There's just Starbuck's voice in the dark and the sense that there's someone near; that primeval sense of warmth and unseen movement and terror that catches your breath and makes your palms sweat, that has children ducking under the covers for safety, the blood thrumming inside you saying threat! threat! threat!  Apollo can't see anything, but the primeval sense sharpens and warns, and Starbuck's so close that he can feel the heat and smell the faint tang of fumerello and the fainter tang of sweat overlaid with soap.  It's a nice smell.  Starbuck's breath ghosts across Apollo's ear, warm and damp.  It makes him shiver and it's all he can do to suppress the reflex and not jerk back out of reach.

Apollo doesn't want to be out of reach. 

"No," he says.

"I just wondered."  The warm breath moves down Apollo's neck, so he knows that Starbuck's ducking his head.  "It's a bit claustrophic in here."

"If I was scared of small spaces, Starbuck, I'd not be flying Vipers for a living."

"Shame.  I've got some sure-fire ways of curing claustrophobia."

"I'll bet," says Apollo, dryly.

There's a choke of laughter and Apollo shivers again; it's a familiar sound made strange by the cold darkness.  Starbuck's moving, Apollo can tell, coming to stand in front of him and even though he can't see him, he turns his head to track the movement, straining to see.  But the darkness is absolute.  Apollo can't tell how Starbuck's moving around so easily.  Apollo knows this place isn’t very big and that Starbuck must have one hand out to feel his way around the walls, but still...

Five centons earlier they'd been on their way up to the Bridge from the flightdeck when the turbolift had come to a sudden and bone-jarring dead stop.  If Starbuck hadn't been braced against one corner and caught him, Apollo would have gone flying.  As it was, they got themselves all tangled up in Starbuck's corner, the breath knocked out of them by the impact.

Now they're trapped somewhere between decks, all the power gone.  There isn't even emergency lighting and the comms are shot.  The lift is small, enclosed and black as the Sire of Hades' waistcoat.  Apollo waves a hand in front of his face.  He can feel the draught as the air moves but he can't see a thing, not even the shadow of a shade.

It makes him jump when Starbuck puts a hand on his neck, though he tries to hide it.  He wasn't expecting it, that's all.  Starbuck doesn't grope until he finds the right spot, either.  His hand lands square to cup Apollo's neck below his left ear, the thumb moving in lazy strokes up and down the edge of Apollo's jaw just touching the corner of his mouth on each down-stroke.  Starbuck's fingers play with the hair at the nape of Apollo's neck.  His hand feels big and warm, and Apollo pushes against it, like a cat arching into a caress.

Starbuck leans in close and his hot breath moves over Apollo's cheek.  "I think we’re stuck, he says.  "In here.  Together.  No saying how long it'll be before they get us out."

"I know."

"They may not even know we're here," he says, but it's more hopeful than likely.  They'll have picked up the mechanical failure on the Bridge and the Galactica's techs would already be on their way.

"I know."

"It's likely some glitch left over from the An-Nath battle," says Starbuck, and Apollo's mind flicks briefly back to the firefight three days before when First Fleet turned back another Cylon incursion into Colonial space, near the Ar-Nath fixed base.  It's likely that Starbuck's right; the Galactica had taken a couple of hard hits and even though nothing vital had been damaged, her systems had taken something of a beating.  It isn't that surprising that something has shorted out.

"I know that, too."

"You know an awful lot," says Starbuck, and his mouth is so close now that Apollo can feel his lips moving. 

"I'm a very intelligent man," says Apollo, mouth shaping the words against Starbuck's.  Apollo feels it when Starbuck's lips curve up into a smile, and his fingers are still pressing small circles into the back of Apollo's neck and Starbuck's thumb is stroking over his cheekbone.

"But I can out-do you when it comes to native cunning," he says, and kisses Apollo.

Apollo stops talking.  Partly because that's not exactly news to him and so doesn't deserve a retort, partly because Starbuck has his tongue half-way down Apollo's throat and he's far too well brought up to talk with his mouth full, but mostly because he loves kissing Starbuck and it's something that merits all his attention.  Apollo is an efficient, economical soul who firmly believes that you just don't waste quality time like this with chit-chat.

