Origin of the Mustache [Battlestar Galactica]

Origin of the Mustache
by Jennifer-Oksana
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Pairing: Adama/Tigh
Rating: PG
Spoilers: 2.20
Disclaimer: Moore’s the man with the master plan.
Summary: Why Adama decided to grow his mustache back.

The first week, everyone’s too busy settling on that frakking planet to fuss over women.

The second week, Bill’s got to handle all the kids who want to settle like everyone else, including the Chief.

The third week, Baltar manages to frak up landing Colonial One so badly they’re all working forty-hour shifts on Galactica to make sure they don’t lose the ship or more resources.

So it’s not until the fourth week after the inauguration of that idiot Baltar that anyone has a chance to think about courting, or asking certain former presidents to dinner, and Saul waits patiently to see what Bill does.

Two more weeks go by without even the hint of an invitation before Saul decides to say anything about it.

“So, you gonna ask that woman to dinner or not?” is in fact what Saul says to Bill, while they’re trying to figure out how they’re going to shift containers to the surface with a fourth of the crew on New Caprica and out of the military. “Bet she’s starting to wonder.”

Bill clears his throat and fixes Saul with a look. “When are you going to get yourself a spot on the surface?” he answers. “Ellen must be chomping at the bit, especially with nowhere in particular to go up here.”

They don’t talk about the explosion on Cloud Nine. Nobody wants to talk about it, as far as Saul knows, especially not that weasel Baltar.

“You let me handle my own wife,” Saul replies.

“You let me handle my own dinners,” Bill says.

Saul smiles roughly. “Someone’s got to keep you on your toes,” he points out. “And if I’m on the surface, I’m not going to have the time. Ask her out before she gets used to having the ground under her feet.”

“Bah. I can take care of myself,” Bill says, and the conversation’s over.

Saul’s certain the old man doesn’t know how wrong he is, but he’s also not going to tell Bill that. He owes the old man his life — they all do — and he’s not going to deprive him of his dignity.

So Roslin doesn’t sashay back onto Galactica until Starbuck’s wedding to the big dumb pyramid player, Anders. And she’s not alone when she arrives, either, not by a longshot.

“Oh, look, she’s found another pretty playmate,” Ellen says with a rude snicker. “A little more girl-shaped than the last one, but maybe that’s what our former president always wanted.”

“Shush,” Saul says, watching Roslin and her new friend — who is in fact young, pretty, and a woman — walk by and right up to Bill. Together. With a baby, which Roslin seems to think is hers. She can balance it on her hip as easily as its mother can, and Ellen points and snorts again.

“It’s kind of sweet,” Ellen says dryly. “I think I might vomit.”

Saul catches Bill’s eye, and the old man shakes his head shortly and goes back to talking to Roslin and the woman with her as though there weren’t anything more to it.

But Roslin leaves the same night on the last shuttle out, and Saul goes stumbling to Bill’s quarters, out of curiosity, and out of solidarity.

“So she turned you down flat, huh?” Saul asks.

“Pretty flat, yeah,” Bill says, taking a long drink. “Interesting day.”

“I bet,” Saul says. “What do you think of the Anders kid and his chances with Starbuck? He’s a good guy, but dumb as a sack of rocks. Starbuck’s going to eat him alive.”

Bill shrugs, as though it doesn’t matter to him. “I think Kara wants someone stable in her life, and Anders loves her,” he says. “They’ve got as much of a chance as anyone. As you and Ellen do. Speaking of that, when are you planning on making your transition to the surface?”

“Bah,” Saul says. “What’s on the surface that’s so great? Heard they had a strike the other day to make a point to that great big ninny, Baltar. And you’re changing the subject.”

There’s a long, loaded silence while Bill gets up and pours them both drinks. “Did you ever think you knew someone?” he asks. “And then one day, you realize you made them up in your head?”

“Once or twice,” Saul says, not sure what Bill’s trying to say. “If she doesn’t see that you’re a good man, frak her, Bill.”

Bill shakes his head. “She told me I was a good man,” he says. “And then the baby fussed, and she looked at that girl — Maya, I think — with more love in her eyes than I’d seen on her face in fourteen months.”

Saul’s eyebrows are both raised as high as they can go. “You mean Roslin and that girl–” he says. Ellen’s never going to stop talking about that, not for a second.

“No!” Bill says. “I mean, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Laura never loved me. She thinks of me as a friend, and I thought of her as…she would have been good, as part of the family. I thought this was our family, hers and mine. Come to find out that I was the only one dreaming that dream.”

“Not the only one,” Saul says. “I’m proud to be a member of this family. Always have been.”

“I know,” Bill says. “And I’m proud to have you.”

They proceed to get roaring drunk, toasting to the Galactica, to the Colonies, to the family. Saul leaves the topic of Laura Roslin, her pretty little friend, and Bill’s plans for the future far off the radar.

Instead they talk about simpler times, their days on freighters, getting back into the fleet.

“You know what I miss? That soup catcher you used to wear on your frakking face,” Saul says, slapping his thigh. “D’ya remember that damn thing?”

“It was on my face, I couldn’t miss it,” Bill replied merrily. “You think I should grow it back? Caroline hated it. She wouldn’t kiss me with it on my face.”

Saul guffaws. “I imagine it wouldn’t tickle a girl’s fancy,” he says. “Looked good on you. You should grow it back. Start of a new era, or whatever the frak the politicians would say.”

Both of them laugh harder. Saul gets up and claps Bill on the back.

“Grow the damn thing,” he tells Bill. “It’ll do you a world of good. Much like getting yourself to bed.”

“Does Ellen mother you this much?” Bill asks sharpishly. Saul shrugs.

“Ellen couldn’t mother a houseplant,” he says honestly if tactlessly. “And I don’t have a pretty scar like yours running down my front.”

Bill gets to his feet slowly, chuckling again. “Sexy man like me can’t have too many scars,” he says. “Maybe I should have shown it off. Women love scars.”

“If they’re not too busy screwing their babymamas,” Saul says. Bill glares at him. “Come on. You know it’s funny. All the talk of men having the midlife crises, and it’s Laura frakking Roslin who’s run off with the cute little trophy model and got herself a new family.”

Bill does laugh at that as they head for his bed. Saul doesn’t know why he’s being so careful of the old man, tell the truth. He can put himself to bed.

But Saul doesn’t want to leave him alone yet. Something in his gut tells him to stay.

“You’re a true friend,” Bill says. “But if you don’t get out of here, I’m gonna clock you, Saul.”

Saul gives Bill a quick salute before putting a hand on his shoulder. “I’m here for you the way you’re here for me,” he says.

He turns to leave, but is stopped by the heavy warmth of Bill’s hand on his shoulder.

“Stay a little longer.”

And Saul does.

Much later, he stumbles back into his own quarters, eyes heavy with sleep. Ellen groans and welcomes him into the bed, warm and darkly radiant.

“You smell,” she mutters. “Like booze…and Bill.”

“Go back to sleep, Ellen,” Saul answers.

Some things are better left untold, Saul reasons, putting an arm around his wife and falling into a deep sleep.

And the things a man did for his friend were among them, the way he saw it.

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