After a couple of days of staying inside the tent, and Laura constantly insisting that she’s getting better, Bill decides it’s time to take Laura out. Finally, after minutes of drawing up the courage to ask because he is worried it will be bad news, he walks over to Cottle and says, “How is Laura’s condition?” The doctor hadn’t told them whether it could be gone or if it wasn’t and they are both anxious to know what they are facing.
Cottle turns from what he is doing and realizes that Bill is speaking to him. Gruffly clearing his throat, he waits a minute before speaking. He hadn’t given them any information so they wouldn’t get their hopes up. And he was trying to keep Laura in here as long as possible so that he, a real doctor, could monitor her. Unfortunately, both of the former leaders of the fleet are impatient and he should have known Laura wouldn’t be staying here under his care forever. “Why don’t we talk about it with her?”
They walk back into the side tent as Bill becomes more and more nervous. He doesn’t think Cottle sounded very optimistic, but that could be just him. Maybe it’s just that he doesn’t have enough definite information, maybe that’s why he doesn’t sound very positive. Once they reach Laura, Bill sits down on the chair next to the bed and looks at Laura, smiling.
“Madame President,” he starts with a look at Laura, who is glaring at him. After watching the sunset a couple days before, Cottle had come in and done a breast exam. He had called her ‘Madame President’ but she had insisted he just call her ‘Laura’ now that she wasn’t president anymore. He tried it once but then never did it again. ‘Madame President’ was more of a term of endearment than a title, and it felt wrong to call her anything but that. Realizing he drifted into the past, he is pulled back into the present when Laura calls his name. “Yes, sorry, where was I? Bill just came to me and asked me what your condition is. I haven’t yet told you so I figured I would tell both of you at the same time. As a doctor, I don’t like to make assumptions, especially not in these circumstances. But unfortunately that’s all I can do for you. I’ve been doing a breast exam everyday and the tumor has shrunken considerably, in fact, I can’t even feel it anymore. How have you been feeling? Have you noticed you’ve been gaining strength back like you did last time?”
“Yes, I’ve gained a little strength back. I can walk a little ways while holding onto Bill, I can breathe without pain, and I’ve lost the terrifying trembling in my hands. But I’ve noticed my strength isn’t returning as quickly as it did last time. Is that a problem?”
“No, that’s not a problem. In fact, that’s expected. Your strength is not going to come back as quick this time because you were on Diloxan prior to the cure so a lot of your strength is just going to have to come back over time. You’re going to have to gain it back little by little. It’s going to be tough, but if anyone can do it, you can.”
“Doctor, are you saying what I think you’re saying?” Laura says anxiously, feeling the happiness begin to rise within her.
“Yes, I am. I am safely assuming you beat cancer a second time. Congratulations. Your body deserves a medal for allowing that cylon blood to work a second time.”
Laura chuckles at this and says, “Well, its reward is being able to live on Earth, breathe fresh air, and take in the sun.” She then turns serious once more. She never thought this day would come. “Thank you, Doctor, for allowing this to happen. I appreciate it more than you could ever know.” As she says this, she notices her gruff doctor stiffening and his eyes beginning to mist over. She’s only ever seen him like this once before and that was when he was injecting her with medication so she could help in the rescue of Hera. He must be getting soft.
“You’re welcome. And since I know you’re an impatient, stubborn woman, I am letting you out of my tent right now so I don’t have to listen to you insisting to be let out any longer. People are going to start to think I am holding someone prisoner.”
Tearfully, Laura chuckles once again and says, “Thank you.” She watches as Cottle detaches all the wires from her and then he takes her hand.
“Goodbye, Madame President. I hope to see you soon, just not for this reason. Take care of yourself, and take care of him.” At this, he looks over at Bill.
“I promise I will, both me and him.” She takes Bill’s hand in hers and gently squeezes it.
“Take care of yourself as well, Cottle. You’re going to be needed around here for a long time,” Bill says to the brusque doctor.
“I will,” Cottle says in reply and then sticks a cigar in his mouth. Smirking around it, he turns and leaves.
Once Cottle leaves, Laura sits up slowly and dangles her feet over the side of the bed. As she allows her body time to readjust, she feels Bill slipping her shoes on and lightly running his hand over her ankles. She shivers slightly at his touch as she says, “Well, I’m definitely going to need some new shoes now that I’m going to be living here.” Before they leave, Bill grabs the book they had been reading and tucks it under his free arm, not wanting to leave it behind. Aided by Bill, she stands up and they start to make their way out of the tent.
“Don’t you still have your shoes from New Caprica? I know you didn’t wear your high heels there.”
“Oh yes, I forgot about those. As long as Starbuck has kept an eye on our things and no one has raided them then they should be there. Speaking of our things, how are we going to get the couch to the place where we are going to build our cabin?”
“Well, I’ve been thinking about that. I’m thinking we should just build the cabin and then once that’s done being built, I could fly in the raptor and pick up each piece of the couch and bring it over. Just do it the same way we brought it down here.”
“That would work. How long do you think it’s going to take to build?”
