"Can I have a word with you for a centon?"  Starbuck asked, tugging at Apollo’s sleeve.

Apollo gave him an impatient look, but Starbuck was serious, more serious than he ever was, and he could almost see the instant when Apollo's impatience turned to concern.  Apollo glanced at the Emissary of the Khes and bowed slightly.  "Will you excuse me, Ma’am?"

She smiled and nodded, barely interrupting the conversation with Apollo's father and Sire Anton, to which Apollo had been listening politely.  Adama gave them both a sharp, warning look before turning all his attention to the Emissary. 

Apollo allowed Starbuck to pull him across to a quiet corner of the room.  Not that there were many quiet corners.  The Council was doing what the Council liked doing best: holding a reception for its Khesian guests to celebrate the signing of a trade treaty, with lots of food and drink.  The Council Hall on the Galactica was heaving with Councillors and notables, all in their best clothes.

"Well?" Apollo asked, pulling at the collar of his dress uniform. 

Starbuck knew how that felt.  Dress uniform was tight and uncomfortable, and he felt like an over-decorated maypole bedecked with ribbons and medals.  The discomfort had him frowning now that he didn’t have to keep his expression pleasant and interested for the sake of their Khesian guests.  Apollo was even less patient than he was about it.

"I’ve got a bit of a problem," Starbuck confided.

"Oh?" 

"Yeah.  It’s ..it’s kinda embarrassing."  Starbuck drew patterns on the floor with one foot, looking down, not meeting Apollo’s eyes.

The captain frowned.  "Oh?" he said again.

"It’s Rafe, the other Emissary.  He’s.. well... Captain, he’s being kinda suggestive."

Apollo stared.  "Suggestive?"

"You know.  He keeps stroking my arm and smiling at me."

Apollo choked.  "Is that all?" he asked, voice unsteady.

"No.  He’s looking into my eyes all the time.  Apollo, this is not funny!"  Starbuck looked up, glowering, seeing the amusement Apollo was struggling to hide.  "I know you’re Sire Shyness when it comes to seducing someone, but I’m not!  I’m used to doing it.  I know how to ask the question without actually coming out and saying it, and I tell you, Apollo, that guy has the hots for me.  He’s drooling for it.  Shit, he’d have my pants off me in here if he thought he could do it!"

He glanced over to the alien in question.  Rafe was looking right at them, a slight frown on his face. 

"Maybe he just wanted to feel the quality of your dress uniform," the Captain said, and sniggered into his glass of ambrosa, losing control for a micron.  "Maybe he wants one just like it."

"Very funny," snarled Starbuck in frustration.

"Of course, if you’re right, then it could be that he just likes pretty blue-eyed blondes.  And you do look pretty, dressed up with all those medals."

"Apollo!  I need help here, not snide remarks!"

Apollo nodded, and said, tone serious, "Starbuck, you know how important this trade agreement is to us.  Can’t you just be nice to the man?"

"Apollo!"

"I didn’t mean that you have to sleep with him, Starbuck, but now I come to think about it, it would be for the good of the Fleet, after all.  Not much of sacrifice for a warrior to make.  Especially one who’s so used to the arts of seduction."

Starbuck looked at the glass in Apollo’s hand with deep suspicion.  "How much of that have you had?"  he demanded.

"Enough to make me enjoy this," admitted Apollo, gleefully.  "Go back there and keep that man entertained - within reasonable limits, of course.  I’m sure with all your vaunted experience you know how to get out of this without causing offence.  A little flirting, flutter your eyelashes a bit and make sure we get that trade agreement.  And that’s an order, Lieutenant."

"Yes sir.  At once, sir.  Anything you say, sir.  And some bloody friend you’ve turned out to be, sir."

"Enjoy," Apollo said and patted him on the cheek as he turned to return to listening to his father’s conversation with the other Khesian Emissary.  "I know I will, watching it."

Starbuck glowered after him for a micron, then caught Rafe watching him and the glower transformed itself into a nervous little smile. 

