[Adama/Tigh slash - Spoilers for Resistance] "Ellen, may I speak to my XO ..."
"Ellen, could I speak to my XO?"
"Of course ..."
Tigh doesn't pay attention to his wife slinking from the room like a chastised wraith, her mouth and hands trembling. Tigh is trembling too, but unlike Ellen, it's not with fear, as everything disappears from his existence except for Adama. Tigh's heard about visitations from the gods, how they come to people as if they've stepped through a white hot ring of light, but he never believe he'd be a witness to one.
He believes now.
Adama's in pain, but relaxed, sitting at Saul's side, his hand resting comfortably on Tigh's knee. Forgiving, even when Tigh tries to make it clear that he's frakked up and good. Bill drinks a little, smiles ruefully and shakes his head when Tigh hints that things are a huge mess now, with shattered pieces lying everywhere, needing a strong arm to pick them up.
An arm that isn't Tigh's.
"We'll pick them up together," Adama says defiantly, defending Tigh against his own worst enemy -- himself.
Adama's had a lot of practice in this kind of protecting, Tigh thinks, pouring Adama another drink. A small one, because he's still worried about The Old Man's health but for someone who's cheated death only days before, he looks pretty damned good.
Beautiful, in fact and Tigh is amazed at the heat that fills his cheeks. Gods, he's missed him ... missed them.
"Where's my son?" Adama asks suddenly and the world skews terribly to one side.
Slowly, Tigh explains the situation and Adama's forgiving mood evaporates. His jaw tightens into a hard line and Tigh waits for the explosion. Prays for it, but Adama's hand merely tightens on his knee. "We're going to take care of this," he grinds out hoarsely. The Old Man takes a shuddering breath, wincing as his chest expands. "Gods, who knew being shot hurts so damned much?"
Frightened, Tigh grabs his arm. "You need to get back to sick bay. I'll help you."
"You're going to help me get my uniform on."
Adama fixes him with a steely look. "Now."
"Yes, sir," replies Tigh, suddenly giddy with relief. He's back ... he's back ... and everything is going to be all right, he thinks.
No, he knows it's going to be all right.
Adama fits perfectly in the crook of Tigh's arm as they walk to his quarters, discreetly flanked by a pair of hawk-eyed marines who are armed to the teeth. No one is around to gawk at Adama in his robe -- they're all probably watching the transfer of that thing to its holding tank -- and Tigh is grateful for small favors.
Dressing Adama takes a long time, but Tigh feels no impatience. If anything, Adama looks annoyed at his tenderness.
Tigh doesn't pay attention to the eye rolls and sighs. The hospital togs are peeled off, an inch at a time. A crisp uniform is laid out, a plan of action is formulated and the clothes are put on Bill's battered body with painstaking care.
"Cut the crap, Saul," Adama growls at one point, but Tigh is unconcerned.
"Frak you," he replies, rolling up The Old Man's left sock and suddenly, things are like they always were -- wonderful.
All right, not exactly wonderful, but Tigh no longer feels the crushing weight of the universe on his shoulders. It's selfish and wrong to want Adama to bear that weight again before he's recovered completely. It's shameful Tigh couldn't handle the command when needed, but the gods have forgiven him, ridiculous failure that he is. They've given Adama back to him and that's all that matters.
He can handle the shame. He can handle the humiliation. He just can't handle another minute without Bill.
Once the uniform is on, Adama stands, looking as proud and strong as ever. Lines of pain and weariness no longer crease his face. His eyes are clear and sharp and no one would ever guess the terrible trauma he's covering up beneath the cool veneer.
He's Galactica's commander again, in every sense of the word.
It's an awe-inspiring sight and Tigh ducks his head away from it. Staring at the floor, Saul realizes that he doesn't deserve to stand at this man's side. Doesn't deserve him in the any way, shape or form and maybe, if he insisted on a demotion ...
Quiet voice, and Tigh shirks further away.
Adama isn't letting him get away that easily. A strong hand tucks beneath Tigh's chin, forcing a meeting of their eyes. "If I go into that bridge without an XO who's living -- and breathing -- the part, I'm going to be half a commander," Adama says. "You need to lift your head up and do this with me, just as we've done everything else. We have to keep our committment to stay together." A gentle pause. "Side by side, Saul."
Throat tight, Tigh shakes his head. "You don't need me to help lead this ship or do anything else. I'm just a frak-up who couldn't steer a kiddie ride over a track, Bill. You'd be better off without me. I'm nothing more than an embarrassment to you."
In reply, Adama kisses him, hard at first, then softening until Tigh thinks his bones are turning into water. "Does that feel like something I'd be better off without?" Breathlessly, and smiling as Tigh slowly shakes his head 'no'. "Good. Now how about shaving? You look like something the cat dragged in."
"Right." Tigh is nodding, head bobbling like an idiot. He obeys, going into the Commander's wash room to clean up. Shaves, brushes his teeth to remove the fuzziness of days worth of drinking and straightens his jacket as best he can. Runs damp hands over the hair that's left and looks in the mirror to try and school his expression into something that doesn't look too pathetic.
"All right," Adama says when he reappears. "Let's do this thing."
"Let's do it," Tigh replies. He falls into step at Adama's side, who strides out of his quarters and down to the lift that leads to the bridge.
In the distance, Tigh can hear a commotion in the halls, loud cries of some sort, but his heart doesn't clench in terror. Not this time. He merely looks to Adama, who shakes his head. "To the bridge. Whatever that is will come to us."
"Yes, sir," Tigh replies, holding open the lift door. They enter and wait for the lift to rise, standing ...
Side by side.
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