[personal profile] singerdiva01
Title: The First Test
Word Count: 2570
Rating: Teen
Pairing: Kara/Laura
Characters: Laura Roslin, Kara Thrace, Billy Keikeya
Summary: Kara promised she’d be there when Laura woke up from her biopsy. (Established relationship AU) Inspired by [livejournal.com profile] laura_mayfair's prompt over at Epics, Laura/Kara, broken promise.
A/N: Warning for content about cancer biopsy, anesthesia, and post-operative care.

She woke up disoriented and moving. Definitely moving.

She knew on some level she was lying down and being wheeled somewhere but all she could spare the energy to focus on was fighting back the waves of nausea each little sway of the mystery litter sent through her body. Her throat was burning and each time a spurt of bile forced its way to the back she had to fight the urge to cry out lest she lose control of her stomach completely.

Finally, the motion stopped. There was a click and then jolt and suddenly she registered, for the first time, a low, dull ache in her left breast.

“Madame Secretary, can you open your eyes for me? The biopsy’s all done, you did great, ma’am.”

Laura understood the words but couldn’t believe them. She’d been lying on the operating table just minutes ago, talking to the anaesthesiologist about the new middle school education initiative.

She tried to open her eyes but found them too heavy to budge. She heard a low, pitiful moan and it took her a moment to realize the sound was coming from her.

“Madame Secretary, there’s someone here to see you. You need to try to open your eyes for us, ok?”

Laura felt her body relax as a little bit more of reality seemed back into her foggy brain. The biopsy. Kara would be there when she opened her eyes and she’d make everything make sense.

She felt a smile tugging at her lips and finally, now more motivated, she forced her eyes open.

Instead of Kara’s comforting brown eyes, she found herself looking up into the face of her very nervous looking aide.

“Hey there,” Billy said with a tight smile. “Good to see you awake. Can you squeeze my hand?”

A jolt of panic ripped through the chest and she instinctively tried to sit up. The motion, which she immediately regretted, resulted in hands on all parts of her body forcing her back down and a cacophony of soothing voices telling her to relax.

She lay back, more from lack of strength and coordination to fight than lack of will, and opened her mouth to ask about Kara. Her words sounded jumbled to her ears and from the confused yet sympathetic stares directed her way she knew they hadn’t made sense to anyone else either.

Something had to have happened to Kara. She promised she’d be there. She wouldn’t miss something like this, not if she could help it.

The last thing Laura remembered until quite a while later was the sudden, terrifying image of Kara getting into her car to drive to the hospital.

*******

The next time she could think coherently she was less panicked. She could hear deep male voices somewhere off to her right. Something about pain medications and incision care and three days until the results.

She opened her eyes to find herself in a sitting position and most of the tubes that had been attached to her body before the procedure were gone. Her breast was numb and cold and when she looked down she saw a hunter green ice pack sticking out of the top of her sweatshirt.

Billy’s hand was laced through hers and she squeezed it to get his attention. He turned his head quickly from the doctor to her and his features brightened into a wide smile.

“Hey, again. You really with us this time?”

The doctor, gods she could almost remember his name, chuckled and Laura figured she’d probably been drifting in and out for a while.

She nodded slowly and heard Billy saying they were about ready to let her go home. The next half hour passed in a blur, getting her shoes on, being helped from the bed, an orderlies’ thick, tan arms helping her into a wheelchair.

Only when she was settled into the front seat of Billy’s neat, functional little coupe did she have the mental strength to ask.

“Billy, where’s Kara?”

Her voice sounded so much smaller than she’d intended and she took a deep breath, willing the receding haze of the drugs to depart faster.

Billy pursed his lips and concentrated on putting the car into drive. It was only once they were moving did he answer.

“She called me, said she couldn’t make it,” he said finally.

There was a note of anger in his voice and she could see the white of his knuckles when he clutched the steering wheel.

Laura nodded and rested her forehead against the cool window pane. She felt tears pricking her eyes and had to blink hard to keep them at bay.

