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06 October 2010 @ 03:13 pm
Twelve Steps  
Title:  Twelve Steps
Characters:  Cottle, Bill, Laura, OOCs
Not my characters (well, some of them are *snort*) and not making money
Word Count:  approx 4700

Rated M for adult concepts and angst

Long winded A/N:  I've been wanting to write a Cottle fic for kastari  as a thank you for some gifts she sent me for a while, so this is it. frakcancer   recently wondered about Cottle's background on a drabble I wrote.  I whined that I had never read a believable background story on him.  Afterwards, all these details instantly came into my mind and refused to budge until I wrote them down.  Thanks to lacklusterfic  for reading it over and assuring me I wasn't a complete and utter nutjob. 


Step 1:  Admit that you are powerless over alcohol; your life has become unmanageable.
 
He frowned at one of the entries on the day’s report that required his signature. 
 
“What the frak?” he murmured.  “Ishay!” he yelled, but no one replied.   Where the frak was that girl?  She never seemed to be around when he wanted her, but was always hovering when she wasn’t needed. 
 
He checked the prescription again.  Why did Bill need another script of painkillers? He’d only got a bottle off him a week ago.  He’d better not be feeding them to Roslin.  She couldn’t afford to mix her medication. 
 
“Ishay!” he yelled again.  Still no reply.  He stood and stretched.  He might as well just go and visit Bill.  Getting out of sickbay for a few minutes wouldn’t hurt. 
 
He breathed deeply as he made his way to the Commanding Officer’s quarters.  One would think that after forty odd years he would have got accustomed to the pungent smell of the antibacterial cleaning products they used in hospitals, but it still stung his nostrils and made him nauseous.   He tried to cover it up as much as he could with his cigarette fumes, much to most people’s disgust. 
 
Bill’s hatch was open, but the room was mostly in darkness.  There was a light on in the head and a lamp shining over the desk at the back of the room.  “Bill?” he tentatively called out.
 
“Here,” Bill’s unmistakable voice growled from the couch. 
 
He approached and felt a wave of déjà vu wash over him.  Bill sat slouched with a half empty bottle of rotgut squeezed between his thighs. 
 
“Sit down.  Grab a glass,” Bill said.  However, it seemed Bill had dispensed with such luxuries.   He watched as Bill instead put the bottle up to his lips and took a long swig.  Some liquid poured down the side of his chin.  Bill was too far gone to even bother wiping it off.
 
“Where’s Laura?” he asked.
 
“Frakkin’ guest quarters,” Bill slurred. 
 
“I see.”  And he did.
 
*
 
He read the same paragraph for the third time. 
 
“Frak,” he swore.  “Can you lot shut up!” he yelled.  “Some of us are trying to study here!”
 
“Oh, Cot, that’s all you ever do.  Why don’t you have a drink instead?”
 
“I don’t want a frakkin’ drink.  I’m studying, you moron.”
 
“Cot, you’re only 23.  You don’t need to be Caprica’s best doctor just yet!”
 
“I won’t be a doctor at all unless I pass this next exam.”
 
Gwen came over and kissed the top of his head.  “Cot, you’ll pass.  Stop fretting.”  She pushed his text book away and settled on his lap.  He let himself be temporarily distracted.  
 
“Some of us are on scholarships, you know, and don’t have rich daddies,” he said.  “I can’t afford to slack off.”
 
She smiled and gave him a long lingering kiss.   “Stop being prejudiced against girls with rich daddies,” she teased.  She glanced back over at Teddy and Ronan.  “How about I get the flakey flat mates out of your hair?”
 
He squeezed her shapely ass.  “I like a girl with a plan.”
 
“Okay boys!  How about the Beach House Bar?  Drinks are on me!”
 
“Gods I love rich women!” Teddy joked as they piled out the door, leaving him at last with blessed silence. 
 
Two hours later, he had to get up because he could no longer ignore his growling stomach.  He swung open their refrigerator and peered inside.  He sniffed the left over pizza suspiciously.  Gwen’s Gemonese cuisine took up most of the top shelf.  He thought he’d give that a miss.  He’d spend the next three days in the bathroom if he ate anything that spicy. 
 
He flicked open the dairy compartment:  nothing.  
 
He grabbed out Teddy’s six pack of beer.  He might as well start on that.  When Gwen got home, he’d suggest they go out and grab a bite to eat at an all-night diner.
 
*
 
Step 2: Believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
 
“How can they let her die?  She doesn’t frakkin’ deserve it.  What has she ever done to deserve it?”
 
“I don’t know.”
 