At this point in their conversation, they are passing by Saul and Ellen Tigh. Saul stops suddenly and looks at Laura, shocked. Laura isn’t surprised, however, because the last time either of them had seen her she had been on death’s door. “Hello Saul, Ellen,” Laura says kindly.
Saul quickly closes his mouth and clears his throat. “Bill, hi. Laura?”
“Yes, it’s me, Colonel. It looks like you’ve seen a ghost.” Laura chuckles at her own joke but then notices his somber expression. She can’t be very soothing to look at right now. Swimming in her clothes and pale as a sheet, she must look like a walking skeleton. Her wig doesn’t do her any favors either. Luckily, as opposed to what she looks like, she’s not dying anymore.
“I’m not trying to be rude but-but…” Saul tries to say, but doesn’t really know how to say it.
Ellen, being the person that she is, comes right out and says it. “What my dear husband is trying to say is, shouldn’t you be dead, Laura? We saw you a couple days ago and you looked terrible.”
“Ellen!” Tigh says loudly, astonished that his wife would say that.
“What? It’s true!”
“It’s okay, Saul. It is true,” Laura says kindly. “I should be dead. In fact, a couple days ago, I was nearly dead. But Athena is pregnant, she offered to save me, I was unconscious at the time, and Bill couldn’t let me go, so here we are. That’s how it happened. And that’s how I am still here.” She hates to sound ungrateful, but she doesn’t want to go through the entire story with the Tighs. It’s a summarized version of what happened and it will have to do for now.
As Ellen replies with a surprised, “Oh,” Saul looks at Bill and gives him a sad smile, not surprised at all. He remembers the moment when Bill was just trying to get a moment alone with her on Galactica before she died and he remembers the look on his face. He’ll probably remember that look until the day he dies. No, he is not surprised at all by Bill saving her. “So, where are you two heading?” Saul says, directing the question at Bill.
“Well, I had Lee pack up most of our stuff on that raptor over there this morning. We are heading over there and we’re going to go look for a place to build our cabin. We’re probably not going to go too far from here.”
“It sounds like you are going to be busy for awhile. Well, we’ll let you go. It was wonderful to see you both. I’m happy for you,” Saul says.
“Thank you,” Laura says in reply. As they begin to walk away, she turns towards Bill and says, “They seem truly happy together for once.”
“They do. I’ve never seen them acting so calm together. Coming to terms with who they are must have done them some good.”
“Must have. You’ll have to tell me about your younger days with them at some point. So, how long do you think it’s going to take to build the cabin?”
“I will, at some point. I would say probably about a month. I did some cabin research once back on the colonies, back when I thought I was going to retire five years ago. It’s actually not too difficult to build.”
“Well, that sounds promising. It also sounds like you’ve been thinking a lot about it lately.”
Bill looks down at the ground and lightly chuckles. “I’ve had plenty of time to do so. When you were asleep for hours after Cottle injected the blood into your system, all I could think about was the future we could have. I drew out the plans for the cabin on a piece of paper while you were asleep. It’s in the raptor. Once we’ve found the perfect place, I’ll get them out and show them to you.”
“That sounds perfect,” Laura says as they reach the wing of the raptor. Bill carefully helps her step up onto the raptor and then he follows behind her. They cautiously make their way through all the boxes and make it into the front of the raptor. Once Bill helps Laura get strapped into the seat, he begins his pre-flight check. Laura turns her head towards the side window and looks back at the main camp. It looks as though a lot of people have stayed right there, starting to build their homes with tents for the time being. It reminds her a lot of New Caprica, but with different weather and a different overall environment. As they take off, Laura looks back out the front window and sees they are flying over a lake. The blueness of the water and the beauty of the pink flamingos take her breath away. Finally she says, “So much life.”
“It's a rich continent. More wildlife than all the twelve colonies put together. Just looking for a quiet little place for that cabin. Maybe a garden. I don't have much of a green thumb so I hope that you do.”
“Well, you have worked up in space most of your life, I can understand why you don’t know how to garden, though it’s not that hard. But don’t worry, I’ll teach you.” Placing her hand over Bill’s on the throttle, she gives it a gentle squeeze.
“How are you doing, Laura?” Bill says, worried for her and for her health. He’ll never forget his worry for her or these last months of pain, but hopefully with time it will fade.
“I’m okay, Bill. I promise.” She wonders how safe she’ll have to stay, how healthy she’ll have to be, and how much strength she’ll have to regain before Bill will forget all of the heart-gripping worry that he’s had to endure for the past several months. She hopes he can learn to trust in her health and her body again. Looking back out of the window, she says suddenly, “Bill, look!”
“What? Are you okay, Laura?” He looks over at her, worried. Maybe it was too soon to take her out of Cottle’s care after all.
“Bill, I’m fine! Look!” She points out the window at the perfect spot. It’s near a very large patch of trees and it’s next to the lake they just flew over, with a little stream running into it. The water is so clear it’s like looking through glass.
“Right there,” Laura says.
“Right there,” Bill says in return.
The next chapter is here. Hope you all enjoy it!
Hope you enjoyed it! As always, reviews and suggestions are loved.