Billy K. And The Women
by Jennifer-Oksana

"Are you ever...any different from this?" Billy asks her during a particularly uneventful afternoon, feeling dumb for asking.

"Different?" the president asks, tilting her head quizzically. "How do you mean, Billy?"

"I mean, you're always so serious. So, I guess the word is together," Billy says, feeling pinned by the inquisitive glance. His stomach is doing the thing where it squirms inside. "The only time I've seen you behave differently is when you've been very, very ill. So, I don't know. If you weren't. Would you this?"

President Roslin regards Billy evenly. Calmly, but as if she hasn't any idea what he means. "I don't know," she says. "I feel like there's such a difference from the person I was the day of the attacks that I wouldn't recognize me if I appeared to myself that day."

"Well, we've all changed like that," Billy says, slightly frustrated.

"Have we?" she asks with the perfect politeness that is part of what Billy means. But then she smiles again, that slightly wicked little smile Billy has seen very rarely indeed, the one that makes Billy wonder if the president is all she seems to be. "Oh, please stop fidgeting, Billy. I know what you mean. I just don't know the answer. Yes and no."

"I don't mean to say I don't think you were competent before or anything," Billy says hastily. "I mean, you seem to have this, I don't know, sense of humor that mostly gets ignored. Like you're laughing at how insane it all is deep inside."

"I see," the president replies, again even and calm. But the smile breaks through again, full-fledged and definitely wicked. "You mean the way that I am toying with you by pretending I'm too thick to understand what you're driving at? Who am I when I am not the understanding, sphinx-like politician who plays the game so well it seems like second-nature despite her previous position as lowly schoolteacher?"

Billy snorts. "You're making fun of me."

"I am. But I make fun of everyone," the president replies. "We all have our ways of coping. Part of me, I suppose, is terrified at the burdens of leadership, but it's all so absurd. Do the Colonial people really think that before the Cylon attacks, I was busily grading math homework and warning children not to throw paper airplanes? Gods, Billy, sometimes I wonder how people can be so voluntarily dense that it's all I can do to keep from shrieking."

That's when Billy notices it in the president's eyes. She hasn't lied to him. The infinite, above-it-all amusement is a coping mechanism, because there is a spark of genuine temper there, a quick temper that flares and sizzles while Billy processes what that could mean. She smiles tightly at him, clearly uncomfortable along with him. The cabin of Colonial One has shrunk around them, it seems, and the air is now unspeakably close and hot.

"I'm sorry," he stammers. "I suppose that's a lot of personal questions I just asked."

The president shrugs, the flare burnt down to cinders. "Not your fault. You don't underestimate me," she points out. "It's one of your virtues."

"But I don't always, ah, agree with you, either," Billy says, shifting his weight slightly as the president pins him with a glance.

"Yes, and that is terribly vexing," she replies with a smile that is clearly meant to intimidate. "I'll take it out of your pay later."

He laughs stiltedly, as if he thinks it's a joke, and that she's not being deadly serious. Billy has learned that the president is not to be underestimated, ever, because even without knowing that there's a lightning-quick and twice-as-deadly temper simmering beneath the facade, he has recognized that she's smart. Intuitive. Puts things together faster than anyone, faster than maybe even Dr. Baltar, who everyone knows is a genius.

"Tell me something you used to do before the Cylons came," Billy says impulsively, feeling like he's dancing on a razor-edge that starts and ends with the laser-beam eyes of Laura Roslin. "Something you miss doing. I, ah, used to ride my bike by the lake at the university. I used to hate it, but now I really..."

Her answer is decisive. "Sex."

She cannot be serious. "Are you making fun again?"

"Yes. But I am, in fact, serious," she says. "It wasn't nearly as difficult to be a single woman before I was president."

Billy wants to sink into the earth and never be heard from again. There is no earth to sink into, but still. The president misses sex.

Either that, or she is messing with his head so that he doesn't pry into any of her private business. Possibly both, because Roslin doesn't lie unless she's exhausted the possibilities of truth wielded like a weapon, be it scalpel, screen, or blunt instrument.

