“Bill, you have to let me help with something. I feel useless just sitting here,” Laura comments from her place against the acacia tree, watching Bill unpack the raptor’s emergency supplies.
“Laura, you need to rest,” Bill says, turning to face her from inside the raptor. He’s trying to find the tent that he knows is packed in there somewhere, but he thinks it must be in one of the side compartments because he is having no luck finding it in any of the boxes. He hears her groan at the word ‘rest,’ but he knows that resting is really all she can do for now. “And you aren’t useless, you’re just relaxing, which is what I’m planning on doing once I find the tent and put it up.”
Laura sighs and takes a deep breath. She absolutely hates feeling useless, but if she wants to be completely honest with herself it’s not like she can do much anyway. Her strength was completely drained while she was dying and she doesn’t have any reserves. As much as she might try to hide it, she’s still incredibly weak. Bill had to help her off of the raptor and over to the tree because she struggled to do it herself. It makes her feel like a child, and she can’t help but wonder if her mother felt like this. She remembers when she used to have to dress her mother and help her bathe and she remembers how her mother would become so indifferent and detached when she did that. Suddenly, she remembers Cottle’s words, ‘It’s just going to take time.’ Time for her to regain her strength, time for her to learn to trust in it, and time for Bill to learn to trust in it again. Looking back up at the raptor, she sees Bill finally hauling the tent out and closing the hatch. “So, how long has it been since you’ve done this?”
“What? Set up a tent?” Bill says as he looks at her with a raised eyebrow. At Laura’s expectant nod, he says, “Well, I’d say it’s been quite a while.”
“Define ‘quite a while,’” Laura says with a smirk on her face once Bill is standing next to her. She feels so much more at ease playing just this role. She no longer has to appear always in control now that she’s not the president. She can just be Laura, the Laura who has not lived since her family died. She can make jokes again, and tease, and care for someone.
Bill looks down at her and notices the smirk on her face. He likes her teasing him; he hasn’t been able to hear enough of that these past years. As he tries to think back to the last time he used a tent, he realizes it must have been years ago. “Probably not since my boys were little. I would come home when they were young and we would go on camping trips out in the woods. Sometimes their mother would come with us but usually it would just be me and the boys. This was back when my home life was still decent.”
Laura looks up at him and realizes she doesn’t know much about his personal life outside the military. She knew he was divorced and things had gone very badly with him and his ex-wife. She knew that a few years before the war Zak had died and Lee had blamed his father for that, along with many other things. She knew he thought of Kara as the daughter he never had. But other than that, they had never really spoken about their lives before the war. She can count the number of times on one hand that she has mentioned her family to Bill, and it was only during the few moments they could escape their jobs. From this moment on, she promises herself they are going to start talking about these things and talk about their lives before the war. They never had time for that on Galactica; they were always fighting for something. Realizing that she hasn’t replied, she finally says, “Well then maybe you should get started on it so you have time to figure out how to put it up before the sun goes down.”
Bill is about to make a snide remark back when he looks down and sees that Laura is just teasing him. He’ll have to get used to this side of her. Playfully bumping his knee into her arm, he teasingly says, “You’re just going to have to have faith in my abilities.”
“I’ve always had faith in your abilities, even when you put me in the brig,” Laura says with a teasing smile on her face but also with a look of seriousness in her eyes. She hopes he knows she’s always trusted him, well, for the most part. “Alright, you need to hurry and get this tent up so you can tell me your plans for our cabin.”
“Yes, Madame President,” Bill says with a wink of his eye. As he is pulling the tent out of the plastic package, the directions sail out of the fold and into Laura’s lap. “And there’s something for you to do, read the directions to me if I need them.”
“Only if you hand me my glasses that are in your pocket.”
“Oh yes, I’m sure those would be helpful.” Bill reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out her glasses, carefully handing them to her.
After slowly unfolding the sides, she slides them onto her face. “Ah, there we go. Now I can read what that says,” Laura observes, holding the directions up to her eyes. “10 x 12 canvas tent, military green. Wow, that’s quite large.”
Bill takes out the rest of the poles and begins working on the tent. About halfway through, and having gotten one side of the tent up, he peeks his head out of what is starting to look like a doorway and says to Laura, “Alright, now I’m going to need your help.”
Laura calls back to him because he has returned to the inside of the tent, “What did you just finish doing?”
Just as Bill is about to tell her, he figures out the problem and says, “Never mind, figured it out.” Laura returns her gaze to the green landscape and watches as the gently moving leaves in the trees hypnotize her. About five minutes later, Bill is standing outside of their first home on Earth. After moving two sleeping bags and a couple of blankets into it, he then carries their most important box of books into it and places a kerosene lamp on top of the box. Collecting stones and fallen tree branches, he creates a small fire pit in front of the tent where they can cook food. Looking at Laura, he notices the huge smile across her face. “What?”
