obsessive_a101: (Satoshi)
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Technically, written for the [livejournal.com profile] bsg_epics pentathalon, but I am most definitely late so... Either way.

Title: Through Words I Rejoice
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Genre: Romance
Rating: K+ (possibly T for some language? maybe? I am very bad at ratings, but better safe than sorry)
Word Count: 1355 (more or less)
Spoilers: Basically everything in a very vague sort of way.
Characters/Pairings: Laura Roslin/William Adama
A/N: First one is my A/R fic, and it was surprisingly difficult to figure this one out. Many, MANY thaks to [livejournal.com profile] afrakaday who beta-ed for me despite circumstances, which made her downright HEROIC. However, all mistakes are my own.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything. Otherwise, EVERYONE WOULD BE HAPPY FOREVER AND EVER - or not. :3
Summary: Sharing words was an entire language between them, though apparently, sometimes more one-way than expected.

The rationale wasn’t always clear, but the ritual formed from circumstance and change. It began when the bookmark fell from a gift, and Laura Roslin followed its course, curious as to what it had marked. She had been surprised to find (as she had assumed that from the love the Commander clearly showed, his books would be pristine and free from habitual marking – and this was true to a certain extent) a passage underlined in black.

She had shut it quickly that day, not daring to look ahead and ruin the mystery, but in those early hours of sparse activity and put-aside work (hours that should have been given towards rest and recuperation), she read as quick as she could, driven not only by the mystery within the novel but the mystery of the marking embodied by the book itself. Who is this man, this Commander Adama?

She reached it, finally, only a bare week before she discovered that her death sentence had finally presented itself in boldfaced numbers written in ink and misshapen, blurry images and graphs of data (in the smoke and crags of an old doctor’s face). The passage was a solemn dissection of regret and guilt from a drunkard staring into empty air, a confession to the detective in the middle of a smoke-curtained bar. Not to the murder, no, but to a life filled with unspoken words and meaningless action.

“I s’haid nothin’ to Mara before she left. Nothin’. Not a gods-damned thing! All I did was let ‘er walk out like a ghost on the wind. She held the door open ‘erself, and she sure as ‘ell shut it ‘erself.”

It was an odd passage to highlight – not the monologue of a major character, or a verbose declaration of virtue or vice, but Laura re-read those lines several times before moving on. (She’d return the book fifteen pages later.)

‘It was a good read all the same’, she thought with little regret when she was laid back, barely able to move (or breathe).

XxX

It was when the exchange of books started increasing that she began to contemplate those rare random phrases extracted and outlined without context. She wondered what they meant to Bill when he read the books. Why had he selected those passages?

The sea wind swept strong through the night, even as I huddled underneath the tree, shaking and groaning. Its roots will surely give I thought, but fear had no place in me anymore. I had already lost everything worth losing…

…Jerod grinned as he placed the flower in her hair. “It’s a promise.”

… Gunfire sparked small lights as it ricocheted off steel and concrete. Little could be heard over gunpowder and screams and darkness. Nai knew, it was the darkness that would swallow her whole in the end…


Laura wandered through the contents of these books, some good, some bad, but ultimately, she wanted to find these hidden passages, these little insights. She has no idea what value they served to Bill, but the part of her that loves reading a good mystery cannot help but be drawn to this living mystery sitting right in front of her.

She thinks that’s possibly the reason why she doesn’t ask despite the candor in their occasional post-book discussions. (Where she attacks structure and he defends authorial intent. She praises characterization, and he finds the setting better than the characters themselves. There are some books they agree on, others… not so much.) Instead, she takes to asking him about the age during which he first read the book, ignoring the raised eyebrow at her odd question. He answers nonetheless. Sometimes, he’s absolutely certain – other times, his answer is vague. (She pays attention to both the time and strength of memory – checks to see if there is any correlation between the markings and his answers.)

XxX

She never does get a clear answer, but she begins to appreciate the act as a method of communication.

She copies passages by hand onto the back of scraps as she reads. Some she hands out (pretending it to be a mistake) to staff and personnel. Others, she copies onto the backs of every stack of piecemeal notebooks given to the makeshift schools of the fleet.

The most personal ones, she keeps hidden in a diary of sorts. (Until one day, when she is sharing his quarters, years down the road, he asks her what she is writing. She answers that it’s something for him to keep. Later. “When I’m gone.” He stops asking after that, reaching for a glass to keep himself from completely unmooring.)