“I’ll tell you what.  Nothing!  They took her mother.  They took her father.  They took her sisters.  Did you know that?  She had two sisters.  They were killed by a drunk driver.  The youngest sister was pregnant, would you believe.  What sort of frakkin’ Gods do that?”
 
“I don’t know.  Can I have a drink Bill?” he asked.
 
“Sure!  Here.”
 
He took the bottle off Bill, walked over to the head and poured what was left down the sink.  It smelled good.  He fumbled around for a cigarette to mask the fumes of its scent. 
 
“The Gods are bastards!”  Bill was yelling from the couch.  At least Bill never seemed to have noticed that he had taken away his booze.
 
He threw the empty bottle in the trash and grabbed a towel.  Probably would only be a matter of time until Bill was sick; might as well be prepared.
 
*
 
“To Cot!” Teddy cheered, holding up his glass to toast him.  “The first one of us frakkers to make it in the big wide world.”
 
They clinked their glasses together, and, as was their tradition for first drinks, they then each downed their shot in one gulp.
 
“Ugh,” Gwen groaned.  “I’m getting too old for this.”
 
“Never!” Ronan said, pouring another round into each glass.  “We’ll soon be able to afford the good stuff anyway!  Having a surgeon for a friend has to have some advantages.  What’s your starting wage?  Fifty, sixty C?”
 
“You exaggerate.  I’m still only a resident.  It’s thirty per annum.”
 
“More than enough for the occasional expensive tipple anyway!”
 
“You rang your father?” Gwen asked.
 
“Yeah.”
 
“And?”
 
He shrugged.  “He wasn’t home.  I presume he was propped up on a stool at the Cock and Bull.”
 
She reached out and squeezed his arm.  “You spoke to your mother?”
 
“Yes, she’s still the same:  ignoring his behaviour by immersing herself in religion.  She never asked me a single question about my job, you or my life.  Instead, I got to hear about Mrs Tallis and her charity cake stall; Mrs Brown’s son who painted the back wall of the temple; not to mention the entire work history of the new Priest.”
 
“It’s her way of coping.”
 
“Whatever,” he grunted.   He stared into his glass for a moment before tipping it back and letting the liquid burn his throat.  He loved that sensation.
 
*
 
Step 3:  Make a decision to turn your will and your life over to the care of the Gods as we understand them.
 

“I liked being an atheist.  It was easy.”
 
“She’s made you believe?”
 
Bill nodded morosely.  “I thank the Gods all the time now.  I thank them for introducing her to me.  I thank them for having her fall in love with me.  I thank them for every extra day we get.”
 
“Why are you wasting those extra days by sitting here getting drunk?”
 
“Because it helps me forget the things I don’t want to thank them for.”
 
*
 
He walked into their new apartment and headed straight for the drinks cabinet.  He rustled around and pulled out a bottle of ambrosia.  He unscrewed the lid and took a large swig.
 
“You’re home early.”
 
He jumped at the sound of Gwen’s voice behind him.  He’d thought she’d be still at work.  He headed back to the cabinet to get a glass.  He’d have to use one if Gwen was home.
 
“You okay?”
 
“Yep,” he flopped down on the couch.  He’d had a 35 year old father-of-three die on his table today.  He’d had to tell the wife (correction: widow) that there had been an unforeseen complication to what should have been a simple hernia operation.  How could that be okay? 
 
He refilled his glass.
 
“You want to talk about it?”
 
“No,” he said.  A five year old Gemonese child with appendicitis had died because his mother had refused medical intervention.  What was there to talk about?
 
Gwen came over and started to massage his neck.
 
“Gods, you’re so tense.”
 
A twelve year old had miscarried in the hallway.  She’d broken down later and admitted that the baby’s father was also her father.  Of course he was tense.
 
“How about I order take out for dinner?  We could eat it in bed.”
 
He pointed to his briefcase.  “I’ve still got to write everything up from today,” he said.
 
She dropped onto the couch beside him.  “Can’t you do that later?”
 
“Later when?  I start back at the hospital at midnight.”
 
“What?  You need more than six hours rest!”
 
He shrugged.  “Tarken is sick.  Baker is doing training on Picon.  Macarthur’s mother died.”  He looked down at his glass.  It was empty.  When had that happened?  He poured himself another.
 
“Do you think you should be drinking if you’ve got to start back so soon?” Gwen asked.
 
“This will be my last one,” he promised, making a big show of returning the bottle of ambrosia to the cabinet.  He then kissed her briefly on the lips before heading to the study.  
 
When he sat down at his desk, he pulled open the bottom drawer where he’d put a flask of whiskey a few months back.  It didn’t hold much.  He didn’t need much.  Just enough to take the edge off.
 
