Pairings/Characters: Apollo/Starbuck, Athena, Cassiopeia, Boxey (Original Series)
Summary: Apollo experiences regret and joy at the Winter Solstice Ball.
Date Of Completion: November 28, 2007
Date Of Posting: November 28, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Glen Larson and Universal do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1474
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: Written for my LJ First Anniversary Fic Request Meme for blackrosebard , who requested Apollo/Starbuck. Since she didn’t give me a prompt, I chose one. Prompt: Starlight. :)
It was a winter wonderland on board the Rising Star: a large room filled with delicate, filigreed white streamers and sparkling stars and snowflakes. Real trees from the agro ship were interspersed with fake ones, all covered in powdery white to simulate snow. The same powdery substance sprinkled the floor, and a giant silver-and-gold star hung at the end of the room on the dais, the same symbol of Kobol that Adama wore as a medallion.
Apollo sat at one of the tables, the white tablecloth glittering with silver-and-gold threads, the centerpiece an artistic collection of white leaves and pine cones, spray-painted with silver-and-gold glitter.
The Fleet had gone all out in the celebration of Winter Solstice, a holiday that all the Colonies observed. Everyone was dressed in their best finery, a trade with a stop on a planet while on their journey resulting in bolts of silk and other wonderful fabrics for new clothes for everyone in the tattered Fleet. Even the military were allowed to wear civilian clothes tonight here at the Ball.
Apollo glanced down at his white outfit of tailored jacket, silk shirt, and pants. Everyone’s outfits shimmered as they moved, light creating color amidst the expanse of white. He fingered his own silver-and-gold Kobol medallion.
Dimly Apollo remembered his time aboard the Ship of Lights and wearing white, but he pushed that memory aside for the moment. Something about that time disturbed him, but he couldn’t remember why.
His eyes sought out Starbuck. There, laughing and joking with Athena, Boomer, and Jolly. His blond hair shimmered like silk, Apollo’s fingers itching to run through it. Starbuck’s sapphire eyes were shining. He always enjoyed a party.
As happy as Apollo was, sadness ran through his heart like the silver-and-gold threads in the decorations. Starbuck was acknowledged as his wingmate and best friend, but not his soulmate.
The Colonial society frowned upon same-sex relations, and Apollo was the scion of the Adama family with a reputation to protect. It would cause no end of scandal if he were to come out and declare Starbuck as the one he loved.
He took a sip of sparkling wine, regret mixed with joy as he watched Starbuck offer his arm to Athena and they went out onto the dance floor as the string quartet began to play.
“It’s a good party.”
Apollo turned and saw Cassiopeia sit down in the next chair. The table was momentarily empty as Athena was with Starbuck, Boxey was playing with schoolmates, and his father was talking with Siress Tinia at her table.
Cassiopeia drank from her own glass of wine. “Diana and Aphrodite really did a great job with the decorations.”
“I think they were inspired by the holiday.”
Cassiopeia smiled. “I think you’re right.” She sipped her wine again, then crossed her legs. She was wearing a beautiful diaphanous gown of white, a necklace that looked like diamonds sparkling at her throat. One of the Colonists was doing a good business designing costume jewelry, and many of the women were wearing dazzling jewels that were essentially worthless, but no one cared. The beauty of the objects was their value.
“So, allowing my little sister to charm Starbuck?”
Cassiopeia laughed. “Oh, I have no doubt about his affections.”
A stab of jealousy and guilt went through Apollo: the guilt came from both he and Starbuck having to pretend their interest to good women like Cassie and Sheba.
“That sounds comforting.”
“It is. I know exactly where I stand with him.” She looked at Apollo. “As do you.”
Apollo felt his stomach flutter. “Yes, well, best friend and really part of the family…”
“I don’t mean just best friend, Apollo.”
In that instant, Apollo knew that Cassiopeia knew the truth. Fear skittered along his nerves but he kept a calm expression.
“Since the beginning, probably, in my subconscious. I knew for sure when we were all in the Celestial Dome after our encounter with the Eastern Alliance and the final battle with the Cylons were behind us. I saw the way he was looking at you as he stood over your shoulder while you were watching the monitor. And then you looked the same way at him when you’d switched places. It was like Sheba and I weren’t there.”
