Exaggeration and Blank Verse
The First Night In Exile
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"My apologies for the quarters, Madam President, Captain Adama," Zarek said as he opened the door, "but I was working on short notice. Tomorrow's lodgings will be better, I assure you."

"They'd almost have to be," Lee muttered. Laura winced at his tactless words, but couldn't dispute them. They were being hidden in an empty storage bay for the night, an oblong metal room with some blankets on the floor. Hardly the Executive Residence on Caprica, but beggars and choosers, as the old saying had it...

"For your own safety, we'll be locking the door," Zarek continued as Lee paced off the length of the little room and scowled at the blankets. "But if you need anything, this radio will bring assistance." As Laura slipped the little device into her pocket, Zarek glanced over and met Lee's scowl with an impassive stare. "It truly was the best I could do, Captain."

"I'll be all right for one night," Laura said softly, shaking her head when Lee looked at her. Don't antagonize him. He's on our side for now, but... Lee was smart enough to understand, or perhaps simply used to taking orders; at any rate, he backed down and was quiet until Zarek left.

"You can sleep over here, Madam President," he said once they were alone, laying out one of the blankets at the far end of the room. "I'll stay by the door."

"You're not expecting trouble, are you?" She meant it as a feeble joke, but he didn't smile. So serious, her loyal soldier; so unswerving in his loyalty and his honor and his pride. What had she possibly done to deserve his faith in her?

Perhaps it was something in a past life, when she was someone different. His faith was in her, not the visions; he followed Laura Roslin the President, not Laura Roslin the prophet. As the distinction faded, she found herself clinging to its echoes- to him- with shaking hands.

"It's not that I don't trust Mr. Zarek's word, Madam President..." He was fussing with his own blankets by the door, but she could still see the look of distaste and couldn't help but laugh.

"Of course it is, Captain. Don't worry about it." She carefully lowered herself to sit on her bedding, leaning back against the bulkhead. Gods, she was tired.

He mirrored her posture across the room, and they looked at each other for a moment. He studied her with those steady blue eyes- the eyes of a simply decent man. She wasn't sure what to do with one of those, anymore.

"You won't sleep," she said after a moment, watching him shift around, looking for a comfortable spot in his blankets. She smiled at his puzzled look. "In the brig, I noticed that it takes a long time for you to fall asleep. I wasn't spying on you, Captain...but I noticed."

He shrugged, blushing a little. "I don't sleep much. Not since I was a kid."

"No?" She had no right to pry into his personal history, but they were very much alone and she craved a conversation that wasn't about politics or prophecy. "Why would that be?"

He shrugged again, picking at the weave of the blanket, eyes fixed on the floor. "My mom told me that even when I was little, when my dad was away I would try to stay awake until he came back. Then when he left us, and I realized he wasn't coming back..." He laughed, a shaky little sound in the dimly-lit room. "Well, that made me the man of the house, you know? I thought if I fell asleep, something bad would happen." He glanced up at her. "I've been told I'm a worrier by nature."

"No, it makes sense that you would worry about your family," she said, picturing a little boy lying awake at night to keep the monsters away. "And on Galactica, you worried about your pilots." He blushed and she shook her head at him. "There's no shame in worrying about people you care about, Captain. People who...belong to you."

He looked startled. "Madam President, if I can't sleep tonight, I assure you it's not because of any...proprietary delusions toward you."

So stiff, so proper! Gods he really was a worrier. "Captain," she said softly, irrationally hoping that he couldn't see her face in the dark as clearly as she could see his. "What makes you think that wouldn't be terribly comforting right now, knowing that someone cared enough to consider me theirs?"

He made a small, startled sound, a huff of air and surprise.

"Goodnight, Captain Apollo," she said, lying down and rolling to face the wall, so any tears that fell would fall in shadow.

"Goodnight, Madam President," came the murmured reply, and Laura Roslin entered her first night in exile, knowing that she was watched over in the dark.

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