Cadet Starbuck and Cadet Apollo lay in their bunks in the Academy. They were young, and they were very, very nervous about what lay ahead for them both in the Academy and in the future after the Academy. They both knew that there was a war on, and that once they graduated they would be in that war.

Starbuck heard his roommate's voice in the dark. "Starbuck?" The voice sounded slightly nervous.

"Yeah, Pol?" the blond boy asked, using the nickname he'd bestowed on his new friend soon after their arrival at the Academy.

"Do you like girls?" Apollo asked.

"Of course I like girls," Starbuck snorted. "Why wouldn't I?"

"I don't mean just like them," Apollo explained. "I mean, you know, like them. Like to be your girlfriend."

Starbuck shrugged, though his bunkmate couldn't see him. "I guess," he said. "I never really thought about having a girlfriend before. I mean, I grew up with lots of girls in the orphanage, but they were around all the time. They were like sisters, sort of. What about you?"

"Well, I have a sister. And her friends were around all the time at our house on Caprica. I know that some of them looked at me like.... Like they wanted to be my girlfriend, but I'm not ready for that yet. Starbuck, have you ever kissed a girl?"

"Yeah, sure. Have you?"

"No," said Apollo.

"Why not?" asked Starbuck.

"I haven't met any girl I want to kiss yet. Starbuck, have you ever kissed another boy?"

There was a long pause. Apollo began to think that his roommate had fallen asleep. Then he finally heard an answer.

"No, I haven't kissed any boys."

"Why not?" Apollo asked.

"I haven't met any boys that I want to kiss. Why do you want to know about kissing boys?"

"I'm fourteen yahrens old and I haven't ever wanted to kiss a girl. I was beginning to wonder if maybe I was one of those people who prefers other boys to girls."

"Have you ever kissed another boy?" Starbuck asked.


"Have you wanted to?"

"N-no," Apollo lied. He had wanted to. He'd wanted to kiss Starbuck the moment he'd met him.

"Then you're probably just a late starter, Pol. I'm sure one of these days you'll find someone you want to kiss. Knowing you Kobolians, you'll probably end up marrying the first woman you kiss."

A few yahrens later....

Graduation was over. Apollo and Starbuck were finished with the Academy. Now they had to join the Colonial Fleet and face the Cylons.

Unfortunately, the two of them had been assigned to different battlestars. Apollo was joining his father's ship, the Galactica. Starbuck was going to the Atlantia.

"I wish I was going to the Atlantia with you," Apollo said as he and his now ex-roommate were packing their things and preparing to leave the Academy for their assignments.

"You're going where you have family. That's a good thing. I'm sure you'll like it there. You'll probably get a promotion to officer's rank before long." Starbuck had met Apollo's family. In fact he'd spent every holiday he'd had from the Academy with them. Now he and Apollo were being separated for the first time since they'd been assigned to be roommates four yahrens ago.

"I'm going to miss you," Apollo said, pulling his friend into a hug.

Starbuck held on to Apollo for as long as he could. Apollo was the first real friend he'd had. Sure he'd had people at the orphanage he'd called his friends, but none of them had been as close to him as Apollo. This boy - young man now - was like a brother to him. Except that Starbuck wasn't sure that his feelings for his bunkmate were entirely brotherly.

As they finally broke the hug, Starbuck said, "Hey, do me a favour, would you, Pol?"

"Anything," said Apollo, trying futilely to wipe the tears from his eyes.

"Give this to your sister for me." He took Apollo back into his arms and kissed him.

Before Apollo could react, there was a knock at the door. "Apollo, the shuttle to the Galactica is leaving in five centons," came a voice from out in the hall.

Without saying a word, a bewildered Apollo picked up his bags. At the door he turned around and looked back. "Goodbye," he said.

"Goodbye, Apollo."

Neither of them said out loud the words that followed the goodbye in their minds: I love you.

Six sectares later, on Caprica:

"Starbuck!" came a familiar voice. Apollo rushed into his mother's kitchen where he found his friend sitting at the table eating biscuits.

"Hey, Pol. Your mother was just telling me embarrassing stories about you."

Siress Ila smiled at her two boys. "I'm so glad the two of you were able to both get a furlon at the same time."

Apollo kissed his mother. "Well, I twisted Father's arm until he let me go. Where are Zac and Athena?"

"The Academy doesn't let out until tomorrow," the Siress replied. "So you and Starbuck have the place to yourselves for now. Now sit down and eat something. Don't they feed you on that battlestar?"

Apollo sat down next to Starbuck. "How's the Atlantia?" he asked.

"Boring as heck," Starbuck replied. "It's not much fun to get in trouble without you there to bail me out."

"You're not supposed to get in trouble," Apollo scolded.

