Landing Bay

Apollo had just exited his viper when he ran into Sheba.

"How was patrol?" she asked.

"Pretty much the same. Nothing unusual. You just heading out now?"

"Yea, I just came from visiting Athena."

"How is she?"

Sheba nodded. "She seems to be holding her own. Athena asked me if you'd stop by after patrol."

"I was just going to check on Boxey first and then head over there."

Smiling Sheba said, "Good. I know she's anxious to talk to you."

Apollo sighed. "There are a few things she and I need to discuss."

"Well, I won't keep you. Bojay will be wondering where I am."

"I'll talk to you later, Sheba," he said, walking away from her.

She had taken no more then two steps when she bumped into Starbuck.

"Sorry, Sheba. I was trying to catch up to Apollo."

"He said he was going to check in on Boxey and then head over to see Athena."

"I'm headed there myself," he said, trying to move past her.

Grabbing hold of his arm, Sheba stopped him. "Starbuck, don't go to Life Center right now."

"Why not?"

"Because Apollo and Athena need to straighten some things out. They need some time alone."

Starbuck nodded in understanding. "All right, I'll wait."

=========================================================================

Athena's private room, 2 centars later

Upon entering Life Center, Apollo was pleased to find Athena's room still had a guard outside. Before entering her room, he stared blankly at the door. Apollo knew that he and Athena needed to talk. They had become ..... he hated to use the word 'distant' but feared that's exactly what had happened. Apollo knew they needed to correct this before their relationship became damaged beyond repair. It appeared that now would be that time.

Athena was sitting up in bed when she heard the door open and saw Apollo enter.

Walking over to her, he placed a gentle kiss on her cheek. "How are you feeling?"

Athena gave a slight shrug in response. "I'm okay. Just a bit sore."

He sat down on the bed next to her. "I can't begin to tell you how worried we all were; how worried I was. I knew something was wrong that day. I knew I should've went after you and worked things out right then and there. If I did, none of this would've happened."

Taking Apollo's hand, Athena said, "Apollo, it isn't your fault Atreus kidnapped me. If he didn't take me that day, he just would've done it one secton or so later."

"I still should've been able to do something."

"It's not your fault Apollo! It's mine. I was so angry and hot-headed that day. I wasn't paying attention and I let my guard down. In fact, I owe you an apology. I said some hurtful things that I really didn't mean. I was just angry." She looked up at him. "Forgive me?"

Apollo clasped her hand firmly. "There's nothing to forgive, Athena. I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm especially sorry that we haven't been as close as we used to be. I never meant for you to feel excluded." Pausing he added, "How did we grow so far apart?"

Athena looked at her brother with uncertainty. Surely bringing up specifics from the past wouldn't help them in the future.

Apollo nodded. "Please be honest with me Athena. It's the only way we're going to get past this."

"Honestly .... it wasn't just one specific thing, Apollo. It was a bunch of events over the course of time that led us here."

Apollo nodded in agreement. "You do know that I love you?"

A tear escaped from her eye and ran silently down her cheek. "That's the one thing I've always known for certain. And I love you too, Brother."

Reaching out, Apollo brushed her tears away, then pulled her into an embrace. "You know Father has been worried about you too."

Pulling away from him, Athena said, "Which Father?"

"Please tell me that you're not falling for any of that felgercarb Atreus said?"

"I'm not sure what I believe anymore. Atreus does have some valid points," she admitted.

"Tell me what he said to you. Maybe I can find an inconsistency."

"Atreus told me that he met Mom when he was assigned to the Caprican Council 24 yahrens ago. He said that Adama was away so much and she was all alone raising you and Zac. He and Mom hit it off immediately. At first, they were just very good friends - taking long walks, having lunch together or just sitting and talking until all hours of the night. He claims that they became lovers and that I am his daughter."

Continuing, Athena said, "Atreus said that Adama knew he couldn't possibly be my Father. But Adama loved Mom and agreed to take her back on the condition that he raise me as his own child. Atreus claims to have tried to fight for custody of me, but Adama blocked every attempt. They finally came to some kind of agreement which stated that Atreus would not interfere in my life in exchange for the chance to visit me from time to time."

Apollo shook his head in disgust. Atreus was smearing the good name of their Father and Mother and seemed to be getting away with it. Apollo knew in his heart that he and Athena shared the same father - Adama. He just had to find evidence to prove it.

"I know you're upset and confused over this whole situation. Is there anything else you can remember?"

Athena thought for a moment. "Atreus said he gave me an oregg bracelet for my eighth novayahren."

"Do you still have the bracelet?"

Athena shook her head sadly. "No. It was lost when our home was destroyed." Mentally she added, Just like so many other things.

Apollo knew that his sister had been shaken by these accusations. He could only imagine the questions that were running through her mind, but she would never say them aloud. Picking up her hand again, Apollo said, "I know you're going through a lot right now. Is there anything I can do for you? Would you like to talk about things?"

"I just feel that the security and stability I've always known is gone now. I'm not even sure I know who I am anymore."

"Athena, you're always going to be my sister."

"See, that's what I mean. I've always been: The Commander's daughter, Apollo's sister or Starbuck's girlfriend. Never just Athena."

Sadly, Apollo said, "I'm sorry. I never knew you felt that way. But now that I do, I'll help you in any way I can. I promise."

Athena reached out and drew her brother into an embrace. Trying to lighten the mood she asked, "So when can I get out of here?"

Apollo smiled and kissed the top of her head as he moved off the bed. "Dr. Salik said two days. But you'd better confirm that with him."

As Apollo moved towards the door Athena added, "Tell Boxey I said hello."

END PART 10