Boomer leaned forward from across the table, eyeing Apollo for a micron, then sat back. "Tough day?"
"Yeah, Colonel Tigh wanted to go over next sectons patrol schedules." Apollo watched as Boomer, grinning from ear to ear, glanced over at Jolly, in what Apollo could only describe as a conspiratorial fashion. Jolly for his part was unsuccessfully trying not to laugh.
"You want to tell me what's so funny about that?" Apollo asked, piqued.
"Oh, nothing, nothing," Boomer assured him, still grinning. "We were just talking about Starbuck when you sat down."
"Starbuck?" Apollo wondered what Starbuck had done, now? "What's so funny about Starbuck?"
"Ahh...just his inappropriate behavior," Jolly volunteered, fairly shaking with laughter.
"Uh huh. Want to share this obviously humorous insight?"
Boomer sat up, unsuccessfully trying to smoother his grin. "You know Starbuck: is there anything that isn't inappropriate about him?"
"You do have a point," Apollo conceded.
Boomer was looking so intently at him that Apollo looked down to see if he'd managed to spill something down the front of his shirt - but it was clean.
Apollo narrowed his eyes at the two across from him, "What are you two up to...?"
"Frak, I just sat down!" Reluctantly, Apollo got up to leave while giving his subordinates a stern glare, then wondered if he was losing his touch when their laughter followed him out of the OC.
Unsettled and tired, Apollo exited the Bridge lift in a fine temper only to be stopped short by Athena, "Apollo! Over here."
"I got paged."
"I paged you. You left--"
"You paged me!" He angrily cut her off.
"Calm down," she admonished, "I'm trying to do you a favor." She thrust a data pad at him hitting him in the chest with it. "I didn't think you wanted Colonel Tigh to realize you left this behind."
Apollo looked at the data pad she had attacked him with and his anger abated. It was the schedules he and Tigh had worked on and that he'd promised to complete by tomorrows briefing. He must have left them at Athena's station when he'd stopped to ask her to watch Boxey while he worked on them. "Oh."
"You're welcome," she said sarcastically and turned to head back to her station.
Apollo caught her up, "Athena, I'm sorry. Thank you."
When she turned back to him, he could tell she wasn't really mad at him, her anger was just meant to make a point. "I know you are, but next time don't take my head off when I'm just looking out for you." She lifted her hand and brushed his hair away from his collar. "Don't worry, I'll still pick up Boxey from school."
Apollo grasped her hand, stopping her fussing. "Thank you, I really do appreciate it, Thea." He couldn't decipher the odd look she gave when he turned to leave.
"Yes, I'm sure you do." He heard her soft reply behind him.
He turned back, wondering what she meant, but she had already headed off, back to her station.
Apollo let the door to his quarters close behind him and sighed in relief. He went over to the sofa and nosily flopped down letting his head fall back onto the cushions.
"You're late," a voice called from the main bedroom.
Apollo stepped on the heel of his left boot and pulled his foot out, kicking the boot across the floor. "Sorry, I had to finish the new patrol schedules for Tigh first, otherwise I'd have to bring them here to work on. He wants it first thing tomorrow."
"You did finish it, right?" Starbuck sauntered out of the bedroom; wearing nothing more than a towel wrapped provocatively around his narrow waist. "I plan on doing far more interesting things tonight than patrol schedules."
Apollo smiled, forgetting all about removing his other boot and considered getting smaller towels. "Oh, yes, I finished it." His gaze travel up the body on display before him, his grin deepening until he came to Starbuck's face. Starbuck had gone white and was staring opened mouthed at Apollo.
Starbuck shook his head at him. "Apollo..."
Concerned, Apollo got off the couch and hobbled over to Starbuck. "What? Starbuck, what?"
Starbuck merely took Apollo by the hand and led him into the flush, stopping in front of the mirror. "I'm sorry Apollo, I'm really very sorry."
Ignoring Starbuck's litany of apologies, Apollo looked at his reflection, his eyes widening in understanding. There for all to see was a hickey and not just any hickey, an irrefutable, unmistakable, Starbuck signature hickey.
vindiciae -arum f. pl. [things or persons claimed as property; the making of a claim].