In the Bleed this daynight there are trees with branches like ladies' fingers in the blood-red sea. Four-legged octopuses squirt around the ship, occasionally feeling the windows to see if they're really all that real.
Apollo's big, bare feet are propped up on one end of the couch. Midnighter's arm and the back of his cowl rest on the other. "You had eighteen sisters," Midnighter says, and Apollo laughs, "all of them younger, and Angie, we can both hear you."
"Sorry." But she steps into the observation deck and curls up in the easy chair next to them and watches the Bleed.
Watches them watching the Bleed.
"So what happened to all those womenfolk when I disappeared?" Apollo asks Midnighter. He's in a white tank top neatly tucked into white sweat pants; his hands and face are trashed, scraped and bruised all to hell. His face is half swollen out of shape, but he's still smiling.
"Marines. All of them," Midnighter replies. He's in black sweatpants and a black t-shirt--untucked--and his cowl over the top. He's barely bruised at all, but a long, thin scar traces up each bare foot and forearm.
She's not used to hearing so many words from him all together. She wonders if he's warming up to her or if it's just because Apollo is there in his arms.
"Oh, Marines! So I'm the lady of the family," Apollo says, laughing at himself. One arm is tucked up behind Midnighter's waist; his head rests on Midnighter's belly.
"And they're all looking for you."
"Just not looking up?"
"You weren't a blond then. It's an effective disguise," Midnighter says.
Apollo laughs again. "Angie," he says, turning his head toward her, "when they remade me, it wiped my memory clean."
So Midnighter is making him a past. "Gotcha."
"I could be wrong," Midnighter murmurs, finger-combing Apollo's hair back from his forehead, "you might have been raised by llama herders in the Andes."
"I like llamas. And mountains."
"Then you really *don't* have proper names," Angie says. "I thought you were just being stubborn."
"He's Apollo. I'm the Midnighter. Those are proper names." The Midnighter has big brown eyes like all of Angie's family. He's white, though, she can see enough to be sure of *that*--and crazy, which none of her family is.
And in love, which a lot of her family is. He bends back over Apollo and smooths his hair without touching his bruised face.
"You could pick names. Name each other," Angie says.
Apollo grins at her. "I'm Apollo. He's the Midnighter. I don't really want things I can't have--that's the secret to happiness."
"Were you always together, since you can remember?" she asks. Midnighter looks back down.
"Took me a while to remember I was gay. After that--and after the catastrophe--yeah. Partners."
"Guilty." Apollo lifts his hand and Midnighter catches it and kisses his scraped knuckles.
Angie looks back at the Bleed. An octopus suckers its way across the window, curious little face staring in at them. Angie raises her hand and waves and it squirts away in a cloud of purple.
"Take it off," Apollo says. He runs the tips of his fingers under the edge of Midnighter's cowl.
"I can leave," Angie says.
"No. I'm not shy." Midnighter snaps open the neck and pulls the cowl off. "Just figured there are better things to look at than my ugly mug."
He's not pretty: His face is harsh and he has the leathery look of someone who's been beaten a lot. He's not ugly, though, either. He's looking down at Apollo--hasn't met her eye--and his smile is soft as kittens. Nobody can be ugly who can smile like that.
And he's blond. Funny how, at the edge of reality, that would be the thing that seems most strange.
The octopus returns with a school of its friends. They open their beaks and sing.