Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Apollo/Starbuck, Jolly, Boomer, Tigh, Solar, Adama, Hephaestus, Sire Geller
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica (Original Series)
Genres: Angst, Drama, Hurt/Comfort
Rating (this chapter): NC-17
Warnings (this chapter): None
General Summary: Apollo’s under tremendous pressure, and it affects him and Starbuck.
Chapter Summary: Apollo’s juggling too many things, and it may cost him Starbuck.
Date Of Completion: May 14, 2018
Date Of Posting: July 6, 2019
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Glen Larson and Universal do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 3629
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
All chapters can be found here.
Just close in.
6676 C.E. (Colonial Era)
“Aren’t you frisky this morning?” Starbuck asked, smiling as he tugged his bedmate close.
Apollo laughed. Starbuck loved the sound of Apollo’s laugh. It was too rare, in his opinion, but he was working on it.
“Mmm,” Apollo said, grinding his hips against Starbuck’s. “You sure know how to start the day off right.”
“I’m like the sun rising to meet the morning.”
Apollo laughed again. “So poetic.” His green eyes danced and he kissed Starbuck with fervor.
Starbuck answered the kiss passionately while pressing his lover closer. He loved the way their bodies fit together. His hands caressed the smooth skin of Apollo’s back, sliding down to the firm ass that he loved to squeeze. Apollo purred deep in his throat, his hands gripping Starbuck’s arms.
They broke their kiss, Apollo’s lips ghosting along warm skin. He whispered into Starbuck’s ear, “I love you.”
Apollo laughed and kissed his way all the way down his partner’s sternum to his navel, licking his tongue around the indentation as his breath tickled Starbuck’s groin.
Starbuck gasped and urged Apollo to ‘get on with it’. Apollo smiled and breathed lightly on Starbuck’s cock, Starbuck arching his hips upward as his thighs quivered. Apollo flicked out his tongue and licked the hard column of flesh.
Starbuck laughed and groaned. He loved it when mischief sparkled in Apollo’s gorgeous eyes. He wriggled his hips and hoped that Apollo got the hint.
“Ooh, frak, that’s good,” Starbuck moaned as Apollo took his cock into his mouth. He lost himself in the sensations of pure pleasure as Apollo skillfully brought him to climax. It ripped through his body like a wave off the beach, leaving him sated and with what he was sure was a silly grin on his face.
Apollo released him and brushed the hair back from Starbuck’s forehead. “You taste good.”
Starbuck grinned and touched Apollo’s cock. “So do you.” His fingers started working on his lover’s organ. “Though a hand job should be just as good.”
Apollo groaned through his laughter as Starbuck kneaded and squeezed, coaxing orgasm from him with a smirk of his own.
“Oh.” Apollo curled u beside Starbuck. “What a way to start the day.”
Starbuck finished dressing, feeling refreshed after stepping out of the sonic shower. He wished that he could stay for breakfast but Boxey would ask too many questions, not to mention the guys in his barracks.
Apollo was watching him from the bed, guilt in his eyes. He remained silent, and for a brief second, Starbuck felt anger, but it vanished so quickly that he was unsure he had even felt it.
He understood why Apollo wanted their relationship kept a secret. Same-sex relationships were not exactly accepted in Colonial society. Certain rights had been won in recent yahrens but gays still did not enjoy equal rights, and Starbuck was uncertain that would ever happen.
Starbuck shrugged on his flight jacket. Apollo certainly had the most to lose. As a Strike Captain he had to consider his command image. As the son of Commander Adama, there were political ramifications that could severely hamper his father. And finally, certain moralists would try to declare Apollo an unfit father because of his sexual orientation.
I’ve got very little to lose.
So he would keep quiet and follow Apollo’s lead. He already had more than he’d ever dreamed.
“See you later,” he said to Apollo, smiling as he walked over to the bed and leaned down to kiss his lover.
“See you,” Apollo said, his tone subdued.
Starbuck left Apollo’s quarters and hurried to the Blue Squadron barracks. It was too early to meet anyone in the corridors. Once he reached the barracks, he tiptoed in, shucked his jacket, and started to peel off his uniform when Jolly rolled over in his bunk. He saw Starbuck and winked. Starbuck smiled back and slipped into his own bunk.