With time, she realizes that it is an act of translation – from author to reader to copyist to reader. Meanings are changed with the separation from context, and it both fascinates and calms her to see what she can convey with limited material.

She begins leaving messages in the journal for others, words that she imagines people attempting to interpret – she prefers that it would puzzle them rather than their simply liking it. Puzzlement stays with the mind with more complex feelings. (She copies a few that offer simple pleasures, innocent.)

Her velvet glove held the key. It was all a game, and for once Sarah was the first to solve the puzzle and win the prize…

…Rapture holds no pleasure,
Wrath no pride,
Grief has no measure
For feelings laid to rest besides.


She sits and copies lines and passages – at times only one from a book, other times three or five. (From The Silver Diadem, an old favorite of her younger years, regarding the wise child-queen of a ruthless court, which she had been pleasantly surprised to find among a collection on New Caprica, she copies twelve. She spends about that many weeks reading passages to the older children in her class while Maya gives the youngest their art lessons.)

When she says, the words themselves, “Love you,” she has already written them six times in her diary from the various passages she had encountered and selected. (Of course, many more passages avoid saying it explicitly, filled instead with the feel and shape of the words instead.)

When her hand begins to shake too much to write clearly with a pen, she records the passage she has deliberately kept for that moment from memory (from her heart). It is punctuated by a wetness that will disappear in time (but leaves behind warps and crinkles and roughness in the texture of the paper).

The book is closed, and she takes a deep breath trying to slow the grief that comes washing in tides.

XxX

It’s after she is buried that he finds it in the inside pocket of his hiking pack, and he cries as he reads in her neat handwriting the passages of literature and words that he thought he would never see again. Instead, he reads in the tones of her voice and with the appreciation and worship of a lonely scholar who discovers a long-vanished tome.

There’s enough messages to last his lifetime, smoothing away the passing years, and more than enough messages for the next generation in the nearest settlement to decipher (across gaps in memory and learning – those who remembered the language and rhythm of verse and prose).

The pages last eighty-ninth hundredths of a century (with a few fragments here and there) before the long-forgotten book finally crumples completely to dust, filled with words and messages to a people long dispersed. Long flourishing.

Fin.

PS:

There stands a clock in the hall, and though I cannot see, I know it has stopped.
There sits a flower in a vase, and though I cannot smell, I know its fragrance only lingers.
There hangs a chime at the door, and though I cannot hear, I know its sound has faltered.
There lies a loaf of bread on a plate, and though I cannot taste, I know it has gone stale.
There visits a hand upon mine, and though I cannot feel, I know its warmth knows mine.
~ R. Lehay, “the abrupt extraordinary in the mundane”




(End A/N: The thing is, I am apparently in a bit of a maudlin phase for writing. ><")

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-01 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akachankami.livejournal.com
*cries* is anybody EVER writing fluff anymore? D:
tho i really liked this =) it's terribly sad to imagine... it's quite a legacy! but the curiosity and mistery and the things they shared and cherished is really sweet (bittersweet?) aww ♥

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-22 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obsessive-a101.livejournal.com
I DID! FOR REMEMBERLAURA! I think. :3

*hugs* Sorry for making you cry (and the late response), but yeah, all my attempted pentathalong fics ended up pretty angsty, except for the two I have yet to finish I think? XD

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-02 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fragrantwoods.livejournal.com
Beautiful and so "Laura". As sad as it is (and the hands being too shaky to write killed me, as did her knowing that it was coming) the legacy it shows is worth it.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-22 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obsessive-a101.livejournal.com
*sighs* Ah, "legacy" - I have such complicated feelings about it. LOL - Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad the "Laura-ness" of it came through. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-03 05:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] afrakaday.livejournal.com
Literary A/R is so beautiful. I love so much about this -- the pacing of it, the passages, the tracing of their relationship in this manner, and the legacy she creates. The allusion to passing time and prospering peoples eases the sting of the loss, a bit. :) Lovely work!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-22 02:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obsessive-a101.livejournal.com
Awww... THANK YOU! *HUGS* I'm so glad it worked out the way it did (I was ironically having the MOST trouble with the AR fic of the pentathalon. LOL)

Sorry for the delayed reply. ><"

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