She first hears of it over breakfast, standing in line behind some of the rooks and nursing one killer of a hangover.
"So. Did you hear about Starbuck and Apollo?"
She nearly drops her coffee.
She spends the next hour frantically searching her brain for any recollection of time after about eleven, and comes up totally blank.
Inconceivable, she thinks. That it would happen, in the first place. And that if it did, she wouldn't remember it.
“So, Starbuck,” Helo drawls. “Tell me. How was the night of passion?”
She ignores him. It’s difficult.
“Kara Thrace and Lee Adama,” Helo proclaims, as if reading the blurb for a really bad movie. “Opposites, yet drawn together through fate for just one night – "
“Oh my gods, shut up!”
“Kara Adama. Has a nice ring.”
“I’m going to frakking kill you.”
"You seriously can't remember?"
"Oh, Buck - "
“I didn’t frak him!”
She glares at him. “Yes. I think I’d remember that.”
“Still. It was some pretty serious making out there, Buck. In front of oh, half the Acadamy...”
“Oh gods. Was it really..." she trails off. He smirks.
She shrugs, gestures with her hands. Her neck heats up for the umpteenth time that day. "Everyone's saying - oh gods - "
He grins wider. "Are you blushing? Starbuck. I didn't know you had it in you!"
"Frak you, you bastard."
"Hey, it's not me you want."
She doesn't dignify that with a response, and gets to her feet and smacks her bag lightly into his arm. "You can pay for my coffee."
He laughs. "See you later."
"Yeah. You better hope it's not soon."
"Say hi to Apollo for me!" he calls when she's at the door and there's a splutter of laughter from some of the other students.
Kara decides to let him live. Just.
She ends up in the library, partly because she has a politics exam in a week but mostly because it's silent. Picon Politics, third edition, is balanced precariously on her knees when she sees three bags hit the floor through the gaps in the books.
"So, Starbuck and Apollo?"
"Oh, I can't believe I wasn't there."
"I can't believe you missed it. Hottest thing ever."
"Against the wall?"
"So she finally got him. Bitch."
"Well - it's Apollo. He's not named after a god for no reason."
They all laugh, and Kara wonders exactly how hard she'd have to throw Picon Politics at the shelves opposite her to get it to fall over and crush her classmates into oblivion.
"Gods, I wish I'd been there," one says, after a pause. "I cannot believe they finally got together and I missed it."
"It's been coming all year, too."
"The way they look at each other -"
"Don't worry. I think someone got it all on tape."
"Are you serious?"
And Kara thinks that just maybe she wants to die.
She calls him the minute she steps out of the library.
It rings, rings, rings, and she's about to leave an abusive message when he finally picks up. He sounds ever so slightly terrified.
“We have a problem.”
"A bigger problem."
It’s quite a good plan, Kara thinks. It might even work. How hard could it be, getting one heavily guarded tape out of a crowded dorm when she was, temporarily, notorious?
It had meant twisting Helo’s arm until it broke, but he owed her from a couple of incidents also involving copious amounts of alcohol, and he was the only one neutral enough to be in Ace’s dorm without raising suspicion.
She and Lee are providing the distraction.
Helo had laughed when Lee had read that off his list.
“I know exactly what you could both do,” he had told them from where he was sprawled on Kara’s rack, sucking a lollipop. Kara had yanked her pillow from under his head and hit him with it. Lee, rocking back on a chair, would have managed to look completely unconcerned if he hadn’t inconveniently flushed right up to his ears.
They decide not to use Helo’s ideas. Too impractical.
They've done their part, kept the coast clear - wasn't hard, it's student night at most of the local pubs, and now they're waiting for Helo in the quad. The question has been driving her insane, and she finally asks in what she hopes is a casual, nonchalant manner. She has a feeling the shake in her voice gives her away.
“By the way, do you remember, uh, anything – ”
“No,” he says hastily. “What about you?”
“Oh, nothing after about eleven.”
“That’s - good.”
Not quite the word she would have used, but he’s tapping his hand against one leg, like he always does when he’s nervous or bluffing. She wishes she knew which one it was.
She sneaks a look at him just as he steals one at her, and Helo emerges just in time to stop the moment from being any more awkward.
"Did you get it?"
"I love you."
"Aw, that's so sweet, Buck."
"Yeah, yeah. Give it here."
He grins. "No."
She thinks she hasn't heard him correctly. "What?"
"I'm not giving it to you."
"The frak you aren’t," Lee says, and takes a tiny step forward, and Helo takes a tiny step back, holds his hands up in surrender.
"I don't have it on me. Violence is useless."
Kara narrows her eyes and Helo grins.
"Why do you want it?"
"Do you have a death wish?"
"It's not going to jog your memory." He raises his eyebrows, smirks. "And that's what you both want, right?"
She opens her mouth, closes it. Beside her, Lee doesn't say anything either.
“Night, both of you. Don't stay out too late!" Helo says, waving airly and they watch him jog away over the lawn. She wraps her arms around herself.
"We're going to have to kill him."
* * *