[personal profile] singerdiva01
Title: The Birthday Gift
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 1150
Characters: Laura Roslin, Tom Zarek
Relationship: Roslin/Zarek
Summary: Laura's having a rough day and Tom knows why. He presents her with an extra special gift to make her feel better.
A/N: Written in response to [livejournal.com profile] plaid_slytherin's Inspiration Day prompt 'Finding/being given a book she never thought she'd see again' over at [livejournal.com profile] bsg_epics.

When she didn’t immediately turn away from the viewport at the sound of the curtain swishing open, Tom allowed himself a moment to survey Laura Roslin. She’d shed her jacket and, judging from where her waist came up to the desk behind her, her heels as well. Her face was obscured by her long hair but her ever so slightly slumped posture suggested exhaustion would be evident there as well.

“What can I help you with, Mr. Vice President?” She turned gracefully and fixed him with a smirk, her politician’s mask firmly in place. Even so, he’d been right and, yet, he took no pleasure in noting the lines around her eyes were more pronounced than usual.

“Actually, Laura, tonight I’m hoping I can just be here as your friend, Tom.” He stepped further into the room, keeping his hands and their secret contents clenched firmly behind his back.

The president quirked a suspicious eyebrow but motioned him closer to her desk. He’d long ago given up being offended the woman always thought he wanted something. After all, he usually did.

“Uh huh,” she hummed. She settled down in her chair and reached for her glasses. “My friend Tom hoping he’d catch me working late in my nightgown again?”

He chuckled. He’d be lying to himself if he said he hadn’t been, just a little bit. The last time that happened was three days ago and he was still a little sore from their acrobatic act on the presidential desk.

“Not at all,” he lied smoothly, “though you do know how to make a faded slip of silk look good, Laura.” He slipped the wrapped package into his right hand and placed his other on the desk as he sank down into his own chair. “I heard you’ve been, let’s say, out of sorts today and, as your friend, wanted to see if there was something I could do to cheer you up.”

She hummed again then rolled her eyes. “I see you’ve still got informants on my staff, Mr. Zarek. Tell me, what is it you give them in return for betraying me?”

He lifted his empty hand to his chest and adopted a hurt expression. “You wound me, Laura. I would do no such thing to my friend.” Her features hardened and he hurried to head her off. “Besides, I doubt there’s anyone on this ship who hasn’t heard Madame President was on quite a tear today.”

He knew he was safe when a tint of embarrassment crept up her cheeks. She took her glasses off and rubbed her eyes. “Ah. Yes, well, there are perhaps a few members of my staff who deserve an apology for my tone today.”

“Two Quorum representatives and a third of the press corps, too, from what I hear.” He smiled disarmingly. “They probably had it coming, I know. Want to tell me what’s wrong, Laura?”

Tom considered himself, not vainly, one of the few experts on this woman left in the worlds. He waited patiently for her to weigh the pros and, tonight, imaginary cons of confiding in him. When her face softened and she settled against the back of her chair he had to press back a self satisfied smile.

“I don’t know, really, Tom,” she admitted. “It’s just damn exhausting sometimes. Every time I think things might be calm enough to get something done, make something better, I’m back on defense again.”

He nodded sympathetically. It was true, of course, and he hadn’t come here expecting her to tell him straight up why today, of all days, she’d lost her famous cool over a perennial problem. In fact, even though he knew her to be highly introspective, he wasn’t entirely sure she’d processed it herself.

“I see. Well, I brought you something to make you feel better,” he said. He held up the wrapped square and waved it in her direction before handing it over. “A birthday gift, of sorts.”

She pursed her lips and looked at the package in her hands and then back up at him. “It’s not my birthday, Mr. Zarek.”

“No, it’s not your birthday, Laura.” When her shoulders clenched almost imperceptibly, he pointed to the gift. “Go on, open it.”

She looked at the package for a long time, unmoving but for the slight tremor of her hand. Finally, he reached over and took it from her, brushing her fingers deliberately as he did.

She watched him warily as he pulled back the newsprint he’d repurposed as wrapping paper. He stopped just before the item was revealed and cleared his throat, drawing her eyes to his own.

“The date’s in his bio, Laura. Illustrious professor of education at Caprica University. This is his second book, I think.”

She made a little strangled noise at the back of her throat when he turned it so she could see Dr. Franklin Roslin printed in gold script on the deep green cover.

“Oh my Gods.”

She took it from him almost reverently, stroking the leather with her thumb. Her eyes were wide and moist with tears as she opened it carefully to the title page and traced the dedication with a long fingernail.

Tom would be lying if he said he hadn’t wanted, no, been anticipating, her reaction to his gift. But when she lifted the book to her nose and took a deep breath, like she could somehow find her father’s scent lingering in its pages, he felt like he was intruding on something Laura wouldn’t want him to see.

When she closed the cover and hugged the book to her chest, eyes still closed, he took that as his cue to leave. He pushed back his chair and stood as quietly as he could. Her eyes opened and he nodded a smile.

“I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Laura.”

After she’d had a chance to compose herself, she’d want to know how he’d found the book. He’d joke it was through one of those ‘informants,’ she’d laugh and thank him and accuse him of wanting something really big, all in one breath. He might even, depending on her mood, playfully suggest a late night audience in her nightgown as all the thanks he needed.

Laura bowed her head at him slightly, in gratitude and, he knew, acknowledgment they’d talk more about this later. “Thank you, Tom. Truly, thank you.”

He paused at the curtain to glance back at his friend and this time he was sure she had no clue he was still in the room. She’d started turning the pages again and her lips were quirked into a small, happy smile. Some of the lines around her eyes had miraculously disappeared and she seemed more serene than he could remember seeing her.

No matter what he said tomorrow, tonight, that was the best thanks he could imagine.

Date: 2015-06-02 10:55 pm (UTC)
lanalucy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lanalucy
Tom, almost completely altruistic. What a lovely gift!

Date: 2015-08-17 06:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fraktastic.livejournal.com
Beautiful scene <3

October 2015

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