“Laura, I’m here. And you’re going to be okay.” He takes her hand in his but as he says this he sees her eyes slip shut. Looking up at Cottle, he says desperately, “What’s going on? She just spoke to me, she can’t be dead.”
“Bill, look up at the monitors. She’s not dead; she just fell asleep. She’s exhausted,” Cottle says, pointing up to the monitors and slipping the oxygen mask back over Laura’s nose and mouth. He sees Bill look up at the monitors and breathe a sigh of relief at seeing Laura’s normal vitals. “But Bill, you need to understand this. Just because her vital signs are normal and she woke up does not mean she is cured. And there is one problem. I can’t know if the cancer has gone into remission or not. The first time we did a CT scan, but I couldn’t bring that equipment down here. That’s the only way of figuring out if it’s still there or if it’s gone. We have no official way of knowing if the cancer’s gone. She’s just going to have to be monitored for signs and symptoms. That’s the only way now. I’m sorry, Bill, but I can’t give you anything more than that.” He turns to Sharon and places a bandage across her abdomen. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine, Doctor,” Sharon says while looking at Laura, concerned. She then looks back at Cottle and says, “Thank you for agreeing to do that.”
“Well, it’s not like I had any other option. Plus, I figured it couldn’t do any harm.” He gruffly clears his throat and then lights a cigar. “Now, since you’re perfectly fine you can get out of my medical tent.”
“Yes, Doctor,” Sharon says with a smirk on her face. Standing up from the cot, she walks over to her husband and daughter. Giving each a kiss, she says, “Alright, where should we go from here?” They walk out of the medical tent and begin exploring.
Cottle returns to Bill’s side and puts a hand on his shoulder. Turning him around, he says, “She’ll probably be out for awhile. Her body was already exhausted and now the cylon blood is hopefully fighting the cancer cells. If you want to go, I can come and get you when she wakes.”
“No, Sherman. I’ve left her far too much; I think I’ll just stay. And I’m not an admiral anymore, so where else should I be.”
Cottle turns around, grabs a chair, and then hands it to Bill. “You’re going to need this then. You’re going to be here awhile.” After handing the chair to Bill, he leaves their area and goes in to the main part of the tent.
Before sitting down, Bill presses a kiss to Laura’s forehead and then runs his hand down her arm, landing at her hand. He sits down in the chair heavily and takes her hand in his, running his finger around the wedding ring he gave her. He hopes that one day, when Laura feels comfortable enough to do it, they can have the wedding they deserve. They can be married in front of a priest with a couple of witnesses and then it would be official. But that’s in a future they may not have. All he can hope for right now is that the blood is doing its job and killing the cancer cells.
As hours pass, his thoughts get pulled back to the cabin and how he is going to build it. They had brought some of their material things down from their quarters, but the only furniture they had brought down was the sectional couch, coffee table, Bill’s desk, and chair. He had decided since the couch could be detached they would bring it down in separate trips. It would be quite hard to build a couch down here with little to work with. And since he thought he was going to be alone for the rest of his days, he decided he wanted a few reminders of his home.
Dusk grows near as the sun begins to set. He whispers next to her ear, “Laura. Laura. Wake up.”
Laura. Laura. Wake up. She doesn’t want to wake up, it’s so peaceful here. Why can’t she just stay where she is? Laura. Come back to me. You’re okay now. But she’s okay here, if only she could tell them that. As she becomes more aware though, she realizes that it’s Bill’s voice calling to her. He’d want her to be with him, for however much time she has left. He’d want to be able to talk to her one last time, to kiss her one last time, and to see her eyes one last time. Nearing wakefulness, she feels a pressure on her hand and realizes it is being held. Giving a weak squeeze, she finally opens her eyes.
“Laura,” Bill exclaims happily. He brushes away the bangs of her wig and presses a kiss to her forehead. Sitting back down in the chair, he just looks at her admiringly. He notices her eyes are searching his, trying to figure out what is going on.
Laura looks around her and realizes she has woken up in one of the large military tents. Her last memories are of watching the gazelle and so she can’t understand how she got here. After glancing at all of the items in the tent, hearing the beeping she got so tired of in sickbay, and realizing she has an oxygen mask on, she swallows. Her throat feels like sandpaper and she weakly points to a cup of water that is sitting next to Bill. She needs to know what happened to her. She feels like she’s been hit by a bus and then run over a couple times. Bill picks up the water and then stands, sliding the oxygen mask off of her face and then helping her take careful sips of the water. After she has had enough, she forcefully clears her throat and rasps, “What happened?”
