Title: Steaming
Author: Jane St Clair
Fandom: The Authority
Rating: R-ish
Pairing: Apollo/Midnighter, (Jenny/Shen), Jenny & the Doctor
Spoilers: Jenny Sparks #1 and #4
Feedback: Brings me to new and ecstatic heights! (3jane@chickmail.com)
Summary: Jenny spies on people. Because she can.

Disclaimer: The Authority belongs to Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch and DC/Wildstorm. And I respect them. I'm only having a little fun, and I didn't hurt *anybody*, and I didn't make *any* money off it. I only have this little story to be my own. I'm nice. Be nice to me.

Sex disclaimer: If you actually read Authority, there isn't really anything much here that you haven't seen before. Well, maybe the boys snogging, but you *were* aware they did that, right?


Jenny's obscene song is "Cocksucker Blues" by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Inspiration, in its many forms, came from Apollo and Midnighter. She got the idea of installing a bathtub from them. Not directly, of course. Even Apollo at his chattiest wouldn't have mentioned it to her, and Midnighter's reserve


left no room in casual conversation for his love for Apollo or any of the things they did together. If you didn't know them, she supposed, it was possible that you wouldn't realize. Until they trusted you a little. Until the first time Apollo brushed a quick kiss across Midnighter's half-concealed mouth and grinned at you while he walked out. Cheeky bastard.

In fact, it came about because she was . . . well, Shen would probably have called it spying, but Shen completely failed to have a sense of humour about things like that. Moral little cow.

In her quarters, with her feet up and half a glass of gin cradled in her lap, letting the Carrier flash her images of the known universe, including their version of earth and the interior of their dimension-shifting home. For comfort or entertainment or something. Because she was Jennifer Sparks and she could. The psychedelic higher planes were the most beautiful things she'd seen since she abandoned acid in favour of her longer-standing and more comforting alcoholism.

Birds that rose up the Carrier's hull singing purple arias. Oceans of bitter-sharp smell that was almost, but not quite, blue. Symphonic geographies.

Synesthesia was definitely the order of the night.

Then inside. Angie curled up in her computer chair in panties and a Cornell U t-shirt, one currently flesh-toned knee tucked up under her chin. A mass of braids swung forward against her face, and her fingers twitched in a nic-craving gesture that Jenny recognized all too well. No Jack, but he might have been out for the night.


Shen reading. No wings, saffron-coloured sari wrapped comfortably around her. Flick of an eyebrow as if she knew Jenny was watching. Mystically beautiful, really, even with the short-cut hair. Fantastic lips that still brushed the back of Jenny's neck occasionally, when they needed to. Too

//fucking serene//

still for Jenny's taste. As if she could create peace on earth by radiating it from herself. Probably that was why they weren't lovers anymore, except in the most occasional sense.

Flick. Outside. Earth. Jack in London, walking barefoot in Leicester Square. A place-name that wouldn't have made her laugh forty years ago, when it was just another sector of home. But sometime around nineteen seventy, when she'd been barefoot and windblown and bead-wearing and happily stoned, she'd picked up some scruffy lad from Dartmouth and they'd spent a vastly entertaining night on a roof in King's Cross, writing what she suspected remained the most obscene song of the twentieth century, and for a laugh they'd set most of its events in Leicester. Seeing it now still made her think of livestock. Sometime towards morning, her boy had put that spectacular mouth to rather better use, and she'd decided that his fame wasn't entirely undeserved.

Damn. It'd been a long time since she'd had a shag that good. Not quite as long ago as Dartmouth-boy, but a long time.

Flick. Pacific ocean. Fractal pods of baleen whales just under the surface, whistling.

Flick. Tiananmen. Flick. Golden Gate Park. Flick. The Brandenburg Gate. Flick. Absolutely the best lesbian bar in Austin, Texas. Flick. Luminous trickster flowers, expanding at the rate of dreams. Flick.

Apollo, with his head back on the bathtub rim and the Midnighter's head pillowed in the hollow of his shoulder. The sight was strange for the unguardedness of the moment, and stranger for the nakedness of Midnighter's face. There were startling cheekbones under that graph of scars, and very long lashes brushed them. One edge of his mouth was still curled in a half-sneer, but without the mask to interfere, she could see that the expression was permanent and unintentional, hinging on a particularly nasty scar that pulled his lip upwards.