"Oh lord," he breathed then relaxed in relief as a group of councillors bore down on Rafe and he slipped quietly aside to where the other senior warriors were gathered.  "For God’s sake give me a drink," he said imploringly, knowing that he probably only had a few centons respite before Rafe shook off the councillors and came looking for him again.

"Having fun?" asked Boomer.

"That guy’s trying to get inside my pants," Starbuck complained.  "And our beloved captain just laughed at me and told me to think about the trade agreement."

"As in close your eyes, bite the pillow and think about the trade agreement?"

"Oh thanks," Starbuck said sourly.  Rafe was approaching him, a smile on his face.  "Oh Lord.  Boomer, don’t go!"

"You know what they say, Bucko.  Three’s a crowd."  He took Starbuck’s glass from and said in a tone that just dripped adoration and hero-worship: "My hero!  Your sacrifice for the fleet will never be forgotten!"

"Boomer!"  said Starbuck, anguished, then turned to Rafe with that nervous little smile.  "Oh, hi!  Having a nice time?"

The tall alien looked very human.  There were few differences that Starbuck could detect.  The Khes were taller, slimly built, and a very beautiful race with skins that looked like they’d been burnished.  Rafe was a pretty fine specimen, Starbuck conceded, but he just wasn’t interested.

Starbuck backed off a step or two, until the back of his knees hit the edge of a table and he could retreat no further.

"I was enjoying myself in your company very much, Lieutenant, but I am now very concerned that I may have erred, and caused you some distress,"  Rafe looked worried, and he cast a glance in Apollo’s direction.  "It was foolish of me not to have realised that you would have a dominant already.  I hope that I have not caused him offence?"

"Uh?"

"Captain Apollo.  I hope that he’s not offended by my interest in you?"

"The Captain?   Offended?" 

"He is your dominant, isn’t he?"  Rafe asked, unsure now.  "Surely a submissive as attractive as you would be allied to someone as important as the Captain?  It was very short sighted of me not to have realised.  I should apologise to him."

Starbuck saw the light - and his salvation.  The man thought that he and Apollo… that he belonged to Apollo, that Apollo… Apollo, yet!… was the dominant partner, that he, Starbuck, was a submissive.  As if!

Starbuck looked shyly down at the floor.  "Oh no, he’s not angry or offended," he said, thinking of Apollo’s instructions to go in there and flirt.  "There’s really no need to apologise.  But I needed to be sure that he would approve of me speaking to you."

"Of course."  Rafe sounded relieved.  "And I hope that he realises that I will not pursue this any further?"

Starbuck remembering the instructions to flutter his eyelashes, duly fluttered.  "Of course," he said, and sighed, signalling resignation and regret.  "He’s flattered, really, that you’ve confirmed his good taste, but he does wish you to realise that I’m unavailable."

Rafe sighed too.  "I was anxious, Lieutenant.  He didn’t look very pleased with you."

"Well," Starbuck said with a little catch in his voice.  "He’s quite a firm disciplinarian, you know.  A little discipline can be ..be stimulating, but I wouldn’t want him to be really angry with me."  He beamed sunnily at the Khesian.  "And he’s so very beautiful himself, don’t you think?  I’m very lucky that he chose me."

"Very beautiful," Rafe agreed, turning to give Apollo an appraising look.  "But so obviously a dominant that I would not approach him and offer offence."  The alien smiled slightly.  "Although there are other possibilities.  Lieutenant Starbuck, you have been a most entertaining companion.  I thank you for your company."

"I am honoured, sir," Starbuck said and bowed.

The alien laughed and bowed himself, then flicking Starbuck carelessly on the cheek—For all the world as if I were about ten yahrens old! the lieutenant thought resentfully—he wandered away into the crowd.  Starbuck sighed in relief, watching him go and wondering if he was looking for another companion who wasn’t already spoken for.

"You escaped then," Boomer said from behind him, sounding disappointed.

"Yup"  Starbuck said, smug.  "He’s decided he doesn’t want to offend Apollo."