She wanted Billy to continue, tell her there had been some emergency at the flight school, or that Kara’s rickety old Jeep had finally crapped out like Laura always said it would. She wanted him to tell her Kara had apologized profusely and was going to be waiting anxiously at home when they got there.

He didn’t. Instead, anger radiated off his body, filling the car with an invisible tension that got more palpable with every block that flew past the window.

They were almost to her condo when he spoke again, his voice tight with anger.

“She sounded drunk.”

Laura just nodded, her warm skin marking the glass where it touched, and prayed her beloved aide would keep the rant she knew he was holding back locked inside for a little longer. She just didn’t have it in her to cope with his anger and her devastation in that moment.

Or her fear. Suddenly she was so scared she had to grip the door handle until her fingernails dug into her palm to keep from giving sound to her despair.

She didn’t say it was a test, never would have said that, but she thought Kara had understood anyway.

She didn’t have to wait for the results. She knew the moment she felt the lump in the shower it was cancer. Roslin women lived their lives knowing one day their number would be up but she’d found herself going through the motions of scheduling the appointments and talking to the doctors with a little less terror than she’d expected.

Because Kara promised she’d be there, no matter what. Laura told herself she could fight, would fight, if the girl was by her side. She was something to live for, they were something to live for, and Kara had said all the right words to make her feel sure enough to forge ahead rather than burying herself in denial.

“Ma’am, we’re here.”

Billy’s soft voice roused Laura from her increasingly despondent train of thought. She tried to lift her head and found herself suddenly so tired, so deflated she could barely hold her neck up.

Billy was so kind, so gentle as he helped her from the car. He let her lean on him while he dug around for her keys in her purse.

Kara would have carried her, kidded her about being high, asked if she could get some of those happy pills too.

At least, that’s what Laura imagined. Maybe it was all a fantasy, thinking the wild child pilot could really mature enough to live up to her expectations.

Maybe it was cruel, to Kara and herself, to have them in the first place.

She nudged Billy away from the stairs leading up to her bedroom and toward the guest room she and Kara had outfitted especially for her recovery. She kicked off her flats and waved off Billy’s offer to find her some pajamas. She held onto the skin around the incision on her breast as she gently eased herself onto the bed and settled back against the pillows, her favorites gathered by Kara from all over the house.

She nodded and handed it over when Billy asked about the ice pack and he shuffled off toward the kitchen, muttering something about water and pills.

Only when she was sure he was gone did she allow herself to turn her head into one of the pillows and let out a sob.

Gods, it smelled like Kara. Of course it did, Laura had found her in the guest bed earlier that morning after she woke up alone in their bedroom. She’d been crying, Laura could tell, but she just jumped up when Laura entered the room, flashed her a joking smile, and asked if she was ready for a delicious breakfast of water, the only thing Laura could have before the surgery.

Kara didn’t seem to want to talk about her tears. She never did. She just babbled on, obviously trying to distract Laura and herself, all the way up to the time she dropped her off at the outpatient center, kissed her hard, and promised to be back from her morning class when Laura woke up.

“Ma’am, you still awake?”

Laura rubbed her face on the pillow and looked up at Billy through heavy lids.

“Just barely,” she managed.

He smiled, held out a glass of water, and two morpha pills, explaining the doctor had said to take them and get some sleep.

They took effect a lot faster than she expected and she barely registered Billy fussing over the pillows and ever so carefully tucking a new ice pack between her shirt and her bra. The last thing she remembered telling him was to go back to the office before the place fell apart without him.

*******

When she woke again she could tell it was evening by the way the twilight reflecting through the window just barely colored the dark behind her eyes. She was sore and her throat was burning but her body was too heavy to even fathom doing anything about it.

It took her a moment to realize the weight on her belly, at least, wasn’t from the oramorpha. Her right side was warmer than her left and it only took a deep, careful breath to recognize Kara’s freshly showered scent somewhere close to her nose.

“Kara?”

Her voice croaked and the hand on her belly jerked in reaction.

“I’m here,” came the muffled reply.

Kara had her head tucked into her side, under her arm, and Laura could feel where her damp locks had soaked into her sweatshirt.

