Fandom: Battlestar Galactica/A Song of Ice and Fire
Rating: PG-13 (might change later)
Word Count: 2,624
Summary: Basically a space parents story set in the A Song of Ice and Fire universe.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: This takes place somewhere during a Dance with Dragons. So there are spoilers to those who haven't gotten that far into the books yet.
Previous: Chapter 1: Lady Laura
He carefully watched the woman across from him and relished the feeling of her hand in his and the way her other hand covered his so gently. Her skin was soft but it didn’t feel as delicate as that of the women from the South he had known or those of the whores in Braavos. There was something in her blood that made her so utterly from the North that Bill had realized he shouldn’t have expected delicate nature from the lady.
There were times Bill thought she might have well have been Ironborn. Lady Laura possessed a resolve he had rarely witnessed in women and a strength unmatched by any other woman he had ever met. But she also had honor, something that wasn’t common to Ironborn women. He knew she would gladly lay down her life if it meant keeping her people safe.
Before he came to Caprica he had heard about Lady Laura of House Roslin. The information had been scarce, but even on the Iron Islands there had been whispers about the North’s Red Lady, not to be confused with Stannis Baratheon’s red priestess. Laura Roslin was not as unknown as she thought she was.
Or maybe that was simply due to the fact that Bill had always taken a liking to tales of strong women. The story of Nymeria, the warrior queen of the Rhoyne who had conquered Dorne years ago had always been one of his favorites even if he had never admitted that to any other males. He had always wanted a wife that resembled her in strength and fearlessness. And he had gotten that he thought darkly.
His wife, if she could still be called that, had been one of the most contemptibly wicked women he had ever had the misfortune of knowing. Their marriage had been an arranged one as all marriages in his family had been and it had not been a happy one.
Carolanne, had been, well, Carolanne. There were no right words in existence yet to describe the kind woman she was. Cruel was too strong, heartless was untrue. She had shown that she had a heart where it concerned their children. Unreliable was probably the word that described her best. He wouldn’t have trusted her with a hair on his head.
She hadn’t wanted to marry him. Instead she had wanted some fearsome sailor with bulging muscles and terrifying eyes, a Kraken. But her father had had different plans and married her off to Bill where she spent years trapped in a loveless marriage, fucking warriors and seamen far more potent than he could ever dream to be.
Their children, miraculously, had been his own. She had taunted him often enough by telling him they were from other men, but he had been able to see that their sons were his. It was in the color of their eyes, the set of their jaws, the way they walked and talked. They were undoubtedly Adama men.
When lady Laura pulled her hands away from his, Bill was returned to the present and looked at her as if he’d never seen her before. He had searched his whole life for a woman like the lady Laura. Someone beautiful, intelligent, strong, willing to fight for what she believed, but also knew honor and knew when not to fight.
He had met a lot of women and had shared his bed with a few he had liked enough, pretty whores from the Free Cities or independent women from the South, looking to spend a night with someone from the Iron Islands. But never before had he met someone like lady Laura. She was truly one of a kind. A treasure in the world, mysterious, dangerous, untouchable.
She smiled at him, almost shyly as she ran a hand through her hair and tucked a lock behind her ear. He had never seen her with her hair up. She always wore it down, the auburn curls freely cascading over her shoulders and down her back. The lady was kissed by fire. Her hair was the same color as dying flames or smoldering coals, burning brighter when touched. Her voice, however conveyed none of her shyness when she spoke again.
“I would enjoy it if you would join for dinner tonight, admiral. Will you indulge me?” she asked, her shy smile having turned into a confident one. He liked this look on her. Before today, the only expression he had seen on her face had been one of disdain. He preferred her smile. It lit up her face and made her green eyes more vivid.
The admiral couldn’t help but return her smile. Maybe it were the small wrinkles around her eyes that deepened when she smiled or maybe it was simply the beautiful image she made as she sat there, her hands folded in her lap, the light of the flames illuminating her face and eyes, making her hair even more vibrant. Kissed by fire, indeed.
