A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy.
Edward P. Morgan
Bill Adama is not possessive about his books.
Being possessive has an element of selfishness about it, and books aren’t things he’s ever imagined being selfish about. Being selfish about books is like being selfish about stories, ideas that spread.
(Controlling the spread of them is something entirely different. Keeping some stories secret is everyone’s right, but that’s not about being selfish. That’s about survival.)
Bill Adama is not, however, possessive about his books. His wife was the one who encouraged Lee to read, who made the boy think, but when Bill was home on leave and Lee was young—before Zak was born, first, and then before he was more than a baby, because soon enough after that there wasn’t much time he was home on leave at all—Bill would sit next to the bed and tuck Lee in, one hand smoothing his hair back against the pillow, and read until Lee slept. Lee chose the book, and sometimes they were things Bill thought of children’s stories, and sometimes they were things Bill himself was reading at the time. Because that was what Daddy was reading, Carolanne would explain, and for all Bill would snort sometimes, the thought made the corners of his mouth turn up.
He was entirely aware that reading rarely put Lee to sleep as soon as leaving him alone would. Lee would listen, blue eyes forced wide opened to hear his father’s voice read about gods and men and adventures and pilots and ladies in castles and children lost in the forest and sailing ships and spies and everything else on any of the twelve worlds that had been written about (and a few things from worlds all-together different). One chapter turned into two turned into ten, and Bill kept reading, careful and clear and steady, until Lee’s eyes finally closed and no protests came when the book was shut.
(Always wanting more, Carolanne would say, standing in the doorframe and watching her husband and son. Just like his daddy. And Bill knew that was supposed to be the start of a fight, too, but it was another thing that made his mouth quirk into a smile.)
Bill Adama is not possessive about his books. Bill Adama could never keep a story from his son, when his son wanted just to hear more, to learn more. Secrets, but not stories. Not knowledge that didn’t hurt anyone for him to know.
But when Lee Adama puts his wings on his father’s desk, when he walks out the door, Bill thinks on his father’s law books, and thinks on a small boy sleeping on sheets covered in planets, and thinks of pressing kisses to a forehead above closed eyes and smoothing hair back again, and he wishes with all his heart, for one moment, that he’d burned those books before ever letting Lee see them.
Just for one moment.
And then he wraps his fist tight enough around the small metal pin to feel it cut into the skin of his palm, and remembers that the little boy who wanted to hear his father’s voice is as far away and as dead as anything on Caprica is, and that there’s no time for just one more chapter, because survival takes every waking moment, and he goes back to work. There’s a book on the corner of his desk, in case there’s a moment to stop and glance through it, read a page or two.
There won’t be time today.