"You're late," said Dee. "We only have the room for an hour."

"Sorry, I got a bit lost. I thought--"

Dee stepped into the single overhead light, and Billy's words trailed off. He just stood in the passageway and gaped at her through the hatch.

"Well, said Dee, "in or out?" The silk of the shorty robe billowed out around her hips as she gestured with shoulders and arms.

"In. Definitely in." Like most civvies, Billy still tripped over the bottom thresh as he stepped through the hatchway. Dee tried not to laugh so as he could see--both at that and when he hastened to straighten his rumpled jacket and tie that the plan was for him to have off in the next few minutes.

"The hatch, Billy." She nodded to the open portal. She didn't mean to sound so impatient, but she had mixed feelings about this too. Mixed feelings that the sweetest man in the galaxy couldn't fix. When it came down to it, there were still some things only women could do--or therefore understand.

And it had been made clear to all survivors that that thing needed to be done and should be done as often as possible by anyone who safely could. Starting right away. The sooner they started, the sooner the white board tally would turn the right way again.

Dualla tended to agree--which was not something she could say about all directives she'd been privy to over the last few weeks. At least this one was joyful. And at least in this one, she had a choice.

Billy grinned a rueful apology as he turned to lock the hatchway. "I'm sorry. It's just that you look so--" Predictably, Billy's voice trailed off again. She adored those foreseeable traits about him. Routines and patterns were safe and familiar …and therefore now scarcer than Tauron Mile High Chocolate Puff Pastries and she was sorely tempted to grab that familiarity and save it all for herself.

"So--?" she repeated afraid to let herself stay in the moment any longer.

"You look like every dream of the perfect woman I've ever had."

Whatever Dualla had expected, it wasn't that.

"Well," she tried to joke, "I'm a lot closer to the only girl in the universe than I was a month ago. Standards have changed."

"No, that's not it," Billy said with so much sincerity that Dualla feared it was true and began to worry that for more than her own concerns, this may have been an imprudent choice.

She dropped her robe before she dropped her courage. She took a breath. "So, in or out?" she repeated.

"In," Billy said. "Absolutely, definitely, positively, no doubt about it: in." He swept her up in his arms and onto the cot.

"Boots and belt off, cowboy," she said. "I don't want bruises," she said not unkindly as he peppered kisses over her shoulders and neck.

"I would never hurt you," he murmured into the hollow of her throat in a way that frightened her for his sake more than any bruise ever had for hers. Armageddon was never made for secretaries, she thought, or especially the secretaries of secretaries. The gods must be laughing it up over this cosmic joke.

She worked on his belt while he kicked of the shoes, and then somehow he was atop her in only his socks and shirt, his penis tracking hard up and down the length of her thigh.

"Can I touch you?" he asked.


"Can I touch you? I don't want to just--"

She took his palm and placed it on the underside of her breast, and he shuddered in a way that she found almost unbearably sweet. He dropped his head to her breasts and began to suck, and she cried out despite herself. He held her hips and caressed, licked and gulped until she begged him in barely coherent words to move.

"Billy, inside me, now!" She kneaded strong fingers against his spine and anticipated the filling pressure of his desires.

Instead she gasped, for to her surprise what she felt was two fingers pressing up against her most sensitive spot while a thumb strummed the root of her clit. Her back stiffened, and she threw arms around his neck and held on tight, and though it was not what she had come here for, she came, choking out what may have been some rough attempt at his name.

When it was over, she went limp. Arms that surprised her once again with their confident strength lowered her back down to the sheets. She opener her eyes to find him revering her, his face flushed, his hair sweaty, his pulse hammering away in his neck.

"Gods, Dee, you are so beautiful."

The way he said it made her believe that it was true.

He spread her hips and put one hand to the base of his penis where it jutted out javelin straight and true. "Okay?" he asked, his eyes glued to hers. Although he stroked himself and his breath came hard, she knew he would wait as long as she asked.