"You could try," Billy says, pausing and grimacing. "I bet people would date you."

"Had we but world enough and time," the president replies with a light, slightly bitter smile. "I'm tired, Billy. I'd like to be alone now."


Ellen, once upon a time, was a musician. Not a very good one, in the larger scheme of things, but she did like to sing and even play the piano a bit. Saul used to think it was silly, and that she sang mostly to get men to look up her skirt.

And, sure, that was true, but the music mattered. The music was what got her hot and bothered in the first place. A man whose fingers danced over the piano keys always meant more in her bed than some groupie who didn't know a piano from a keyboard.

So it's almost kismet when she sees the kid sitting at the one piano bar left in the whole frakking universe, one of the three working bars on Cloud Nine, delicately tickling the keys. It gives Ellen even more of a thrill when she recognizes him -- it's the big stupid one who works for the little schoolteacher. Cute. Everyone who works closely with Roslin is easy on the eyes, she'll say that for the bitch.

"Do you play?" she asks, leaning against the piano and favoring the kid with a smile. "I can, a little, but I sang instead, most of the time."

"Twelve years of lessons," he admits, and Ellen thinks he's kind of adorable. She doesn't usually go for mama's boys, but there is kind of a thrill that comes from frakking with the president's special boys. She supposes this is why Zarek's not hanging around -- boring political business Ellen's not allowed to listen to. "You're Ellen Tigh, right?"

"Yeah, that's me," she says. "Your boss mention me?"

He looks away. "Not directly," he says. Ellen grins; she can imagine exactly what President Roslin would have to say about her. None of it nice, and much of it probably too hot for talk wireless. "So, you sing?"

"I sing," Ellen agrees with a smile. "And I drink. And that's all I'm good for, so why don't you play me something...what's your name?"

"Billy," he says. "Um, Billy Keikeya."

Oh, he's adorable. Ellen wants to straddle him on the bench and watch him blush while he feels her up, but they'll need at least twenty minutes more flirting before that can happen. And he's playing the piano, nervously, but she knows the song.

"You'll never know how much I love you..." she warbles, wincing at the flat in the fourth note. "You'll never know how much I do..."

They're not very good -- he plays too slow and then too fast. She keeps going flat, and there's one distinctly cracked note and Ellen thinks maybe alcohol and dry, recycled air are not the best tonics for the vocal cords, but people are listening. And smiling.

They even clap when Ellen finished. "Wow, people must be starved for entertainment," she mutters to Billy.

"That was nice," he says, meeting her eyes and then looking away. "We didn't do so bad for not practicing or knowing each other."

"Yeah, frak, we could take our act on the road with a few practices," she says with a snort. "The president's secretary and the XO's slutty wife. We could charge, even."

He shrugs. "We don't have to charge," he says. "But it'd be a change."

Ellen keeps hearing that word. Change. Like this is a good thing, everyone being blown to pieces and running around like frakking chickens with their frakking heads cut off. She didn't hate the old way that much.

"All I know are torch songs," she says, picking up her glass and wondering why the last few sweet drops of ambrosia taste galling. "You know many torch songs, Billy Keikeya?"

"I could improvise, maybe," he says.

Gods, this one is earnest. Not even the wide-eyed little campers on Galactica are this innocent. "Why bother?" she asks, rolling her eyes.

"You have anything better to do?" he asks with a diffident shrug, and Ellen thinks maybe she'd been had. Big stupid guy playing the piano? Ellen-candy. Maybe mean ol' Madam President pays attention.

"In fact," and Ellen pauses and throws the glass, enjoying the shatter it makes when it hits pavement, "I don't. Not really."

Plus, it'll drive Roslin crazy when she realizes that Ellen is frakking cute dumb Billy when she won't lay a finger on either Adama, either because dying women don't frak or because Laura Roslin is just that uptight. And anything that both gives Ellen an excuse to frak cute dumb boys, sing, and frak with evil schoolteachers?

Cannot be bad in Ellen's world.


"You play the piano?" Dee asks. "Jeez, next you'll be telling me that you went to temple services every week, and on the Dean's List at the university."