Bill sits back down in the chair and grabs her hand once again, holding it in his. “Do you not remember waking up earlier?”
“No,” Laura says and shakes her head, confused.
Just as Bill is about to speak, Cottle interrupts them by walking in and says, “Well, look who decided to join the living again. How did you sleep, young lady?” He checks the monitors, listens to her lungs, and then disconnects the oxygen mask.
“Just fine,” Laura says. She then looks back at Bill with her steely gaze and raises her voice just a little bit more, her throat starting to clear. “Bill, you haven’t answered my question. What happened?”
Cottle is about to leave the tent but when he hears Laura’s question he stops. Turning back around to face them, he waits patiently to see how the admiral is going to explain himself. He sees Bill turning to face him to try and get him involved. Looking at both Bill and Laura, he says, “Don’t get me involved. I’m the one that didn’t want to do it.”
Laura looks back at Bill and says, “What did you do? Tell me.” Even as raspy as her voice is, it still has a commanding quality to it and it makes Bill tense in his seat.
Bill lets out a deep breath of nervousness and then starts to speak. “You collapsed as I was picking you up to take you to see the wildlife. When you collapsed, you were still alive, but unconscious. Athena came over and told me that she’s pregnant and she wanted to help save you.”
“Bill, you didn’t.”
Bill looks down at his lap and nods his head, not wanting to face Laura’s disappointment. “Yes, I did. When you collapsed, I realized how much I needed you. If there was a chance she could save you, I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t let you go.”
Laura sighs and then looks up at Cottle. “And you allowed it? You knew I wouldn’t want it and yet you allowed it?”
“I said no at first. And I used that exact reason. But a spouse gets to make the last call on medical decisions, and nothing would change his mind. So I had to do it.” As much as he doesn’t want to admit it, he is glad the admiral forced him to inject her with the blood. He’s had a soft spot for Laura ever since he first became her doctor, and it was very painful for him to watch her suffer and nearly die. He never had children, but in a way, Laura was like his surrogate daughter.
Laura nods her head in acceptance of the explanation and then says, “Well, what’s done is done. Do you know if it worked? At least worked for now?”
“About that, Bill already knows but I’ll tell you now. The only way to determine if cancer is in remission is by doing a CT scan, but unfortunately that equipment could not be brought down here. I’m sorry, but there’s no way of knowing if your cancer is gone. You and Bill will just have to monitor to see if any signs and symptoms show up again. I will do a breast check to see if the tumor you had has shrunken. If I can’t feel it, we are going to have to assume the cancer is gone. After that, you’re just going to have to monitor regularly. That’s all that can be done.”
After a few moments of processing what she has just found out, she says, “Thank you, Cottle.”
He nods his head at her obvious dismissal and then says, “I’ll be back later to check on you.”
After a moment of silence and contemplation on both sides, Laura finally says, “Bill, how could you do this to us, to me, to yourself? Do you know what this means?”
“Yes, Laura. I know that you could still have cancer or it could come back at any time. But, Laura, what if it’s gone and what if it doesn’t come back? I took this chance because I want to get as much time with you as I can. A few days, a few weeks, a few months, a few years, many years; I would take any of that just to be with you longer. This is our chance to be together on Earth, and I couldn’t leave that behind, even if it is only for a little while.”
“Bill, I can’t let you watch me die all over again. It will kill you.” As she says this, she feels a tear fall down her face and she slowly lifts her hand to wipe it off.
Bill looks down because he knows this is true. It nearly killed him this time. Finally, he looks up and says, “Then let’s hope the cylon blood worked. And now, I have something to show you.”
“What are you doing?” Laura rasps, watching him disconnect all of the heart monitor wires from her. She feels him pick her up from the bed and she rests her head gently against his chest, feeling his heart beat against her cheek. The heat from his body is surrounding her and is slowly lulling her into a semiconscious state. She knows he’s stepped outside of the tent when she feels the outside air hitting her skin. Opening her eyes, she sees that it is nighttime.
Bill carefully sits down on the grass with Laura in his arms and pulls her back up against his chest. As they look out at the sky, they are startled by the beautiful sun rays and the sky blurred in orange, red, and purple. “Isn’t the sunset beautiful here?”
“It’s gorgeous,” she says, entranced by the sunset. The colors are dancing across the minimal clouds on the skyline and are making a perfect picture.
“This is it, Laura. This is home.”
Well, here's the next chapter. Hope you enjoy it!
Reviews are appreciated.