And then the jealousy is overwhelmed by the guilt. Apollo knows he's had the better deal where Starbuck is concerned. Knows that the lovers come in and out of the other man's life on a whim, but the friendship he has with Apollo has always been there. And Apollo has cherished that friendship, cherished it more than any other he's had. Only he wants more now. He doesn't just want Starbuck coming to dinner with him and Boxey and leaving to go back to the Bachelor's Quarters. Doesn't just want them to part ways after a night at the OC. He wants Starbuck walking back to their quarters together. He wants Starbuck in bed with him, waking up with him. He wants Starbuck grouchy in the morning before he's had the first cup of java. Wants Starbuck beside him in all things.
He looks back over at Sheba and Bojay, sees what they have and wants it, feels the need burning deep in the pit of his stomach. And before he knows it he's on his feet, walking towards the dancefloor, weaving in and out of the people crowding the room, avoiding the servers delivering large trays of drinks. And the music is getting louder with each step, pounding through him. But it's still not as loud as the beat of his heart, threatening to push through his chest with anticipation and fear and want.
And he's there now, only a step away from Starbuck. Only a step away from the words that have been crushing him for years. And he touches Starbuck's arm, barely waiting until the other man is looking at him before the words tumble from his lips. "I love you." And they're out now, hanging in the air between them. And oh Kobol, won't Starbuck say something?
But Starbuck just frowns, points to his ears and mouths 'What?'
And Apollo knows that the band on the Rising Star is the best they have, but he can't help but curse the volume they decided to play at tonight. But now he's made the decision he's not leaving here until Starbuck knows exactly how he feels. And he doesn't care about the perky blonde hanging off his friend's arm and trying to pull him off the dance floor. In fact, she's starting to look more and more like dagget food with each passing second. Giggling dagget food. Giggling dagget food whose hand is straying far too close to Starbuck's ass for Apollo to be able to see anything else. And Starbuck turns and smiles at her, smiles and trails a finger down her cheek. It's that action that spurs Apollo on as he grabs Starbuck's hand, wrenching it away the blonde interloper.
Starbuck looks at him, eyes flicking down to the fingers wrapped around his hand before meeting Apollo's gaze. "WHAT!?"
"SAGAN, 'BUCK! I'M TRYING TO TELL YOU I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU SO WILL YOU PLEASE STOP PAWING THAT HARPY!"
And didn't the band have to pick just that moment to finish the song. Apollo had never thought you could hear silence before, but you can. It's surrounding him, deafening him, and he thinks that maybe he'd rather face down an entire basestar of Cylons than be here, with everyone's eyes on him. And his mind is calculating just how fast he's going to have to run to get out of there as quickly as possible. But no matter what he's telling them his legs just won't seem to move. He closes his eyes, knows that everyone is still there but doesn't want to look at them. And he's cursing himself for being every kind of fool when fingers gently touch his cheek, before moving under his chin and lifting his face.
"'Pol, look at me."
The voice is softer than he's heard Starbuck speak before, but he could no more ignore it than he could his own heart. And the first thing he sees is pools of blue, looking at him in the way he's longed for them to.
"Starbuck?" And he knows a Strike Captain's voice should be stronger than the whimper that's just escaped from his own lips, but it doesn't seem to matter as Starbuck rakes his eyes over Apollo's body, gaze so heated it could power the entire Fleet's journey to Earth.
But Starbuck's not answering, not using his lips for anything except to press against Apollo's own. And the kiss is hot and hungry, hands tangling in brown hair to pull them closer.
Apollo's matching Starbuck pace for pace, allowing years of want and need and lust and love to pour out of him and into the man in his arms. And even though they're standing in the middle of the dancefloor on the Rising Star, surrounded by a mass of people, Apollo knows they're right where they're meant to be... together.