Boomer raised an eyebrow, and Starbuck started to giggle. 

"This is so funny, Boom-boom.  Apollo was really unsympathetic, just told me to be nice to the guy.  But Rafe got hold of the idea that me and Apollo were together - looks like same sex relationships are quite common with them, and they take a certain pattern.  One dominant, one submissive.  And because Apollo’s the captain, Rafe thinks that he’s the dominant one."

Boomer choked on his drink.

"Yeah.  As if I’d be submissive to anyone!"  Starbuck laughed.  "So all I had to do was play that up a bit, and Rafe backed right off."

"He sure did," said Boomer, looking over Starbuck’s shoulder and watching the scene unfold before him with a kind of fascinated horror.  "You did warn Apollo about this?"

"Not had time yet."

"Uh-huh.  No wonder he’s looking a mite surprised then." Boomer grinned.

Starbuck spun round to see Rafe leaning in to talk confidentially and quietly to Apollo, gesturing in his direction.  The expression on Apollo’s face when the Captain turned to look at him would have soured fresh milk.  Starbuck grinned at him weakly.  Apollo, looking like a man who’d just inadvertently walked into a mammoth-sized daggit turd, silently promised painful retribution and turned back to his conversation with Rafe.

Boomer, helpless with laughter, beckoned across the rest of Blue flight to share the joke.  Starbuck was not amused.

"He’ll kill me," he said miserably, watching as his friends howled with amusement.  "He’ll kill me."

"Can we watch?" Giles asked.  "You should have offered your all to Rafe, Bucko.  It’ll be less traumatic."

"What do you think he’ll do to me?" 

"Well, it’s quite some time since he had anyone scrubbing out the Viper decks,"  Greenbean suggested.

"With a toothbrush," Jolly added.

 Giles disagreed.  "Not painful enough.  More likely to be connected with something nasty in the turboflushes."

"Something nasty in the turboflushes?"  Starbuck thought about it and sighed.  "It’ll be worse."

Jolly smirked in a way that Starbuck found particularly unattractive.  "I think you’re about to find out."

Apollo put a hand on Starbuck’s shoulder, smiling nastily at Starbuck's yelp of surprise.  "I think, Lieutenant, that you and me need a little talk."

"I was desperate, Apollo.  He was really making a play for me, and he was the one who put it into my head.  Honest.  He just assumed..."

Apollo’s smile glittered dangerously.  "Really?  So it wasn’t your fault?"

Starbuck shook his head.

"Well, that’s not so good, Starbuck.  I might feel bad punishing you for something that isn’t your fault."

"But you’ll do it anyway," muttered Starbuck.

"It comes from being such a firm disciplinarian, apparently.  I can’t let that reputation slip.  You do understand, don’t you Lieutenant?"

Starbuck nodded.  Sadly.

"Good.  So we’ll start by making it crystal clear that if you ever do anything like that to me again, I’ll hang you out of an airlock by one of your extremities.  Is that understood?"

"I don’t expect we’re talking arms or legs here, are we, Captain?" asked Boomer, fanning the flames.

Starbuck cast Boomer a reproachful glance.

"We are not, Lieutenant Boomer.  Very perceptive of you.  Now then, Starbuck, the reception’s almost over and we’ll go and say goodbye to Emissary Rafe."

"We?"

"We.  Since we’re apparently a couple, we’ll act like one."

Starbuck groaned.

"And Starbuck, you’ll walk three paces behind me, is that understood?  And when you speak to me in front of Rafe—when I give you permission to speak, that is—you will treat me with the utmost respect and you will agree with everything I say.  Got that?"

"Apoll—"

"Got that?" Apollo repeated.

"Got it."  Starbuck looked at his sniggering friends, and sighed.  "Can’t I have something nasty in the turboflush instead, Apollo?  Your punishments are getting too humiliating."

"At least you recognise it as a punishment, Lieutenant.  There’s hope for you yet.  Shall we go?"

"Yes sir." 