She wondered who'd constructed the bathroom like that. Neither of them could talk to the Carrier directly. They -- or more likely Apollo -- would have had to ask Angie or the Doctor to persuade the Carrier to make the necessary alterations to her form. A lot of details, though perhaps the Carrier had provided those herself. Light edged in through some kind of screen. The tub itself was deep, for one thing, and wide enough for two truly ripped blokes to soak in together. What Jenny would have designed herself, if she'd thought of it.

It looked warm. Steam floated all through the room, and it was still rising off the water. Apollo swept up a double handful of water and poured it over Midnighter's short-cut hair, laughed as the other man arched back into him. Bent and kissed him.

She watched them wrestle for a minute, twisting against each other until they settled into their newly chosen arrangement of limbs. Knees up, Apollo's legs outside Midnighter's. Classic bathtub, really. Midnighter was close to dozing, she thought. And bugger her if his face wasn't relaxing into the sweetest look she'd seen in years. Not bad for a man that Angie's once described as the scariest parts of Batman and Deliverance in one body.

Apollo swept up palmfuls of water every minute or so and let them sweep down on his partner. Still steaming. It occurred to Jenny finally that he must be using his own solar energy to heat thewater. For Midnighter, who was always cold.

Blue obsession reflected in the water. Flick.

More gin. Two or three swallows was all that was left in the glass, and in the time it took her to get up and retrieve the bottle, the Carrier wall had shifted to an extended Cairo skyline, brilliant with all the colours of pollution.


She caught them at other times, sometimes just curled together and drifting in the not-sleep state that they tended towards at rest. Touching down the length of their bodies. Other times moving around their quarters. Which was how she learned how rarely even Apollo got to see the Midnighter naked. As soon as Apollo was out of arms' reach, the leather armour was back around him. She'd seen Apollo kneel in front of him, unbelievably graceful for a man dressed in jeans and an unbuttoned Oxford, and peel one glove away, kiss each finger and then replace it.

She only watched them

//make love//

shag once. Genuinely unpornographic, if only because the constant lip-lock shielded the details of their bodies from her. Midnighter on top, Apollo with his knees hooked around Midnighter's hips

//nobody's body should bend like that//

to hold him down. Both of them snogging, hot and wet and messy and loud. Twisting and fucking but obviously more absorbed in the kisses.

Jenny couldn't remember the last time she'd kissed like that. She decided to be jealous. Hissed and threw a pillow at the wall screen, then had to persuade the Carrier to restore the image. Three husbands, several dozen lovers, and a couple of hundred semi-anonymous shags, and she was buggered if she could remember even one kiss that good.

The two of them were still locked together, only tilting their heads occasionally to change the angle. One big scarred hand tangled briefly in Apollo's hair, then smoothed down to tease at the edges of his face.

Twist of Midnighter's hips and she could feel Apollo's hiss cut through the darkened air. Only a crack in the seal of their mouths before Midnighter caught him again, kissed and fucked him both at once.

Sodding beautiful.

Somewhere behind her, "Jenny?" That accent so thick it sounded like it was coming through water or smoke.

"C'min, Doctor." Didn't move her eyes from the screen.

The Doctor padded in and stopped just behind her, hovering like a cracked moth. Watched her, washed-out eyes catching riffs of experience beyond all of her senses.

She held out an arm, finally, and he came gratefully. Settled beside her and laid down, pressing his face between her breast and shoulder. He breathed into her shirt, relaxed for a moment, then started to shake. She didn't comment on the new sogginess on her blouse that had to mean he was crying.

Passion snow outside. White shimmer of fire. Drift of smoke and magic off the Doctor. Apollo and Midnighter, still kissing.

On a different night, the Doctor had spent nearly an hour stroking her scalp, tracing the destroyed places that his first miracle had reassembled. He'd watched her through huge eyes, then apparently decided that she wasn't going to hurt him. Took his glasses off and set them aside, pressed his lips once, gently, to her temple. Then curled himself up in her lap and gone to sleep.

She rocked him now a little, and quietly cursed a universe that had turned an already damaged boy into a magician. He would be -- what, now? twenty-three? Too young. In some other universe, there had to be a version of him


curled up with his Playstation and cigarettes, completely unresponsible for the world's continued existence. Where Jenny Sparks didn't need to seethe jealousy at the only two people in the world still in love, or to cradle a sobbing redhead in her lap while outside the liquid parts of eros cracked open and began steaming.


Tell me what you think of me. 3jane@chickmail.com