“How far do you think we’ve come?” asked Starbuck.

Apollo glanced at the chronometer on his right wrist, then at the scanner.  His lips moved silently as he made the calculation.

“Well,” he said after a centon or two.  “In the five centons since you last asked me, I reckon we might have drifted another fifty miles or so.  Why don’t you do your own calculations?”

“I’m lousy at maths, remember?,” said Starbuck, and sighed.  “I only got through the Academy because you did all my maths assignments.  Besides, it gives us something to talk about.  So, how long do you think it’ll take us to catch up with the Fleet?”

“At our present rate of progress, about six million yahrens.  Give or take a century or two.”  Apollo put both feet up onto the shuttle control console and leaned back in his chair.

Starbuck nodded, sighed again.  “They’ll have missed us by then,” he said hopefully.  “The Commander will have looked at his chronometer, made a tut-tutting noise, and told Tigh to put us on report for being a tad late.”  A slight pause, then: “Reckon they’ll come and look for us?”

“They’d damn well better, or I’ll have the whole OC on report for dereliction of duty.”

Starbuck looked at him and grinned.  “Sheesh, but you’re bad tempered.  Did  you get special training in bad tempered-ness when you made Captain?”

“Nope.  It’s a natural talent,” said Apollo immodestly.  “I’ve always been able to  do it.” 

He put his feet on the floor again, leaned forward and once more tried to get the shuttle’s engines to fire.  Nothing.  Apollo sighed and put his feet back up on the console.  It wasn’t much use for anything else.

Halfway back to the Fleet from a first-contact trading mission in the next star system, the shuttle’s engines had failed as they made their return with a sample cargo.  Still well out of communications range, they were drifting on impulse power.  They had a cargo bay full of interesting minerals, electronics, foodstuffs and other useful items and no way to get it back to the Galactica.  No way to get themselves back either.

“So,” said Starbuck.  “What’ll we do to pass the time while we wait?”

Apollo shrugged. 

Starbuck was struck with a sudden unwelcome thought.  “You won’t sing, will you?” he asked anxiously.

Apollo looked slightly puzzled.  “I wasn’t planning on it, no.”

“Good.  You couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket if you used both hands.  That’s always one of the worst things about going on long patrol with you, those times you decide to relieve the monotony in song.  Awful.”  Starbuck shuddered artistically.

“Well, thank you!” said Apollo, offended.  “Anything else about me that you don’t like?  You might as well tell me, Starbuck.  It’ll help pass the time.”

“It’ll help pass the next century or so.” Starbuck agreed.  “Okay.  What don’t I like about you?  You can be awfully stuffy, Apollo.”

“Stuffy?!”

“Yeah, you know.  That Caprican code of honour and duty that your Dad filled your young head with when you were a boy.  Ruined you, he did.  You’d be much better off without honour and a conscience.  More fun, too.”

“So I’m stuffy and not a lot of fun to be around, am I?  So why have you stuck with me for so long?”  Apollo sounded decidedly rattled.

“Damned if I know,” Starbuck said cheerfully.  He followed Apollo’s example and stuck his feet up on the controls.

Apollo made the sound usually written as “Hmmph!”, and stared resolutely out of the viewport at the stars ahead.

Starbuck broke a long silence.  “You know, we might not make it back.”

“The thought had crossed my mind,” Apollo unbent enough to admit.

“We’ve got life support and food enough for sectons.  This could be awfully tedious, Apollo.”

“If it’s a choice between tedium and you spending our last days insulting me, I’ll take the tedium.”

“I was thinking more that we could just talk.”  Starbuck chuckled suddenly.  “I remember on Carillon, Athena telling me that it was the perfect opportunity for us to be open and honest with each other.”

“I always said she was naïve,” said Apollo said, but the barb was aimed at Starbuck.

“Gratuitous - but I have to say, accurate.  I’m not exactly noted for fidelity with the ladies.  You on for playing a little game, Apollo?”

“What sort?” asked the captain with a suspicion born of long and painful experience with the lieutenant’s “little games”.