Billy grimaces, because she's got it all right, and Dee snickers and thwaps him on the shoulder lightly. "Way, way too perfect for me," she says. "I'm just a girl from Sagittaron, working communications for a battlestar. What do you see in me?"

"You're pretty. And smart. And neat," he says, feeling the words get fuzzy and heavy on his tongue. Pretty, smart, and neat. Yeah, he's original in his girl-complimenting skills.

"Billy, are you drunk?" Dee asks. "Pretty and smart and neat?"

"I have no...girl-skills," Billy admits. He and Mrs. Tigh had started doing shots, and maybe her hand had been on his thigh when the president showed up with Commander Adama two steps behind her. Like he always is now, like if she gets out of his sight, she'll start a riot or a prayer group that works. "And there were shots."

"Tigh's wife is the devil," Dee mutters. "I swear to the Lords of Kobol, she paid someone to cut her horns off."

"She likes to sing," Billy says, leaning back. "And it was the president who told me I have no girl-skills. Back long long ago."

He suddenly sits up, eyes wide. "Billy?"

"Oh, it's nothing," he says. "She said something else today that was SO embarrassing and I remembered it and I think I might be drunk, yeah."

Dee chuckles, and pets his head. She likes Billy, even when he is drunk and has no girl-skills and even though apparently, Ellen Tigh is now hitting on him.

"What did the president say, that you have ugly ties?" she asks.

Billy looks a little hurt at that. "No," he says. "I was asking if she missed anything, back on Caprica, and she said...oh, I can't tell you. She'd kill me. Extra-dead killing."

Dee is now dying of curiosity, and has a big drunk Billy-head in her lap. It tickles. They both tickle. "I won't tell," she whispers, kissing Billy on the tip of his nose. "What did she say?"

"No, no, pain of death," Billy says. "Ellen kept buying me liquor cuz I wouldn't talk. No amount of ambrosia can buy the president's secrets from me. She's scary. I think she can kill you with her eyes."

Dee starts to laugh and kisses Billy again, this time on the forehead. "You know you can trust me," she says. "And I have better things to offer than cheap ambrosia."

Her lips flutter against his, and it's kind of neat, seeing Billy's face from this angle, even though his tongue really does taste like cheap ambrosia and he smells like bad cigarettes and what the frak was he doing with Ellen Tigh all afternoon on Cloud Nine? Dee does not approve of any person she likes spending time in the presence of the Tighs. Especially not voluntarily.

"Nooooo," Billy whispers. "Scarier than the old man. What if the old man told you that he missed sex in confidence and you told me? You would never ever tell, even if I kissed you!"

Dee isn't sure what's funnier -- that he just told the president's secret, or the idea of the old man confessing to his petty officer that he missed sex. Also, there is the funny that Billy is going to be dead. So dead.

"How did that come up?" she asks, chuckling and going back to running her fingers through Billy's hair.

"I asked. And I think she was messing with me, but oh GODS, I just told you, didn't I? Dee!" Billy says in an anguished whisper. "Laser-beam eyes! Scary! At least when the old man is mad, he doesn't smile at you and then frak you up!"

"It's okay, Billy, I'll protect you from the president and her sexual appetite," Dee teases. "Wait, she didn't hit on you, did she?"

"No," Billy says, eyes wide. "Maybe. No."

"How is this a hard question?" Dee asks, her voice going up an octave. "Yes or no?"

"I don't know! I told you I have no girl-skills!" Billy whines.

"Being willfully blind does not equal having no girl-skills," Dee says tartly. "I can't believe you just told me the president's horny. That's going to stay with me, you realize this."

Billy groans, and covers his face with his hands. "She's going to kill me," he repeats.

"I'll kill you, if you let her hit on you," Dee says. "You're my boy. Remember?"

Billy lights up at that, just like they aren't squabbling, and smiles. "Really?"

"Yeah, really," Dee says, kissing him again. "So tell the old women to keep their mitts off, okay?"

"Okay," Billy says, feeling a little better about women. "Okay."


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix