Apollo could not believe what he was hearing. His father, Commander Adama, president of the Council of Twelve, had just risen to make an announcement in the Council Chamber. The announcement went something like this.

"My fellow Councillors. I have something I need to tell you. There has been an attempt made to blackmail me. I do not know the identity of the blackmailer, but that is not important. What is important is that I tell you the truth about the subject of the blackmail attempt. This person was threatening to reveal a certain situation in my personal life, one which I had hoped to keep private. However, thanks to this blackmailer, it would have become public, so I have decided to reveal it to all of you.

"I'm not ashamed of this situation; it just happens to involve another person, and I didn't want to subject him to the glare of publicity that will no doubt result from this. However, I have his permission to tell all of you about our relationship."

The word "relationship" got people's attention. What kind of relationship was Adama talking about? The IFB cameras zoomed in on him as he continued.

"Lieutenant Boomer, would you come up here, please?" Boomer stood and went to Adama's side. "I know this is going to come as a shock to most of you, especially to my family. And I am very sorry that I did not have the chance to warn any of you before I made this announcement, but I was pressed for time. My blackmailer was prepared to reveal my secret, and I needed to make a pre-emptive strike, so to speak.

"This young man, Lieutenant Boomer, is one of our fleet's best warriors. He is also my lover."

There were audible gasps from the crowd. Apollo paled. Starbuck, afraid his friend was going to faint, took his arm to steady him.

The IFB reporters, of course, had numerous questions to ask their Commander. "How long has this affair been going on?" was one of them.

"Six sectares," replied Adama. "And not until after my wife was killed. I was never unfaithful to her."

"Why didn't you tell your family?" was another question.

"That is something I will discuss with them," Adama answered.

"Lieutenant Boomer, how does this affect your status in the Colonial service, being the lover of such an important man?"

"It doesn't affect my rank or my duties. My personal life is entirely separate from my service as a warrior," Boomer responded.

There were many more questions, but Adama finally ended the press conference. The questions were beginning to get more personal, and most of the answers weren't anyone's business but his and Boomer's. Of course, now he had to face his family.

"Apollo, Starbuck, Athena, meet me in my quarters," he told them as he and Boomer retreated. Starbuck had been included automatically. He had long been considered a member of Adama's family as well as one of Boomer's best friends, along with Apollo.

When they were all gathered in Adama's quarters the Commander said, "I suppose you want to know why we kept this secret from you."

Apollo and Starbuck definitely wanted to know this, both from Adama and from Boomer. Adama was Apollo's father and the closest Starbuck had to a father figure; Boomer was their best friend. Athena was feeling hurt as well; she had been her father's confidante in many things over the yahrens that she'd been part of his bridge crew, and she couldn't understand why this had been kept from her.

None of them said anything; they waited for Adama to continue.

"Apollo, Starbuck, Boomer wanted to tell you, and I asked him not to. I wanted the news to come from me, but somehow the time never seemed right. I realize now that I couldn't wait for the right time; I had to make the time right. I didn't do that, and I'm sorry. I should never have let things get this far without informing you. As I said at the conference, I'm not ashamed of our relationship. I just didn't want it to be subjected to the glare of publicity. You heard the questions that were asked about how this affects Boomer's standing in the Fleet. From now on anything that he does will be scrutinized as the actions of 'the Commander's lover.' Just as yours, Apollo, and yours, Athena, are scrutinized because you're my children. Even Starbuck hasn't escaped it." This was true. Starbuck's association with Adama's family was well known.

"Is it true what you said about not being unfaithful?" Apollo wanted to know.

Boomer took it upon himself to answer that question. "Apollo, you know how I felt about Siress Ila. I loved her almost like my own mother. I would have never done anything to hurt her."

"What about other lovers?" Athena demanded. "Have you had other young men, maybe when Mother was still alive?"

"I've had other male lovers," Adama answered. "Before I was married. I was never unfaithful to your mother."