Apollo’s mouth was dry. He took another sip of wine. “I’m sorry, Cassie…”
She shook her head. “Don’t be. Why apologize for love?”
She looked at him as a smile played around her lips. “I knew that I would never completely have Starbuck’s heart, Apollo. There was always a part he kept from me. I just didn’t know that it was for you.”
Apollo’s hand trembled slightly as he set his glass down on the table. “Cassie…”
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. I know how it is.” At his sad look she added, “Have you two considered coming out?”
Apollo sighed. “We have discussed it. Starbuck pretty much leaves it up to me. He says he doesn’t have a family to worry about, though I always correct him by telling him he’s part of my family already, and has been for years before we became…lovers.” There. He’d said it aloud, and the Rising Star hadn’t crashed into a comet. “I…I have to consider my father, Athena, Boxey…”
Sympathy shone in Cassiopeia’s eyes. “I understand.” She looked at Starbuck wheeling on the dance floor with Sheba in his arms now for the second dance. “Probably a wise decision. After all, despite the fact that you and Starbuck are our two best warriors and help keep us alive, there would be people using the old regulations and trying to kick you out of the military.”
“You’d be right,” Apollo said grimly.
“Not to mention weakening your father politically, a danger to this quest we’re on.” Cassiopeia’s silver-sandaled foot tapped to the music. “Some moralists might get all up-in-arms about Boxey around your…preference.”
The fear clutched Apollo’s gut this time. If they took Boxey away from him…! But, no, that was never going to happen.
Boxey was thrilled with the knowledge of his father being in love with his Uncle Starbuck and being loved back. He was the only one who knew the truth (besides Cassie now) and wanted to tell everyone, but understood with the solemnity of a six-yahren-old that he could not tell anyone.
Apollo regretted that, too. Boxey should be able to shout it out from the rooftops, so to speak, but so much was piled up against them all.
“He’s good for you. Command pressure is worse since the Great Destruction and being chased across the galaxy by the Cylons, though with luck, they’re finally behind us for good.” Cassiopeia lips quirked into a smile. “He makes you laugh. Gives you joy.”
It was true. When he was drowning in a sea of responsibility, Starbuck would throw him a life preserver. He reminded Apollo that it was all right to laugh.
He looked at Cassiopeia.
“I’m a socialator, and I understand these things. I know that love comes in many packages, and it’s too precious to waste.” She laid a hand on his arm. “If you need someone to talk to, I’m here to listen.”
Apollo answered her smile with one of his own, and a lighthearted voice said, “Hey, what is this? Best friend and girlfriend gettin’ cozy?”
Starbuck stood with a smile on his face, but he was looking at Apollo with a quizzical expression behind the gaiety. Apollo smiled reassuringly at him. He patted Cassiopeia’s hand.
“Don’t worry, Starbuck, you’re the only starlight in my life.”
Starbuck’s eyes briefly widened, then he joined in the laughter of Apollo and Cassiopeia. He moved his hand to capture Apollo’s wineglass and rainbow light trailed behind his shimmering sleeve. Apollo’s breath caught at the picture that Starbuck presented.
He stood and offered his arm to Cassiopeia. “May I have this dance?”
Cassiopeia smiled and stood, taking his arm. “You may.”
Starbuck looked ready to make another joke when Boxey scampered up. “Uncle Starbuck! Want to go raid the buffet?”
“Sure, kid.” Starbuck ruffled Boxey’s hair and winked at Apollo. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep the mushies to a minimum.” His eyes softened. “You look really beautiful tonight.”
He was looking at Cassiopeia but was speaking to Apollo as well. Apollo was nearly overwhelmed by his lover’s beauty, sparkling and sexy and so generous with his heart after a lifetime of hurt.
Somehow, Starbuck, I’m going to make this right, for you, for me, for Boxey. We’re a family, and by the Gods, everyone’s going to know it someday.
He smiled and escorted Cassiopeia to the dance floor.
Starbuck was the starlight that lightened his burden and made his heart sing.
Someday, he was going to make that claim in front of everyone.
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