Can’t Cry These Tears [Battlestar Galactica]

Can’t Cry These Tears
by Jennifer-Oksana
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Rating: PG
Pairing: Laura/Maya, hints of Laura/Tory and Roslin/Zarek
Spoilers: Exodus Part II
Disclaimer: Ron Moore, David Eick, blah blah blah.
Summary: Loss, love, and political fallout.

It wasn’t until Tory gave her the photograph of Maya and Hera with shaking hands that Laura realized that she’d loved Maya. And not as her own daughter, or a dear friend and colleague, or a pleasant and optimistic lover. She’d loved her — she’d been in love with her.

She’d been aware that Tory and Maya had a rivalry. More that Tory had felt jealous of Maya, had wanted the love that Maya inspired in Laura for herself. With another sick jolt that washed through her stomach, Laura realized that poor Tory was in love with her. That Tory was in an agony of guilt and self-loathing because now she was asking herself, over and over, if her jealousy of Maya had caused the girl’s death.

“It’s not your fault,” Laura said firmly. “We don’t choose who we love, Tory.”

Tory’s indrawn breath was confirmation of everything. “I won’t tell,” she said feverishly, like a child caught witnessing a crime. “I promise.”

Oh, gods, this poor girl. “That might be for the best,” Laura said gently. “But that’s not really what I meant. I meant that…”

“Don’t say anything, please,” Tory said, gaining back some of her pragmatic resolve. “I have a press to manage again. You’re going to be the president soon, and I think it’ll be better if there are no inconvenient questions.”

Laura closed her eyes. Tory was right, of course, but Laura had forgotten the cost of power. She had almost forgotten, over the past sixteen months, that it wasn’t all right, this life she led. That it couldn’t be as simple as that, being a woman mourning a lover she hadn’t realized she’d been in love with until it was too late. Her sex life had been her own for the first time in fifteen years and it had taken only months to forget the rules.

“People will remember,” Laura said, half-smiling and half-wincing at the truth of it. “We weren’t discreet. There was that time in the marketplace…”

Tory closed her eyes, biting her lips to ward off the memory. “I remember.”

It had been ridiculous. They’d found fresh garlic one late summer afternoon, and Laura had been so happy that she’d pulled Maya and the baby into her lap, giggling, and Maya had covered her in kisses. It had been in a corner of the market, but still.

They had not been careful. There were kisses, there were the times they’d held hands, when she’d held the baby and sang to her. Maya had no idea why Laura would have to hide anything, and Laura had been in love after all.

“As soon as you can, find Tom and tell him I need to see him,” Laura said, staring at her hands. “And let it get out that it was a private visit.”

Tory was dead quiet. “I thought you really liked him.”

“I really do,” Laura said, lifting her hands helplessly.

“He won’t like it,” Tory said, neither of them daring to express the plan written between the lines of Laura’s sad face and shaking hands that belied her calm voice.

“And I hate the world I live in,” Laura said. “I was in love, Tory. And it’s erased now. Like it never happened. Sixteen months of my life, gone. He won’t mind for very long — it was going to happen either way. Now it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.”

Tory’s face looked like she’d been forced to crawl over broken glass, and Laura’s conscience ached. This would be easy, too. Simply seduce Tory and fill her bed for the night. Find some comfort, maybe give a little to Tory, who wanted so badly for Laura to touch her.

It would only be worse later. And Laura was so tired of hurting people who dared to love her.

“It hurts,” Tory said quietly, swallowing her pain visibly. “How nobody realizes all the things it takes to make the world work.”

“If I could be, I’d be honest,” Laura said, feeling hot anger bubbling up in her stomach, practically rising in her throat to burn out the lining. “I don’t have the luxury of time or freedom. Last time, I failed at lying and there are fifteen thousand dead people on my hands. Including the woman I loved. I should have done what I had to.”

“You wouldn’t have fallen in love with her, then,” Tory said before she could stop.

“I would rather have her alive than…” and Laura stopped. She was too near tears; she couldn’t cry. She couldn’t cry NOW of all times, when this was her ship again and her victory and she had a job to do. “Call Tom Zarek. Please, Tory.”

Tory sniffled. “Okay,” she said. “I hate this.”

“Me, too,” Laura said, a brave smile on her lips. “Go.”

Tory left, and Laura, unable to hold back, put her head on her hands and cried, not too loudly, but letting all the tears that she was ashamed to let everyone see seep out of her miserably. After a while, Laura knew she was making some noise, but couldn’t quite stop sobbing. Harsh, broken sounds that would have sent Laura running to comfort whoever made them kept leaking out of her, and finally, Laura bit down on her fist to quiet them.

By the time Tory came back, swollen-faced and quietly informed her Tom would be over in four or five hours, Laura was able to nod and thank her, eyes red-rimmed but dry.

“I’m very tired,” she said. “I’m going to bed. Tell Tom to come in and wake me whenever he comes.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Tory said. “I suppose I should get used to calling you Madam President again.”

“Probably,” Laura said, resigning herself to the realities of that future in one word. “But if you’ll excuse me. I’m very tired.”

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