Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Fire Chief Orion, Apollo/Starbuck, Boomer, Hephaestus, Cassiopeia, Dr. Salik, Adama
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica (Original Series)
Genres: Angst, Drama, Hurt/Comfort
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Warnings (this chapter): Burn victim
General Summary: Apollo’s under tremendous pressure, and it affects him and Starbuck.
Chapter Summary: The aftermath of the Viper crash sends Apollo reeling.
Date Of Completion: May 26, 2018
Date Of Posting: July 14, 2019
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Glen Larson and Universal do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1685
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
All chapters can be found here.
HOLD IT DEAR
Take my heart
And hold it dear,
As I need to know,
That you are near.
7322 C.E. (Colonial Era)
Rescue workers were spraying foam to put out the fire while others ran to the Viper. Apollo started to run toward it, too, but the Fire Chief said, “No, Captain” and two of his men held him back.
Boomer clambered out of his Viper and held his helmet in a white-knuckled grip as he watched. The firefighters managed to get a limp Starbuck out of the cockpit and place him on a gurney, hurrying away from the ship just before it exploded. Hephaestus stood silently with arms crossed at the edge of the bay with his crew. He had the grace not to glare at Apollo, whose eyes were on Starbuck as he was extricated from the wreckage.
Apollo shook out of the firefighters’ grip and ran to the gurney. “Starbuck, oh, please, oh, please…”
His stomach clenched as he saw the burns on his lover’s chest and arms. His face was reddened and smeared with soot. A gaping hole in his chest was bleeding profusely.
“Starbuck, can you hear me? Starbuck?” Apollo knew he was babbling but didn’t care.
“Captain, we have to get him to the Life Center,” said the firefighter/medtech handling the gurney.
“I’m coming with him.” Apollo tenderly brushed Starbuck’s soot-stained hair off his forehead.
“Then let’s go.”
Apollo took Starbuck’s hand and hurried beside the gurney. He could smell smoke and charred flash. The heavy smell of blood hung in the air. How bad were his injuries?
The gunmental-gray bulkheads of the Galactica sped by as Apollo cared only about Starbuck. He knew what his actions meant and didn’t care.
He saw Cassiopeia’s concerned face as they entered the Life Center and heard Dr. Salik bark, “Trauma Room One.” The gurney headed that way.
“You’ll have to stay out here, Apollo.” Cassiopeia’s professional voice was strained as she put a hand on his chest.
He brushed aside her hand. “I’m staying with him.”
She started to protest but subsided. Apollo followed her into the Trauma room.
Trauma was a good word for it. Everything was too bright, too loud, too sterile, but it wasn’t set up for anxious loved ones but for doctors and medtechs working feverishly to save their wounded patient.
Apollo did let go of Starbuck’s hand and stood by the bulkhead, watching every move. Salik and his team were working furiously, the monitors beeping and grating on Apollo’s nerves.
I did this.
That mantra kept repeating itself over and over in his mind. An ominous sound from the monitors screamed in his head.
“Coding,” Cassiopeia said.
The medical staff did their jobs as Apollo watched, consumed by guilt and dread.
Apollo sat quietly in the private Life Center cubicle. The beeping monitors were soft, a sound that was simply there. He gazed at the pale figure in the life pod, tired but determined to stay.
He was content to stay here. Boomer was temporarily in charge of Blue Squadron and the test had been postponed until another Viper could be prepared under Hephaestus’ supervision.
Apollo dozed off, the relative quiet a boon. He heard footsteps and Cassiopeia checked Starbuck’s vital signs. He could smell her perfume as she quietly went about her duties. She didn’t bother him, for which he was grateful.
She left after her check but Apollo kept his eyes closed. He listened to Starbuck’s breathing, steady but with an occasional rattle. Apollo kept his own breathing steady despite the myriad of emotions that threatened to tear loose and overwhelm him, but yahrens of practice with iron control allowed him to keep matters quiet.
I shouldn’t be here.
But Starbuck would expect to see him when he woke up, and Apollo would not take the coward’s way out. He waited, just as everyone else did.
So Apollo was ready when the monitor’s beeping changed. He opened his eyes and saw Starbuck doing the same.
“Wha…?” the blond rasped.
Apollo’s hand was on Starbuck’s shoulder after lifting the pod shield. “You had an accident.”
“A hotshot pilot like me?”
Apollo smiled. “Yes. The Viper gave out.”
Apollo brushed the hair off his lover’s brow. “It was spectacular.”
Starbuck would have laughed if he could have managed it without hurting.
Cassiopeia appeared. “Ah, so you’re awake.”
Apollo knew that she had seen the change at her station. She checked her patient over and kept up a lighthearted banter. When Dr. Salik arrived, she was able to give him a brisk rundown of Starbuck’s vitals.
“Well, Starbuck, looks like you beat the odds again.” The doctor shook his head. “I should run a betting pool.”
Starbuck tried to laugh but groaned instead. Apollo put his hand on his lover’s shoulder.
“You’ll be okay if you follow doctor’s orders.”
“Right,” Starbuck said dryly.
