The Stormwatch facility was different to how Midnighter had imagined it would be. Something about the sheer secrecy of it all made him feel that the team were being hidden away like embarrassing secrets until they were thrown a bone and sent out to do Bendixs' bidding.
He knew something was going on with Henry Bendix but he just wasn't sure what it was, he had blurred memories of the man, half crazed and ranting as his surgery was performed... the memory was almost as painful as the event had been.
As usual they'd been told nothing, it was 'need to know' and they didn't. Split up and given tiny quarters, Midnighter felt that they'd already been stamped 'expendable', why waste decent living space on the cattle you drive across a minefield?
Yet, despite all of the worries he had about what was to come of them, his thoughts continually strayed to Apollo. The light that now shone at the end of that long, dark tunnel and secretly the real reason Midnighter wanted to go on.
Oh the thought of a better world in which to live was always attractive, always a goal to be achieved, but his reason for wanting to live was tall and blonde and beautiful.
Midnighter closed his eyes and pictured the big man; the thoughts and the taste of his lips playing over and over in his head. It was all the more shocking when he opened his eyes to find the real thing standing beside him.
"Midnighter, over here. Go in there, through that door!" Apollo hissed gesturing to a small door at the far end of the corridor, "I'll meet you in there."
"Just do it and don't argue!"
He watched as Apollo wandered away and slipped through the door. He knew it was risky, but he so badly wanted to be with Apollo if only for a moment.
"He's crazy," he mumbled as he tried to look inconspicuous slipping into a closet.
As he closed the door behind him, he was grabbed and his jacket flung open, hands across his chest and stroking heavily across his groin.
"Oh I've missed you, I want you," Apollo whispered, "Just lean back and enjoy."
"Apollo!" Midnighter growled, his breath catching and his heart beating almost hard enough to be heard outside the door. "Are you insane?"
"Probably," Apollo's voice was soft and teasing.
"This is crazy, what if we get caught?"
"Since when did you get so nervous?" Apollo chuckled and a rustling sound followed.
Midnighter peered into the darkness. Reaching out with his hand he touched Apollo's hair. "I'm not, it's just.."
"I haven't been able to touch you or even barely speak to you in over two weeks. I need to touch you."
"When you suggested this, I thought you meant we'd come in here and...kiss."
The sound of the blonde mans laugh at the embarrassment in his partners voice made Midnighter tremble.
"This is better," Apollo purred.
"But did you have to drag us into a closet?"
"You have a better suggestion?"
"Somewhere with a light would have been nice and space, space to move. Apollo, let's just kiss?"
"I'll kiss you in a minute, I want to do this first. I've been dreaming about this."
Midnighter caught his breath as the cool air suddenly rushed in and pooled against the sensitive flesh of his cock, quickly followed by the warm, welcoming touch of Apollo's fingers pulling him free of his clothing.
"Oh...hell! Apollo! Shit..." Midnighter almost howled but clamped down on the noise and tightened his grip on the other man's hair.
There were no words to fully describe the sensation of having Apollo's mouth wrapped around his heavy, aching cock, Midnighter thought. In fact he was convinced that this was all some bizarre dream and he'd wake soon, miserable and unsatisfied in that cupboard they called a room.
The warm wetness of Apollo's mouth seemed to spread and engulf him. If the bigger man hadn't been holding on tightly to his hips, Midnighter was sure he would have pooled helplessly onto the floor by now, boneless and oblivious to anything around him but that all encompassing heat.
Trembling he felt his balls tighten and the inevitable dizzying approach of his orgasm. He wanted to cry out, tell the whole world how wonderful it felt, but he knew the danger was very real if they were caught.
The release came quickly and intensely, Midnighter grunting and gasping as he spilled into Apollo's mouth.
"Mmm, you are delicious!" Apollo's muffled voice drifted through the darkness.
"And you are insane. I always said that you were a fucking lunatic and now I know you are!" Midnighter hissed, "If we get caught making out in here, we're going space walking, you do know that?"
"S'okay, I can breathe out there," Apollo chuckled.
"Oh well that's okay then!" Midnighter huffed as he tried to tuck himself back into his pants, "I knew it, I knew that all of that sun you absorbed must have fried something! Holy shit, I should have known better than get involved with a blonde!"
Suddenly Apollo was there, pressing Midnighter against the wall. Still they couldn't see each other, but Midnighter could feel the bigger mans breath on his face.
