"He reminds me of Zac, so much."

Adama starts and looks up.

His son is staring off to one side watching Boxey rush around the recreation room with two other children, both older than he is. There aren't many children living on the Galactica, far fewer than on the civilian ships that carry the refugees, so Boxey's choice of playmates is limited. Adama thinks that the last warship that can put itself between the refugees and harm isn't a good place for children and families. But that's a battle he can't win and one he isn't prepared even to start. Not now. Not now that it's a reality and it's Apollo's stepson in the frame.

"Zac?" Adama watches Boxey. Something in his chest contracts in grief and fear. "I don't see much resemblance."

"I don't mean to look at. Boxey's the image of Serina."

Adama nods. Boxey is indeed; the way that Apollo is a harder-edged version of Ila, and Athena is as indisputably Adama's daughter as Zac was his son, his own dark hair and blue eyes their legacy. Boxey has brown eyes, like Serina. That's a comfort. A comfort for Apollo, of course, that he has something of his dead wife.

"The energy, I mean." Apollo huffs out a laugh. "Nothing is safe. He can be more destructive than a Cylon task force. And just like Zac, he charms his way out of trouble afterwards."

It's odd how deep a jab that is. Adama feels it, rides it out the way he long ago learned to ride out the guilt at missing so much of his children's lives. He doesn't want to say: I don't know what you mean, because when Zac was six, like Boxey, I hadn't seen him for almost a yahren and I didn't see him again until he was eight . Because that is to admit that he lost his family long before the Destruction, and all the Cylons did was add a coda to the act, making it irretrievable. He's retrieving what he can with Apollo and Athena, but Ila and Zac are gone beyond his reach.

"Very like Zac." He concentrates on Boxey. The child is engaging and charming, bright and energetic and is, despite everything, happy. It's a quirk of personality that Boxey does indeed share with Zac. Inherited from his father, perhaps; something stronger than mere eye colour in the DNA, something that gives him resilience, that ability to play at life that Zac had in abundance until he was snuffed out at Cimtar.

He knows that Serina never told Apollo who Boxey's father was. Before their marriage, he'd wondered if that would change, if she'd reveal the secret that had so fascinated the gossip columnists six yahrens before. But maybe she didn't have time before the Cylon laser ended her life, a bride of less than two days; or maybe some secrets, held so long, lose their potency at last and become irrelevant, like old perfume leaving not even a ghost of a scent behind. Boxey has the father he wants in Apollo and nothing else matters to him, and maybe hadn't to Serina either.

He can't pretend to know what mattered to Serina. She was so very different to Ila, he has no point of reference.

He's sorry for the grief Serina's loss causes Apollo, but he feels no sorrow for himself. He'd known Serina for yahrens, off and on. One of the foremost investigative journalists in the Colonies, she'd interviewed him often. She'd even followed him out to the transfer station at Merek once, determined to get to him. She hadn't used that story in the end. She'd shown restraint then.

He wasn't certain of her motives for sealing with Apollo; still isn't. She had seemed... sly. It was in every sidelong glance Adama got from her, every word, and not even the circumstances in which they met again, the devastation of their entire civilisation, made any difference to the smug, arch manner with which she treated him. Her restraint was wearing thin, maybe. He found it wearisome to be in her company, and sorry as he is for Apollo—and the Lords alone know how much he grieves for Apollo's hurt—he finds Serina's absence to be a restful thing.

He sighs, knowing this is another secret to be held close in silence. "He's a nice child. I'm getting very fond of him."

Another one of those huffed out laughs. It's good to hear Apollo laugh again. "He knows how to get his grandfather wrapped around his little finger, all right. We're all in his thrall, the way we were in Zac's. You'd think they were related."

Adama knows he smiling, because he's forced the corners of his mouth to curve upwards. "Maybe all small boys are so alike they could be related."

"I was never that loud."

"No." Adama remembers his solemn, serious little son. He gets up. "Well, I'd better get back to the bridge. Tigh will be complaining as it is."

"His problem is that he doesn't have any grandsons to spoil."

Adama forces the corners of his mouth up a little further. "I'll give him half shares in mine, if you like. Thank Boxey for the treat of having tea with him, will you? I'll see you both later."

Lieutenant Starbuck passes Adama on the way in, throws him a half-salute. He joins Apollo. They're often together, those two. As Adama expects, Apollo lights up as he greets his wingman, his smile dazzling. That's another secret there, he suspects.

A centon, and Starbuck persuades Apollo to throw off the constraints of adulthood and chase after Boxey, who's shrieking with delight.

Adama watches, content to be a grandfather. He's very content. It's a secret never to be told, and now that sly Serina's dead, never will be.

Boxey really is remarkably like Zac.

Adama smiles as his youngest son is caught by his eldest.

There's a lot to be said for genetics, after all.







It is a wise father that knows his own child.
William Shakespeare