Nearly a week later Lee made a decision about his future. He was sitting with his father in his quarters after dinner.
Abby was continuing to progress well and Cottle was planning to take her off the drip and start to bottle-feed her. Her breathing had improved a great deal and she now needed minimal oxygen.
“Lee, have you thought about what you’re going to do now?”
“Yeah I have. Abby has to be my priority and if I go back to work with the President it will mean spending a lot of time away from her. I’d be on Colonial One most of the time and running back and forward to meetings, I’d hardly see her. I don’t want to be away from her for any longer than I have to so, I’m not going back.”
“She’ll be disappointed to lose you. You know that. So what are you going to do?” Bill guessed what was coming next but he let Lee say it.
Lee took a deep breath, here goes he thought.
“Well Dad, I want to come back to the Military, if you’ll have me. I’ll do whatever you want me to do. I’ll sweep the floors, cook meals, just let me come back.”
Lee tried to read his fathers face and was surprised when he saw a faint smile on Bill’s face.
“Nothing would make me happier Son.” Bill got up and walked over to his desk. He took out Lee’s pins and handed them back to him they had been in the drawer since Lee took them off all those months ago “Welcome back, Major.”
Bill thought for a minute then said, “There is one condition. You will not fly, not for the moment.
He saw the look of disappointment on Lee’s face. “Think of your baby, she’s already lost her mother and I’m not about to put her father at risk. We’ll find something for you to do.”
Lee reached out and hugged his father. After he let him go Lee looked at Bill.
“Dad there’s something I want to tell you. Since Dee died you’ve been there for me and you have no idea how much that has meant to me. When you held me just after she died nothing else mattered to me except you were there. I don’t know how I can ever say thank you. I love you dad.”
Lee meant it from the bottom of his heart, since Dee died he had felt his fathers’ strong arms around him. He knew he wasn’t alone and those strong arms would continue to be there whether he knew he needed them, or not.
Listening to his son Bill had a lump in his throat and he felt tears sting his eyes. He reached out and hugged Lee in return. He had hoped that during these first days he was some comfort to him. Bill had no idea how Lee kept it together during those first few days. If it were him he wouldn’t have coped as well he knew that for a fact.
“You can thank me by taking care of our girl and being the best Dad to her you can. I love you too Son”
“I will, Dad.” Lee promised.
One week later Lee was in his quarters preparing for his first day back on duty. Bill had given him a shift in CIC so that he could be near him.
Pulling on his uniform, Lee smiled. Funny how things can change, nearly a year ago he swore blind he was not putting the uniform back on for anyone or anything. Now here he was, eating those words, but it was for his daughter and if he was being truthful for himself as well. He needed to be near his Father again, he didn’t just need to be near Bill he wanted to be with him and Lee couldn’t remember the last time he felt that way towards his father.
He smiled as he thought of Abby. Now 4 weeks old she was proving to be quite a fighter. The bottle feeding hadn’t gone according to plan, Abby had been sick a lot and started to lose weight and they had to switch her back to drip feeding for a while but they were going to try again.
It had been difficult at first but he loved Abby more than anything. She was such a tough little thing and he was so proud of her. Cottle had told him the other day there was no doubt she was an Adama; she was as stubborn as him and his father.
He made his way to CIC. His father was already there waiting for him and when he walked in the entire room burst into applause. Bill walked over and saluted him. “Welcome back, Major” he said fighting back tears.
Lee too had to blink back the tears “Thank you, Sir,” he replied returning the salute, his voice shaking a little. He never expected this reception. His insides were churning.
Fortunately he was kept busy during his first shift. A few times he caught himself looking over at the comms console. Stop it. She’s not there anymore he told himself.
Bill stood watching him in CIC a look of pride on his face. He had come through one hell of an ordeal and he was now picking up the pieces.
Colonel Tigh was standing beside Bill and he turned to Bill as they both watched Lee pour over a navigational chart with Gaeta and said to him “You know Bill, I never said this before but you have got one hell of a tough kid there. I know what it’s like to lose a wife but to be left to bring up a kid as well. You must be one proud man.”
“I am, Saul” Bill replied not taking his eyes off Lee. “I’m also one very proud grandfather.”