“I would love to join you for dinner, m’lady,” he replied sincerely, earning him another him another smile from the lady.
“Well, wonderful,” she said, as she nervously moved her hands over her skirt, fidgeting slightly. For someone who could ooze authority and confidence, she could be really adorable and awkward at times. “I’ll let Tory know she has to set the table for two.”
She was so different from Carolanne, so graceful, so honorable. At the moment Bill didn’t even know where his wife, or perhaps former wife was. She was still alive, he knew that much, but where she was or with whom was a complete mystery. She’d just left one day, leaving their almost adult sons in his care where he had been forced to take them with him onto the open sea.
He wished he could say he had mourned her departure, but he hadn’t. He had disliked the fact that she had abandoned her family without a single word, but he had never really missed her presence in his life. His sons had, having spent their entire life with their mother and just months at a time with their father, but they had mostly come to terms with their loss.
“Would you like to accompany me for a walk outside first? The first snow is falling. It is a rather beautiful sight.” The lady’s voice interrupted his thoughts again. Bill swallowed his comment about already being graced with a beautiful sight. He doubted if a woman like Lady Laura would appreciate bold comments about her appearance.
“Winter has come,” he said softly. Snow was always bad omen, at least that was what his mother had always said. Fishwife tales, his father had always responded. Whether it was a bad omen or not, it was beautiful to look upon. The lady hummed in agreement, a soft sound that was a lot more provocative than it was supposed to be. He pushed himself out of the chair and held his hand out to her.
“Shall we, m’lady?” he asked and nearly sighed with relief when the lady slid her hand in his, her mere touch reawakening feelings he had thought long gone.
“I think that if we are going to be on amicable terms, it would be appropriate if you called me by given name.” Lady Laura said as she slowly stood, the heavy fabric of her skirts falling down until the seams brushed over the floor. Red was a good color on her.
“Only if you promise return the favor, Laura.” Much to his surprise it didn’t feel strange to say just her name. It felt familiar in his mouth, the way it rolled off his tongue.
“I will, Bill.” He liked the way she smirked as she said his name. And he liked the way she immediately shortened his name. He had always preferred Bill to William.
“Are you going out again without a cloak?” he inquired.
“I’m a lady of the North. Winter is in my blood,” Laura said, her eyebrow raised defiantly. She looked every inch the lady of the North she was and claimed to be. She was winter, strong and fierce, unbent and unbroken.
“Like I said before, I have no wish to see you ill.” Bill already suspected that Laura wasn’t completely healthy. She had lost much of her color since he had come to Caprica, although that could be written off to the lack of sun these past months. But she also seemed to have lost weight and sometimes whenever he observed her she didn’t seem to be quite present, as if she were seeing things that weren’t there, as if she had already left this earth and had passed on to the next.
Bill had known many men that had been dying of an illness or men who had simply been dying. There was something about the way they carried themselves, something in their eyes that told him they were different. It wasn’t fear exactly. But they looked as if the Stranger was constantly following them, slowly creeping closer until their time was come and he could take them away from this life.
Laura Roslin didn’t exactly have the same manner about her, but something was haunting her, something that couldn’t be overcome and that scared him. He hardly knew the lady, but he couldn’t image this town without her. She was Caprica and its people. They adored her, for the most part. If she should die, he had no idea how this place would continue to survive.
“When the snow storms come and can’t see nothing else but snow and ice, then I will wear a cloak. This is only the beginning of what will be the worst winter of our lifetimes,” Laura countered.
“We will get through it.” If Laura was surprised when he said ‘we, she hid it well. Instead she gave another hum as an answer that was neither a denial nor a confirmation before she lead him out of the room, through the large hall and through the heavy doors to the courtyard.
What had once been grey stones, beautifully colored trees and a simple fountain had turned into a white landscape. Everything was covered with a thin layer of snow. It was a breathtaking sight. Laura released his hand and proceeded him onto the courtyard, her high heeled boots leaving foot prints in the freshly fallen snow. As if she had forgotten he was there, she held out her hands like she was attempting to catch the snowflakes.
