Lieutenant Starbuck lay back on his bunk in the Bachelor Officers' Quarters. He was exhausted, physically and emotionally. He'd had a pleasant dinner with his friends, but now all he wanted to do was go to sleep and try to forget the events of the last few days.

Surprisingly, there were few questions asked about Count Iblis' sudden disappearance. It was almost as if he'd never been on the ship.

There were some gaps in his own memory. The events on the planet where they'd originally found Iblis, and where they'd returned to check out his ship, were a little fuzzy. He remembered catching up to Apollo on the shuttle launch pad. The Captain had been sworn to secrecy by Adama, but he'd still told Starbuck of his plan. This had given Starbuck the idea to warn Apollo that if Count Iblis happened to encounter him, he'd immediately be able to read in Starbuck's mind where Apollo had gone.

But there was one thing he remembered. He knew that Apollo had died on that planet.

Don't ask him how he knew. He remembered Apollo falling to the ground, and checking for a pulse, and finding none. But the next thing he remembered was landing the shuttle on the Galactica with Apollo alive and well beside him. Okay, not entirely well; he'd said he was kind of "sore." But he was definitely not dead. alive and well Boomer, upon hearing the story, had said Apollo must have just been stunned, and that somehow Sheba's and Starbuck's thinking he was dead had frightened Iblis away. That made no sense. Iblis would have known that Apollo was dead. And he wouldn't have been frightened.

Besides, he'd felt the absence of a pulse when he'd touched Apollo's body.

Iblis had known that Starbuck and Apollo were lovers. He'd teased Starbuck about it when Sheba asked Apollo to dance on the Rising Star. "They make a handsome couple, don't they?" Iblis had asked. But he hadn't risen to the bait. He knew better. Apollo cared for Sheba, but in a brotherly way.

No one else knew, which was why he'd hated for Sheba to see him crying over Apollo's lifeless form. But he hadn't been able to stifle the tears. He wondered if she'd guessed. On the shuttle, she'd turned to him and said "I'm sorry." She was apologizing to him for getting Apollo killed. But he didn't blame her. She'd been completely under Iblis' spell.

So, what had happened, then? Apollo had died; Sheba had blamed herself for it. Then they were on the Galactica and Apollo was alive. Something had happened. He'd said he would gladly trade his own life for Apollo's, and then they'd seen the lights.

The lights. The lights had taken them to some strange celestial temple-like place. And there were beings there, beings of light. He'd called them "angels," and the beings had said that was pretty much an accurate name for them. And Apollo's body had been there, lying on a platform.

The angels, or whatever they were, had said Starbuck had a good spirit, though it was unrestrained, and that he needed Apollo's continued fellowship to reign in that unrestrained part. Well, that was just great; didn't they see that Apollo was dead?

They'd asked him if he'd meant it when he'd said he would trade his life for Apollo's. Of course he'd meant it. His life meant nothing to him without Apollo in it. He didn't want to live without the one that he loved. Besides, Apollo had a family that needed him. His life was worth much more than Starbuck's.

Then the miracle had happened. Apollo had woken up. Sheba had run to him and hugged him and kissed him, but Starbuck had stood back. He didn't know if he was real or not. He didn't want to reach out for his lover and have his hand go through him the way it had gone through the angel he'd tried to touch.

Then Apollo had come to him and held out his hand, and they'd just grasped each other and held on for a moment. They wouldn't embrace, not in front of Sheba. Neither of them had said anything. Their eyes had said all they needed to say.

Yes, Apollo had died. But the angels, or whatever they were, had brought him back, because Starbuck needed him. He looked out to the stars. "Thank you," he whispered.

"Hey, Starbuck," said a familiar voice. Starbuck smiled as Apollo came and sat on his bunk. "What are you doing?"

"Talking to the angels," Starbuck replied. "Did you have that talk with your father?"

"Sort of," Apollo answered.

"Were you able to explain to him how you died and came back to life?"

"I don't even understand it myself. How could I explain it to him?"

"So then, what did you talk to him about?" asked Starbuck.

"I talked to him about us."

"Us? You and me? What did you tell him?"

"The truth," said Apollo.

Surprised, Starbuck asked, "Why? Or I guess I mean, why now?"

"I was thinking about everything that happened, and how if our situations had been reversed — if it had been you that died, and I had been left — no one would have known what we meant to each other. No one would know why I was grieving so strongly. I didn't want to leave you in that position if anything happened to me."

"So what did Adama say when you told him?"

Apollo smiled. "He wasn't terribly surprised."

"So does that mean he approves?" asked Starbuck.

"He does." Apollo stood and extended his hand to his lover. "Come on, let's go."

"Go where?"

"My quarters."

Starbuck took the proffered hand and followed his lover. When they were inside Apollo's quarters he took the other man into his arms and held him tightly, something he had wanted to do since Apollo had come back to life in the angels' temple.

"Do me a favour, would you, Apollo?"

"What's that?" Apollo asked.

"Don't die on me again, okay?"

Apollo kissed the man that he loved. "I'll try not to."