“I was thinking a kind of true or false.  We ask each other questions, and we’ve got to answer with the truth.”

“Starbuck, you wouldn’t recognise the truth if it was wrapped around your neck and choking you.”

“And now who’s being insulting?” asked Starbuck, hurt.

Apollo scowled, wondering why it was Starbuck always managed to make him feel guilty, even when the lieutenant manifestly deserved whatever it was Apollo had said.  But, as ever, he felt compelled to be conciliatory, knowing all the while that he was being ruthlessly manipulated.

“Do I get multiple choice on the answers?” he asked.

“No way.  Absolute truth.  And, Apollo, we’re on our honour to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, no matter what the question, right?”

“Not fair - you know I will.  I’m stuffy, remember?”  Apollo forbore to even imply that while he’d play by the rules, he suspected Starbuck would rig the game.

“I know that once you’ve given your word, you’ll keep to it,” Starbuck said slyly.  “You on?”

Apollo sighed in resignation.  “All right.  But only because it’s likely to have us at each other’s throats and save us from long and lingering deaths.”

“Okay,” Starbuck said happily.  “I go first.  Apollo, won’t you admit you’re just the tiniest bit stuffy?”

“I have a strong sense of responsibility,” Apollo said stonily.  “Something you lack.”

“You mean that you’re stuffy and pompous and have no sense of humour!” said Starbuck triumphantly.

“Pompous!”  Apollo was truly wounded by that.

“It’s been noted, on occasion.  But I lied about you having no sense of humour.  Sometimes you seem too worn down by that sense of responsibility to remember about it, though.  You might think about that.”

“Hmmph” said Apollo again.

“Your turn,” Starbuck said invitingly.

Apollo scowled at him.  “All right.”  He thought for a moment.  “We’ll start off with an easy one, just to get you into the habit of telling the truth - ”

“See?  I knew you had a sense of humour under there somewhere.”

“Which one will get you, Starbuck?  Cassie or Athena?”

“Neither,” Starbuck said promptly.

“Am I allowed supplementary questions?  Same rules?”  And at Starbuck’s nod,  Apollo asked curiously.  “Why?  I thought that you and Cassie were getting really close.”

Starbuck looked momentarily uncomfortable.  “Well, she can be pretty hot, you know?  But she’s taking it way too seriously for me.  She has that Sealing Ceremony gleam in her eye like the one that Athena used to get.  Scares the hell out of me.  And, besides, I don’t really love either of them, not the way they want.  So neither lady, lovely as they both are, wins the prize.  My turn?”

Apollo nodded, feeling a little surge of satisfaction at the answer he’d got.

“Now they get harder,” Starbuck said.  “Are you scared, Apollo?”

“Of dying?”  Apollo looked out of the viewport for a centon.  “Yeah, I’m scared.  I’m worried about Boxey even though I know Dad will take care of him, and I don’t want to die and miss seeing him grow up.”  He didn’t see the sudden guilty look on Starbuck’s face.  “I’d planned on dying in about two hundred yahrens of advanced old age.”

“Full deathbed scene?”

“Absolutely!  I was planning on being surrounded by children, grandchildren and lots of great grandchildren, all hanging on the patriarch’s last wise words.”

“Ah, keeping them guessing about the will, eh?  Well, instead we die young and beautiful.”

“I’d rather die wizened as a prune, with even my wrinkles having wrinkles, if it’s all the same to you, Starbuck.”

“At least we go together.”  Starbuck said softly, and then quickly, before Apollo could accuse him of sentimentality.  “Your turn.”

Apollo thought about it for a centon, then grinned.  “Starbuck, do you remember that game on the Rising Star six sectars ago where you won every last cubit off me?”

“Yeah,” said Starbuck warily.

“You cheated, didn’t you?  I wouldn’t lend you the money so you could double date Thenie and Cassie, and you cheated.”

“I do not cheat!” protested Starbuck hotly.

“Starbuck!”

The lieutenant squirmed.  “Well, I might have manipulated the cards a bit,” he said reluctantly.

“I knew it!  If we get out of here, I want every penny back,  d’you hear?”