"Well, you know me. I have to impress the ladies somehow. Speaking of which, have you kissed anyone yet?"

"Starbuck!" Apollo blushed. "Not in front of my mother," he whispered.

"Your mother wants to hear your answer," said Ila. "Have you met anyone? I want grandchildren before I'm too old to enjoy them."

"No, I haven't met anyone. I'm too busy for dating." Apollo decided to change the subject. "Star, have you put in for that transfer yet?"

"To the Galactica? Yeah, I have, but I haven't heard anything yet."

"I hope that you can get transferred to the Galactica, Starbuck. I'd feel better knowing that the two of you were together, looking out for each other," Ila said. "I'll be sure to tell Adama that next time he calls." Then she smiled. "And maybe Starbuck will be able to introduce you to some nice girls, Apollo."

Apollo frowned. "How would he introduce me to anyone when I've already been there for six sectares?"

"And how do you know the girls would be nice?" Starbuck asked. Apollo smacked his shoulder.

"I think that Starbuck will meet people fairly quickly," Ila smiled.

"Especially female people," Apollo muttered.

Starbuck's furlon had started a day before Apollo's, so it ended a day earlier. He'd tried to spend as much time as he could with Apollo, but he'd ended up spending most of his time with Athena. But he made certain to spend his last night with Apollo. They sat out on the porch and looked at the stars.

"So you really haven't met anyone?" Starbuck asked.

"No I haven't. Why are you so interested in my love life?"

"You're my friend," Starbuck answered, as if that explained everything.

"What's it like, Star?" Apollo asked.

"What's what like?"

"Being with a girl."

Starbuck sighed. "I don't know how to explain it."

"I worry that if I do meet a girl, I'll end up doing everything wrong," Apollo said.

"What would you do wrong?" Starbuck asked.

"What if I don't know how to kiss her?"

Starbuck smiled a sly smile. "Maybe you should practice first."

"Oh, right. Who am I supposed to practice on?"

In response, Starbuck drew him close and kissed him gently on the lips. When he finished, he said, "I don't think you have anything to worry about, Pol. Goodnight."

Apollo sat, stunned, for a few microns. Then he got up to follow Starbuck to demand to know what exactly that kiss had been about. He hadn't had a chance to ask him about the other kiss either, the one on their last day at the Academy. He ran up the stairs.

He arrived at the top of the stairs just in time to see Starbuck go into Athena's room.

A couple of yahrens later....

Starbuck and Athena watched the partygoers swirling around them. "My father really knows how to throw a party, doesn't he?" Athena asked.

"Well, it's not every day his only daughter gets engaged to be married," Starbuck observed.

"Have you seen Apollo?" Athena asked.

"Briefly. Why?"

"He's been acting weird ever since we announced our engagement. I'm worried about him. Do you have any idea what could be bothering him?"

"Maybe he's jealous."

"Jealous of who or what?" Athena asked in confusion.

"Well, he's never been serious about anyone for as long as I've known him. I think he's jealous because he doesn't have anyone, while you and I have found each other."

"Oh, poor Appy," sighed Athena. "I keep watching him with my friends, you know, hoping that maybe he'll hook up with one of them, but it seems like he's married to his duty. I've heard a rumour that he's going to be appointed Strike Captain soon."

"I'm glad to hear it. He'll be a good Strike Captain."

Just then the subject of their conversation arrived. Apollo had obviously had a few glasses of Adama's best ambrosa. "My ears are burning," he said. "Have you been talking about me?"

"We were just wondering where you were," Athena told him. "You haven't congratulated us yet."

"Congratulations," Apollo said dutifully.

Athena stood up and hugged him. "You'll find someone soon, Appy. The right woman is out there somewhere. Just you wait and see."

Starbuck stood as well and took his wingmate's arm. "I think you've had enough celebrating for tonight, Pol," he said. He turned to his fiancée. "I'm going to put him to bed, then I'll be back."

Apollo obediently allowed himself to be led upstairs. Starbuck removed his friend's flight jacket and gave him a gentle push so that he lay down on the bed. Then he removed Apollo's boots. He pulled a wastebasket next to the bed. "Just in case you need something to throw up in," he explained, "and can't make it to the facilities in time. Do you need anything before I go back to the party?"

Apollo made a beckoning gesture. "Come here," he whispered.

"Huh? I can't quite hear you," Starbuck said. He moved closer.

Apollo beckoned again. "I said, come here."

Starbuck moved to the bed and leaned over. "What is it?" he asked.

Apollo wrapped an arm around his neck, pulled him down and kissed him.

Starbuck tried to remind himself that he was engaged to the sister of the man kissing him, but it didn't do much good. He climbed on to the bed so that he was straddling Apollo and returned the kiss. He reached down to unfasten the other man's trousers...