"You are such a little worry-wort, aren't you?"
Warm tender lips interrupted Midnighters next barrage of complaints as they stole all reason from him, wrapping him in a warmth he only ever experienced when Apollo was near.
Struggling to move in the confined space and damning the encumbrance of his heavy leather costume, Midnighter wrapped his arms around Apollo and pulled him close.
"I've missed you," he whispered.
"Yeah, I've missed you too, you miserable bastard!" Apollo teased, holding him tightly, burying his face in Midnighter's neck, seeking out the small area of exposed, tender skin.
"I want so bad for us to live in a better world Apollo, but if it means to do that, I can't see you... I'm not sure it's worth it."
"I don't see why we can't have both? Why can't we be together and still do our job?"
"That's not the Henry Bendix way."
"Then someone should make him change his way," Apollo whispered softly.
Midnighter laughed, "That's the 'blonde' gene talking," he teased.
"Oh yeah, leatherboy. You got something against blondes?"
"Right at this moment? Everything I have!" Midnighter pulled back and kissed Apollo again tenderly.
"I have to go, Bendix wants us in the briefing room by 0900 hours. I just needed to be with you."
"I don't even get time to return the favor?"
"Next time, huh? I'll leave first, you follow in a few minutes." With a last kiss, Apollo had opened the door and slipped away.
Midnighter leaned back against the wall weakly. Suddenly his life was becoming complicated, but he wouldn't change it now even if he could... not anymore.
Training and more training, pep talks from Henry Bendix and the promise of 'glory' merely served to give Midnighter chills. But like an obedient pet he sat through the training and the schedules without challenging Bendix on anything.
He wasn't sure what he could do even if he tried. These people had been brainwashed by the man, they were hardly likely to listen to him. Apollo listened, but he was slightly biased in Midnighters favor to begin with.
He glanced around at all of the other participants in the program. Happy volunteers to a man.
Lambs to the slaughter.
Not really wanting to run this particular thought over in his head a thousand times, Midnighter headed for his room when they were all excused further duty.
The room wasn't much, but they didn't need much. Killing machines didn't require luxuries, just a place to regenerate.
Midnighter looked around the spartan room and sighed. He'd barely been able to speak to Apollo since the other day, their every move and conversation monitored and checked.
And he missed Apollo terribly, pitifully trying to catch a glimpse of him in the briefing room just to fuel his night time fantasy.
Okay, he wouldn't exactly tell him that in so many words, but he did miss the big jerk and he longed for just a few moments alone to talk and...touch.
He'd thought about nothing but Apollo since they'd been together in that closet, the way he felt and the way he touched. Midnighter grew hard simply thinking about that brief encounter in the dark.
Any kind of a human being would allow his people to have relationships, but it was clear that they weren't being treated as anything but machines. They'd immediately been introduced into their new roles as 'Black Ops soldiers' and had no time for 'getting to know you' or social niceties, not that he wanted to get to know anyone but Apollo anyway.
The intensity of the feelings he was getting for the other man frightened and unnerved him. Even before... even then, he never felt this strongly about human contact, yet here he sat wanting nothing more than to hold Apollo and have him reciprocate the needy touches and caresses.
Suddenly there was a soft rap at the door. Frowning, Midnighter opened it to find Apollo standing in the doorway.
"Come on, let me in before they see me!" the blonde man hissed and slid inside the room.
"What are you doing here? What if someone sees you?"
"No one saw me, I dodged the camera. Okay, I shorted out the camera to this corridor," Apollo smirked, "One of the benefits of my heat vision! As for what I'm doing here, isn't that kind of obvious?" his voice had become softer and edged with a longing that made Midnighter shiver.
"No, I'm horny!"
Midnighter gaped as Apollo moved in close and slid his arms beneath the heavy leather jacket.
"Do you ever take this stuff off?" Apollo asked fingering the jacket lightly.
"Sure I do."
"Then take it off. Take it all off."
"Apollo," Midnighter shuddered at the other man's closeness, but his real concern was that Apollo was asking for the one thing that still frightened him; to see the man beneath the costume, to touch the scarred skin.
"I don't want to hear the bullshit about not being able to love the man underneath, Midnighter. I want to see you. I want to touch you."
"Oh hell." He groaned with mock annoyance, but still he let Apollo push the heavy jacket from his shoulders. When the bigger man's fingers touched the mask that always covered over half of his face, Midnighter shuddered.
