Disclaimer: The characters used in here are the creation and property of Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, as well as DC comics. No copyright infringement is intended.
by Kadira (March 2006)
"I suppose you want to
quit, too?" "Actually yeah ... I do."
"Actually yeah ... I do."
Apollo had been too shocked then to form a coherent sentence or even a clear thought. One that went beyond "You can't mean that...", that is. Midnighter's announcement had hit him out of nowhere, despite the tension during the last week and the devastation they were responsible for (and which was now replayed non-stop on every channel).
It was like his husband had said; they weren't politicians, much less fit to rule over anything. Rulers of worlds were supposed to be stable instead of people who couldn't even take care of their own lives. By pretending to be fit to do that, they'd become just like the things they'd fought. Maybe even worse, because they knew what the consequences could be and had taken down other rulers for lesser offences than what they were responsible for now.
Not that world domination had ever been part of their plan.
Not in the past, when they'd still fought for Bendix, and certainly not later when they'd worked alone, in the shadows, or even when they'd joined the Authority under Jenny Sparks.
Of course, they had thought and talked about it in a semi-jokingly manner when the government had fucked up once more, but who on earth could say that they'd never done that? The difference was just that most people didn't have the power to act on it. Most people couldn't just overthrow the government and take their place.
They should have left it at the talking, too. Maybe then they wouldn't be here now and maybe then his life wouldn't have been torn to shreds right in front of him, without that Apollo could have prevented it.
Apollo looked around their quarters, which already now seemed colder, emptier. His gaze rested on the bed that they'd shared last only a few hours ago, the sheets still crumpled, so that someone with enough fantasy could imagine that this was nothing but a bad dream. But as tempting as it was, Apollo had neither the strength nor the power left that would be necessary to dwell in such a pleasant illusion.
Instead of that, he had just a nightmare to show, the fractures of his crumbled life, of promises that had been broken with even more ease than one of the doctor's drug-induced illusions.
When had they taken the wrong turn? Not as The Authority, but they, as partners and family? How could that shit happen? And why couldn't they stop it before it had gone so out of control? When had their relationship gone so downhill that Midnighter didn't even deem it necessary anymore to talk to him?
Business and stress weren't excuses. That had always been part of their life (just as probably that of every superhuman) and never had stopped them from talking. And Apollo would have listened if Midnighter had only tried to talk to him. But nothing like that. Instead his husband had pretended that everything was still fine, even the night before everything went to hell --
-- I love you, Apollo. Never forget that.
Lying son of a bitch!
Apollo shook his head, refused to think about that any further. He didn't need more of that piled in front of him. It wouldn't change anything anyway. Such thoughts wouldn't turn back time, nor would Midnighter suddenly return. But he had sounded honest, maybe even more serious than normally, and none of them had ever joked about that. Not about their feelings for each other.
In a different situation, Apollo would have settled for a spontaneous outburst due to much stress, which would have made sense after what happened. But after what Midnighter had said before he had gone away, Apollo had not much of a doubt that this had been planed.
"You don't have
to do this ..." "Do you think I would if I could
think of any other way? You know me better than that." "Do
I? The past week I'm not even sure I know you at all ..." --
hands clenched to fists in a desperate attempt to hold onto himself,
to keep his pain and his rage at bay, not even to show it, because
the situation had taken him by surprise enough to leave him more than
vulnerable to the man he had married, but who obviously didn't want
to be near him anymore.
"Do you think I would if I could think of any other way? You know me better than that."
"Do I? The past week I'm not even sure I know you at all ..."
-- hands clenched to fists in a desperate attempt to hold onto himself, to keep his pain and his rage at bay, not even to show it, because the situation had taken him by surprise enough to leave him more than vulnerable to the man he had married, but who obviously didn't want to be near him anymore.
Apollo hit the wall in a sudden wave of flaring anger, hard enough to hurt himself and the carrier, but unfortunately not hard enough to ease the pain and every other fucking emotion that was roaring within him.
The knowledge that Midnighter had been right at the conference hadn't stopped the cold chill of fear, realization and pre-loneliness that even now, hours later, refused to take its leave.
Midnighter was his counterpart, the dark to Apollo's light, his balance. And now he had just left them - Jenny, their dream, Apollo, everything. What hurt more was that he hadn't even asked Apollo to come along, because Apollo would have done it, would have left the Authority and all it stood for. Not because the whole shit had blown up into their face, but because of Midnighter, because of their family.