Starbuck squared his shoulders, glowered at his so-called friends and walked across the room the requisite three paces behind Apollo.  At least in that position he could admire the way that Apollo moved, and the neat way in which Apollo’s arse filled the seat of his dress uniform… Starbuck gave a little gasp and felt his ears burn,  What was he thinking?  What in heaven’s name had the little game with Rafe put into his head?

"Emissary,"  Apollo said politely.  Starbuck stopped, still three paces behind him.  "We came to make our farewells."

Rafe smiled.  "I trust that the Lieutenant’s discipline will be no more than stimulating," he said giving Starbuck an unmistakable leer.

Starbuck sighed.  The things he got himself into...  He only hoped Apollo would, as usual, get him out of it.

"Oh, I can guarantee it will be stimulating," Apollo said, and added, "But no more than he deserves, of course."  He gestured Starbuck forward. 

"Don’t be too harsh on him, Captain,"  Rafe said.

"Oh I would never mark him.  He’s rather too pretty for that."  Apollo put a proprietorial hand on Starbuck’s shoulder as the lieutenant joined them. 

"Indeed, but no more than is fitting for you, Captain," Rafe agreed.

"Thank you, you’re very kind," Apollo said.  "But you understand my reluctance to share?"

Starbuck’s mouth dropped open, dismayed that Apollo would have even considered it.

"Of course.  We would not wish to distress the Lieutenant, since he is so completely devoted to you."

"Absolutely devoted," Apollo said, and turned that strange glittering smile onto Starbuck.  "Aren’t you, Starbuck?"

The hand on his shoulder squeezed painfully, and Starbuck looked down hurriedly to hide the wince.  He hoped that Rafe would think that he was merely bashful in the presence of his dominant and an admirer.

"Totally, Apollo." he said meekly

"And you love me very much, don’t you now?" .

"More than anything," he said, his tone fervent and not at all conveying just how much he disliked his best friend at that moment.

Rafe sighed, a disappointed alien.

"And what do you want me to do to you when we get home?"  Apollo asked.

Starbuck stared at him in disbelief.  Apollo couldn’t possibly expect him to humiliate himself to that degree, could he?  But Apollo’s green eyes were stern and allowed him no way out.  If he didn’t play Apollo’s little game, he really would end up dangling out of an airlock. 

"Well?" Apollo frowned.

"Anything you want to do, Apollo, you know that.  You choose, and I’ll do anything you want."

"Very compliant and submissive."  Rafe sighed again.  "I envy you, Captain.  If you reconsider my offer, please let me know."

"I will.  Thank you, Emissary, and goodnight.  Starbuck, it’s time we left.  Say goodnight."

"Goodnight, sir," Starbuck said, obedient.

Another series of polite bows, and he was following Apollo to the door, still three paces behind, with his ears burning with embarrassment, conscious of the regretful leer from Rafe, and the group of Blue pilots at the side table mostly doubled up with laughter at his expense. 

"Well, that’s my reputation shot to hell, Apollo," he grumbled as the Council Hall door closed behind them, and he scurried to catch the Captain up.

"I didn’t say you could speak or join me," Apollo stopped and frowned at him.  "Return to your place."

"Apollo!  A joke’s a joke but this is going too far."

"I won’t tell you again, Lieutenant."

Starbuck stared at him, then suddenly started grinning, feeling quite ridiculously happy.  It was rather nice to have Apollo this assertive.  "Okay," he said amenably, falling in behind again.  "Where are we going?"

"My quarters, Lieutenant.  Where else?"

"Fine," Starbuck murmured, and resumed the pleasant occupation of watching Apollo’s arse move as the Captain walked, in ominous silence, to the turbo lift.  He leaned up against the wall of the lift and stared at Apollo’s stern face.  Rafe was right - or had Starbuck said it first?  Apollo was beautiful.

"Are you really mad at me?"  he asked when Apollo was keying in his security code.

"You have no idea, Lieutenant."  Apollo gestured him into the room.

"I didn’t meant to embarrass you, you know.  And it was his assumption that you and me were lovers, I didn’t tell him."