He reached up and unhooked the fastenings each side of the headpiece.
With trembling hands, he lifted off the mask, placing it down on the table. He was almost afraid to look up and see the revulsion on Apollo's face, the hated 'sympathy' that the scars always brought, but when he did glance up, all he saw was the blonde man with a hungry look in his eyes.
"You're beautiful," Apollo grinned and kissed him. Strong fingers ran through the short, cropped hair that was forever hidden as he was pushed back against the wall. "Now the rest."
Layer by layer, the heavy leather clothing was stripped away until there was nothing between them but flesh. Apollo had shed his costume easily and quickly and as he pulled Midnighter against him, the touch of skin against hot skin was overwhelming.
"Say now if you don't want to do this," Apollo whispered.
"Of course I want to do this. It's all I've thought about since we got here."
Apollo pulled back slightly and smiled; all the power of the sun and stars in one smile.
"I told you you'd get to like me, didn't I?"
Midnighter closed his eyes and shook his head; the guy was trying to kill him. He could feel the blood pumping through his veins, rushing headlong for his cock, and the big blonde idiot still wanted to tease him.
"You've been with a guy before, right?" Apollo was moving them backwards, pushing him down towards the bed.
"Yeah, long time ago. Hell, a lifetime ago."
"Good, I don't want to hurt you."
"Apollo, I'm pretty impervious to pain."
"And so you shouldn't be treated like a human being when we have sex? Nothing's changed you need to understand that. We've been altered and shaped as fighting machines, but we're still men, we still feel and we still love. No one, not even Bendix, can change that. As long as we hang on to our humanity, they can never truly own us."
"Romantic," Midnighter laughed as he fell back onto the bunk, and pulled Apollo with him.
"You'd better believe it!"
Having Apollo on top of him, covering him with hands holding him down, while soft sweet lips carried him to heaven was almost more than Midnighter could bear.
The rush of sensation after so long denied even the most basic of human emotions was beyond anything he could have put into words. But it was wonderful and magical and it made life seem like more than just a necessity again.
It was like being in a dream. He couldn't process the rush of emotion, the tenderness with which this huge man was caressing him. He just wanted to hold on and never let go.
"I love you." He heard himself say it, but he couldn't believe that the words had spilled from his lips. It almost frightened him to hear himself bare his soul that way to this man who was still little more than a stranger.
All doubts faded as Apollo gazed into his eyes and smiled, "I love you too."
Midnighter fought back a tear that squeezed its way out from beneath his tightly closed lashes, but Apollo merely kissed it away and continued his loving.
He wasn't really ready for the incredible rush as Apollo penetrated him, but he strangled his cry and dug his fingers into the heavily muscled shoulders above him.
Apollo was brushing his lips gently across the crisscrossed scars on Midnighters chest, teasing the skin and tickling the sensitive area around the nipples, while all the time he moved his hips rhythmically making long even strokes.
Exquisite torture was the only way that Midnighter could put it into words, being intimate with Apollo was breathtaking, frightening and wonderful.
"Say it again," Apollo whispered breathlessly. "Tell me how you feel."
Three small words loosely strung together, but Midnighter was beyond all reason, "I..oh!"
"I love you!"
Almost as the last word spilled from Midnighters lips, Apollo came...hard and fast trying to ride the orgasm as quietly as he could. He'd taken his partner over the edge moments before, watching the intensity of the emotions play out on Midnighters ruggedly handsome face.
Slumping back onto the bed with a satisfied smile, he sighed, "That was good."
Midnighter caught his breath and glanced over at the big man lying beside him. It had been incredible, but now, something within him was even more frightened than before.
Not only had he told Apollo how he really felt, but he'd also been forced to face the truth himself; He was in love with this man. The need and wanting was all so very real and tangible.
What was going to happen now?
They were due to go on their first mission within a few days and like their life from here on in, there were no guarantees they would ever return.
Could he face this life without Apollo?
"I guess I should be going," Apollo whispered as he reached for Midnighters hand and took it in his own.
"What if we get caught?"
With a resigned sigh, Midnighter turned into Apollo's side and slid his arm across that vast chest.
"Then we get caught...together."
The call came suddenly and in the middle of the night. All team members were to report to the briefing room immediately, which meant naked if necessary. The first mission was set.
With a parting kiss, Apollo and Midnighter raced for the briefing room, costumes in hand, ready to face who knew what?