...and realized that Apollo had passed out.

Starbuck told himself that it was a good thing that Apollo had passed out before they got too carried away. He reminded himself that Apollo was drunk, and that it was never a good idea to frack someone who's so drunk they don't know what they're doing, even if that person is your best friend. Especially if that person is your best friend.

He kissed his unconscious friend one more time before leaving to rejoin the party, with a quick detour to the turboflush room to take care of the evidence of his arousal.

Back at the party, he greeted Athena with a kiss. "Is Apollo all right?" she asked.

"He's sleeping it off. He probably won't be aware of anything until tomorrow morning."

It was very late the next day when Apollo finally put in an appearance. "Someone shoot me and put me out of my misery," he moaned as he pulled up a chair at the kitchen table.

"Believe it or not, Apollo, hangovers aren't terminal," Starbuck teased.

Apollo just glared at him.

Starbuck turned to Zac. "I understand you're going to be joining us on the Galactica," he said.

Zac looked extremely proud. "I'm in the next group of graduating cadets," he said, "and I've just received my assignment."

"Congratulations," Starbuck told him. Then he said, "Listen, kid, can you leave your brother and me alone for a few centons? I need to talk to him about something."

Zac looked suspicious. "Can't you talk while I'm here?" he asked.

"No, we can't. Now scram."

Zac left, muttering to himself as he did so.

As soon as he was gone, Starbuck turned to Apollo. "Pol, what do you remember about last night?"

"I remember that I had too much ambrosa," Apollo moaned.

"Besides that."

"I remember that Thenie told me that the right woman for me is out there somewhere."

"Anything else?" Starbuck asked.

"No," Apollo answered.

"You're sure?"

"I'm sure. Star, what are you getting at?"

Starbuck grinned. "Well, you did a few things at the party that you might not want to remember."

"Like what?" Apollo demanded.

"You said something extremely impolite to Siress Tinia."

"What did I say?"

Starbuck whispered something in his ear.

"I did not! Starbuck, you're making that up!"

"You'll never know, will you?"

Six sectares later....

Starbuck sat with Apollo in the observation dome.

"Star, Zac's dead!" Apollo cried.

"I know," Starbuck answered. He and Apollo had been sitting here for the last centare while Apollo alternately cried and raged and Starbuck tried in vain to comfort him.

"My mother, too. My mother is dead."

Starbuck nodded.

"My mother, Zac... Caprica is gone. All the colonies are gone! All the other battlestars are gone! But we're still here. Why are we still here when no one else made it?"

"We have the best commander in the Colonial fleet," Starbuck said, ignoring the fact that there was no more Colonial fleet.

"They're gone. My mother and Zac are gone. Everything is gone." Apollo broke down in sobs.

Starbuck took his wingmate into his arms, wishing he could make Apollo's pain go away. Not knowing what else to do, he kissed Apollo.

The Captain's sobs stopped suddenly. Encouraged, Starbuck kissed him again, and again. This time he didn't have Athena to worry about. She had broken off their engagement.

Apollo returned the kisses and clung to Starbuck like a drowning man clings to a life preserver. Starbuck's hands ran up and down Apollo's body. Apollo removed his jacket to give him better access. Starbuck didn't stop there, and slipped his hands under Apollo's tunic.

Suddenly, Starbuck took his hands away. Apollo gasped at the sudden lack of contact. Starbuck quickly kissed him. "Just a micron," he said. He removed his jacket and tunic.

Apollo looked at Starbuck for a few microns before removing his own tunic. Then he pulled his friend back into his arms and lay him down on the floor. Starbuck ran his hands up and down Apollo's body, revelling in the feel of bare skin under his fingers.

They ground their crotches together, their trousers adding delicious friction to the two cocks as they rubbed against each other. Soon they reached completion and lay spent in each others' arms.

"Thank you," Apollo murmured.

"For what?" Starbuck asked.

"For reminding me that we're still alive."

Neither of them said "I love you," though the words were on both of their minds.

A few sectons later...

Starbuck sat at the dinner table in Adama's quarters. Apollo rose to make an announcement.

"Serena has agreed to become my wife. We're going to be Sealed."

That was when Starbuck's world disintegrated.

He tried to hide it. He told himself that he and Apollo hadn't made any promises to each other. They'd just fracked. They'd comforted each other after the Destruction had killed half of Apollo's family and many of their friends. That was all it had been. A reminder that they were still alive, just as Apollo had said. He knew that warriors often got extremely horny after battle.

Apollo suspected something was up. He accused Starbuck of being jealous. Starbuck admitted as much, but that didn't stop him from spending every spare micron with Cassiopeia.