"Uh-huh."  Apollo turned and locked the door and leant against it, eyes on the lieutenant.  He looked Starbuck up and down, the Lieutenant squirming uncomfortably.

"Apollo…"

"I think you’d better strip," Apollo said, inexorable.  "I don’t see you being too submissive yet, Lieutenant.  Maybe you’ll do better naked."

"And what would you do if I did?"  Starbuck looked shocked.  He was surprised that Apollo was keeping this going for so long.

"Just do it, Starbuck."

Starbuck looked into a pair of green eyes that were suddenly very, very close.  "‘Pollo…"

"Starbuck, I just perjured myself for you.  I just told the Khesian ambassador, whose help we need if half our people aren’t to starve, that he couldn’t take you to bed and pound your arse into jelly because that was my privilege, not his."  Apollo looked grim.  "If he’d taken offence, realised that I was lying, just what would that have done to the trade treaty do you think?  I just saved your arse, Starbuck and I took a bloody big risk to do it."

"And I’m very grateful, Apollo, really I—"

"He was even willing to share, Starbuck.  And do you know what I had to tell him?  That despite the roles that we played out, I couldn’t share you.  Not because I was jealous, but because I loved you and that we had a completely monogamous relationship."

"I owe you, Apollo, I know that.."

"So don’t you think that the least I deserve is the opportunity to make that the truth?"

"A-pol-o!" 

"So strip, Starbuck.  Right now."

Starbuck stared at him.  All these yahrens he thought he knew Apollo, and this.. this totally dominating, fascinating man was hiding inside all this time?  Gods but it was sexy.  Almost in a dream, he shrugged out of his dress tunic.

"Nice," said Apollo, smiling at last.

"You’ve seen it all before," Starbuck said, unaccountably taken with a fit of modesty.  "I mean, whenever we’ve played Triad."

"But then it didn’t belong to me.  Keep going, Starbuck."  Apollo walked in a little circle around him, watching avidly as Starbuck got down to his shorts.

"Joke over?" Starbuck asked.

Apollo was behind him.  He stepped forward, and slid both hands under the waistband of Starbuck’s shorts, touching that very appendage that had been threatened with airlock-tethering.  Starbuck, hard as a rock with excitement and apprehension, just gasped and groaned.  Any thought of protest was very far from his mind.  Parsecs away.

"Joke just beginning, Starbuck."  Apollo’s hands worked busily, his mouth on the nape of Starbuck’s neck.  "Believe me, just beginning."

Starbuck twisted around to get his mouth near Apollo’s, kissing him for the first time ever.  Apollo tasted wonderful, of rich food and ambrosa, and his tongue, forcing its way into Starbuck’s mouth, was hot and demanding. 

"Oh Lord," Starbuck said faintly. 

He that he had to do something about this, and do it fast.  This was getting way out of hand.  He really had to do something.  What he did, surprised him.  He pushed his shorts down over his hips and kicked them away, leaning forward slightly to push his buttocks into the curve of Apollo’s groin.  He could feel Apollo’s erection, rubbing in the crack between his cheeks, and he moaned again, suddenly longing to feel that hard cock inside him, longing to feel Apollo thrusting into him.

"Help me get out of these," Apollo said hoarsely in his ear, taking one hand away from Starbuck’s cock to pull at his own clothes.

Starbuck needed no urging.  He twisted in Apollo’s grip to pull the captain’s tunic away.  He licked his lips slightly before undoing Apollo’s pants, looking up almost shyly to make sure Apollo was happy with it.  Apollo was smiling, and Starbuck quickly pushed down the his pants.

"Can I?"  He gestured to the hard cock that was thrusting up at him.

"Oh I expect it, Starbuck," Apollo said, and Starbuck smiled at him happily before ducking his head to take Apollo into his mouth. 