When she turned around to face him, she was a vision. Her red dress and hair made a stark contract with the virginal white snow. Her green eyes were alive with mirth as the snowflakes clung to her dress and hair. She looked carefree, young, happy and Bill knew that she had been right. Winter was in her blood. It had to be. She looked more alive than ever in the cold, snow falling down on her.
“Aren’t you going to join me, Bill? Or is the harsh winter weather of the North too much for an Ironborn man?” She was teasing him, but Bill still straightened his back and follow her out onto the courtyard, the snow crushing under his boots. He wondered how she wasn’t freezing. Even with all the layers of clothes, he could still feel the icy wind while Laura seemed completely unfazed by it.
To his complete surprise, the water in fountain wasn’t frozen. It wasn’t as lively as it had been in the autumn, but it was still trickling very slowly down the rocks, creating a grey path through the snow. Laura followed his gaze and an indefinable look passed over her face. There was something dark about, something sad and even a sense of relief. One day, he would ask her about the fountain when she trusted him.
“Have you ever seen a Godswood in the snow?” she asked, looking towards the trees just outside the wall. Their branches were all bare, save the enormous white trees, whose red leaves never fell.
“I can’t say that I have,” Bill confessed. He’s rarely seen Godswoods, preferring to stay away from religious places where he didn’t belong. But when Laura took his hand again and guided him outside the wall into the small forest just outside her village towards the weirwood.
The tree was enormous, thick branches sticking out crowned with five-pointed red leaves and in its trunk a face, a slightly terrifying face with an open mouth and red eyes, red sap out of them, giving it a rather macabre look. Bill never quite understood the Old Gods and their religion, but he appreciated the history of them and how many things these trees must have witnessed. Most of them were thousands of years old.
“I used to play here when I was a child during the first winter of my life. I grew up with dead trees, cold and snow. Seeing a weirwood like this, all alone with its leaves and covered in snow, it makes me feel at home. More than a crackling fire in the hearth ever could. That is why I don’t wear a cloak. I like the cold.”
“I can see that,” Bill replied quietly, not sure what to make of her sudden confession. For months she had avoided him and they were being friendly, sharing stories of their youth, holding hands and walking through the snow. He watched her as she ran her fingers over the tree’s rough bark, tracing the face that was carved into it, staining her fingers with the red sap which was almost the exact same color as her dress.
Bill held his breath as he watched her. He’d always found the ways of the North strange and he didn’t quite trust the Old Gods with their terrifying trees. Laura stopped and watched her fingers, transfixed by the red fluid that covered them. For a moment, Bill was afraid she was going to pass out. She suddenly looked so weak. So vulnerable.
“Are you alright?” he asked, breaking the eerie silence that was present. Laura looked up, a confused look in her eyes, before she nodded slowly, snowflakes falling from her hair.
“I’m fine,” she said, but there was a slight tremble to her voice that Bill had never heard before. She pushed herself away from the tree towards him, but the toe of her boot caught on a root and she stumbled right into Bill’s arms. Her hands grasped his woolen tunic as she collided with him. Instinctively he wrapped his arms around her waist and steadied her.
He thought his heart was going to be out of his chest, but he wasn’t sure yet if fear was to blame of the fact that he had Laura Roslin pressed up against his body, her warm breath caressing his throat. Slowly she looked up at him, her green eyes wide, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment or something else that Bill couldn’t identify.
For a moment neither of them moved and time itself seemed to have stopped as Bill held the lady in his arms. And even for the briefest of moments Bill thought himself brave enough to close the short distance and kiss Laura, the way he had wanted to kiss her from the moment he had met her. But he quickly banished that thought from his head and simply brushed a lock of her auburn hair out of her face and behind her ear, allowing his hand to linger a little.
“Thank you. For catching me,” Laura said finally as she took as step back and ran her hands over her dress, brushing away some snowflakes.
Next: Part 3: Lady Laura
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