Starbuck let everyone go into the communal turbowash and scramble to get to the mess hall. He lolled under the sheets, playing up the part of indolent layabout.
Jolly ambled out of the turbowash as he combed his wet hair, wearing towels around his hips and neck. “Wow, you’re burning the candle at both ends.”
“Burning up,” Starbuck said with smile.
“Boy, you and Cass.” Jolly grinned.
Starbuck’s smile felt brittle. “Yeah.”
“Boy, oh, boy.” Jolly shook his head. “I don’t know how you do it.”
“You know something, Jolly? Neither do I.”
Jolly chuckled and went to his locker to get dressed.
Starbuck looked up at Boomer’s gentle face. “’Mornin’, Boom-Boom.”
“Why is everybody interested in my night life?” Starbuck grumbled as he rolled over.
“Better get goin’. Tigh’s been on a rampage lately.”
“Tigh can go…”
“All right, Blue Squadron up and at ‘em!” Tigh barked as he strode into the barracks.
Apollo slowly climbed out of bed. Depression weighed him down like a heavy shroud. Every morning that Starbuck was forced to leave underscored the precariousness of their situation. If they were found out…
I’d lose my command and Starbuck would be transferred out of Blue Squadron. Father would lose respect, making it more difficult for him to lead, and I’d lose Boxey.
All those fears choked him as he stumbled to the turbowash.
Apollo was glad to drop Boxey off for learning period. The boy’s chatter at breakfast normally helped chase away his blues but this morning had irritated him. He had barely held his tongue and was relieved to be striding down the corridor toward his office.
The relief was short-loved as Apollo reached his office. Sure, another day, another cubit, another denial of his love for Starbuck, treating him like a dirty little secret.
And he lets you because he loves you.
Apollo’s left hand twisted in the material of his flight jacket as the guilt ached in his joints. He entered his office and dropped into his chair, suddenly dizzy.
I should break it off with him. He ran a shaking hand over his face. But I can’t.
“Hey, Apollo…” Boomer abruptly stopped talking. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, just the refugee blues.”
“Yeah, the headshrinkers sure diagnosed that right. We all get bummed out every now and then and living on these tin cans doesn’t help.”
“Yeah.” Apollo rubbed his face. It was the start of the day shift and he was already exhausted. “I need a furlon.”
“Don’t we all.” Boomer handed Apollo a scribepad. “Fuel consumption reports.”
Boomer laughed. “You and Starbuck make a pair.”
Apollo felt cold. “Oh?”
“Yeah, he was out late last night and could barely get out of bed this morning.”
“Oh?” Why was he repeating himself?
“Yeah, Cass must be puttin’ him through his paces.”
Apollo looked down at the reports. “I guess so.”
“I gotta give Starbuck credit. How he keeps up the pace I don’t know.”
Boomer left Apollo’s office and the Captain sighed. “Frak,” he said softly.
Apollo called a meeting for Blue Squadron. Starbuck sauntered in as the pilots gathered. As second-in-command he could not be late but the pushed the edge. Throwing a cocky grin at Apollo, he greeted a group of pilots.
Apollo’s heart ached as he watched his carefree lover work the room. Starbuck’s natural charm served him well as he laughed and joked, skills that Apollo did not possess. Intensity and discipline was his approach. It was effective, but so were Starbuck’s methods.
“All right, let’s get started,” Apollo said, and the pilots took their seats. Starbuck came up on the dais and sat down in a chair to the right of the podium. “Okay, we’re going to be starting a new program this week.”
As Apollo spoke, he took comfort in Starbuck’s presence. He pushed aside his guilt and allowed himself to depend on that presence.
“We’ll be initiating new and more formations.”
A Warrior raised his hand. “Sir? New formations?”
The thin Warrior looked skeptical. “What new formations can there possibly be? You can only fly so many ways.”
Apollo wanted to snap his answer but decided to try a milder approach. “Well, Ensign Solar, you’ll find out the ways we still have to fight the Cylons.” Solar was still standing. “Now, our next item on the agenda…that’ll be all, Solar.”
The blond Warrior sat down as a few Warriors snickered. Apollo quashed his irritation and could feel Starbuck’s amusement. Apollo pushed ahead with his talk, relaxing as Starbuck continued sending his support.
