Fic: What You Don't Say
Title: What You Don't Say
Summary: The phone call from Colonial One to Galactica: Laura Roslin is not pleased, and William Adama is not talking.
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica.
Spoilers: Up to Pegasus and like the first five minutes of Resurrection Ship I.
Notes: Beta'd by the ever-lovely and ever-wonderful Priscellie.
"Sir, a call from Colonial One."
Adama winced, but said, "Put it through." Better to take his lumps now than in front of Cain. Laura might pull her punches there, or at least disguise them better, but the already-present embarrassment would be the greater for the hostile audience. He picked up the handset, said, "Adama."
"Bill, what the frak were you thinking?" Laura's voice scaled up on 'frak' and didn't come down.
He sighed, pinched the bridge of his nose. "She was going to kill my men, Madame President." Best to put the conversation back on a professional footing. Best not to pull Laura between him and Cain. She had enough to worry about now that... his heart caught and stumbled and he barely managed to continue his sentence. "I had no choice but to go and get them."
"That's not what I meant." She sounded tense, more so than usual. "Billy told me what happened--all of it--and I completely support your decision. I mean, why did you send the frakking Vipers? Why not go over her head?"
Over her... oh, no. Oh, Laura. She was not offering what he thought she was--she couldn't be. He wouldn't let her. "There is no one above her."
"The hell there isn't. I'm the President, Bill. That makes me Commander in Chief, remember? Just because I let you--"
"No one," he said, interrupting her as gently as he could, "that she'll listen to."
Laura was unmoved. "She'll listen to me," she said, grimly, and Bill had no doubt that she meant it.
He abandoned all hope of keeping this on a professional level and lowered his voice. "Laura, you cannot get in the middle of this." You're too sick, he didn't say. She's too ruthless.
"Is it too military for me?" she asked, in that deceptively sweet tone that meant she was about to hurt someone. He'd last heard her use it on Ellen Tigh. Which probably meant that she'd heard what he didn't say but always thought, and resented it deeply.
He sighed. "No. If the military is hit with infighting and the President gets involved, what is the rest of the fleet supposed to think? You need to be their guidance."
"Laura..." He stopped. She'd chosen her side, and there was no talking her out of it.
He had been uncertain. She'd been so happy when they first found the Pegasus, so thrilled to see them that he, struggling already with the knowledge that Cain would take command, had almost snapped at her. He'd almost thought she wanted him gone. He should have known--Laura knew so little about the military that she hadn't even thought of the chain of command; she'd only been grateful for the two thousand more lives they had now.
He remembered her face, when he'd told her that Cain would take command. No, she hadn't wanted that.
And now she was going to make her feelings clear. Frak.
"Yes?" Her voice, barely patient, broke through his musings.
"Cain wants to meet on neutral ground," he said. Dualla was waving; the Raptor was ready. "She chose Colonial One."
A snort. "Neutral ground, hmm? Well, it's for the good. I can tell you both what an abysmally idiotic little scrap that was out there. Perhaps we can solve this to everyone's satisfaction."
If anyone could manage a solution, Laura could, but Bill was not remotely certain that it could be done at all. He did not say so. "I have a Raptor waiting. I'll be there in five minutes."
"Stay after she leaves." Laura was already becoming President Roslin, the anger draining from her voice, her tone drifting into distant calm. "I have some things I need to discuss with you, Commander."
"Of course, Madame President," he said, and hesitated, but then hung up. He had already tried to keep her out of it. There was nothing more he could do. Laura did not take kindly to being kept out of things, and she liked even less being protected, no matter how much he felt it necessary, these days. No matter how fragile he was sure she was, she would jump in, fists swinging, and fight for those she'd chosen to protect.
He did not say don't get in the middle of this. He did not say stay out of it.
Or Cain will kill you, he did not say. But he was sure of it.