Apollo couldn' t believe what he'd just heard. He and Starbuck were on board the Pegasus, and had just been informed that Commander Cain was going on a suicide mission to destroy three Cylon Base Stars.

"You know, there are some of us who don't have attachments," the Lieutenant had said. Then he'd added, "Well, I don't have attachments." Then he'd offered to stay on the Pegasus with Cain. But Cain had just smiled and told him, "Thank you, but Captain Apollo needs you."

Apollo wondered if Cain had been able to tell that he was in love with Starbuck. If it was that obvious, why didn't Starbuck see it himself? But Starbuck continued to chase women — his sister Athena, Cassiopia; he'd even come on to Sheba. But back in the shuttle after they'd left Gamorae, Starbuck had said something about being "confused" in response to Cassie's declaration that she had not yet decided between him and Cain because she herself was confused.

Apollo felt more confused than any of them. He was just grateful that Cain had declined Starbuck's offer.

Cain looked at the two warriors standing before them. The dark haired one was Adama's son. He wondered if the young man knew how obvious his feelings for his wingman were. When he'd first met the two of them he'd assumed they were a couple, until he found out about Lt. Starbuck's relationship with Cassie.

Starbuck had just offered to stay on the Pegasus. He'd said something about not having any "attachments." Starbuck didn't see the look of surprised grief and fear that crossed Captain Apollo's face when he said that, but Cain did. No, he couldn't let Starbuck stay on the Pegasus. "Apollo needs you," he said. Even if Starbuck didn't realize it. And Cassie would need him too, after Cain was gone. He hoped Starbuck treated her well.

"Apollo needs you," Cain said. Hah. If the Commander only knew why he had made the offer. Apollo didn't need him. Apollo had a family. He, Starbuck, didn't have anyone. Even Cassie had made that clear when she'd found out Cain was back. Staying with the Pegasus would be his way to exit gracefully. He'd die a hero. Or, if by some miracle they survived, he'd soon have plenty to do on the damaged battlestar. They were evacuating their wounded and most of their other personnel. They'd need all the hands they could get. Apollo wouldn't be here, and maybe, one day, Starbuck could forget him.

Not likely. No, he wasn't likely to forget Apollo. But maybe he'd be too busy to think about him too much. It looked like he wouldn't get the chance to find out, though. Cain was sending him and Apollo to escort the shuttles to the Galactica.


Back on the Galactica, Starbuck and Apollo stopped in the Life Centre to visit Sheba and Bojay. Sheba was understandably torn up about the Pegasus and her father going missing once more. They tried to cheer her up, offering hope that Cain might still be out there somewhere. Even Adama threw in a few suggestions, and told her that she was now part of the Galactica "family."

Family. There was that word again. Funny how it seemed to keep coming up. Starbuck excused himself and left Apollo and his father to bond with their new 'family member.'

He didn't notice at first, but Apollo had followed him. "Starbuck! Wait!" the Captain called to him. He grabbed Starbuck's arm. "I want to talk to you."

"About what?" Starbuck asked. "I thought you'd want to be in there with your family."

Apollo looked puzzled. "I don't know what you're talking about. I want to talk about what you said on the Pegasus about not having any attachments. Why did you say that?"

"Because it's true, Apollo. I don't have attachments. You have your father and your sister and Boxey. I don't have anyone — not even Cassie, anymore."

"You have me," Apollo said.

"No I don't," said the Lieutenant. He tried to walk away, but Apollo still held his arm.

"Only because I didn't think you would want me," he said. Starbuck saw with astonishment that Apollo was close to tears. "I didn't want to take the risk that I would lose you if I told you how I feel. You're the most important person in my life. I don't know what I would do without you. I - I love you, Starbuck."

Starbuck stood and stared at his friend for what seemed like yahrens. Finally, he spoke. "I don't know what to say, Apollo."

"Say that you love me, too."

"I love you, Apollo."

Apollo stepped forward until there were only millimeters betwen him and Starbuck. "Do you mean that?" he asked.

"I do. I love you with all of my heart, all of my soul. I didn't dare hope that you felt the same way about me."

Leaning forward, Apollo kissed his love soundly. Starbuck responded with enthusiasm.

"Listen to me," Apollo said when they finally broke apart. "Don't ever think that you don't have people on this ship that care about you. I love you. Boxey adores you. My father likes you, and I think even Athena's been coming around lately. You are part of my family, Starbuck. Don't forget it."

Starbuck initiated the kiss this time. "I won't. I love you, Apollo."

"And I love you, Bucko."