Title: The Book of Ambition
Show: Battlestar Galactica
Pairing: Roslin/Cain (pre-holocaust)
Spoilers: Through episode 2.11, "Resurrection Ship Part I," aired 1-6-2006.
Summary: "She is still a lieutenant, and Richard Adar is still a mayor. You are a school principal, and lately your mother has not been feeling well. The people of Caprica City are alive and speaking below your windowsill. There are things in your futures you cannot yet see."
The Book of Ambition
You first notice her on the train, this girl with straight hair and eyes squinted like she sees into the distance. You watch her, the outline of a hard body beneath military-grey clothing, the way her hands flutter, unexpectedly unsure. You ask in a way no one would expect of you--this mouse of a woman, always following the rules--if she would like to come home. She would.
In your bedroom, that grey clothing falls away. She is tough but young--this first time, she wants to please you. She spreads herself across your bed. Her name is Helena, and it's a pretty thing to say when she touches you.
She is still a lieutenant, and Richard Adar is still a mayor. You are a school principal, and lately your mother has not been feeling well. The people of Caprica City are alive and speaking below your windowsill. There are things in your futures you cannot yet see.
You will meet her again after the holocaust. Her hair will be longer and her face less round, but you will recognize her by the narrowed eyes. You will see her fresh from the Pegasus, and smile.
You have known a hundred girls like Helena. All attitude, you think, all an act.
They are the ones who slump with legs spread in the back of the classroom, who talk through the lesson, who don't do the homework--they need you to notice them. Your grades are slipping. You're smarter than this. You see them everywhere in the older classes. You see them every day in your office. You see her now in your bed--so tough, so tough, bragging about the men she commands, but she does not make the first move.
You lean over her. "What do you want me to do for you?" she asks. Eyes narrowed, like you are the distance.
You take her face in your hands. "Figure it out," you say. You're smarter than this.
She will welcome you back to the Fleet. She will be so suprised when you are President. Watch closely: the way her eyes will open wide, the way she will almost smile. Pride.
She figures it out, very well. You are so proud when she makes you come, all fingers up inside you and the satisfaction of her smile.
Here is her reward: you kiss down from her mouth, you do not have to ask. Her throat, the pulse, warm, down the space between her breasts, over her stomach, tense, she is a fighter. You use both hands to part her thighs. For once she is quiet, waiting for what you will do. You hear her hold her breath in the darkness. "Maybe tomorrow night," you say, laying your head against her leg.
"You can't do that."
"I can." You stretch out beside her. "You tired me out, you know."
"You can't," she says again. You are both on the edge of laughing. Her eyes are wide, her hands are all over you, she thinks if she pulls you close enough, you will do what she wants. You have seven years on her, and the difference between her twenties and your thirties is the way she expects what she wants when she wants it. You think she'll learn.
"Maybe you should show me again how it's done," you say. She laughs, and slides a hand between your thighs with no pretense of softness. Obedient.
You will hug her, and it will be fake and hard. No one will notice when you don't say, "So nice to meet you."
She learns. She learns that she is a student, and you are a teacher.
You have known a hundred girls like her. You give just enough to motivate. You stand close to Helena in the mornings, making breakfast, but you don't touch. By nighttime, she'll do anything.
She thinks this is a game. She thinks she can ask, order, obey her way into what she wants. She thinks she can win. So when all else fails--sometimes she'll pull your hand toward her, unfold your fingers in her own, and you lie there, laughing--she plays by your rules. She wakes you up in the middle of the night kissing down your body, a finger inside of you, then not, leaving wet trails along your thighs.
The whole point of teaching is that they're independent in the end, but it still hurts.
She sighs against your hip and says, "Maybe tomorrow." It hurts.
When she says she is in command, you will be afraid.
Humanity will be yours to protect, survival will depend on your ability to lead, and you will be afraid.
You will know what she is capable of.
You hate her sometimes.
She comes home in her dress uniform, and tells you about today's flights. You want to strip down the layers of blue wool and buttons, and find something human and breakable, but you can't. So you lie back on the bed and wait, while she pulls off your shirt and remembers cutting through the atmosphere, sixteen men and their machines behind her.
"How do you make them follow your command?" you ask.
"They have to," she says, pushing up your skirt. She has known her whole life that this is her right.
You spend your days preparing children for power. They ask what they can be when they grow up, and you say they can be President.
No one ever told you that.
She will ask, "The Secretary of Education?" Bill Adama will tell her you've come a long way, and she will think you didn't have to.
Richard Adar is running for representative. He wants you to be his education policy advisor.
"He's an idiot," Helena laughs. "You have no experience."
Too far. She has gone too far. She apologizes that night, not with her voice but with her hands--soft, she wants to please you. You do not praise her.
She will not answer your calls. Figure it out. You're smarter than this.
You keep a bottle of ambrosia in the back of the cabinet, for emergencies.
She's hot when she's drunk--literally, warm to the touch and whimpering against you.
"Quiet," you say, and it's a command. She obeys, and she continues to obey until you come and you won't say her name, no matter how hard she asks.
She begins to undress, human and breakable, for her turn.
"Get out," you say. You do not even look at her. You cannot see her face.
There will be a girl named Kara Thrace, and she will turn against you, too, if you aren't careful.
You will have played this game with Kara. You will have watched her please you, and you will have told her to go when she was no longer useful.
Cain will praise Kara, and you will have to do something.
You wake up hung over.
For the first time in two months, there is silence.
Someone has left the shards of a bottle scattered across the floor.
You will have to ask someone to kill her. You will say, "Bring me Kara Thrace."