Apollo groaned softly.  Starbuck licked at the slit of Apollo's cock, already seeping with pre-cum, flicking his tongue against the sensitive head and making Apollo tremble.  Apollo reached forward to get his hands on Starbuck’s arse again, rubbing a finger around Starbuck’s opening.  Starbuck gasped and wriggled invitingly, but didn’t take his mouth away until Apollo pulled gently but insistently on his hair.

"I want you, Starbuck," Apollo said.

Starbuck nodded complete agreement.  "Whatever you want, Apollo.  But we’ve no lube."

Apollo’s eyes darkened, then he grinned, and without moving stretched as far he as he could.  The counter of his tiny kitchen area was to his right, and he could just reach the oil bottle.

"Best cooking oil," he said, making it sound like an offer. 

"It’ll do,"  Starbuck took the oil from him and poured some into his palm.  He anointed Apollo’s cock with it, smoothing the oil down over the flared head that had tasted so wonderful when he’d been tonguing it.

"Hands and knees, Starbuck," Apollo said.

Starbuck kissed him quickly and dropped down, offering Apollo his arse.  Apollo knelt behind him, dribbling oil over the fingers of his right hand.  He got a finger in. pushing steadily against the resistance, moving his finger in little circular movements that had Starbuck groaning and moving his body back to try and get as much of Apollo’s finger in as possible.

"How’s that?" he asked, leaning forward to kiss Starbuck’s back and shoulders.

"Nice."

"More?"

Starbuck nodded, wriggling as Apollo got in a second finger, then a third, his whole body spasming as Apollo’s wicked, wicked fingers found his prostate.

"Apollo…"

"Now?"

"Please,"  Starbuck said.

He sighed gustily as Apollo’s fingers left him, and an instant later he felt the blunt head of his new lover’s cock pushing at his anus.  He willed himself to relax, to accept the little stab of pain as his opening was breached, revelling in the feeling of Apollo slowly pushing up into him, slowly filling him.  It had been quite some time since he’d last had a man, and it took some concentration to accept Apollo, to let him in without resistance.  He felt Apollo’s groin mould itself around his buttocks, and knew that he had all of Apollo inside him.  Apollo leaned down so that his chest hair tickled Starbuck’s back lightly.

"What do you want, Starbuck?"  Apollo asked in his ear.

"Anything you like, but please fuck me.  Please fuck me." 

"I’m going to." Apollo drew back, then thrust forward, impaling Starbuck again and hitting his prostate on the up-stroke.

Starbuck gasped and on the next thrust caught Apollo’s rhythm, pushing back as Apollo thrust forward to get as much of Apollo inside him as possible, and to increase the force of the hits on his prostate.  Apollo reached around him and began to jack him off at the same speed, pulling back on Starbuck as Apollo moved forward.  For a few centons, Apollo moved slowly and powerfully, letting Starbuck get used to the feel of him inside him, then picked up the pace, moving faster and faster until they were both crying out, and then Apollo was holding Starbuck hard around the waist, pushing in as hard as he could as he came.  Starbuck choked, wriggled hard against the cock inside his backside, and came himself.

He collapsed into a heap on Apollo’s floor, Apollo still inside him, staying with him so that he was sandwiched between Apollo’s warm body and the carpet.  He could hear Apollo’s ragged, uneven breathing, soft and warm against his ear.

It was a long time before either of them spoke.  They lay wrapped together until Apollo slid slowly out, unable to hold it any further.

"Lord," Apollo said softly.  "What have we done?"

Starbuck wriggled over onto his back and pulled Apollo in close and tight. "Something we maybe should have done years ago.  You know, Maybe you didn’t lie to the Emissary so much.  I didn’t anyway."

"Which bit?"

"You know.  The liking you bit. I think I do, Apollo."

Apollo smiled.  "Good.  That’s what I like to hear from a good compliant submissive."

"And if I’m not good and compliant?"  Starbuck asked anxiously.

"I’d have to take action.  We'd have do repeat this discipline, all over again."

Starbuck smiled.  "Anything you say, Apollo.  And anything you want."  He sighed and leaned in for a long, Apollo-tasting kiss.  "And anytime, oh master.  Any time at all."