*
 
Step 4: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself.
 

“You gonna tell me I’ve got a problem?” Bill asked.
 
“Nope.”
 
“She has.  She likes to give speeches.  I like to ignore them.”
 
“There’s only one person who can tell you that you’ve got a problem.”
 
“Yeah?  Who?”
 
“You, Bill.  You have to admit to yourself you’ve got a problem.”
 
*
 
“Hey you,” Gwen said as he slipped in beside her.
 
“Go back to sleep.  It’s late.”
 
“Mmm,” she murmured.   “We haven’t been in bed at the same time for a long time.”  She rolled over and found his mouth.  He responded instantly.  She smelt so nice.
 
“You taste funny.  Did you just use mouthwash?”
 
“Something wrong with good oral hygiene?” he grumbled.
 
Her hand burrowed down to squeeze his ass. 
 
“I rang the hospital earlier.  They said you’d left.  Where have you been?”
 
“I ran into Ronan.  We dropped into the diner on 52nd for a coffee.  Sorry.  I should have called.”   When had it become so easy to lie to her?
 
“I thought he and Annie were going away this week?”  She tugged his boxers down to his thighs and stroked at his dick.  It sat sleepily against his thigh, refusing to even twitch.
 
“No, that’s next week.”  Another one slipped off his tongue with ease.
 
“That’s funny.  I’m sure Annie told me this week.”
 
“You say I’ve been yabbering to some other Libran for the last three hours?”
 
She giggled.   “The little doctor seems a little sleepy.”  She leaned down and licked along his length.  Her lips twisted around him.  She sucked as her head came up and flicked her tongue as she dipped back down.  The ‘little doctor’ refused to budge.  She let him roll limply out of her mouth before looking up at him, confused.  “Cot?”
 
“I’m just tired.”
 
“Do you remember the last time we had sex?” she asked.
 
He frowned.  He remembered one morning before she went to work.  He’d thrust a couple of times and come quickly.  She’d complained he’d been too fast as she’d headed for the shower.  He didn’t remember if he’d apologised or even replied.  He’d fallen straight asleep. 
 
“I’m not a frakkin’ machine,” he bit out.  “I didn’t know I had to service you on demand.”
 
He could feel her eyes on him.  He rolled over and showed his back to her.  “I’m just tired,” he repeated.  He felt her eventually stop studying him and roll over so that their backs faced each other.
 
He couldn’t sleep.  He was a failure.  He couldn’t satisfy his wife.  He couldn’t even get a frakkin’ erection.  He lied to her as well.  He tried to remember the last time he’d been completely truthful with her.  He couldn’t.
 
*
 
Step 5:  Admit to the Gods, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of your wrongs.
 

“What happens after I admit to myself I’ve got a problem?”
 
“Nothing’s more difficult than admitting you’ve got a problem.  Once you’ve done that everything will fall into place.  You’ll need a sponsor.  Someone who’s been there and understands what you’re going through.”
 
“Hmph,” Bill snorted.  “What do I do?  Make an announcement to the Fleet.”  Bill cupped his hand and pretended he was speaking into the wireless.  “This is your Admiral speaking.  I’m looking for a recovering alcoholic to become my sponsor.  Please drop your credentials into the Galactica and when we’ve got a minute between Cylon attacks, I’ll get in touch.”
 
“Maybe you don’t have to look very far.”
 
*
 
He could beat it.  He was an intelligent human being.  He could see he had a problem.   He’d fix it. 
 
The first day would be the worst.   He stood under the spray of the shower, letting the water wash away some of his sins.  He struggled into his clothes and fumbled for his car keys.  Maybe he should catch a cab. 
 
Gwen sat at the dining table.  He’d been hoping she’d go out tonight.  She went out most nights now he’d noticed:  the library, her mother’s, Annie’s, the gym, the movies.   “I’ll see you later,” he said.
 
“You’re going to work?  Cot, you’re sick.”
 
“I’m okay.”
 
“Okay?  You’ve thrown up three times since I got home.”  She stood and placed her hand upon his brow.  “You’re sweating.  You must have the flu.  You need to go back to bed.  I’ll call Jim and tell him he’ll have to find a replacement.”
 
He looked down at his hands.  They were trembling.   He wouldn’t be able to operate.  He could diagnose people though, couldn’t he? 
 
“I’ll be okay.”
 
“Sherman,” she said.  “Bed.  Now.  I’ll make the call.”
 
He let her push him toward the bedroom.  He crawled into bed and rolled into a ball.  It would get better tomorrow. 
 