“I hear, and if I had the money I’d pay you.  Can’t say fairer than that, now can I?”

“And your solemn promise that you’ll never cheat me again.”

“I promise.”  said Starbuck promptly.

“Starbuck!  Uncross your fingers immediately and make that promise again - you cheat!”  Green eyes glared indignantly at Starbuck.

“See?  You *are* stuffy!”  Starbuck uncrossed his fingers and made the promise again, properly this time.

Apollo nodded, satisfied.  “All right.  Your turn.”

Starbuck smiled to himself.  This was it.  “Have you ever had sex with a man?”

Apollo choked and almost fell out of his chair.  “What?” he managed.

“You heard me.  Have you ever had sex with a man?”

Apollo glared at him, astounded.  He might have known that Starbuck would first of all put him on his honour and then set him up for something.  What the hell was Starbuck up to?  Okay.  If he had to tell the truth, he’d tell it. 

“Well, actually Starbuck, yes, I have.”

It was Starbuck’s turn to choke.  “What do you mean, yes?”

“The opposite of no,” said Apollo, watching Starbuck from narrowed eyes.  The answer had obviously not been the one he was expecting.  Just what was the devious little lieutenant up to?

“But you never told me?!”  Starbuck was outraged.  “You tell me everything!  Why didn’t you ever tell me that?”

“Does it matter?” Apollo said, puzzled by Starbuck’s vehemence.

“Of course it bloody well matters!  I thought you trusted me!  I could have died thinking that you trusted me and I’d be wrong.”

“I do trust you,” Apollo said.  “It was a long time ago.”

“Who was it?”

“You didn’t know him.”

“That’s evasion,” said Starbuck, hotly.  “Who was he?”

Apollo sighed, kicking himself for letting Starbuck manoeuvre him into this, and wondering where this silly game was leading.  “Remember our last yahren at the Academy, we went into town to celebrate Boomer’s birthday and ended up in that gay bar by accident?”

Starbuck nodded.  “Loud music, cheap booze and pretty boys.  We were the prettiest, I recall.  We were fending off offers all night.  Hell, we even stuck together going to the turboflush, because when Boomer went on his own he aged ten yahrens seeing that much sex taking place in one small public lavatory.” 

He seemed to have regained his equanimity, Apollo noticed.  Maybe it was thinking about how pretty he was and remembering how many offers he’d had that night.

“Yeah, well a few days later I went back on my own.  You were out with some girl somewhere and Boomer was busy, so I went back.  And this time I didn’t fend off the offers.”

“Confession is good for the soul,” said Starbuck, but he was patently shocked.

“Well, there was a guy there, called Grant.  Older than me, easily ten yahrens older than me.  I was just twenty, remember.  He bought me a drink, we had a dance -”

“You?  Dancing?”

“And what’s so odd about that?”

“Nothing,” said Starbuck hurriedly.  “Except it’s on par with your singing.  Go on.”

“You need me to draw pictures?  They had rooms there, that you could hire by the centar.  We made use of one of them.”  Apollo was looking distinctly embarrassed now, taking in Starbuck’s incredulous stare.  “After that I met him as often as I could - I even managed to get a few all night passes to be with him.  Being top of the class helped with that.”

“But how did I miss it?”

“Me being top of the class?   You didn’t.  You were always jealous about it”

“I was not!” said Starbuck, unconvincingly.  “And you know exactly what I mean!  How come I didn’t see the grin on your face, for one thing?”

He sounded genuinely put out, and Apollo was quick to soothe ruffled feathers.  “Starbuck, sometimes you barely noticed whether I was there or not.  You were having the hottest affair with that first yahren cadet.  You know, the blonde from Pisces.  What was her name?”

“You tell me,” Starbuck said with a shrug.  “I had a lot of hot affairs.”

“Yeah, well that’s why you didn’t notice what I was up to.  You spent most nights in her quarters, not ours.  It only lasted with me and Grant for a couple of sectars anyway.”

“Why did it end?”  Starbuck asked, fascinated.

