My Heart

His heart races when he's standing alone in the corridor, when he's done nothing more exhausting than walking. It's been years, but still his heart races and he tries to catch his breath and smiles because it's still just that difficult to do.

His friends and family tease him; his sister the first one to make the obvious snide remark. She was sixteen, old enough to know exactly what her brother was doing even if he refused to answer any of her questions.

"It's the uniform," she'd said, and the rest of the family had picked it up, and by now the extended family was stretched out far enough that practically everyone in his squadron could make him recall his sister's girlish voice saying it for the first time.

Bojay even has the damn inflection down right.

But it isn't the uniform, despite how much he doesn't bother protesting. The gods know everyone he's seen every damned day for his entire adult life has been wearing one Colonial uniform or another. If it were just the uniform, he'd have been sleeping with anyone who asked.

And he's had the chance, off and on, to do so.

It's never been the uniform, and there is no way he is ever going to explain that to Athena or anyone else. The first time he saw Starbuck, there was no uniform involved. No nothing but naked skin, slick with water from the shower and so smooth and golden that it had taken all his willpower not to walk into the cadets' communal showers and bite down.

He can still remember that first time. The way Starbuck had turned, slowly, and his words had died before they'd been spoken as he saw the expression on Apollo's face. He'd started to grin -- smug and self-assured in a look Apollo has long since memorised by now.

But that first time, he hadn't. He'd stopped, and tilted his head, and looked back. When he'd finally spoken, he'd simply introduced himself and after that Apollo's memory gets fuzzy. He doesn't rehearse the rest of that memory nearly as often as he does that vivid, wonderful first sight. He'd been knocked breathless in that first moment, and his heart had begun to race, and every time since when he'd found himself face to face with Starbuck, it happens again.

Sometimes he blames it on Starbuck's smile. Sometimes he blames it on the memory of that nakedness. Sometimes he callst it love, and sometimes he just calls it inexlicable.

Right now he's just walked out of his quarters, and his heart is racing from the centon-old memory of his husband in the shower, smiling at him like he'd first done all those many years ago.