“You ok?”

There was a long pause. Kara shifted her legs under the covers, bumping Laura’s thigh.

“Yeah.” Another fidget, this time with her toe. “You?”

Laura weighed her options and came down on the side of being too tired and too emotionally unsteady for conversation.

“Yeah.”

Kara was still for a long time and Laura had almost succumbed to sleep again when she spoke again.

“Gods, Laura, I’m sorry.” Her voice sounded tearful and desperate. She burrowed even closer and Laura felt her fingertips digging into the skin of her stomach. “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there.”

A litany of responses flowed through Laura’s mind, everything from ‘why’ to ‘how the hell could you do that to me’ to ‘where were you instead.’

She decided she didn’t want to know now, couldn’t bear to hear Kara’s excuses or apologies now, and went with the truth.

Well, as close as she could get to it without bursting into tears.

“I was scared when I woke up and you weren’t there, Kara.”

Laura could hear Kara’s breathing getting ragged like it did when she tried not to cry.

“I’m so sorry, Laura. I know I frakked this up,” she started, her voice soft. “I don’t know what to say, I just got so frakking scared and then I…”

She paused to catch her breath and when she spoke again her tone had taken on the hard, familiar edge of self-loathing.

“I got frakked up. I freaked out and I frakked up again.”

Had she whined or made excuses or babbled out promises that she’d never do it again, Laura told herself she would have found the strength to end it right then and there.

But this was as close to taking responsibility as her Kara could get. She had every reason to be scared too and it wasn’t her fault the only coping mechanism she’d ever been shown was at the bottom of a bottle. It wasn’t her fault; it was just a fact of age and a shitty childhood and the choice they made to be together anyway.

“I forgive you, Kara.”

Laura shifted more onto her side so she could be face to face with Kara, ignoring the twinge of pain that came with moving her left shoulder.

Kara’s eyes were wide and bright, glistening with tears.

“Why?”

Laura sighed and broke Kara’s gaze to look over her head and out the window.

There was a hard conversation coming, one that might end this little fling that had become one of the most satisfying relationships she’d had in years.

They would have to talk about Kara’s drinking, about how, once treatments started and especially if she had to have a real surgery, Laura wouldn’t be able to take care of her, physically or emotionally, as she had in the past. About whether Kara really, truly wanted to spend the next part of her life putting herself second to take care of a cancer patient.

But not now. Laura was too tired and sore and Kara’s warmth felt to good to go there.

“Because you called Billy. You frakked up, yes, but you made sure I wasn’t alone.”

She needed, if just for tonight, to take that as a sign they might could make it work.

She’d deal with whether that was really possible or not when she wasn’t on something that came with a warning not to drive or wear heels.

Kara smiled sadly, nodded, and pulled Laura closer. This time, Laura couldn’t keep the wince off her face.

Kara frowned and sat up carefully so she was looking down on her lover.

“Gods, I’m such an idiot. Billy left instructions. You need to eat something before we get you high again. Think you can stay awake while I whip us up an omelette?”

Laura chuckled and settled more comfortably against the pillows.

“Wake me if I fall asleep. Wouldn’t want to deprive you completely of the fun of seeing me drugged out of my gourd, now would we?”

Kara grinned maniacally, her eyes flashing.

“Nope. I’m gonna have the Colonies’ next viral video after tonight. ‘Secretary of Education, high out of her mind, declares her undying love for Caprica’s sexiest pilot.”

They laughed together but Laura could feel her eyes growing heavy. She heard Kara get off the bed and then felt her carefully removing the now warm ice pack from her shirt.

“I’ll get you another one of these, you just rest,” Kara instructed. She leaned down and dropped a kiss on Laura’s forehead. “I’ll be right here when you wake up, I promise.”

Laura smiled without opening her eyes and let herself drift off to the sound of Kara’s footsteps morphing into the slam of the fridge and the bang of a pot onto the stove.

It wasn’t that easy. In three days, she knew, nothing was going to be easy.

But Kara would keep this promise, she was sure, and tonight, at least, that was going to have to be enough.
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