Laura looks at Bill with tears in her eyes and then turns back to the group of people. Clearing her throat, she responds, “None of you owe the Admiral and me anything. We appreciate-”
“Laura,” Kara interrupts, “we’re not going to take no for an answer. Just like you and the admiral had a mission to get us here, we have a mission to build the first home here, yours. We made it our mission and we want to do it.”
Laura looks at Bill for a few moments, communicating only with their eyes. She slowly nods her head as if they’ve come to some sort of agreement. Finally, Bill says, “Saul, Lee, Kara, I drew out plans for the cabin we were thinking. They’re in the tent. Why don’t you come take a look at them?”
Saul nods his head and then turns back to look at the group of about thirty people. “Why don’t you all start cutting down logs while we do this? It will get done much faster if we get all the wood cut now.” They all nod their heads in acknowledgement and then turn back towards the forest as Saul, Ellen, Lee, and Kara follow Bill and Laura back to their tent.
As they are walking towards the tent, Lee says sincerely, “Madame President, it’s wonderful to see you here and alive.” Ever since he had outed her cancer at Baltar’s trial they had been on rocky terms. He never knew any time he saw her if she was going to be friendly to him or not. He knew what he had done was wrong and he was honestly sorry for it, but there was never a good time to apologize. He knew that somewhere inside of her she had never fully forgiven him, and so he is shocked when he hears what she says next when they reach the tent.
“Lee, call me Laura. I’m not the president anymore and I’m tired of being called by a title by people I care for and love. Kara, that goes for you as well. You’re family, and I’ve kept family at arm’s length for too long.” Laura gives a shaky smile to both Kara and Lee and then turns towards Saul and Ellen. “Saul, Ellen, please just call me Laura as well. You both are friends and I’ve kept friends at arm’s length for too long as well.” She then glances over at Bill and back to the other four. “I’ve been given a third chance and it’s given me a lot to think about. I don’t want to be remembered as just the president, I want to be remembered as Laura. I’ve spent far too long being the president, now I just want to be me.”
“We can do that, Laura. But just so you know, you could never be remembered as just the president,” Kara says. From going back to Caprica in search of the Arrow of Apollo, to holding Laura at gunpoint, and then to holding Laura up on the other side of the red line after volunteering for the final mission to retrieve Hera, she would never remember Laura as just the president. She was a vulnerable woman behind that armor made of steel, and she was just like everyone else.
As they all sit down just outside the tent, Bill places the large drawing of the cabin on the ground in front of them and places a couple rocks in the corners so it won’t fly away. Sitting down beside Laura, he says, “These are the plans I’ve drawn out. Think we can do it?”
After looking at it for a few moments, Saul concludes, “I think it’s doable. Though I do have a few changes to suggest.” At Bill’s nod, he continues, “I would suggest adding in a guest bedroom, you never know when you might need one. We’ll add in stuff for future electricity. The power plant on New Caprica took about half a year to finish and so it shouldn’t take much longer than that here. We’ll have to run lines out to your cabin in the future, but right now we’ll put in power outlets and stuff you will need for future electricity. And there’s one more thing. We’ve brought pipes that were stripped from the ships we could do plumbing with. I know you want the people to use it, but everyone insists they want you to have it. They will add it in whether you want it or not, so I would suggest just accepting it.”
Laura sighs, turns to look at Bill, and says, “Your crew is so stubborn. I have to agree with the guest bedroom and the future electricity, but the pipes…”
Ellen finally speaks up and says, “Laura, just accept it. Like my Saul said, they’re going to add it in whether you like it or not. So just agree now and then there won’t be a fight about it when the cabin is done and you realize there is plumbing.”
Lee and Kara both chuckle under their breath, catching the glare Saul sent in his wife’s direction. Lee then says, “Dad, Laura, your crew and your fleet want to give you this. You’ve both given so much to everyone, while not asking anything for yourselves in return, and they want to give back just this once. Let them. Let them say thank you for everything you two have done.”
Taking a deep breath, Laura says, “I suppose we can’t argue with that. I still don’t like it, but if we’re going to be forced to accept it anyway then we will just agree on it now.”
“That’s the spirit, Laura!” Ellen says happily, earning her another glare from her husband.
As the sun begins to set, the people who had been working on the cabin start to settle down for the night. In one day, they had gotten all of the logs that were needed cut and even some of the frame put up. Pitching their own tents, they get a large fire going, cooking the meat they had gotten earlier with traps. Saul walks over and sits beside Bill.
After they finish eating and begin talking, Bill decides to bring up a question he has been wondering about all day. “Saul, how did you know where we were? And how did you get a group of people together so fast?”
“Well, they were both pretty easy. Last night, once it had gotten dark, I saw a fire off in the near distance, your fire. I remembered you saying you probably wouldn’t go far and you were the only one headed in that direction. And then once people started coming together last night to eat, they started discussing that they had seen you and Laura leave on the raptor earlier. They didn’t know at the time that Laura wasn’t still dying, but I told them. And then Lee started saying about how you and Laura wanted to build a cabin once you found Earth. Hoshi was the one that had the idea. He was the first to say about coming and helping and then more people started volunteering. Bill, you have no idea how much you and Laura are loved.”
