Apollo paced around the waiting area outside of the Life Centre's examining room. He spent too much time here, he thought. Even before he and Starbuck had become lovers, he'd accompanied his wingmate here several times.

This had to stop. Starbuck couldn't keep taking reckless chances. Apollo was afraid that one of these days, his life partner would take one chance too many, and it would end up being his last.

He looked up as the Lieutenant sauntered out of the examining room. "Clean bill of health," Starbuck informed his mate. "Minor bump on the head, but nothing that will leave any permanent damage."

Apollo looked away, trying not to show the conflicting emotions he was feeling. He wasn't fast enough. Starbuck reached out and turned him so that they were facing each other.

"What's wrong, Pol?"

"Nothing," Apollo lied.

"Felgercarb. You're upset. It can't be about that crack on the noggin I took earlier, can it? I've been through a lot worse."

"That's what's bothering me," Apollo admitted.

Starbuck sat on one of the waiting room's long seats and pulled his lover down beside him. "Talk to me," he ordered.

"Does it ever occur to you that we spend an awful lot of time here?" Apollo asked.

The Lieutenant shrugged. "So? It comes with the territory. We're both warriors, and that carries a lot of risk. We play Triad; that's not a gentle game. Just look at my head for proof of that! Then of course there's Boxey. He's had his share of illnesses and accidents -- normal part of childhood, of course."

Apollo shook his head. "Sometimes we can't avoid it, no. But sometimes we can. You take too many risks, Starbuck. Seems like you're always pulling one crazy stunt after another. You put yourself in danger, and...." He didn't finish his sentence.

"And what?"

The Captain wouldn't look at him. "You don't think about me when you're doing it."

"You're my wingmate, Apollo. It's your job to look out for me, and you do a damn fine one. It's because I know you're on my wing that I feel safe in pulling these 'crazy stunts,' as you call them. I don't have to think about you, because you're always there."

"That's not what I mean."

"Then what do you mean?" Starbuck asked in exasperation. Sometimes his lover and life partner got into these moods, and he couldn't always tell what exactly it was that Apollo needed from him.

"You don't think about how I would feel if you didn't make it. You don't think about what would happen to me without you by my side. If I had to live my life without you, I don't think I'd want to live at all."

Starbuck was stunned. Apollo was right. He hadn't ever thought of what would happen to his lover if he weren't here. He always counted on Apollo, as his wingmate, to make certain he was here.

"Apollo, I'm sorry. You're right. I've been thoughtless. It's only because you're the best warrior in the fleet, though. I figured that as long as you were out there, nothing would ever happen to me."

"I can't be everywhere," Apollo whispered.

Seeing the tears on the other man's face, Starbuck leaned forward and kissed them away. "You mean to tell me you're not superhuman?" he teased, trying to lighten his lover's mood.

Shaking his head again, Apollo repeated, "I can't be everywhere. Every time we're in battle, I'm afraid that I won't be able to keep an eye on you. I'm the Strike Captain and the squadron leader. I'm supposed to be in charge of everyone in the squadron, not just you. I'm afraid that my attention will be diverted for just a micron, and...."

"What do you want from me, Apollo? What can I do to reassure you that I'm not going anywhere?" Starbuck asked.

"I don't know," the Captain sighed. "If you didn't do all those insane things, you wouldn't be the Starbuck I love. But I'm afraid that those very stunts will be what gets you killed. I don't want to lose you, but I don't want you to change, either. I'm not making much sense, am I?"

After a few centons of thought, Starbuck said, "Maybe I could just lay off the *most* outrageous stunts. Would that help?"

"You'd do that for me?" Apollo asked. "I don't want to make you do anything you don't want to do."

"Don't you know I'd do anything for you? I don't want anything to happen to you either, you know. I'm supposed to back you up, too. If you're worrying about me and not about your own safety, then I'm putting you in danger. Endangering his squadron leader is not something a good warrior does. It's also not something I want to do to the one I love more than anything in the universe."

Apollo pulled Starbuck into his arms and they held each other tightly for several centons. When they finally broke the embrace, both men had suspiciously wet cheeks.

"Let's go home," Apollo said.

As they walked hand in hand through the battlestar, Starbuck asked, "Are you sure you're not superhuman? Some of the things you do in the bedroom sure seem like it." He realized they were in public, and stopped before he said anything more.

Apollo grinned. "I'm not superhuman. Neither are you."

"Frack. You know all my secrets."