He woke a couple of hours later with stomach cramps.  He stumbled into the bathroom and just made it before a bout of diarrhoea escaped.  Bile rose up to his throat.  Why didn’t they keep a trash can in the bathroom?  He stayed sitting on the toilet and leaned over to throw up in the shower.
 
“Cot?”  Gwen’s voice echoed through from the other side of the door.
 
“I’m okay,” he yelled.  He twisted the taps on, using his hands to swirl the water around and poke some of the larger pieces down the plug hole. 
 
“Can I come in?” she asked.
 
“No!  Can’t a man frakkin’ throw up in peace!”
 
“Do you want me—“
 
“No!  Just frakkin’ go away!”
 
Once the shower tray looked normal, he stood under the water’s stream again and cleaned himself up.  Afterwards, he opened the medicine cabinet and stared at its contents.  He was a doctor, for frak’s sake; surely he had something that would help him get through the next few days.  He flicked past tampons, condoms, antiseptic cream, bandages, tape, floss, cough medicine…he paused.  He pulled out the cough medicine.  He unscrewed the cap and drank the entire contents of the bottle in one gulp.  That would get him through until he could sneak into the study and retrieve his stash.
 
*
 
Step 6:  Be entirely ready to have the Gods remove all these defects of character.
 
“I think I’ve got some very valid excuses,” Bill snapped.
 
“Being a doctor isn’t easy:  the hours, the stress.   That was my excuse.   It’s genetic, you know,” he went on.  “My father was an alcoholic.  He was a farmer.  His sleeve got caught in a carrot washer.  He lost an arm.  That was his excuse.  His father was an alcoholic.  He had seven children and there was never enough money.  He left to make his fortune on the gold fields.  He never even found a speck of fool’s gold.  That was his excuse.”
 
“You think that this would have still happened even if the Cylons had never attacked?  Even if Laura’s cancer hadn’t returned?”
 
He sighed.  “Maybe.  You just gotta remember that it’s not a reason, it’s just an excuse.”
 
*
 
He was late.  He arrived at the hotel and simply followed the sound to the party.  He stopped outside the door and pulled out the flask he’d tucked into his sock.  He took a quick swig to fortify himself.  
 
He walked in and saw Gwen immediately.  She was with Teddy and Ronan.  Just like old times.  He was still on the outside looking in.  He headed in their direction, taking a glass of champagne from a waiter’s tray along the way.
 
“Get your frakkin’ hands off my wife,” he growled playfully.
 
“Cot!” Ronan laughed and hugged him.  “Thought you were bailing on us!”
 
“And miss the great Teddy O’Grady’s fortieth birthday?  Never.”
 
He leaned over and kissed Gwen on the cheek. 
 
She handed him her glass.  “I need to go to the ladies’ room,” she said.  They all watched her walk away.
 
“You’re going to lose her, Cot,” Teddy said.  “She loves you, but there are limits.”
 
He snapped.  “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?  You’ve been in love with her for years and yet she chose to marry the poor farmer’s son.”
 
“Cot, you’re being ridiculous.  I’m just trying to help you.”
 
“Help me?  How were you planning on helping me?  Maybe an expensive clinic?  While I’m away, you could always invite Gwen over to your bachelor pad.  Show her the view from your penthouse apartment.  Let her cry on your shoulder.  Is this your Godsdamn plan?”
 
“Cot, settle down.”
 
“Why?  Am I embarrassing you?  All your frakkin’ stockbroker pals will be looking down their noses, will they?  What if I tell them that you’re a Godsdamn sleazy bastard that wants to frak my wife?”
 
He paused suddenly.  Over the years, with his chosen career, he’d learnt how to read people’s faces.  He just saw something flicker in Teddy’s eyes, and he knew that he wasn’t just having a drunken rant.
 
“I’m right, aren’t I?”
 
“Look, Cot—“ Teddy started.
 
“No.  I’m not right,” he corrected himself.  “You don’t want to frak my wife.  You already are.” 
 
*
 
Step 7:  Humbly ask the Gods to remove your shortcomings.
 
“I kept working.  Somehow I hid it.  Or maybe I didn’t.  Maybe my colleagues knew all along.  I was a good doctor, maybe even better when I wasn’t sober.  But immersing myself in work triggered off the whole vicious cycle, therefore, taking double shifts, ignoring my home life, that sort of thing – never worked.   I took up smoking, instead.”
 
“What?”
 
“Yep.  You wouldn’t have recognised me when I was young.”  He chuckled.  “I smoked my first cigarette at the age of 44.  Replaced one habit with another.  The lesser of two evils.”
 