Apollo shrugged.  “He wanted more than I could give him.  He was nice, and I liked him, and the sex was amazing, but I wasn’t going to give up my career for him and that’s what he wanted.  He wasn’t the one I really wanted.  I suppose I used him in a way.”

Starbuck stared at him thoughtfully.  “Why?  I’d got you figured for being pretty straight.”

“I had an itch that needed scratching,” Apollo said seriously.  “I actually wanted someone else.  And I know exactly what I was like at twenty, Starbuck.  So innocent and green I shone in the dark.  I thought that if I gained a little…experience, shall we say, I’d be a more attractive proposition.”

“But?”

“But he was only interested in girls, and never looked at me that way.  End of story.  After Grant, there were mainly girls, and one more guy, but that was a one night stand and we were both drunk as owls.  I’m not even sure we managed any sex, we were so far gone.”  Apollo   grinned at him.  “See, I’m not as stuffy as you think.”

Starbuck frowned, genuinely astonished that Apollo could have taken this little walk on the wild side and never told him about it, and genuinely sorry that he hadn’t known at the time.

“My turn to ask?” asked Apollo.

Starbuck nodded glumly, seeing his plans fall away into dust.  He wondered how he was going to extricate himself from this one without angering Apollo so much that the Captain would never speak to him again.

“Why did you ask me that, Starbuck?”

Starbuck jumped nervously, and went slightly pink.  “Shock value?” he offered tentatively.

“And that’s all?”

Starbuck was squirming again.  “Do I have to answer?”

“This is your game.  You made the rules,”  Apollo pointed out.  “I’ve played fair so far.”

“Actually, you’re *bloody* stuffy,” Starbuck said in disgust.  Apollo being noble and honourable always made him feel a heel and that he had to follow suit.  He decided to make his confession after all.  “I asked you the question expecting you to say no, and then I was going to ask you if you’d like to.”

Apollo said nothing for a whole centon.  It was as long as a lifetime for Starbuck.  Then he said, quietly:  “Your turn.”

Starbuck was so tense he could barely get the words out.  “Would you like to?”  he asked in a voice so strained that Apollo barely recognised it.

Apollo looked at him.  “With you?”

“Is there another man on this shuttle that I don’t know about?”  Starbuck tried for his usual nonchalance.

“Not unless he stowed away with the cargo.”  Apollo was looking strained himself.  “Why?  Why do you want to have sex with me?”

“I’d like to make love with you,” Starbuck corrected him.  “I’ve been wanting to do it for about ten yahrens now, and, well, this seemed like a good opportunity…”  his voice trailed away.  He was going to say no.  Apollo was going to say no and it was all going to be horrible, and he’d blown it and Apollo would never speak to him again, ever.

“My turn.  Do you love me, Starbuck?”

Starbuck nodded.  “More than anything,” he croaked.

Apollo nodded too, then smiled at Starbuck.  “OK.  It’s something to do to pass the time,” he said, and it was odd, as if they’d swapped personalities for a few centons, and he was the confident one and Starbuck was shy and inarticulate.

Starbuck stared, mouth-open in surprise.  Apollo had said yes!  He’d said yes!. 

“Apollo.. do you love me too?”

“Oh yes,” said Apollo as if it was the most natural and casual thing in the world.

Starbuck stared a bit more, then grinned at that, and got to his feet.  He held out a hand and pulled Apollo upright.  “Can I kiss you?”

“I’m going to insist upon it,” Apollo told him.  “I’ll make it an order if you li -”

Starbuck’s mouth coming down hard on his cut him off abruptly, and he gave  himself up to the feeling of Starbuck’s lips on his, Starbuck’s tongue probing into him for the first time.  Starbuck tasted nice, and Apollo enjoyed the sensation of his tongue exploring Starbuck’s mouth.  He slid his hands under Starbuck’s flight jacket, running them up the Lieutenant’s back, pulling him in tighter and closer.  Starbuck was pulling insistently at Apollo’s clothes, tossing the flight jacket onto the floor and tearing at the tunic and pressure suit underneath.

