spots on the lenses and then slides them back onto Laura’s face. Running his hand over her cheek, he ends with a soft kiss to her lips, feeling a smile grow across her face. He looks up and sees that her eyes are still closed, reveling in the moment. Taking her hand in his, he presses a kiss to her papery skin and then sits down beside her on the rack. He gets the other towel and begins wiping his face off. Starting with his face, he then moves to his hair and gets all the dirt out.
After wiping his hands off on the towel, he gets up from the rack, the movement making Laura look up at him, and walks over towards one of the boxes packed in the corner of the room. This is the moment Laura really looks around the room and realizes that their home is packed away, most of the stuff moved from their quarters. Her eyes return to Bill and she sees him putting on a clean uniform. “Bill…”
Bill whips around and looks at her, worried. He quickly walks over to her and says, “Are you okay?”
Laura shakes her head and says, “I’m fine, Bill. I was just thinking.”
It suddenly dawns on Bill that he is changing but he doesn’t having any clean clothes for her. He looks down at her with guilt in his eyes. His voice breaks as he says, “Laura, I’m sorry that I can’t-that I can’t offer you any clean clothes. I packed them all away and-and I didn’t think…”
Laura slowly raises her hand to his cheek and says, “It’s okay, Bill. I understand.” She interrupts him before he has to finish what he was about to say. She knows he doesn’t want to say it. He didn’t think she would need any of her clean clothes because everybody thought she would die in that hospital bed in sickbay. But she didn’t, and she’s still here. She wraps her arms around his neck and he realizes she wants to stand up. Putting his arm around her waist, he helps her to stand and then realizes that her face is inching towards his. Moving his lips towards hers, their magnetic pull draws their lips together. Finally, after the need for oxygen becomes too great, their lips pull apart. Laura rests her forehead against his cheek and breathes in the needed oxygen.
Bill is the first to speak. “Are you ready to go to the Observation Deck?” He feels her nod against his cheek and he takes that as affirmation. Guiding her towards the front of their quarters, he stops at a box that was one of the last to be packed and hadn’t been transferred yet and grabs Laura’s red plaid blanket and a small, light box, hiding it in his pants pocket.
As they move towards the Observation Deck, Laura’s footing becomes more and more unsteady. Her steps become more stumbling as Bill wraps his arm tighter around Laura’s waist. He looks at her, concerned, and that is when Laura takes one more step and begins to fall. He wraps both arms around her tightly, barely managing to keep her on her feet. “Laura, if you can’t make it, we can stop.”
“No, Bill, I’m fine,” Laura says as she struggles to take another step. She wants to do this, and she will.
This is what drives him mad but also what he loves about her, her stubbornness. He sighs, hands her the blanket, and says, “Laura, put your arm around my neck and hold this.”
“What are you doing?” she asks, her voice low and congested.
“This,” Bill says as he lifts her up, cradling her in his arms. He grimaces when he notices she’s too easy to lift; she’s gotten so tiny now, her body and her spirit. She’s only a fraction of what she used to be and this presses him deeper into misery. He truly is losing her, and soon. Resuming the walk to the Observation Deck, he tries to stop the tears from forming in his eyes, but he loses and a few fall down his cheeks. Even as tired as Laura is, she notices and slowly lifts her hand to wipe away the tears, choosing not to say anything. Once they reach the Observation Deck, Bill steps through the hatch and then leans Laura against the wall so he can close and lock it. Picking her back up, he carefully makes his way down the stairs and sets her down on the bench next to the window, overlooking space. Laying himself down on the cushioned seat, he pulls Laura into his arms and arranges the blanket over them. Wrapping his arms around Laura’s body, he hopes to bring some warmth into her bones. She rests her hands over his and interlaces her fingers, keeping his tight against her body.
“It’s absolutely beautiful, isn’t it?” Laura says in amazement, staring out at planet Earth. No matter how close she is to death, she will always look at the beauty of things.
“It certainly is,” Bill says, never taking his eyes off of Laura. He wishes they could stay like this forever, never breaking from this moment. He deeply breathes in the smell of her and places a light kiss on the top of her wig. “I can’t wait for us to see all the wildlife down there. The pilots who flew down there and did the scans said that there is a lot.”
“I’m so happy, Bill. I can’t believe we did it. We actually did it.” She nuzzles Bill’s cheek with the side of her face and turns her head so that she is looking at him from the corner of her eye. “Thank you, Bill, for getting us here.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Laura. You did much more than I did. You gave us hope and faith. We never would have gotten to this point without that. I really should be the one thanking you.”
Laura hums in acknowledgement and then turns her eyes back towards the window, admiring the beauty of the planet from space. The blues and greens of this planet are gorgeous. As Bill tightens his arms around her, she realizes that for the first time in weeks she is truly warm. Blankets don’t do much for her now; the only thing that allows her to escape the cold is the warmth of Bill’s body pressed against hers. So when she feels suddenly cold on the left side of her body and new warmth on her leg, she slowly turns away from the window and looks down at her lap. She sees Bill’s hand resting on her leg and holding a little black box. Bill knows she’s seen the box when he feels her gasp against his chest. He opens the box with a flick of his finger and says softly next to her ear, “Be my wife, Laura. I know we won’t be able to be together for long, but any amount of time spent with you as my wife is long enough.”
Laura shifts her body so she can look directly into Bill’s eyes. She knows her own eyes are filling with tears and she blinks them away as quick as she can so she can see clearly. “I-I…” She can’t get the sentence out so she just nods her head.
Bill reaches around her with his free hand and takes the ring from the box, sliding it onto her finger. It is a simple gold band engraved with intricate designs intermixed with small diamonds. Raising her left hand to his lips, he places a kiss just above her ring and then he turns his head towards hers and gives her a soft kiss on the lips. As their lips release, Bill whispers against her, “I married you months ago, I just didn’t realize it. I love you, Laura.”
“I love you too, Bill.” She settles back against his chest and runs her finger over her newly placed ring. A smile begins to grow on her face as she distantly remembers a time when she absolutely hated this man. Now she doesn’t ever want to leave him. Looking back out of the window, she realizes that this is the third miracle of the day. Maybe, just maybe, a fourth could be managed.
This was meant to be a one-shot but in the last few minutes of writing it, I realized that I could continue it. So I hope you enjoy it! I posted this story on Fanfiction.net a few years ago and I am just now getting around to posting it on here. Disclaimer: I do not own Battlestar Galactica. If I did, it would still be going on and Laura would not be dead.
Hope you enjoyed it! Reviews and critiques are appreciated.