“You suggesting I take up smoking?  Laura would love that.”
 
They both started laughing.  So hard they had tears running down their faces.  They were so loud that neither of them heard Laura Roslin shuffle weakly into the room.
 
*

It was nearly nine in the morning when he walked through the front door.  He’d just finished up a night shift.  He headed straight for the shower. 
 
He stopped when he saw Gwen sitting on the side of the bed.  She usually left for work by half past seven.
 
“Gwen…”
 
She stood and he then saw that a suitcase sat beside her leg.
 
“I’m leaving, Cot.”
 
“You’re moving in with him,” he spat.
 
“No.  This never had anything to do with Teddy, and you know it.  I’ll be staying with Ronan and Annie for a while.  I was going to just leave.  Write you a note.  I don’t know why I thought you deserved better.”

There was a loud roaring in his head.  A voice yelled at him to get down on his knees; to beg her to stay. 
 
“Can I visit you?” he asked.
 
“No,” she said in a hollow voice.
 
*
 
Step 8:  Make a list of all persons you have harmed and be willing to make amends to them all.
 

“Can anyone join this party?” Laura asked.  Her breath was coming in short gasps. 
 
“It has exclusive membership, I’m afraid,” Bill said.  “Only losers need apply.”
 
“Speak for yourself, Admiral,” he said, chuckling nevertheless.
 
He watched as Bill, even in the delicate state he was, jumped up, held Laura’s weight and settled her into the couch beside him with infinite gentleness.
 
*
 
“You’re doing what?” Ronan asked.
 
“Joining the Fleet.”
 
“You’re going to be pilot?”
 
“Don’t be a frakkin’ idiot.  I’m still going to be a doctor.  I’ll be working on the Battlestar Odyssey.  I’ll be Captain Cottle.”  He laughed heartily.  “I love that alliteration, don’t you?  Pity my first name’s not Colin.  Captain Colin Cottle has a nice ring to it.”
 
“I don’t understand.”
 
“I need to get away.  I can’t stay in the apartment any more.  Everything reminds me of Gwen.  The hospital has seven bars in a two block radius, you know that?”
 
“They still have alcohol on Battlestars, Cot.  You won’t be getting away from everything.”
 
“No.  I’m not that naïve.  It won’t be that simple.  Nothing is.” 
 
They sat in silence for a while. 
 
“I’m a coward,” he admitted.  “Will you tell her?  I just can’t face her yet.”
 
“Yeah,” Ronan said.  “I’ll let her know.”
 
*
 
Step 9:  Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them to others.
 
He watched as Laura Roslin leaned against Bill’s side as they sat side by side on the couch.  Bill had been drinking steadily before he’d arrived.  He was sweaty and he’d been sick about a half an hour ago.  She ignored it all and snuggled into his side.
 
“I’m sorry, honey,” Bill whispered into her hair.
 
She gripped his hand.  “I’ll always forgive you,” she whispered back.
 
*
 
He dialled the number that Ronan had given him and waited.  She picked it up on the third ring.
 
She sounded exactly the same. 
 
“Hello,” she repeated.  He needed to say something before she hung up.
 
“Gwen, it’s me.”
 
The silence was deafening.
 
“What do you want?” she asked.
 
What did he want?  Her back.  He lay in his rack at night and was sure he could smell her.  He smoked in bed even, but her scent still haunted his dreams.
 
“I’ve been promoted.  It’s Major Cottle now.”
 
“Congratulations.”
 
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.
 
“So am I,” she said before hanging up.
 
*
 
Step 10:  Continue to take personal inventory and when you are wrong promptly admit it.
 

“I should have known years ago.  There have been lots of signs.”
 
“Is that why you and Carolanne broke up?  She couldn’t handle your drinking?”  He tried to keep his voice steady when asking that question.
 
Bill snorted.  “The other way around.  She couldn’t handle me when I wasn’t drinking.  We liked to party together.  We made the Tighs look like a pair of straight-laced teetotallers.  After Lee was born, I thought we should grow up.  Be responsible adults.  She thought life with me had become boring.”
 
Laura snorted.  “If there’s one thing I know, William Adama, life with you is never boring.”
 
*
 
He rolled over and wondered why his rack was so lumpy.  And why was it so frakkin’ cold?
 
“Wake up Cottle!”
 
His eyes flew open.  He wasn’t in his rack.  He was lying on a cold concrete floor.  He looked up and saw the door of bars slide open.  A tray of food was pushed along the floor toward him.  He was in the brig.
 
He tried to recall why he was here.  He was at the dance.  He was watching the boxing from the third row.  He hadn’t tossed in his tags.  He couldn’t afford to get his hands broken in his line of work. 
 
