...And Other Indoor Sports
by Jennifer-Oksana

Dualla has gotten a day leave to visit Billy on Colonial One, and Laura hasn't seen much of either of them all day, but when she has, Billy has looked delighted and a little drunk. And she decides, when Billy looks around the ship for the fifth time with a frustrated grimace, to do something for the two of them.

She owes them, and it does make her happy to see someone smile.

"Billy," Laura says. "Come here."

Billy looks surprised. "Madam President?" he asks.

"My room," she says. "You can use it tonight. You and Dee deserve a little privacy for all the grief you've been put through."

He blushes and looks at his shoes. Laura laughs. "Uh, I...how did you...are you sure?" he asks.

"Yes, I'm sure," Laura says, putting a hand on his arm. "I can be a little less comfortable for the night for a good cause."

"Okayumthankyou," Billy says very fast, turning and running back to wherever Dee is waiting.

Nobility is very overrated, Laura discovers when she finds out that Billy has a first-class chair to sleep on with about fifteen other passengers twisting and turning, and they're all staring at her.

She finally excuses herself and wanders to what passes for an observation-slash-smoking lounge on Colonial One with its one tiny window. And she knows that she's tired, but Laura can't make herself feel tired. Instead, she feels bored and talkative, but there's a ship of people who don't think presidents just talk surrounding her. All of Laura's attempts at conversation have largely led to deer-in-the-headlights looks and quick ends.

Gods, she misses Adar. If there was ever a man who talked more, it was probably Gaius Baltar, but at least Adar talked sense on occasion and didn't make Laura feel as though she were dealing with a small, twitchy child who hadn't done any of his homework and wouldn't fess up. She has to get rid of him before re-election, though that could send him tripping over to Tom Zarek. But Laura can deal with Zarek when the time comes, because she knows how to manipulate him. Zarek loves deals, and Zarek loves the idea of being the secret power behind the throne.

A quiet word about how her vice-presidential candidate will most certainly want the advice and expertise Zarek brings to the table after her own tragic death, and the name of the candidate, and Zarek will have no more use for Baltar than Laura does.

Mostly, the trick is convincing Bill Adama that he doesn't mind the idea, and that won't be as hard as it was. Lee is a mutinous CAG who is on-record (at least to Tigh) that he isn't fit to wear the uniform; he is not going to follow in Bill's footsteps. Bill will come to see what Laura does: it can only be Lee. Bill is stubborn, but he's not a complete fool.

"So, why aren't you in dreamland?" someone asks her. Laura turns and smiles at Kara Thrace, a little surprised to see the woman here so late. "Don't you sleep?"

"I told Billy to use my room tonight," Laura answers. "Dee is here, and you should have seen him trying to find somewhere for them to go."

"Yeah, these would be assy accommodations for a romantic evening," Kara says. "No atmosphere."

"What brings you here, Lieutenant? Is there a crisis?" Laura asks. "Some new horror afoot?"

"Lee's got patrol tonight, so he asked me to come by -- sorry I'm late," says Kara. "You have worked some magic on that boy, I'm telling you. Does he really come by every other day?"

"Yes, he does," Laura replies, leaning against the wall and trying to match the smirking, easy way that Kara makes herself at home. This is her own ship and she's barely tolerating it. "Why? Does that bother you?"

"Lee's a big boy," Kara says. "And he liked being your right-hand man a lot more than he admits. Everyone's giving him a lot of crap for being such a mama's boy, and he's giving it right back. You got to him, Roslin. He doesn't want to admit it, but he's a believer."

"Another one falls to the mystique," Laura says lightly. Though it stings, a little, the thought of Lee being another believer, someone who worships her instead of simply liking her. "Maybe I put something in the water. So what did Captain Adama want to discuss with me?"

"Nothing serious," Kara says. "He says that he's very sorry he couldn't meet up with you tonight and that he's been reading the briefings you sent him. Also, you should wear that skirt more often because it makes your legs look great."

"I beg your pardon?" Laura asks.

"Sorry, couldn't resist," Kara says with a wink. "I don't think it's like with the big-time Prophet Laura people, you know. I think he just likes knowing that you appreciate him. He thinks you're the one, or whatever, who'll get us to Earth."

"Reading my mind, Lieutenant?" Laura asks with a rueful sigh.

"You're pretty easy," Kara said. "Plus, it would bug me if Lee started kneeling in front of me. Or in front of you. Well...most kinds of kneeling."

Laura meets Kara's eye and then gives a most unpresidential chuckle.

"That's quite the mental image," she says.

"You're the one who's got hot sex going on in her quarters right now," Kara answers. "If you're looking for that kind of a mental image."

They both start laughing then. "Oh, it just makes me happy to know that someone's enjoying that bed, if that's what you want to call it, more than me," Laura says. "It's not like I've never had a sleepless night, and the company is better than usual."

Kara blinks, and accepts the compliment. "What, all these politicians and government types don't do it for you?" she asks.

"They might if they actually spoke to me," Laura answers. "I appreciate Captain Adama's visits in part because we can talk."

"You're not that hard to talk to," Kara says. "Maybe you should transfer over to Galactica. Half the pilots want to make a pass at you. Of course, half of them are doing it just to frak with Lee, because Lee's a big baby? But the other half, hey, you might get lucky."

