"It's not stupid."
"No, it really is," Midnighter said. Jenny was mouthing his bicep in the manner of small dogs and infants everywhere, thoughtfully chewing on the thin cotton of his sleeve. "It's the most stupid thing I've heard all day, In fact."
"Oh, well, as long as it's not for the entire week," Apollo said, rolling his eyes.
"The week's not over yet, and I doubt that this conversation is going to end when I want it to."
"And when is that?"
"About ten minutes ago." He hoisted Jenny up, swinging her into her high chair and buckling her in place. She had an annoying habit of wriggling free and sliding head-first into her food. "You behave, I'll get you your dinner," he told the fussing baby and patted her on the head.
Apollo crossed his arms. "All right, I can see you're pissed with me -"
"Really?" Midnighter asked cuttingly, spooning baby-food into a bowl with considerable venom. "What gave it away?"
"Look. It's a good plan, Mid."
"It's a retarded plan. Do you know how I know it's a retarded plan?" He rounded on Apollo, still clutching the bowl of baby-food and scowling. "Because I've run the numbers in my head and they tell me what the odds of success are. Are you ready for this?" He slammed the bowl down on the table, mouth twisting into a grimace approximating a smile. "They're not good."
Jenny was watching them, mouth open. She'd reached for a handful of food the moment the bowl was within reach and now sat, goop sliding down her chin and into her lap. Her lower lip began to tremble.
Cursing, Midnighter grabbed a cloth and cleaned her up with swift, sure strokes. "I'm going to finish feeding her and then put her to bed," he told Apollo sharply. "Go be stupid elsewhere." Without waiting for response, he grabbed the baby and the bowl of food and stalked out of the kitchen.
Apollo stared after them. "Damn it."
"It's a good idea, Mid."
"Did it improve since yesterday's description? No? Then it's still retarded."
"What the hell do you want me to say, Apollo?" They sat in the kitchen, Midnighter having finished bedding down Jenny with an over-sized teddy bear and a full stomach. "You've come up with a plan guaranteed to provide us with al Musadeen's head on a platter and your body on a slab. Well, congratulations. Other than pointing out that it's a two-fer, what is it you want me to say?" he worried at the label of his beer, peeling thin strips and flicking the debris across the table.
Apollo watched his fingers work, vaguely amused by the action. "You know, quite a few psychologists think that peeling beer bottle labels is a sign of sexual frustration," he commented quietly, mouth quirking in a smile.
Midnighter's face went perfectly still. "That's what you want to talk about? I think you're going to be in pieces in less than a week, and you want to flirt over the kitchen table."
"Maybe not my brightest idea," Apollo admitted with a wry smile.