He’d started drinking.  That much was obvious.  He remembered that first sip.  He’d smelled that sweet scent of whiskey on the medic sitting in the next seat’s breath.  He’d lit a cigarette, trying to ignore the temptation. 
 
Then he’d made his error in judgement.   Just one, he’d said.  He remembered it.  It was good.  It had barely touched the sides he’d swallowed it so fast.  He might as well have another.  He was still feeling fine after that, so another wouldn’t hurt.  He remembered this pattern to about drink number 15.  After that, everything was a blur.
 
*
 
Step 11: Seek through prayer and meditation to improve your conscious contact with the Gods as we understand them, praying for knowledge of their will for us and the power to carry that out.
 

“You think they allow alcoholics onto the Shore?”
 
“Yes, honey.  They allow everyone who has done good in their life, I think.  You’ve done so much good.”
 
“I’ve killed.  That’s a sin.”
 
“You’ve killed to save thousands of lives.  The Gods will understand.”
 
“I wish I had your faith.”
 
“Hold my hand,” she said.  “I love you, William Adama.  I haven’t gone through all this for nothing.  I deserve a long happy afterlife.  It will only be happy if you join me there.”
 
*
 
His father wouldn’t have liked this service.  However, no one seemed to care about his father’s wishes.  The temple was crowded.   There were probably over 500 people jammed in.  From a town with a population of merely 2000, that was impressive. 
 
They weren’t here for Henry Cottle.  They couldn’t have cared less for the bitter old drunk who often woke them up when he yelled at their dogs as he staggered home from the local bar.
 
They were gathered for Martha Cottle.  The candles and prayers were all for her benefit.  He looked down at the frail woman clutching his right arm.  He hadn’t seen her in six years.  He wondered what she’d say if he told her he and his father were tarred with the same brush.
 
Gwen reached out and squeezed his left arm in sympathy.  It was the first time he’d seen his wife in three years.  His father was good for family reunions, if nothing else.
 
He studied his mother again.  Martha Cottle was 65.  If she had come into his emergency room and he’d had to estimate her age, he would have said 80.  Henry Cottle had aged her.  Henry Cottle had been slowly killing her just like he’d been slowly killing himself.
 
He would never forgive his father for that.  He understood it (only too well) but he couldn’t forgive it.
 
He couldn’t allow himself to do this to Gwen.  He’d thank her for coming today.  He’d hug her politely.  Maybe kiss her on the cheek.  He’d ensure he lit a cigarette so he didn’t let himself get a whiff of her scent.  He might lose his resolve if he did. 
 
Then:  he’d leave.  Drive back to the base and shuttle back up to his latest Battlestar.  His mother had the support of the local community.  Gwen had Annie and Ronan.  She might even be happy with Teddy if he stayed out of the picture. 
 
Happiness with his family was not why the Gods had sent him to the Colonies.  He was a doctor.  By saving others, he might just save himself.
 
*
 
Step 12:  Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, carry this message to alcoholics, and practice their principles in all of your affairs.
 
“So, what do we do now Sherman?”
 
“If we were on the Colonies, we’d find an AA meeting.”
 
“I’ll ring the Tighs,” Laura said, making all three of them snort and giggle for a moment.
 
“How about we try the basic thing?  I’m sure you’ve seen it on your vid unit.  Say your name and admit you are an alcoholic.”
 
He hadn’t been expecting it, but Bill rose from the couch and walked to stand in front of both him and Laura.  He held his chin up in his usual proud manner.
 
“My name is William Adama.  And I’m an alcoholic.”
 
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw tears falling down Laura Roslin’s cheeks.  He stood and moved to Bill’s side.  He also turned and faced Laura, as if she was an audience of hundreds instead of simply one woman.
 
“My name is Sherman Cottle,” he said.  “And I’m an alcoholic.”
 
“So say we all,” Bill whispered.
 
“So say we all,” he agreed.
 
 
kastari: Donnelly Rhodeskastari on October 6th, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
WOW

My two real men of the Fleet & another special bromance. You know me so well.

The Twelve Step program framework = brilliant. The serious subject matter is part of my life. You have no idea how this fic breaks my heart. But in a good way. It breaks in a bittersweet good way.

Your back story for Cottle is wonderful. It's plausible. For me, that is always the most important element.

I truly have no words.

The best gifts are tied with heartstrings. Thank you for this story, my far away friend. I love you. Trufax. ♥


aussiegirl: doctor cuddlebsg_aussiegirl on October 6th, 2010 06:59 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed. I know how you share my love of Sherman.