I don’t think I ever realized how important just his mere presence is to me.
What else was he overlooking?
Apollo hunched over his computer terminal as he typed his report. His office door swooshed open and Starbuck cheerfully remarked, “Civilizations may come and go, but the bureaucracy lives on.”
Apollo snorted. “Should be carved in stone on the pyramids of Kobol.”
Starbuck sat on the edge of Apollo’s desk. The very epitome of casual, the blond took out a fumerello.
“Don’t light that in here,” Apollo warned.
“I just value my lungs.”
Starbuck twiddled the fumerello and said, “Solar’s gonna be trouble.”
“You mean like you?” Apollo teased.
“Maybe, but he’ll have to go some to be better than me, buddy.”
Apollo smiled as he continued typing. “True.”
“’Course it is.” Starbuck swung his leg as he stuck the unlit fumerello in his mouth. “Hey, wanna get some lunch?”
“I have to finish this report.”
“Tigh can wait ‘til you’ve had sustenance.”
“I suppose you’re right.” Apollo saved his work and stood up. “Let’s get to the mess hall. The mushies are on me.”
Starbuck laughed and slid off the desk. He slung his arm around his lover’s shoulders and the couple headed to the mess hall.
The Galactica’s mess hall was expansive, as it had to serve the crew three times a day. It was already half-filled as day shift personnel partook of the midday meal. Boomer waved from a table and Apollo and Starbuck headed over to join him. The table was already close to filled by Jolly, Greenbean and Bojay.
“Two seats just waiting for you,” Boomer said cheerfully.
“Thanks, Boom-Boom.” Starbuck headed for the mess table with Apollo in tow. “I hope they have roast poultry today.”
“Sounds good to me.”
Starbuck’s desire was available, to his delight. He and Apollo loaded up their trays with poultry and greens and sat down at their friends’ table.
Starbuck immediately began to hold court. Apollo was content to watch and eat quietly. In social situations where he did not have to represent Blue Squadron or the House Of Kobol, he preferred to stay quiet. Besides, Starbuck was always entertaining.
Starbuck cracked a joke and everyone laughed. Apollo smiled as he sipped his java.
He’s got them all in the palm of his hand.
Apollo felt pride as he watched his best friend and lover entertain everyone. He was grateful not to be the center of attention for once. His introverted nature needed time spent in the background.
He’s always there for me.
Apollo carefully tucked away his guilt. He couldn’t help the society they lived in, after all. He took another sip of java.
So why do I feel so small? Cowardly, cowardly.
He tried to eat his midday meal in peace.
The new training regimen suffered some near-misses, the pilots on edge. Apollo used his best pilots to demonstrate new pinwheeling techniques that were sharper and far more dangerous than any previously attempted.
He heard grumbling from the pilots about “Why do we need to learn these maneuvers?” and “Our old buckets won’t take the stress of these new techniques”, among other complaints.
Boomer dropped into Apollo’s office. Apollo and Starbuck were conferring on the next day’s exercises.
“So, what’s the plan?” he asked.
“I want you and Jolly to demonstrate the Starburst Wheel,” said Apollo.
Boomer whistled slowly. “That’s a tough one, Captain. Are you sure about this? Some of the pilots haven’t mastered the simpler stuff yet.”
“Oh, we’ll be working on the easier stuff, but I want to show these blockheads that something this complex can be done.” Apollo threw his stylus down in frustration. “Why can’t they get this stuff?”
Boomer folded his arms. “Why do they have to?”
Apollo looked up sharply. “What?”
“Seriously, Apollo, why? We’ve been successful with the old techniques.”
Starbuck must have sensed that Apollo was ready to explode because he quickly said, “Oh, Boom-Boom, that’s the 64,000-cubit question. We figure that if we expand our skills, the Cylons won’t find us predictable.”
Boomer thought about it, slowly nodding his head. “Okay, makes sense. Why don’t you just say that to the guys, though?”
Starbuck looked amused, as if to say to Apollo, “Toldja.”
Apollo threw him a dirty look. “Can you and Jolly be ready?”
Starbuck jerked his thumb toward Apollo. “Captain Obvious.”
Boomer snorted as he left the office.
“You are a bigmouth,” Apollo said as he pointed to Starbuck.