She slid a pillow beneath her bottom. Something she'd read once about increasing the chances with gravity and angles. "Okay," she said and opened herself to him.

He drove it in, and involuntarily even, she wrapped arms around his neck again.

Is this making life, she wondered as his movements became wilder. Is this how life renews after all the pain and death and loss we've been through? And is it worth it, she tried, to wonder, but about that time, all conscious thought was lost.

His eyes rolled back, and she felt him empty inside of her. She contracted around him to squeeze out every last drop of life, and she came again, not like the first time, but a little, visceral, internal orgasm.

She wondered if that was a good sign. Mr. Sperm, meet Miss Egg. Shake hands. It looks like you're getting off on the right foot.

"Do you think it took?" he asked as he lay on her chest, her fingers meandering through his hair.

"I don't know. It takes at least a week to for the test."

"You'll tell me?"

"What do you think?" she laughed.

He gave her a confused, schoolboy look.

"You'll be the first to know," she said, and pulled his head back down to her breasts.

"And if it doesn't take, then we can try again next month?"

She heard the hope in his voice. Although it hurt, it was nice to hear hope anywhere, even for a little while again.

"We can talk about that then, if you still want to. A month is a long time in a war."

"I'll want to," he said with a conviction that made her shiver. She knew she had no business with a nice kid like this. There was a good reason soldiers and civvies were instructed not to mix.

Instead she changed the subject, tried to make it sound light--like the meaningless silly post-coital glow banter she'd had before.

But everyone had had many things before the Cylon attack, hadn't they? There was no reason she should expect pillow talk to be the same either.

"It funny, I used to think that my great contribution to society would be my military service--that my having children would have be put on hold and sacrificed to that for as long as duty required. Now it looks like it might be exactly the other way around. Ironic isn't it?" she asked rhetorically as she settled her hips at an angle on the pillow.

"Commander Adama's not going to give you up in CIC. Though I could see it would be rough raising a baby alone." Billy's voice changed. He'd never be slick enough to make a politician. "If you wanted--"

"Who said anything about raising?" Dee quirked her head to him. "There're plenty of people left to raise a child, but only so many to give birth to one. If the pregnancy goes well, I shouldn't miss more than two weeks from CIC. Maybe less. "

"You're going to give our baby away?" Billy sat bolt upright on the cot.

"There're plenty of parents--grandparents--who lost kids in the attack. People who are just lonely in need of a purpose. It works all around."

"I'd take her." Billy held her eyes.

"Okay. Or you could raise her," Dee assuaged. If Billy couldn't see how much war could change things in one month, there was no point in trying to talk to him about nine. She made it sound like her failure. She found that strategy usually worked best with hurt feelings--particularly those of the masculine kind. "Or him. I haven't thought the whole thing through. Like your President says, the first goal is to ensure that the human race survives. If we make it another forty weeks, we can worry about the whos and hows of it then."

A funny look clouded Billy's gaze. "If the President hadn't issued the position statement on childbirth, would you be here?"

She took his hand and poured all the affection into it that she could muster. "Billy, I don't know. You tell me: If the President hadn't wanted you to pump me for information on the Old Man, would you have invited me to the observation deck?"

Billy stroked her chin. "I don't know if I would have been brave enough, but I would have wanted to. I would have wanted to desperately."

Dee gave him a curious stare. "I think you would have." She rolled her neck to him and kissed him. A long, lingering kiss. His hand squeezed hers ,and his other wrapped around her waist, and for a long moment she allowed herself to lie there content in the illusion of herself and their tiny baby deep inside her, both warm and safe and protected within Billy's arms.

The pillow slipped from under her bottom, and she broke away to re-adjust it. Billy lay back down on her breast. Twenty-two minutes left of their private space according to his watch, but she showed no interest in stirring.

"Billy," she said at last. "I hope it takes. I think that we would make wonderful babies."

He squeezed her hand, and for just one silly, school-girlish, wonderful moment, she allowed herself to imagine the future that he did for them.