Tigh has a religion all his own ...
To men like Zarek, disorder is a religion all its own.
Too bad for them Saul Tigh isn't a pious man. No, check that ... he does have a religion and it's a monotheistic one.
Tigh's god is named William Adama and he's waiting for him to rise from his sick bay bed and set things right again, once and for all.
Until then, it's Saul's duty to keep the idiots under his command, as well as the idiots who refuse to listen to reason, from crashing down the suicidal slope they're careening toward, dragging the saner parts of the Fleet with them. It's his duty to save them from themselves.
It's what Bill would have wanted him to do.
Back in his quarters, Tigh's hands are shaking badly when he picks up his glass, bringing the hot liquor to his lips. Ellen is passed out in the unmade rack, snoring, red lipstick smeared over the back of one hand, the other one unconsciously rubbing against the sheets in slow circles.
He can't bear to look at her right now, can't bear to stare any longer at the pictures of him and Bill scattered over his desk in accusing disarray.
He needs something more solid than that right now. He needs the real thing.
The sick bay is quiet except for the hiss of a ventilator. Bill's chest goes up and down in a pantomime of life and Tigh hopes to those gods he doesn't believe in the doctor wasn't lying about Adama's positive chances of survival.
Because if The Old Man dies, Tigh will break that motherfrakker's neck.
He hugs himself as he stares. The Old Man doesn't look any older to him. Tigh can't remember either one of them looking -- feeling -- any differently than they did aboard that crusty freighter where they first met, eventually curled around each other as the stars passed by the portal. No one ever said anything to them -- not that Bill would have tolerated it anyway -- as they were rackmates and rackmates were allowed certain /privileges/.
Privileges that usually didn't extend past the tour, but somehow ... somehow ... Adama hadn't forgotten those nights, as the tour turned into a commission and that commission lasted until, literally, the end of the worlds.
This is an end of a different sort. The end of Saul's dependence on Adama's every utterance. He's already gone through each declaration he can remember through a fog of time and booze, trying to apply all of Bill's words to a situation that's shifting beneath him like the cursed sands of Gorman.
Tigh can barely stand upright on an ordinary day, push him too far in any direction, the chances of him toppling over are good. Better than good.
Tigh knows this. He's not one to fool himself about his leadership skills, which are next to nil. He doesn't want to lead. Some people are born to follow and when one is following the person they love ...
Glancing around, Tigh tentatively takes Adama's hand in his own. It's warm. That's a good sign, if only the bastard would squeeze back.
But Bill always did things in his own time, in his own way and far be for Tigh to push him now. Even though Tigh feels like crawling up next to him on the sick bay rack, hold him tightly against his chest, trying to take every inhale of air for him. Anything to bring him back, anything to relieve the thick ache that's clenching Tigh's chest, making it hard to think.
Making it hard to breathe.
Tigh doesn't have the luxury of a ventilator to do his breathing for him. Doesn't have the luxury of a true leader to do his thinking for him either.
Of course, now would be a fine time for the bitch to declare her godhead. In front of the Quorum, yet! What the frak was he going to do? Democracy was well and good and all that crap -- Adama always believed in it, so it must have some value -- but damn it to hells, this wasn't the time for majority rule, not if the majority was on the verge of losing its collective mind. Or on the verge of staging a coup.
"Damn it, Bill," Tigh whispers, his throat tight. He's angry and frightened and neither emotion is helping very much. "I wasn't supposed to be involved like this. Remember our deal? You're the boss. I do what you say. That was the way it always was, even ..."
Even in bed, he wanted to say, but the old habits of keeping things hidden die hard.
Slipping tears sting, salt and shame against his raw skin. He's too old to be crying like some godsdamned schoolgirl and yet he makes no move to wipe them away.
Instead, he lifts Adama's hand and kisses his fingers one after the other, his lips lingering on the wedding ring Bill still wears. Some people think it's an ode to Caroline's years of faithfulness and in some ways, it is.
But it has another meaning as well. A meaning only the two of them share, along with so many other things.
Except now, there's only one of them to keep the faith going. Tigh can't let The Old Man down, even though he knows in his heart he already has. He listened to Ellen when he shouldn't have, he mistrusted when he should have believed ... he forgot what ship was supposed to be rescued, damn it.
That's all in the past, he thinks with a determination that's not quite as half-hearted as it's been previously. No, he's going to lead them ... lead them hard.
Unfortunately, there's only one way he can think of to do this and that way is going to be the way to Saul Tigh's damnation -- the denial of the tenets of his god.
He remembers the old story taught in school, about the priest who loved Zeus so much he couldn't find a sacrifice that was worthy enough and so stopped making them all together. The rivers dried up, the harvest died on the vine and finally, the people rose up and killed him. As he lay dying, he called to Zeus for help, only to be rebuffed ...
Because merely loving a god is not enough.
Leaning down, he kisses Adama's forehead, his shoulder and his hand for what might be the last time. Maybe one day The Old Man will forgive him, but things will never be the same, not after Tigh does the one thing Adama would have hated with all his heart. Tigh's steps wobble as he leaves sick bay to return to his quarters ...
To write a declaration of martial law that will bring the Fleet to heel, democracy and gods be damned.