“Nothing,” Laura says tearfully as she shakes her head. She just can’t believe she is here. Watching Bill set up the tent and put some of their stuff in it made it all the more real. She is here and she is alive. And she is going to be spending the rest of her days with Bill on Earth. And hopefully, if everything that was assumed is correct, she is going to be here for a long time. “It’s just you, this,” she says, pointing at him and then at the tent and at Earth, “it’s perfect. It’s more than I could have ever dreamed for.”
Bill brushes his hands off on his pants and then moves over to Laura. He sees her draw herself slowly up onto her knees and then she grasps the tree and his hand for support as she gradually stands up. Feeling her soft hand rest on his chest, he realizes that for the first time in weeks she’s standing on her feet without the support of being held up by someone.
“Bill, we are more than I could have ever dreamed for. I know you think I’m mad at you for saving me again against my wishes, but I’m not. I promise you, I’m not.” She leans forward slowly and just barely presses her lips against his. Standing has drained her energy and she doesn’t have the strength for much more than this. “Now why don’t you show me the plans for our cabin.”
Bill picks up Laura, much to her surprise, and walks over to the opening of their tent.
Once she has realized what he’s just done, she says, “Bill, set me down! You’re going to hurt your back!”
“Nope, not until we’ve crossed the threshold!” Just as he says this, Bill steps through the opening of the tent and promptly sets her down. “There. And I didn’t hurt my back!”
“Yeah… That’s what you say now. Just wait until tomorrow,” Laura lectures teasingly.
Bill rolls his eyes and then sits down next to Laura. Opening the box with the books, he pulls out a large piece of paper and lies down on his elbows, looking out of the tent. Laura follows suit and looks at the paper that has been spread out before her. At the top of the paper it reads, ‘Our Cabin.’ Below the words is the drawing and it is magnificent. There’s going to be a porch with steps leading to the front of the cabin. The door opens to a large living room with places for their books, their couch, and a fireplace. Off to the side of the living room is a kitchen area with large wooden counters, a wooden table with chairs, and a pantry. Going down a hallway, there is a large bedroom with a bed and a wooden dresser and more bookcases. Next to the bedroom is a tiny bathroom with what hopes to be an iron tub. Outside of the cabin is a storage shed for any meat, a garden, a well, and a privy.
“This is beautiful, Bill. This is more than I could have ever hoped for on New Caprica. This is our home here.” This house is so much unlike her Caprican apartment, and yet it feels more like home already. She never created a home for herself when she was younger, and she is so very glad she has the opportunity to do it now with Bill.
Later that night, after watching a beautiful sunset and cooking some leftover things from their time in the medical tent, Bill and Laura lay in their tent together. Laura lies curled up against his side as he hugs her close to him. He glances over at her face and sees her smiling, her eyes sparkling in the starlight. He misses seeing her like this and he presses a kiss to her cheek as he realizes that this is the first time in weeks they have shared a bed. This is the first time in weeks that he’s been able to hold her in his arms and fall asleep together.
“What was that for?” Laura murmurs quietly, breaking the comfortable silence. Her eyes move towards his and away from the bright stars they have been watching through the open back flap of the tent.
Bill looks away from Laura’s intense gaze as he hesitates before beginning to explain. “I was just thinking that this is the first time we’ve been able to share a bed in weeks. I’ve missed it.”
Laura’s smile falters as her eyes suddenly mist over. “I did too.” Lying in her hospital bed, she always wondered what it was like for Bill suddenly not being able to hold her in his arms as they slept, or if he missed waking up beside her in the morning. Now she knows. It was as hard for him as it was for her. A few minutes pass before she admits, “Sometimes I would just lay in the bed and wish you would come in and lay down beside me. I longed for your arms to be around me and to feel your breath against my shoulder.” As she says this, she thinks she can almost feel Bill’s chest trembling underneath her arm.
They slip back into silence and he now presses a light kiss to her bare scalp. He’s glad her hair is starting to grow back because he knows Laura hates her wig. At first it was a shock, but then he realized that she was still his Laura. He loves her for who she is and for the beauty that is just her.
Laura breaks the silence again and asks, “Bill, why did you come and get me on Kobol? Why did you feel like you had to apologize? I was the one in the wrong. I should’ve been the one apologizing.”
“It was actually something Dee said to me after I woke up. She reminded me that we made a promise that we were going to do this together, and every day we remained apart that promise was broken. She told me wounds needed to be healed and I needed to be the one to do that. I did it because I needed to put my family back together. Not just Lee and Kara, you as well. Saul had told me you were dying after I woke up and I was hurt by the fact that you couldn’t trust me enough to tell me yourself. In the end, I knew it was my fault. I apologized to you for not allowing myself to be someone you could trust and rely on. That’s what everyone needed and that’s who I should have been. It was always between you and me.”
“Thank you, Bill, for becoming that person,” she responds, surprised at his openness. Laura leans up and gently kisses him. Rolling over onto her other side, she feels Bill tighten his arms around her and tenderly kiss her shoulder blade.
“Good night, Laura.”
And here's the next chapter! Hope you enjoy it.
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