I think it's part of everyone's life. Unfortunately.

Everyone loves me. Trufax. *snort*
(Anonymous) on October 6th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC)
I think kastari said it the best way possible...

WOW, indeed!

Roni
aussiegirl: hub hugbsg_aussiegirl on October 6th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Thought you'd be away! ♥
(Anonymous) on October 7th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC)
♥ I'll be away from 12 to 20 October :) Sorry I wasn't specific the last time.

Roni
aussiegirl: chihuahuabsg_aussiegirl on October 7th, 2010 03:41 am (UTC)
I need to be kept abreast on these things obviously. *snort*
(Anonymous) on October 7th, 2010 04:23 am (UTC)
I was away on these days last year too - coming back to a pile of fics is a wonderful experience! :)
scifishipperscifishipper on October 6th, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
Very nice work. I like the structure and Cottle's backstory is marvelous. Thanks for writing!
aussiegirl: cottle and ishaybsg_aussiegirl on October 6th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to let me know. Reviews are always appreciated.
seagull08seagull08 on October 6th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
Of all the fics I've read, this is the best and most realistic I've read. Really touched me. is heartbreaking.
Excellent and congratulations
aussiegirl: Bill looking at Laura with lovebsg_aussiegirl on October 6th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear you thought it was realistic. Because that's why I wrote it really, all those other Cottle fics always seemed wrong to me. I added all the Bill stuff to gel it together.

As always, thanks for the review.
lacklusterfic: cottle pwns everyonelacklusterfic on October 6th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
Your love for Cottle really shines through in this piece. Yeah, you put him through the wringer here, but when he comes out the other end he's a better person. And in a position to help someone else who really desperately needed it. I think he's the only one who really could have helped Bill--Tigh's too deep in the bottle himself, and Laura's too close to his pain.

Thank you for the sneak preview. As wrenching as this piece was, I really enjoyed it. :-)
aussiegirl: doctor cuddlebsg_aussiegirl on October 6th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
Glad you can still feel I love Doctor Cuddle. And Bill. I have read some 'drinking Bill' fics that make my teeth go on edge. But you of all people know that I will defend Bill until the end of the worlds. LOL.

Glad you enjoyed. And thanks for your encouragement.
frakcancerfrakcancer on October 7th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking for days what to say, because you keep telling me this is a sad, sad story and all I see here is the hope. Yes, Cottle lost his woman (and Bill will, even if he stops drinking, lose his) but they each found himself and in the end, your self is the one person you'll always be with.

Now you have me thinking all sorts of thinky thoughts, but we'll wait until tmrw's challenge to see if they spring out in a drabble.
aussiegirl: faith hope life lovebsg_aussiegirl on October 7th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
I think it's sad! I still haven't recovered! No wonder I usually write sappy fluff!

I'll look forward to it.

cavgirlcavgirl on October 8th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
This is a fascinating look into Cottle's life (and I'm glad you have him as 'Sherman', here). I did half expect Laura to stand up and say, 'My name's Laura, and I'm a chamaholic' but that'd be straying too far into crack territory, I think. Although now I really want to see Galactica's AA meeting with Cottle, Bill, the Tighs, and Laura presiding in some function or other.
aussiegirl: shermanbsg_aussiegirl on October 8th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
I'm not a real fan of the 'Jack'. I like Sherman. But I wanted something a bit more personal for this fic, and I kinda like Cot now!

Hmm...there is some conjecture as to why Laura was taking chamalla that 2nd time around!

Glad you enjoyed!
bugs: 6_1Laurabugsfic on October 8th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
I did half expect Laura to stand up and say, 'My name's Laura, and I'm a chamaholic' but that'd be straying too far into crack territory,

She could have just said, I'm an addict. I dunno, I know RDM thinks it's ultra-hip to project his own drug use on staid characters old enough to be his parents, but frankly, it came off a bit...off to me.
aussiegirl: Laura swearing at Saulbsg_aussiegirl on October 8th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
You know what I think. ♥
bugs: crackerjackbugsfic on October 8th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
I do??? Uh oh....
aussiegirl: Frakpartybsg_aussiegirl on October 8th, 2010 04:29 am (UTC)
Uh oh...she's going to go off on a tangent? I'll behave.
bugs: CottleCupidbugsfic on October 8th, 2010 04:42 am (UTC)
I can't, because I can't remember this convo! Damn that early onset Alzheimer's!
aussiegirl: squinty eye laurabsg_aussiegirl on October 8th, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
I'm calling Doc Cottle if you don't remember me ever bitching about a certain NC substance.
bugs: SillyHumanbugsfic on October 8th, 2010 05:22 am (UTC)
OH! Right!
cavgirlcavgirl on October 8th, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
The chamalla or the weed? I rather put it down to a 60s/70s generational thing. Presumably the Twelve Colonies had the equivalent, thus the various forms of drugs...Either that or RDM's trying to appeal to the Cool Kids with the old people smoking/drinking/imbibing various substances. Speaking of which, does anyone know if the anti-smoking lobby either in the US or the UK ever kicked off about the amount of smoking in BSG?