“Hold on,” Apollo said breathlessly, pulling back for a second.  Almost of their own volition, his hands had fastened onto Starbuck’s arse, squeezing and stroking.  “Where?  On the floor?”

Starbuck glanced around the small cabin.  “Back seats?  It’ll be like we’re teenagers again, making out in the back seats of a hovercar.”

“I wish,” said an Apollo who’d been a painfully shy teenager for whom Grant had been the first ever sexual experience, but he let Starbuck pull him to the long seats at the back of the cabin, shedding as much of his clothing as he could on the way, and helping Starbuck out of his.

Getting naked was fun.  It involved a lot of kissing and touching and exploring.  They’d seen each other naked before, of course, time without number.  There really wasn’t a lot of privacy in the military, and they’d shared quarters as cadets, and still used communal showers after Triad games.  But for the first time they were doing more than looking.  A lot more than looking.

Starbuck had got Apollo on his back on the seat, and was sitting astride him, nuzzling his neck.  For the first time, he put his hands on Apollo’s prick, and moaned as Apollo enthusiastically reached for him in return.  Apollo’s hands moved fast and hard on him.

“Nice,” Apollo said breathlessly.  “Come inside me?”

“I thought you’d never ask,” Starbuck said, and started on the long trip south, licking and kissing every bit of exposed skin.  It took some time because he had to keep ducking back up to kiss Apollo’s mouth, and he spent a long time kissing and licking Apollo’s nipples, loving the feeling of Apollo’s hands on his prick, or, by way of variety, on his buttocks.

“What do you want?  Do you want me to suck you?”  he asked, coming up for another kiss, having got as far south as Apollo’s navel this time.  He loved the way Apollo writhed when he stuck his tongue in.

“Later,” Apollo said urgently.  “I just want you to fuck me, right now.  I want your fingers in me and for you to fuck me hard, Starbuck.”

Another long, kiss.  And another.  Kisses that didn’t satisfy, but drove them wilder, made them hotter.

“Then I’ll lick you and you can lick me..” Apollo went on in a husky voice, “and I’ll suck you and kiss you and get us all hot to do it again…  But fuck me right now, Starbuck.” 

“Try and stop me,” breathed Starbuck, and sucked on a finger.  He slithered down Apollo’s body until he was kneeling between his legs.  He bent his head to plant a kiss on the erect prick that was pointing up at him and gently rubbed a hand down between Apollo’s thighs, and slid the wet finger up into his body.

Apollo jerked and moaned, as Starbuck’s finger stroked his prostate.  With his other hand, the lieutenant fished amongst the pile of clothes on the floor, pulling a tube of lubricant from the pocket of his pants.  He undid it with his teeth, then withdrew the finger from Apollo’s fast moving arse.

“Hey!” objected the captain.

“I’m coming back, don’t worry.”  Starbuck covered his fingers in lube and slid in two this time. 

Apollo gasped and heaved, and started moving again, plunging down to meet every upward thrust that Starbuck’s fingers were making.  He was stroking himself with the same rhythm, and the sight was almost too much for Starbuck.  It was beautiful, watching Apollo play with himself like that while Starbuck’s fingers had him moaning and writhing.  Too beautiful.  Starbuck had to get in there, before he came just watching.

“Hands and knees?” he asked.  He wanted to make sure that he gave Apollo the best fucking that he’d ever had and in that position he could control the angle better.  He’d show Apollo amazing!

Apollo nodded wordlessly, and scrambled up until he was on his hands and knees, Starbuck kneeling upright behind him.  Somehow Starbuck had kept his fingers moving in and out of Apollo’s arse and for a moment he watched in delight the way that Apollo was stretching for him, how easily his fingers were accepted, pulled in.  With his other hand, he covered his prick with lube, and desperate now to feel Apollo take him in, he slipped out the fingers and pressed the head of his prick against Apollo’s opening.

Apollo grunted softly, and relaxed, pushing back to meet him.  Starbuck’s prick breached the opening and slid slowly, so slowly, inside.  Moaning, Starbuck watched himself penetrate his lover for the first time, marvelling at the heat and tightness that enclosed him.  He pulled back and pushed forward again, reaching around Apollo to jack him off.  Then his balls were pressed up hard against Apollo’s buttocks, and he was fully in.