Then the other warriors came down with an alien virus, and both Starbuck and Apollo were kept busy training new pilots. They didn't have any time to discuss what was going on between them. One of those new pilots was Serena. She became Apollo's new wingmate.

When Starbuck found out that he'd been replaced as Apollo's wingmate, he went ballistic. He went charging out of the Officer's lounge with a full head of steam, heading for the launch bay.

"Where are you going?" Apollo demanded.

"On patrol!" Starbuck answered.

Apollo followed him. "But I'm scheduled for patrol, not you."

Starbuck pushed him up against a wall and kissed him hard. "Consider it a wedding present," he said.

While Apollo caught his breath, Starbuck took off in his viper.


Apollo was on Kobol when he heard a shout go up from the sentries: "Starbuck!"

Was it possible? Baltar had said that Starbuck was alive, but Apollo hadn't dared believe the man who had delivered the Colonies to the Cylons. Then he saw it for himself. Starbuck was walking into the camp. Apollo ran to meet him.

"Starbuck!" He threw his arms around the other man and hugged and kissed him.

Starbuck didn't know what to believe. Here Apollo was not only hugging him, but kissing him. Yet he was wearing a Sealing ring.

"Don't you know it's against regulations to hug a junior officer?" he asked. "Unless you mean it," he added.

"You don't know how much I mean it," Apollo whispered. "I thought you were dead!"

"What's a Cylon base-star to an old war dog like me?" Starbuck asked rhetorically.

Unfortunately, the mention of the base-star caused Apollo's mind to immediately turn back to his duty, and Starbuck didn't have a chance to ask him exactly how much he'd meant his affectionate greeting before they back fighting the Cylons.

A couple of sectons later...

Starbuck arrived at Apollo's quarters, wondering why his wingmate wanted to see him. When Apollo let him in, he looked around and asked, "Where's Boxey?"

"He's with Athena. I needed to be alone for awhile," Apollo answered.

"If you want to be alone, why did you call me?"

"I needed to be alone to think about some things. I'm finished thinking, and now I want to talk to you."

"What do you want to talk about?" Starbuck asked.


"Is there an 'us'?" Starbuck wanted to know.

"There should have been an us a long time ago," Apollo told him. "Do you know why it took me so long to kiss a girl for the first time?"

"Because you're uptight and prudish?" Starbuck asked.

Apollo shook his head. "It's because the only person I wanted to kiss was you."

"Then why the frack didn't you?" demanded his wingmate.

"I was scared. Terrified, in fact. And I was confused. You kissed me on our last day at the Academy, but then you said it was for Athena. You kissed me a few sectares later at my parents' house on Caprica, but before I could ask you what it meant, you went to be with Athena. You have to admit that you were sending me some pretty mixed messages."

Starbuck hung his head. "I was scared too. I wanted to be with you, but I had no clue how you felt about being with a man instead of a woman. That's why I kept teasing you about finding a girl to kiss. I hoped that you would contradict me and tell me that you didn't want to kiss any girls, that you wanted to kiss boys instead. Or not even boys, just me."

"Why did you go to be with Athena after kissing me on the front porch?" Apollo asked.

"I didn't go to "be" with her. I just went to say goodnight to her. That's all. I didn't sleep with her. I went back to my room and waited to see if you'd follow me. When you didn't, I figured I had my answer to how you felt about kissing men."

"The night of your engagement party, I didn't forget what happened," Apollo told him. "If I hadn't passed out, I would probably have slept with you, if you'd wanted to."

"That would have been an extremely bad idea, Pol. You were drunk, and we both would have regretted it. Not to mention that Thena would probably have come looking for me and caught us together."

"But you would have done it anyway," Apollo noted.

"Yes," Starbuck sighed. He was silent for a moment, then said, "What about our time in the observation dome the night of the Destruction? Why did you go and get engaged right after that?"

"Because I'm an idiot," Apollo answered. "Being with you was amazing. But I was so messed up that night I couldn't think straight. It wasn't the right time for me to make a decision about us. You never mentioned it after it happened, and I was both relieved and disappointed. Then Serena came along, and Boxey. I've always wanted to have children. Boxey wanted me to be his dad. Serena wanted me to marry her. My father wanted me to marry her. Even Athena wanted me to! I was getting pressure from everyone. I finally gave in. I almost broke it off more than once, but it never seemed to be the right time. Everyone got sick and we had to train the new pilots. Then you went missing, and I thought you were dead. I had no reason not to get married. I didn't know you were coming back. If I had, I never would have gone through with the Sealing."

Starbuck absorbed all this information before finally asking, "What happens now?"

"This happens," Apollo answered, and kissed him. "And I hope it happens a lot from now on."

"Only if you promise to save all your kisses for me," Starbuck told him.

"I promise."