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Whispers in the Night

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It’s raining again. For a while it had stopped, the noise of heavy drop against canvas making place of the sounds of the night, insects coming back to life, the soft hums and moans of couples making love that didn’t have the cover of the rain anymore, but that had only been for a half an hour before it started again. Bill had been almost asleep then when the creaking of the cot brought him out of his dazed state.

 

As his eyes adjust to the weak light and he feels that the spot where Laura had previously been, curled up against his side, head resting on his chest, is empty, Bill turns his head. Laura has rolled over onto her side, his back to him, her head propped up on her hand as she looks through the opening between the tent flaps at the falling rain.

 

Laura Roslin always remains something of a mystery to him. One moment her expressions and actions are like an open book, easily read, hard to misunderstand and the next she is unreadable, her gaze secretive, her small smile dangerous if misinterpreted. It’s part of her allure, knowing there is always something she keeps hidden, but there are moments Bill hopes she would trust him enough to let go of her secrets and fully be herself with him.

 

He lets his fingers ghost over the curve of her body, from her shoulder down, softly tracing her ribs past the dip of her waist over the curve of her hip. He can never stop marveling over how beautiful her body is, how soft and pale, barely marked by scars. It is without a doubt the body of a middle-aged woman, but the most perfect one he has ever seen. The contrast between her and him couldn’t be larger.

 

His skin bears the marks of two wars. He has lost count of his scars. From the small cuts he gave himself while shaving to the glaringly obvious line that cuts down his chest, he doubts if there is a square inch on his body that doesn’t  have some small disfigurement. He had almost forgotten what flawless skin looked like until he had laid eyes on Laura.

 

She sighs under his feather light touch, shivering when he caresses a particular sensitive spot, the one underneath her ribs or the one right above her hipbone. His fingers circle her hip before he trails his hand down, wandering over her thigh. He suspects that she might have been a runner before the fall, but Laura almost never mentions her life before the genocide and Bill doesn’t ask.

 

“I love the sound of rain,” Laura whispers, her voice almost disappearing under the noise of heavy raindrops hitting the canvas. Bill smiles and lets his lips brush against her shoulder. It’s just a small detail, but it’s something new he learns about Laura. “It’s comforting.”

 

“It reminds me of Kobol,” he mumbles against her shoulder. Laura rolls onto her stomach, turning her head so she can look at him in the dim light.  Her auburn tresses are mussed, unruly. They frame her face with messy curls. It makes her look wild, uninhibited and so utterly human, that he can’t stop himself from leaning down and pressing a kiss to her temple.

 

“Why Kobol?” Laura asks before she tilts her head up so she can capture his lips in a slow kiss, tongues languidly caressing each other until his toes curl. There’s a content little smile on her face when she pulls back and lets her head rest on her arms.

 

“That was when we first truly started to trust each other,” he explains as he slowly traces her spine, stopping when he reaches the swell of her ass before his fingers go back up again, raising goose bumps in their wake.

 

“It wasn’t raining then,” Laura comments. Bill brushes away some of her hair so he can reach her neck, feeling the small bumps of her vertebrae under his fingers. She shivers again when he caresses the spot behind her ear that always makes her whimper whenever he kisses it.

 

“No, but we were sitting under that tarp and there were still drops rolling from the trees and the leaves. It sounded like rain.” He can still recall the conversation they had had, the way she had looked, her hair still damp. She had been tired, grieving the loss of her confidante. It had been first time he had seen her be anything less than presidential. She had been just a woman then. But determination and strength had been apparent in her eyes, lighting up the green orbs.

 

Bill remembers it as the time he started to admire her. She possessed such an enormous amount of willpower brought on solely by her conviction, her belief in some ancient prophecy. He had wanted to know then what it would be like to believe in something unconditionally. Now, the more time he spends with Laura, the more he comes to understand what it is like.

 

“I couldn’t believe that you came after me like that. I could still see you in sickbay barely alive and suddenly you were standing in front of me. But now I know you never do anything halfheartedly,” Laura says softly. With a grin Bill leans down and brushes his lips against her shoulder blade, his mustache tickling against her smooth skin.

 

“It would have an incredibly romantic gesture if you hadn’t thrown me in the brig a few weeks prior,” Laura continues, an airy tone to her voice. Bill chuckles softly before pressing a soft kiss to the back of her neck.

 

“How do you know it wasn’t some ploy to get you into my bed?” he teases, gently biting her shoulder. It’s not enough to leave a mark, but Laura lets out a soft moan nonetheless. When he pulls back, Laura pushes him down on his back and maneuvers herself on top of him. Her hands are shockingly cold against his chest, but the warm look in her eyes and her soft body against his quickly make him forget that.

 

“Because you aren’t devious enough for that. Some people may see you as the admiral, a soldier, a warrior, cold and distant, but you have a heart that’s as big as your ship,” she whispers as she looks down on him and he can see that she means every word of it. He caresses her back from the small of her back to  her shoulders until he slides his fingers in her hair and pulls her down for a kiss.

 

Bill doesn’t dare to tell her yet that his heart belongs to her, all of it. He told her once that he loved her when he thought she was sleeping, but from the way she tensed in his arms and tentative reaction to him in the morning when he woke up, Bill knew that she had heard him and that she wasn’t ready. She isn’t ready now either. He doesn’t know what happened in her life before the attacks, but something made her distrustful of love and that’s alright. He will wait for her.

 

When they break the kiss, Laura flashes him a quizzical look like she knows he was thinking about her before she puts her head down on his chest, tracing a scar where a bullet entered his body. He wraps his arms around her waist and presses a kiss to the top of her head. It’s only then that he notices it has stopped raining, the sound of rain replaced by utter silence.

 

“When do you go back to Galactica?” she asks softly, breaking the fragile silence. She doesn’t bother to raise her head. Bill looks at her, her auburn curls fanned out on his chest.  

 

“Tomorrow evening.” She never asks if he will settle with her. He knows she doesn’t want him to force him to choose between the love of his life and a relatively new relationship and he suspects that she thinks she is less important than Galactica. Bill never mentions settling. He thought about it when she started talking about her cabin. He told himself then that if she started building it, he would move down here to be with her.

 

As Laura’s breathing evens out and she falls asleep in his arms, he makes it a promise to himself and to her. The moment she lays down the first log for her cabin, he will retire and live with her on New Caprica.

 

“I promise,” Bill whispers in her hair when he is sure she is sleeping. “I promise.”