Kara has been walking steadily closer during the whole conversation, and now she is leaning against the wall next to Laura, tapping her fingers on the tops of her thighs. And Laura, to her surprise, is very much enjoying the conversation.

"Oh," Laura says, mugging a little. "What if I don't need to get lucky? No offense to the excellent pilots of Galactica, of course."

Kara snorts. "None taken," she says. "That's not a deep pool of talent. Trust me."

"They could be trained," Laura says. "But that takes time and effort and patience. I don't have the time or inclination to be patient, Lieutenant. I'd settle for a decent conversationalist who realizes I'm still human."

"Oh, you are so full of shit," Kara says, smirking. "Like, that sounds mature and defeated of you, but you're standing here, enjoying the idea you've got a fanclub of hot young things. A lot."

Rolling her eyes, Laura puts the back of her hand against her forehead and throws her head back with an affected sigh.

"But Lieutenant Thrace, whoever would want a fanclub of hot young things with a lump in her breast and only a few months to live?" she says. "Think of the scandal. Think of the shame. Think of what the press would say."

"I will kiss you right now to shut you up," Kara replies, snorting and pivoting a quarter-turn so that she leans on the wall with an elbow facing Laura. "Think of what the press would say. Frak, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard come out of your mouth, and you sent me on a quest for that stupid arrow."

"I was joking," Laura protests.

"No, you weren't," Kara says, grinning knowingly. "You're a politician. The press is your missing conscience."

"Do you really think I'm afraid of the press?" asks Laura, turning to face Kara directly, arms folded as she gives Kara a steely glance.

Kara calls her bluff. Lifts her chin, and pushes Laura right into the wall, the two of them nose-to-nose so that there's no doubt that Kara and her hips are practically pinning Laura into a compromising position. Anyone who saw them would make a sexual assumption.

"Yeah, I do," Kara says, waiting for Laura to push her back. "Wanna bet I'm right?"

"Don't dare me," Laura warns, meeting Kara's gaze without blinking.

It seems Kara doesn't back down from challenges, either. She leans in closer. "Come on, sir, we all know you like yours young and pretty," Kara teases, licking her lips.

Lee would never do this. Even if Laura wanted him to, and sometimes she does, because the thought of someone calling her on something -- anything -- is exciting. Nobody will tell her to her face that she's probably insane. Nobody will admit to her that she is a manipulative bitch from time to time. Nobody has even teased about all the cute boys that attend the president until now.

And there is something incredibly sexy about having this half-wild girl pin her to a wall and dare her to prove she's human after all.

So Laura leans in the rest of the way and kisses Kara full on the lips. It seems fitting, and the fact that Kara squeaks with surprise and pulls back after two seconds is even better.

"You kissed me!" Kara says, appalled.

"You said I wouldn't," Laura says primly.

"I didn't know you were..." and Kara giggles. "Are you?"

"Lieutenant, you know I'm not going to answer that question," Laura says. "Even as incoherently phrased as yours was."

Kara is shaking her head, and hair has fallen over her eye. Laura wants to brush it back, which she could, given that Kara is still leaning over her. But it does give Kara a gamine sort of expression, which she wears well.

"Okay, how about if I phrase it like this?" Kara asks, and leans in and kisses Laura, pushing up against her and wrapping her fingers around Laura's arms.

Kara isn't playing for low stakes, either; it's an open-mouthed kiss and her tongue darts out and flicks Laura's lower lip.

Laura plays along. She sinks into the kiss, lets her mouth fall open so that Kara's tongue can probe and dart, but passively, so when Kara comes up for air and gives her a look, Laura can smile back and tilt her head.

"Well, that was lovely, but I'm afraid I still don't have an answer for you," says Laura. "After all, it's late and we seem to have a mutual penchant for Truth or Dare."

Kara whistles. "Lady, you have a gift for the bluff," she says, impressed. "I have to get you in on a poker game sometime."

"Poker's not my game," Laura replies, shifting slightly. "I always played to lose."

"Why would you play to lose?" Kara asks, letting go of one of Laura's arms, only to put her hand right over Laura's head to steady herself, making sure the conversation stays inappropriately intimate.

"Because my game was strip poker," Laura replies, as if this should be obvious. "Or did that never occur to you, Lieutenant?"

Kara chokes, half-laughing and half-gasping. "Frak," she says. "You don't frak around, do you? If you're going to do something...you just go, huh?"

Laura slides down a little so she can look up at Kara and give her a look that could melt the ceiling, with a smile to go with it. Kara is appalled, Kara is enthralled, Kara is still hovering in front of Laura with one of her hips turned so it almost bumps into Laura's with each breath.

Kara, it occurs to Laura, is already well-trained. And nobody would ever guess what they were up to. Not with Lee around; for that matter, not with Bill Adama in the picture, either.

And when their eyes meet, Laura is aware that Kara is having the same thought. Weird as it is, this could work for both of them.

So Laura takes a chance. Puts a hand on Kara's waist. Maintains eye contact. Breathes in, and keeps wearing that smile as she says it.

"Your move, Lieutenant."


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