Starbuck grinned lazily.
Boomer and Jolly were more than ready the next day, performing the intricate maneuver flawlessly. On the bridge of the Galactica, applause broke out as Boomer and Jolly competed their maneuver and headed back to the battlestar.
Apollo smiled proudly at Starbuck. Boomer and Jolly would fire up the other pilots’ competitiveness and push everyone to do better.
“Good job, son,” Adama said as he clapped his hand on Apollo’s shoulder.
“Thank you, Father.” Apollo was so pumped up that the lack of military protocol didn’t even register.
Adama smiled and said, “Better get to the training.”
Apollo strode off the bridge. Starbuck came with him. Apollo registered his presence at the periphery of his consciousness. Starbuck was always there.
I depend on that. But what can he depend on from me?
As the lift doors closed behind him and Starbuck, he resolutely turned to his task at hand.
Apollo and Starbuck arrived in the launch bay and were met by Jolly and Boomer.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to practice today,” Boomer said.
“Why not?” Apollo demanded.
“Because the tin cans you’re usin’ aren’t in shape, Cap’n.”
The voice belonged to a large, solidly-built man with a wild mane of bright red hair and a full, bushy beard. Blue eyes stared at Apollo, not intimidated in the least by his Captain’s stare.
“Why aren’t they in shape, Hephaestus?”
“Because our parts are getting’ worn down, Cap’n.” The Chief Mechtech crossed his burly arms. “These tin cans won’t take the stress of your fancy maneuvers.”
Apollo felt his temper start to kindle. He took a deep breath and said, “Hephaestus, you are a wizard with all forms of battlestar tech. You can get these Vipers up and running.”
“I can’t perform miracles, Cap’n.”
“Sure you can.” Apollo softened his tone. “There’s no one I’d rather have working on these ships.”
Hephaestus heaved a large sigh. “All right, Cap’n, you might get a few more turns out of these buggies, but don’t expect more than that.”
“Just get those Vipers flying.”
Hephaestus grunted and turned away, heading for the ships.
Apollo let out an exasperated sigh as Starbuck chuckled. “What are you laughing about?”
“I like the cut of his jib.”
“You would,” Apollo grumbled.
Hephaestus and his crew got the Vipers up and running as the tests went well. Boomer and Jolly reported some shaking but otherwise the Vipers held. The Chief Mechtech immediately began an evaluation of the two practice ships.
“Hey, why don’t you go on to the Officers’ Club?” Apollo said to Starbuck. “I’ve got to report to the Council.”
“I’ll go with you.”
“Nah, you get yourself a drink. I’ll be along soon.” Apollo rubbed his partner’s shoulder. “Promise.”
Starbuck smiled. “All right, buddy, I’ll save you a seat.”
“You do that.”
Apollo grabbed his flash drive and headed for the Council chamber. Ordinarily he would have welcomed Starbuck’s presence, but he was feeling prickly and uncertain. And, if he was being completely honest, he was embarrassed for Starbuck to see him so close to losing control.
He entered the chamber of the Council Of The Twelve, nodding to his father. He sensed Sire Geller’s hostile gaze on him and ignored it.
“Captain Apollo will give us his report,” Adama said, and Apollo detailed the successes of the new training maneuvers and answered questions. He was surprised that Sire Geller asked no questions or made no sarcastic remarks.
The meeting broke up quickly and Adama said, “Good work.” He had to leave for the bridge and Apollo removed his flash drive and prepared to depart.
Apollo sighed. “Yes, Sire Geller?”
Geller smiled unctuously. “Do you really think that this new system will work?”
“It is so far.”
“It better. Your father is in a precarious position.”
Apollo restrained himself from sighing. Always threats.
“I wasn’t aware of my father under siege.”
Geller waved his hand. “’Under siege’ is an exaggeration. Simply on shaky ground, I’d say.”
“Shaky ground. Since when?”
Geller bristled, his white hair glinting under the ship’s overhead lights. “Watch your tongue, young man. If these maneuvers fail, it won’t bode well.”
Spare me the sanctimonious felgarcarb.
“We’re doing just fine.”
“We’ll be watching very closely tomorrow.” As Apollo turned away, Geller added, “And I’ll be watching you, Captain.”
Apollo felt his stomach tighten but he continued on his way out of the chamber.