They could have started over somewhere, without losing anything. Just Midnighter, Jenny and him. They could have settled down somewhere, pretended to live a normal life while still fighting their battle. It would have been good for all of them.
But obviously that wasn't what Midnighter had wanted. Why else would that fucking bastard have just left them?
His grip around the tabletop tightened as Apollo remembered the perfect last act his husband had given during the last few days, or since whenever it had started. The perfect lover and husband - always attentive, always passionate (especially during their last night!), the perfect partner on whom Apollo could always count, and a wonderful father, even in the most difficult situations.
The metal bent under the force of his grip, then, with a weak screech, finally capitulated, so that he held one part in his hand. Apollo just stared at the damage for a moment, then lifted up the whole table and threw it across the room, plates, books and everything.
Fucking bastard! Just turned around and went away, without a word, or a promise, without even a gaze back. Hell, without even a real goodbye!
Without. Fucking. Anything.
Almost as if Midnighter had just erased the last few years, as if their time hadn't meant anything to him, as if nothing of what they'd shared had mattered to him!
A part of him wished he could do the same, just switch off his emotions and pretend that nothing had ever happened, least of all between them. But another part of him not only didn't, but flat-out refused to do so. Deep down, Apollo knew that it would never work, much less make him happy. The last few years had been his best. Their best. Or so he had thought. Obviously not in Midnighter's opinion. But they were married, for god's sake! They belonged together! They were Jenny's fathers. The dream team that could achieve anything they wanted.
... even blow up fucking Washington DC with just a little help ...
... just like the rest of his fucking life ...
Apollo grimaced, knowing that the comparison didn't quite hold up. But goddamn, he was just human and he had a right to mourn for his own losses, for his own fucked up life!
And he had reason for it. His job, his relationship, everything out and over. Midnighter, like Jenny Q, had been part of the reason that he had done that and continued, no matter what. But a large part of that had been ripped away from him now, and so left the powers he normally cherished just like an empty shell, a burden even.
It had left him with nothing.
The two metal chairs followed the fate of the table and crashed into the wall, one after the other, then bounced back before landing on the ground, broken. The same with the couch.
Apollo forced down the desire to just burn up the whole fucking place including all memories, when the door opened. "Daddy Apollo?"
He closed his eyes for a moment, tried to swallow the bile and the pain that raged within him before he faced his daughter. Not that the Apollo was necessary anymore. He was the only father she had left right now ...
Slowly he turned around. Jenny stood in the doorframe, personified misery with her red eyes and shaking frame. If any possible, she looked even worse than a few hours ago when she, exhausted from crying, had fallen asleep in his arms.
"He thought he did the right thing, daddy. But he's wrong. He should have believed me." The image of desperation all but tore Apollo apart. The flood of tears streaming down Jenny's face, her pain (unlike his own so very open, letting the most powerful human on earth appear even more vulnerable than usual), rattled at the weak defense Apollo had managed to build up at some point during the last hours. "He says he loves me, but he still left me, us ... He lied. He wouldn't have left us if he still loved us ..."
Apollo sat down on the bed and opened his arms. Jenny threw herself into them, allowed Apollo to hold her. She buried her face in his neck and sobbed. Apollo strengthened his embrace, giving as much as support as he could, while trying to calm himself and taking comfort in the closeness to her.
No, he hadn't lost everything. In fact, he had left more than all the others around him. He still had Jenny. That was worth everything and none of Midnighter's reasons for turning against them could take that away from him.
He caressed the damp curls of their daughter. "Of course, daddy loves you. We both do. Never doubt that, sweetie," he said. It was the only thing in the word he was still sure about.
Against his neck, he felt Jenny nodding and trying to hold back her tears. She was too wise for her age; just further proof that she was no normal child but indeed the spirit of the 21st century, the hope and hold for the whole planet.
(Apollo's hope and hold.)
"But he was still wrong. He shouldn't have left us," she said, sniffling.
But most of all she was their daughter.
"I know." It was all Apollo could say. But silently he vowed that the day he would meet Midnighter again (and there was no doubt that he would. It was merely a question of /when/ it would happen), he would kick his dear husband's ass so hard that he would experience a free flight to the sun and back. And after that he had better have a very good explanation for what he had done. Not really for leaving the Authority, that Apollo could understand, but for leaving his family.
And until that day, they would continue. Somehow. Even if everything had fallen apart around him, he and Jenny would go on, would live as best as they could.