|Sun, 24 Oct 1999
"Alicia McKenzie" <email@example.com>
[PG-13, The Authority] Eclipse, 1/1 DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to DC/Wildstorm, and are used without permission for entertainment purposes only.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to KJ for a steady stream of encouragment, Tapestry and Diamonde and Lynxie and Duey for beta-reading, and Matt for a late assist with Stormwatch backstory. Appreciate it as always, guys. :)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay. Where to start....first things first, I suppose. This story's got a PG-13 rating slapped on it because it DOES have an implied m/m relation ship. If that's not your cup of tea, go away, because I don't feel like arguing comparative morality with you. If you happen to be an Authority fan who objects to this interpretation of these characters, take a deep breath and bite your tongue, because I don't want to hear about that, either. :) All other feedback would be very much appreciated. AUTHOR'S NOTE #2: I'm branching out again! WHEEEE! ;)
"Fixable, maybe," the shadow in the corner offered as Apollo dropped the remains of his uniform on the table.
Apollo raised an eyebrow. "You're kidding." The damned thing was more hole than fabric. Five more minutes fighting Gamorra's flying army and he'd have had to seriously worry about modesty on the way back to his quarters.
"More or less." A flash of teeth in the dimness; his partner's version of a teasing smile, Apollo knew. "I'm surprised you changed. Anyone who gets his uniform torn to such strategic shreds probably has an ulterior motive."
Apollo snorted and scooped up the t-shirt hanging over the nearest chair, pulling it over his head. "Well, I'm glad one of us seems to have some energy left," he said dryly as the Midnighter stepped out of the corner and sat on the edge of the table, picking idly at the torn uniform. "Where have you been, anyway?"
Probably wandering the Carrier again. Apollo wasn't sure why the Midnighter seemed so fascinated by the ship, but he wasn't going to complain. That curiosity had certainly served them well today. As tired as he was, a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth at the thought. "I still can't believe you used the Carrier to take out Gamorra Tower."
"Seemed like a good idea at the time."
"Well, I doubt any of the rest of us would have thought of it, that's all," Apollo said, a sigh escaping him as he sat down. "God, I'm tired. It would be too much for the next flying army of superhuman terrorists to pick noon to attack, wouldn't it?" Having to rely on solar power for your enhancements was really a pain in the ass at times.
"Probably. Sure you're all right?"
Apollo shrugged. "Could do with a couple of days in the sun to recharge, but what else is new?" Everything else was just scratches and hurt pride. He eyed the Midnighter speculatively, noting the droop to the broad shoulders and the post-adrenalin dullness in those usually sharp brown eyes. "You? Security at Gamorra Tower must have been pretty tight. . ."
"Be serious." The inevitable smirk was missing something, Apollo thought. "I barely broke a sweat."
"Lucky you. I think I'm going to sleep for a week or so." Apollo got up, staggering a little as he went over and collapsed rather ungracefully on the bed. After a few moments, when he didn't hear any movement, he raised his head. "Are you coming to bed or what?" He frowned. "What's so interesting about the wall?"
"Just thinking," the Midnighter murmured, not looking at him. "Never enough time to do that until after everything's stopped blowing up."
*Translation: I'm more tired than I'm letting on, and I'm getting ready to brood the night away,* Apollo thought wryly, sitting up and moving back on the bed, leaning against the wall behind him. "What are you thinking about?"
The Midnighter gave him an irritated look. "Stop trying to distract me."
"I don't feel like sitting here and watching you replay the last couple of days in your mind a few million times." His partner's enhancements were a definite plus in battle, but when he wasn't cracking skulls and inflicting various other sorts of grievous bodily harm, he tended to walk around in his own little world half the time. Those measuring brown eyes were deceptive, giving no clue to the mind racing away at an inhuman speed behind them. Apollo honestly suspected that the Midnighter was so taciturn with most of their new teammates simply because it took so much effort for him to focus on what they were saying in the here and now. "It gets tedious after a while. So sue me."
"So go to sleep."
Apollo grinned. "Not as tired as I thought."
"Bullshit," the Midnighter said with a soft laugh. "You're half-dead on your feet." He pulled off his gloves and dropped them on the table, flexing his hands a few times, almost experimentally. "You think Sparks will have us all back down there helping out once we catch some downtime?"
"In the cities? Maybe." He figured that it was pretty likely that she would, actually. . .although he was getting to have a pretty good idea of how pointless it would be to try and predict what Jenny Sparks was going to do next. "Always assuming that some other bastard doesn't pop up tomorrow needing his head kicked in."
"I wouldn't complain."
"You never do." Apollo regarded him a little more curiously. "You didn't like being down there cleaning up after Gamorra?"
"No. . .it was good to do," the Midnighter said quietly. If Apollo had blinked at that moment, he would have missed the flicker of a smile, it was gone again so quickly. "I'm not as worried about scale, anymore. Things worked pretty well."
*We can't deal with things on this scale,* he'd said, what seemed a lot longer than a few days ago. *For God's sake, we spent five years working the alleyways of America. We go from that to this?*
"Good, then I won't have to listen to you complain." Apollo chuckled at the dark look he received in response. "Kidding."
"Right." The Midnighter started to shrug out of his coat, but paused midway. "You remember those two kids?"
"What, the two you almost got yourself crushed into a thin red paste for?" Apollo asked with a scowl, remembering how narrowly he'd managed to catch that rather large statue of Lenin. "That was sloppy. Did you even see it coming?" Idiot had been so focused on getting those kids down to the waiting hands of the firemen, he hadn't even looked up at the ton or so of stone falling towards him. . .
"Of course I saw it coming. I knew you'd probably catch it."
That smirk, again. "Either that or I was going to have to move really fast."
Apollo groaned and slid downwards, closing his eyes. "You piss the hell out of me, sometimes."
"And you worry too much."
Apollo muttered a semi-incoherent response, too tired to come up with an appropriate witty rejoinder. He wasn't even aware of having dozed off until he was jostled slightly by the weight of someone sitting down beside him on the bed.
"You're going to wake up with a sore neck if you sleep like that. Lie down." A gentle push nudged him in the right direction.
"Whatever," he muttered. "Don't stay awake all night."
"I'm the nocturnal one, remember?" Strong hands moved over knotted muscles, and Apollo winced, even as he started to relax.
"Very funny. . ." He let his breath out on a sigh. . .
. . .and slept.
The light that woke him was an odd silver-blue, slanting in from the portal on the other side of the room. Apollo raised his head, blinking at the shimmering. . .well, you could hardly call it a sky, of course. *Wonder what plane we're in, now,* he thought, smiling a little as the vista outside the window danced as the Carrier sailed.
He looked down, mildly surprised to see the Midnighter sound asleep beside him in a very uncharacteristic sprawl. It was such an unguarded, relaxed posture that Apollo took a moment to marvel at it. . .and the fact that he didn't wake up at the first hint of movement in the room.
*He's definitely less jumpy since we've been up here. I could get to like this trend. . .* Apollo reached out, tracing the line of one of the Midnighter's implant scars gently. He didn't even twitch. *Hell, to be honest, I'm a lot more relaxed up here, too.*
It didn't feel 'safe'. . .that was all in the mind, and a hard state of mind to reach after five years on the run. . .but it felt right. Like they belonged here . Maybe it was just some lingering sense of satisfaction from making sure Kaizen Gamorra's circle hadn't closed, but. . .
His partner muttered something in his sleep and edged closer to him. Apollo smiled and pulled the blanket up over them both.
And the Carrier sailed on past the shores of countless realities.