Although, was she an addict in 4.0? After Crossroads the chamalla just doesn't seem to be mentioned again - or if it is, it's euphemistically as 'medication' which could mean anything.
bugs: Faithbugsfic on October 8th, 2010 05:21 am (UTC)
See the above for aussie and I fussing over the dopeheads in the BSG universe.

My personal attitude, from being around a lot of potheads/druggies in my day, is past the age of say...25, it's utterly pathetic. Into your thirties, maybe you can carry it off as a quirk, but by the time you're closing in on 40, there's an issue there. And yeah, I count incredibly successful TV show producers in that count.
bugs: OldManbugsfic on October 8th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
A lot, lot of things to love in this fic.

*The background you gave Cottle. Very interesting to not make him a war vet with the others. I can really see this, seeking the discipline of the military when he feels he has no discipline.

One of the things I found annoying was how we never learned any little detail about Cottle. Surely he had a wife and children and yet we see no hint of any loss in the attacks. Your explanation works perfectly.

*The strong structure mirroring the structure of 12 steps. Rigid, and yet a natural progression.

*How Cottle doesn't decide to quit and then has a wonderful recovery and everything's great. The couple of tumbles off the wagon were believably inevitable.

*Integrating details like Carolanne's drinking and the way it was kept secret. I could immediately see your Drunk!Bill dovetailed with the Bill who refused to participate when Lee's going all sobby hurt child on him. The culture of lying, denial and hush-hush is what successful drinking is all about, man.

*And I agree with others who see hope here. I always see hope as long as the addict's alive and able to fight. I *loved* the detail of Bill being worried about getting into the afterlife with Laura. But yeah, this sort of story can exhaust you because of the emotions you have to squeeze out like the last bit in the toothpaste tube.
aussiegirl: Bill thinking with ringbsg_aussiegirl on October 8th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
I can kinda see Cottle being a war vet from the first Cylon war as well, but that would have meant taking the fic in a whole other direction. I've read lots of explanations (quite a few where his wife/or daughter have died from cancer and that's why he likes Laura) but I dunno, none have seemed quite right to me, which is why I wrote my own version.

I think everyone would agree that the glimpse we got of Carolanne showed alcohol and maybe even drug abuse, so it wasn't such a stretch. (BTW, just how many alcoholics does RDM need? I'd chuck in Kara as well, I think.)

And I'm glad people found a little bit of a happy ending in it at least. I'd hate to lose that sweetness and light tag.

bugs: Tigh1bugsfic on October 8th, 2010 04:53 am (UTC)
I think everyone would agree that the glimpse we got of Carolanne showed alcohol and maybe even drug abuse, so it wasn't such a stretch.

And didn't Lee say, "Mom was a big ol' abusive drunk!" at Bill who sort of shuffled his feet? But yeah, she totally put off the vibe.

(BTW, just how many alcoholics does RDM need? I'd chuck in Kara as well, I think.)

Iss. Ues. I must say, that was another thing. Your details were perfect and salient, yet I didn't feel like I was reading anyone projection onto Our Heroes. No "Daddy, I hate you!" moment on the screen that would make me turn away in embarrassment. Unlike several moments in BSG.
lynott: BSG | Lauralynott on October 29th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC)
AH MAH GAHD I LOVE IT.

This is now canon, jsyk. It's heartbreaking, hopeful, ha-amazing.
aussiegirl: doctor cuddlebsg_aussiegirl on October 29th, 2010 06:21 am (UTC)
You read it? What a surprise? LOL.

obsessive_a101obsessive_a101 on November 4th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
Hee... There was humour in this... and COTTLE!

But most of all, there's the realism, and I love it. We didn't really see this subject dealt with in detail on the show. It was remarked upon, but hardly ever really confronted, so I really loved this. :)

aussiegirl: shermanbsg_aussiegirl on November 5th, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
Humour!? LOL. Maybe a little bit here and there. It was all in all pretty dark for me! Cottle is love, isn't he? I really do like writing him. I don't think it's a coincidence that the 2 fics I'm most proud of are centred on him.

I'm glad you liked this. Thanks for letting me know.