And then he was away.  No longer capable of conscious thought, aware only of the almost unbearable sensation of his sensitive prick rubbing up and down inside Apollo’s body, of Apollo moaning and gasping and moving hard against him.  Everything he was, was concentrated in his prick and the building orgasm.  There was only heat, and sweat, the feel of Apollo’s buttocks curving into his groin every time they came together and the little animal noises Apollo was making, then suddenly he was sinking back to sit on his heels, pulling Apollo with him, so that now Apollo was fucking himself on Starbuck’s hot penis, thrusting up and down in his lap.  Apollo threw his head back so it was resting on Starbuck’s shoulder, arching his back like a bow, and somehow they managed to lock their mouths together, and when Starbuck finally moaned and spurted the hot jism high up into Apollo, Apollo’s hands closed over his as he continued to jack his lover off, not making him move his hand more urgently, just enclosing it in both of Apollo’s.  It was unbelievably loving and sexy, and Apollo came a instant after him.

Apollo moaned softly, as he finally stopped moving on Starbuck.

Starbuck laughed shakily, wrapping both arms around Apollo’s waist and holding him tight, kissing his neck and the sweat-soaked hair.  Apollo sat quiet, still gasping for breath, head drooping.

“That was wonderful,” Starbuck said, planting tender little kisses on the back of Apollo’s neck. 

“Yeah,” Apollo found the breath to say.

He sighed and slowly, reluctantly, eased upward, allowing Starbuck to slide out of him.  He half turned, the better to kiss Starbuck properly, and they sank down onto the seat, a tangle of arms and legs.

“My turn,” said Starbuck after a considerable time of languorous kisses, of hands stroking tired, sated bodies, of low, murmured little speeches of love and pleasure.  “Was it me you wanted at the Academy, Apollo, when you went looking for adventure in Caprica City’s gay bars?”

Apollo nodded.  “You know it was, Starbuck.  But I didn’t think you were interested in me that way.” 

“Oh but I am.  Believe me, I am.  Lords, what idiots we are.  We could have had ten yahrens of this.”  Starbuck lost himself for a few more kisses, hands gently playing with Apollo’s balls.

“We can have as long as you like,” Apollo said shyly, and the personalities had reverted to normal.

“The rest of our lives is just fine.”  Starbuck smiled down at him confidently.  He raised a hand to gently trace the line of Apollo’s cheek.  “You’re still the prettiest boy I know.”

Apollo laughed up at him.  “Flatterer.  My turn, Starbuck.  Does that circuit board in your pants pocket have something to do with our engine failure?”

Starbuck pulled back, went scarlet.  “Circuit board?”

“Starbuck, I had my hands in your pants a few centons ago.  I know what was in there.  Well?”

Starbuck looked like a schoolboy who’d been caught out in some prank.  “Well… I sort of wanted an excuse to see what it was you felt for me.  I suppose it was Cassie being so possessive recently, I got to thinking about what I really wanted.  That’s you.  So I sort of arranged a temporary engine problem…”

Apollo looked at his chronometer - it was all he was wearing, apart from having Starbuck draped all over him.  “I’m going to have to punish you for sabotage, Lieutenant.  Very severely.  By my calculation, we have a couple of centars before our situation’s critical and we lose all chance of fixing on the Galactica’s beacon.  So you put that back where it belongs.”

Starbuck sighed and reached down for the circuit board.

Apollo tugged on his hair and pulled him back up.  “I said we had a couple of centars before we need worry about that.”

“But you just said to put it back where it belongs,” protested Starbuck, momentarily confused.

Apollo smiled.  A very wicked, suggestive little smile, and he ran his tongue over his lips in a way that had Starbuck moaning at him.  He got both hands onto Starbuck’s prick and gave it a little squeeze that had the lieutenant’s eyes bulging.

“I  wasn’t talking about the circuit board.”

 

The end.