Eventually the story of how Adama and Boomer had come together was told. Each of the warriors had to spend a few cycles as Adama's personal shuttle pilot. When it had been Boomer's turn, he and the Commander had hit it off. Adama had invited Boomer to his quarters for dinner one night when his turn as pilot ended. Discovering they enjoyed each other's company, they began spending more time together, and eventually the two had become intimate.

Finally, Apollo stood and announced he was returning to his own quarters. "Boxey will be back from Learning period soon, and I need some time to process this," he told them.

Without saying a word, Starbuck rose and accompanied him. No one asked why he was leaving. Where Apollo went, Starbuck went. It was the way things had always been.

As the two warriors walked to Apollo's quarters, they discussed Adama's revelation.

"I have to admire his courage in making that public announcement," Apollo admitted.

"Courage? Why?"

"Well, because it's not exactly the kind of thing you expect from the Commander. I'm sure there are others on the Council who have young men as lovers, but they keep it their dirty little secret. They have boys on the side, while they remain married to their wives. Being public about it, not being ashamed of it, is entirely different."

"Why should he be ashamed?" Starbuck asked.

"He shouldn't be, but some people would be. After all, Boomer's a lot younger than he is, he's not a Caprican, he's not wealthy or from a well-known family..."

"...and he's a man," Starbuck put in.

"That too."

"Does that bother you, that his lover is another man?"

"No," Apollo admitted. "The fact that he's with anyone at all is what bothers me. I know I shouldn't expect him to mourn my mother forever, but it's hard to see him with someone else."

"How do you think Boxey would feel if you started seeing someone new?" Starbuck asked.

"I've never really thought about it, to tell you the truth," Apollo admitted. "Since Serena, there hasn't really been anyone who interested me. But we were together for such a short time, it might not be the same as it was for my parents. After all, I spent thirty yahrens seeing them together."

Starbuck seemed strangely quiet after that, and he asked no more questions before he and Apollo went their separate ways, Starbuck to the Bachelor Officers' Quarters and Apollo to his own quarters.

Over the next several sectons, the Fleet gradually grew used to the idea of Boomer as Adama's lover. It was not a smooth adjustment, however. The other warriors saw Boomer not as their fellow warrior, but as the Commander's spy. He insisted that he was no one's spy, but it took a long time for them to trust him again.

Apollo had trouble with the idea that the man who was one of his best friends was now his father's lover. There was a fair amount of awkardness between them, especially since Boomer hadn't told him of the affair before Adama's public announcement. Eventually, however, friendship won out, and things went back to normal.

One day, a few sectons after the announcement, Apollo and Starbuck were talking over in a drink in the Officers' Club.

"How are things going with your father?" Starbuck asked.

"Pretty good," Apollo replied. "I think Athena had a harder time than I did adjusting to his and Boomer's relationship. She was used to taking care of him after Mother died, and maybe she saw Boomer as replacing her that way. But since Boomer doesn't cook, I don't think she has anything to worry about." Then he sighed.

"What's that for?" Starbuck asked in concern.

"I envy them."

"Envy who?"

"Father and Boomer. They're acting like everything's normal. I guess it is normal for them. They don't care about the gossip or the way the reporters tried to make their relationship into some sort of big scandal. The Council made some noises about replacing him as President because of supposed 'immoral' behaviour, but he just told them that he knows all about which ones of them have male lovers in addition to their wives, and they quieted down pretty quickly. I wish I had their courage."

"Courage to do what?" Starbuck wanted to know.

"To tell someone how I feel. To not care about the fallout that might result."

"Do you think that this person might return your feelings?"

"I don't know. That's something else I'm afraid of. What if he, er, what if they don't?"

"Apollo." Starbuck took his friend by the shoulders and turned him so that they were facing each other. "I do."

"You do what?" Apollo asked in confusion.

"Return your feelings."

The Captain took a deep breath and swallowed the last of his drink before he answered. "How did you know?"

"You said 'he', and since Boomer's already spoken for, I figured it must be me."

"I can't keep anything from you, can I?"

"You'd better not even try," Starbuck answered. He took Apollo into his arms, and they kissed.

"I love you," Apollo told him.

"I love you, too."

"Think we'll cause a scandal?"

"I hope so," Starbuck answered.