Out in the hall he swore softly. Geller could always ferret out a man’s weakness. The man suspected something. He could feel his nerves tighten.
Apollo was lost in thought about how to counter Geller’s intent and was surprised to reach the Officers’ Club entrance. From inside, Starbuck saw him and waved. Apollo reluctantly entered and joined Starbuck, Boomer and Jolly.
“So how’d it go?” Starbuck asked.
“Oh, you know how it is.”
They all nodded sagely. They all had prior experience with the Council.
“Wonder if they’ve got any of that poultry left for tonight’s menu?” Starbuck asked.
“Probably not.” Jolly coughed.
“Yeah, the good stuff tends to go fast.”
Jolly sneezed and Apollo frowned. “You coming down with something?”
“Nah, Skipper,” Jolly denied and promptly coughed again, followed by a sneeze.
“You’re scratched from the test tomorrow.”
“No buts.” Apollo frowned. “Looks like you’re alone, Boomer.”
“I can take Jolly’s place,” said Starbuck.
“You haven’t practiced enough.”
“I’m a natural, Cap’n.”
Apollo shook his head. “You’re such a shrinking violet.”
After dinner Starbuck and Apollo were momentarily alone in the corridor outside the mess hall. “I’ll stop by around ten,” Starbuck said.
Apollo shook his head. “You need your sleep. A lot of eyes will be on this test tomorrow.”
“I sleep best in your arms,” Starbuck wheedled.
Apollo remained firm. “Stay in the barracks tonight.”
Starbuck sighed. “All right, I’ll be a good boy. For tonight.” He smiled suggestively. “Just wait ‘til tomorrow night.”
They parted and Apollo warily traveled to his quarters. Were there spies out there watching his every move? He kept his eye out for human and technological spies. By the time he reached his quarters, his paranoia was in full flower.
He spent a jittery evening with Boxey, glad when it was finally the boy’s bedtime. He restlessly looked over the preparations for tomorrow’s maneuvers via computer. Tired, he tried to get some sleep, but missed Starbuck by his side in bed. Guilt and worry kept him awake, and by morning he was sleep-deprived and irritable. He managed to get Boxey off to learning period without incident and went to the launch bay.
Apollo groaned. “What, Hephaestus?”
The mechtech crossed his arms. “One of the Vipers is too shaky.”
“You were supposed to fix it.”
“I told you…”
“And I told you that we needed those ships ready. Can they fly?”
“Then get them ready.” Pain throbbed at Apollo’s temples. His eyes felt gritty and he stalked toward the observation booth.
From that vantage point he saw Boomer and Starbuck enter the bay. Starbuck saw him and gave the high sign, confident of success. Apollo felt his gut clench but he gave the sign back.
Boomer and Starbuck climbed into their Vipers and powered up. They blasted off and Apollo watched the maneuvers, relieved and proud that everything was going off without a hitch.
“Hey, good buddy, pinwheel coming up,” Starbuck said over his comm.
“Roger that,” replied Boomer.
The two pilots were in sync, pinwheeling as they soared through space.
“Starburst next,” Boomer said.
Apollo thought giddily, Starburst. How appropriate.
The maneuver was precise but would hold the advantage of swarming the Cylons in a way their machine minds could not calculate.
“You guys are always amazing,” Apollo murmured.
“Perfect, Lieutenant,” said Boomer.
“Thank you, Lieutenant,” said Starbuck.
Apollo smiled. He could hear the jocularity in his friends’ voices. They were feeling supremely confident, and who could blame them?
“Go, Star,” he murmured. He flipped the comm switch on. “Okay, gentlemen, come on in.”
“Right, Captain,” said Starbuck.
The two pilots banked toward the Galactica. Boomer entered the launch bay first, making a picture-perfect landing. Starbuck came in right behind him, starting to stick his landing. His Viper began to shimmy.
“I’m losing control.”
Apollo could hear the fear under Starbuck’s professional tone. The Viper waggled violently, and he knew Starbuck was struggling with the controls in the cockpit. He watched in horror as the Viper’s struts skidded and the shuddering machine crashed into a bulkhead.
“No, no, no,” Apollo whispered. “No!” he shouted as he ran out of the observation booth and down to the bay as panic chased at his heels.
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