He has a clever, clever mouth, does Starbuck.  Often that clever mouth gets him into trouble with Colonel Tigh or with the Commander, both of whom are strict disciplinarians.  That clever mouth can get him into trouble with Apollo, too, but where Starbuck's concerned, Apollo's sense of discipline takes an unexpectedly hedonistic turn.  He's still strict about it, but rather than put Starbuck on report. he's far more likely to order him into a storage closet somewhere so that clever mouth can make amends.  Starbuck's very good at making amends, and Apollo's noticed that the lieutenant has a very well-developed sense of honour—once a fault is pointed out to him, Starbuck is usually very keen to repent and make reparation.  Often on his knees.

He has Apollo's flight tunic undone almost before Apollo realises it.  Apollo shivers when the hand on his neck increases its pressure and slides down across his collarbone and over his chest, pressing hard on the left nipple as it passes.  Starbuck lets his hand slide over Apollo's belly and down into his pants.

"Starbuck!" says Apollo, agonised. 

Because he wants this.  He wants Starbuck to ease the pants down until he frees Apollo's cock;  he wants to feel Starbuck's hands, cool on his backside, smoothing over him.  He wants to feel Starbuck's tongue licking his cock from root to head; he wants Starbuck's hot clever mouth to close over it and Starbuck's equally clever fingers pushing up into him, finger fucking him and sucking him until he comes and comes and comes.

If ever Apollo feels doubts about what he and Starbuck are doing together, if ever he worries about what he'd do if anyone found out about them, if ever he dreads that (the Lords forfend!) his father found out about them, all Starbuck has to do is run his hot, wet tongue up and over Apollo's cock and Apollo forgets everything—the risks, the dangers, the consequences.  Nothing but Starbuck matters. 

It's an self-indulgent recklessness he can't afford right now.  Not now, not with the Lords alone knew how many techs working on the turbolift system, not when the lights could flicker on and the lift could surge upward without warning, without time for them to stop and make everything safe, to try and look as if they've just been sitting quietly in the dark waiting to be rescued and not looked so wrecked that they'd signal to anyone who looks at them that they've been whiling away the time fucking.  That would be disastrous.  There'd be no escape from that.

"Better not," he says, regretfully, fisting his hands into Starbuck's padded jacket; his treacherous hands that are saying more and now and oh god, Starbuck and he has to twist them into the thick fabric to stop them from betraying him.  "Better not."

"C'mon, Apollo!  This is tailor made for us.  No-one can walk in on us here."

"Except Jordan and a dozen techs.  No, Starbuck.  We can't.  We can't be trapped in here with…"—he laughs suddenly although it's little more than a hitched breath to cover his disappointment—"with our pants down."

Starbuck whines.

"Sorry," says Apollo.

Starbuck moves his hand, and trails it back up Apollo's chest to rest against his neck again.  "You are no fun, you know that, Captain?"

"Yeah, and I'd rather stay a Captain, thank you very much."  Reluctantly, Apollo refastens his tunic. 

Starbuck makes an impatient puhing sound, sighing out the hot breath that microns before was warm against Apollo's skin.  He whines some more.  "Can't we at least make out?"

Starbuck does wistful pretty well and Apollo nearly always caves when he does it, being a sucker for big blue eyes and a down-turned mouth even when it's actually too damned dark to see them.  As it happens, it doesn't take much for Apollo to cave this time.  He doesn't have any problem at all kissing Starbuck for the next however-long-it-takes to get rescued.  No problem at all.  Except, that is, the slight problem of knowing that when he does get rescued he's going to very grateful for the fact that his flight-suit pants are a little loose on him and made of nice, thick fabric.  Those pants are going to be hiding a multitude of sins.

"Well, I suppose that's something," mutters Starbuck, when Apollo acquiesces by reaching out in the dark and pulling Starbuck up close.