Salik said calmly, “You’ve got some burns on your chest and arms, but they’re healing. And the wound in your chest is giving us no trouble, but we’re keeping a close eye on you. Just rest now.”
After the examination, Salik and Cassiopeia left. Starbuck held out his bandaged hand and Apollo took it. Cassiopeia returned and Starbuck hastily pulled his hand away.
“Forgot my stylus,” she explained. “Glad to see you back, hotshot.” She smiled. “Oh, and you can hold Apollo’s hand.”
Starbuck’s mouth dropped open as she laughed on her way out of the room.
“Sorry about that,” Apollo said.
“What is all this?”
“I, uh, might have kind of, um, outed us.” At Starbuck’s wide eyes, he explained. “I think people guessed after I went a little crazy after your crash.”
A smile spread slowly across Starbuck’s face. “Okay.”
“Well, that was easy.”
“You make things too complicated, ‘Pol.”
Apollo sighed. “I suppose so.”
Starbuck looked shrewdly at his companion. “What’s eating you, buddy?”
Apollo set aside his tablet. He had promised himself he would hold off telling Starbuck anything while his lover was still injured, but leave it to Starbuck to divine something was wrong.
“I was careless, Star. I was so eager to get those tests done, I didn’t heed Chief Hephaestus’ warning.”
“The risk of an unstable ship.”
Apollo smiled fondly. “I know the drugs are confusing you, but it’s simple: I risked your life unnecessarily.”
Starbuck looked slightly glassy-eyed. “Why?”
Apollo sighed. “I let Sire Geller get to me. He kept saying that if these tests failed, it would adversely affect my father.”
Starbuck sounded puzzled. “That’s all? He’s always threatening something.”
Apollo hung his head in shame. Starbuck’s hand found his arm and weakly grasped it. Apollo looked up and rasped, “I don’t deserve you.”
“True.” Starbuck’s dulled eyes somehow managed to sparkle. “But I love you, anyway.”
Apollo smiled shakily. “I deserved that.”
“You deserve a lot of things.” At Apollo’s pained expression, Starbuck added, “Good things.”
Apollo was uncertain of that sentiment but he chose to refrain from arguing. “You need rest.” He covered Starbuck’s hand with his own. “I’d better go.”
Apollo looked at his lover’s beseeching eyes and stifled a sigh. “All right.”
He stayed until Starbuck fell asleep.
Apollo stepped up to the command circle on the bridge. “Reporting as ordered, sir.”
Adama turned and looked coolly at his son. “You’ve caused quite a stir throughout the Fleet.”
Here it comes.
Adama folded his arms. “You do realize that this…incident…will give someone like Geller a leg up in this ridiculous tug-of-war he insists on playing.”
“I’m aware of the position I’ve placed you in, sir. I’m sorry.”
Adama’s mouth was set. If it was anyone else, Apollo would have called his father’s expression a glare.
“Such…relationships…are not well-received by our people.”
“I know, sir.”
“Yet you will continue it?”
“Yes, sir.” Apollo nearly glared this time.
Adama studied his son and abruptly said, “Dismissed.”
Apollo turned on his heel and left the bridge, acutely aware of the furtive glances thrown his way. He headed directly to the Life Center. He needed to see Starbuck.
Cassiopeia was coming out of Starbuck’s room. “Starbuck needs his rest.”
“I promise I won’t stay long.”
She made an impatient gesture. “Keep it short.”
Apollo went inside the room. It was more of a cubicle as space was at a premium on a battlestar. Transferred from a life pod to a bed, Starbuck still looked too pale.
He looked like he was sleeping, too. Apollo gazed down upon the beloved face, his heart swelling with emotion.
I failed you, but I won’t stop loving you.
He allowed himself the indulgence of admiring his lover before he decided to go.
“Come for a visit?”
“Sure.” Apollo smiled as he stood by the bed. “You're sounding better today.”
“Hope so.” Starbuck coughed. “C’mon, tell me what’s eatin’ you.”
Apollo sighed. “You’re like a daggit with a bone.”
Starbuck flashed his trademark smile. “Tell me, love.”
“I already told you. I let pride get in my way.” Apollo grasped the bed railing.
“You already confessed to that.” Starbuck’s hand rested on Apollo’s. “What’s the rest of it?”
Apollo couldn’t meet Starbuck’s eyes. “I’ve treated you badly. My fears forced you to live like you were some shameful secret, which is the furthest thing from the truth.”
“Oh, Apollo.” Starbuck squeezed his hand. “I know all that. I mean…(cough)…I understood why we had to keep things secret. You had so much to lose.”
Apollo laughed bitterly. “All for naught. My father’s not happy to learn that it’s not Sheba I’m in love with.”
“Religion or politics?”
Starbuck chuckled. “Never easy, is it?”
“Not really.” Apollo finally met Starbuck’s eyes. “There’s no going back. Everyone knows. And if my father doesn’t support us…”
“…then we’ll work it out.”
Starbuck’s grip and voice were weak but Apollo could feel and hear the strength in his partner. His life partner, no matter what.
Apollo turned his hand and squeezed Starbuck’s. He leaned down and kissed dry lips.
“Together,” he whispered.
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