“Thank you, Saul. Even though we were opposed to the idea at first, we both appreciate it. So, how long do you think it’s going to take to build?”
“With everything done, I would say no more than a week. Having a large group of people here definitely helps get it done quickly.”
“Yes, it certainly does. No more than a week, that’s great.”
Saul nods his head in acknowledgement and then there is a moment of silence. “Bill, how’s Laura doing? I can’t help but notice she still doesn’t look too good.”
Bill turns to look at his friend with sadness in his eyes. Sometimes he still finds it hard to believe he’s a cylon. “I don’t know. Well, we don’t know. Cottle doesn’t have the equipment to determine if it’s really gone, so we don’t know if it is. We’re just assuming that it is. Right now, we’re just enjoying the time we have together because we don’t know if it could end. And it’s going to take time for her to gain everything back; the Diloxan completely wiped her out. It’s just going to take time.” He glances over at Laura whom he notices has walked over to a silent Kara. She smiles at him once he catches her eye. The way she acts with Kara, it’s like watching a mother with her daughter. He hopes that one day, maybe someday soon relatively speaking, Lee or Kara could maybe give them a grandchild. He would love to be able to see Laura as a grandmother, to be able to see her playing with a baby and watch her help a child grow. He then gets pulled back into conversation with Saul.
Laura is sitting talking with Lee and a couple others when her eyes get pulled away from them and towards Kara. She notices that she’s sitting alone and just watching the light clouds drift overhead. Excusing herself from the group of men, she carefully walks over towards Kara and cautiously sits down beside her against a tree trunk. “You’re awfully quiet tonight,” Laura begins, hoping to spark some sort of conversation out of her. “Nothing like the energetic and unruly Starbuck I’ve gotten to know over these years.” She lightly bumps her shoulder against her, hoping for a reaction.
Kara lets out a sigh and says, “I miss Sam. I took him for granted when he was here, and now he’s gone and never coming back. This morning I woke up and I just wanted him beside me and I could almost feel his arms around me, but then the memory disappeared.” She looks over at Laura suddenly and says, “Do you know what that feels like?”
“Yes, I do,” Laura replies, lightly resting her hand on Kara’s knee. “I understand completely. I understand the feeling of waking up from that memory and being so lost and miserable because it’s suddenly not real,” she says, feeling Kara’s head start to rest on her shoulder. “And the more you try to make that image in your mind come back, the more it slips away.” She wraps her arm around Kara’s back and gently begins rubbing her shoulder. “Did you know that even when a person is unconscious they can still hear the people talking around them?”
“Yes, I’ve heard something like that.”
“Sam knew you loved him. He heard you saying that every day you were in there and every hour you spent with him. And he’d want you to be happy for the rest of your life. He’d want you to explore and see everything that is new here. He’d want you to live your life to the fullest and be the Kara he loved so much.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because that is what I hoped for Bill when I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I hoped he would be able to remember the good memories that we had and not be consumed by the bad ones. I hoped he would live a long, happy life down here before he had to join me.”
“Thank you, Laura. You’ve always known the right things to say. I’m sorry I was so horrible to you when I came back. I’m so sorry I held you at gunpoint.”
“It’s okay. You don’t have to apologize again.” At Kara’s questioning gaze she says, “Remember, even an unconscious person can still hear people talking around her.” She squeezes Kara tightly as they drift into silence.
Once the fire has died down, Bill and Laura make their way back to their tent, Bill helping Laura walk because her strength has been drained for the day. As they change into their pajamas, Bill unties Laura’s headscarf and places a soft kiss on the crown of her head. They lie down and Laura rolls onto her side, snuggling her back into Bill’s warm chest. He wraps his arm around her and kisses the side of her neck.
“What they’re doing for us is absolutely lovely. I could never have imagined this.”
“Bill, after we finished eating and I was talking with Kara, you were looking at me oddly. What was that about?”
“You would think it was silly.”
“No I wouldn’t,” Laura says as she turns her torso just barely so she can look at him. The corner of her lip turns up as she hums in encouragement at him to explain.
Bill sighs and then confesses, “I was imagining you as a grandma.”
Laura mockingly glares at him and says, “Are you calling me old?”
“No, I’m calling you the most loving and the kindest woman I’ve ever known. Any child would be lucky to have you as their grandma. And I would love to be able to see it.”
“Thank you. I would love to be able to see it too. Good night, Bill.”
“Good night, Laura.”
Once Laura settles back down against Bill’s chest, he presses a kiss to her neck and another to her upper back. Wrapping his arm tightly around her, they both drift off to sleep.
Here is the next chapter. Hope you enjoy it!
Hope you enjoyed it! As always, reviews are appreciated and loved.