Starbuck talks too much, really, thinks Apollo, and shuts him up.

Apollo likes making out with Starbuck.  Normally, it's just the first course and leads to strenuous exercise and grumpy arguments about who gets to sleep in the wet spot.  But even with that treat deferred, he likes the way that when Starbuck stops whining about not fucking, he settles into some serious, serious kissing.

Starbuck licks his way into kisses.  He licks up the line of Apollo's jaw almost to his ear, then licks his way back down again, around the curve of his chin and up the other side.  By the time he's licked his way back to Apollo's mouth, Apollo's the one who's whining.  He fists his hands back in Starbuck's jacket and pulls him in very close, not caring that they're betraying him with want and need and mine, and opens his mouth to suck in Starbuck's busy, talented tongue.

He could happily spend centars doing this.

Unfortunately, he doesn't get more than a few centons.  The metallic scraping and squealing gives them enough warning to leap apart, so that when Jordan prises open the hatch in the roof and shines in a torch bright enough to make Apollo's eyes water, they're standing with a couple of feet of air between them and Apollo's thinking hard about cold showers and rice pudding and the Cylon Imperious Leader, naked.

"Have you out of there in no time," says Jordan cheerfully.

Apollo wipes his mouth and grins, reaching up to accept the torch Jordan hands him before disappearing again.  "Cheers."  He makes sure to keep the torch beam pointing upwards, away from anything at waist level or below.  The loose pants will be helped to do their job of concealment if everything's kept in shadow for a bit.  He glances at Starbuck.

Starbuck's flushed.  His lips look a little swollen and Apollo hopes that Jordan's 'no time' at least is enough time to let things subside a bit.  Starbuck's also discontented.  "Well, that was a waste of a perfectly good being-trapped-in-a-lift moment," he says, cross, but keeping his voice down to a whisper.

"There wasn't time for anything," says Apollo, just as quietly, thinking about how quickly Jordan had appeared and a cold feeling gathers in his gut at the thought of what would have happened if he'd given in.

"I can be very speedy when I'm motivated.  I was up for a quickie."  Starbuck slips a hand into his pants and rearranges things.  "Well up for one," he notes, with the air of a man cheated.

"Such a romantic."  Apollo thinks about it, and frowns.  "You know you said you had more native cunning than me?"

"Yeah," says Starbuck, sounding cautious.

"Did you plan this?"  Apollo waves a hand at the lift.  "Because if you did, I'm going to have to kill you over and over until you die."

Starbuck's drooping mouth curves upwards.  "Promise?" he asks, archly, finding a double entendre in anything, apparently, even threats of death.

"Did you?"

Starbuck looks shifty.  "Maybe," he says.  "At least, I would've if I knew how."  He looks very shifty indeed, and even nervous.  Starbuck never looks nervous.  Starbuck doesn't do nervous.  "I may not be romantic, Apollo, but I wouldn't get trapped in a broken-down lift with anyone else."

Apollo stares.  This is a big thing Starbuck just said.  This is enormous.  This is as big as the Galactica enormous.  Because this is as close to a declaration as he'll ever get with Starbuck and dammit, it's downright romantic.  He's never had anyone say that they wanted to be trapped in lifts with him before and it makes something in his chest expand and hurt.  In a good way.  Suddenly, he can't stop smiling.  "Okay."  He thinks about it a bit more and smiles a bit more.  "Call by my quarters later?  We can try your cure for claustrophobia."

Starbuck takes a step to close the gap between them, standing shoulder to shoulder.  He licks his lips.  "Glad to help out, Captain."

Apollo flicks a little sideways glance at him.  He's looking up at the hatch, waiting for Jordan to get them out, and his face is lit by the torchlight, bright against the shadows.  Apollo's breath catches.  Starbuck is really very beautiful

"It wasn't a bad way to spend time trapped in a broken-down lift," says Apollo, after a moment of looking his fill.  "I wouldn't get trapped with anyone else either."

"I know," says Starbuck, and smiles.

March 2008