It's a cold day with a grey sky, its low-hanging clouds lit up by the lights of Neo York City.
On the penthouse patio of The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G, Director Straffer stands in a loose shirt and tight shorts, taking a short walk as he talks on the phone. It's about 22 out, but he's not really feeling the chill. He's told his new body that he doesn't care to be cold, today, and it's obliged.
If only everything was so obliging, today.
"Okay then," he says, casting a glance back into the penthouse, and the person who's stomping around inside of it: "It's decided. He'll do it.
"Yes, he will, and you know why.
"Yes, because I promised you that you wouldn't have to do it, and under the circumstances he's the best one for the job. Absolutely.
"Well, you'd be !@#$ good at it, too, except I know you too well, Harvey. You want a challenge. And this would be a challenge, under the circumstances, but you don't want to lead from a desk.
"That's right. And he doesn't want to, either, but he's the best person to see the whole mess for what it is.
"Exactly. And that's why I want him in charge. But I want you to tell him, because... well, he might take it differently if it comes from me. That's all.
"Alright. Thanks. And for what it's worth? This would have been a lot of fun, even under the circumstances.
"Okay, you take care too, Major. Bye."
With that he hangs up the phone, sighs, and looks around the city. The B.U.I.L.D.I.N.G. landed in a really good spot the last time the city moved, and he was looking forward to having this nice view every morning. Coffee and breakfast on the patio, cold or warm, rain or shine.
But that's the problem with dreams, in the end -- the waking world keeps !@#$ing getting in the way.
Nodding at his own wisdom, he walks back into the Penthouse, just in time to see his lover pound yet another beer and -- not a half second later -- toss the can at the wall with such force and spin that it crumbles itself flat and falls down, right on top of a growing pile of similarly-rendered beer cans.
"Well, I guess we won't have any problems with recycling?" he asks.
"I just toss 'em the !@#$ over the side on garbage day," SPYGOD snorts, grabbing another beer from a nearby six-pack on the breakfast bar: "If I'm feeling charitable I actually !@#$ing aim."
"Well, that's better than flinging them at the Chrysler Building."
"Who told you...?" he asks, eying his lover with playful suspicion.
Straffer shrugs and looks at Bee-Bee, who's snoozing on a padded chair in a corner, draped around his AK-47. The cat farts and rolls onto its back, possibly in some kind of answer.
"So, did he go for it?" SPYGOD asks, chugging another beer and tossing the can at the wall.
"He did," Straffer says, coming over and grabbing a can for himself: "And I'm sure Faraj will accept, just like I'm sure everyone I picked for the team will follow his lead."
"Big !@#$ing risk," he says, putting his hands down at his sides and looking at the pile of cans.
"Yeah, but you have to make those calculations when you build a group," Straffer replies, having a sip: "Always start from the assumption that they'll kill you, first, and make sure the team can survive it. I think they can survive this."
"And you're sure?" SPYGOD asks, looking at his lover: "Not about the team. But about this?"
"Do you mean you and me?"
"No," SPYGOD says, reaching over to put an arm around his man: "I'm dead !@#$ !@#$ing certain about that. I mean today."
"I am, yes," Straffer replies, putting an arm around SPYGOD: "Disparaître was pretty forthcoming."
"That's some achievement, hon. I always thought that !@#$ didn't care."
"He doesn't. But I think I got him to like me just a little."
"Just a little?"
Straffer grins: "Give a Frenchman a cigarette and he'll take you anywhere."
"As long as it wasn't that !@#$ing cigarette, anyway."
"Hey now, we agreed," Straffer chuckles: "'You can have your ladyboys, and I can have my fun...."
"... just so long as they're gone by two and I wake up with you,'" SPYGOD repeats, smiling as he goes in to kiss him. What he gets in return is, bar none, the best one they've ever had -- even better than that first, thunderous kiss they shared when Straffer's new body was judged fit and ready to leave.
"How soon...?" SPYGOD asks, somewhere in the maze of kisses, some time later.
"Any minute now, I think," Straffer replies, holding his man as close as he can: "You sure this is what you think it is?"
"I'm sure," SPYGOD says: "My source is !@#$ing impeccable. But are you sure about what you're going to say to him?"
"I am," Straffer says, planting one last one on his lover's lips: "I stand by you, come what may. If that means I'm in whatever hole they shove you into, well, I hope the food's good."
"I think we'll be okay," SPYGOD says, winking: "They're French. I bet they got some !@#$ing hotel in the Rivera ready to lock down."
"I don't know about that. I hear Devil's Island's good this time of year."
"Then we'll be the best-looking couple on the whole !@#$ing island," SPYGOD replies, holding him close.
"They better hope we don't take the !@#$ over."
"I think we just !@#$ing might."
"I love you."
"I love you."
They hold each other, for a time. And then SPYGOD's ears prick up, and he looks around the penthouse.
"They're coming," he says, adjusting his shirt and putting his beer can down: "Last chance to !@#$ing bail and have your career back."
"No !@#$ing chance," Straffer says, standing proudly as the TU sends its men to tell SPYGOD that he's being charged with crimes against humanity, and getting ready to tell them that they can just find someone else to protect the Earth from the horror that's coming.
Right or wrong -- and no matter the consequences, or where this takes them -- he's standing by the man who's stood by him Because he loves him, and is not afraid to say it, or show it.
And besides -- they have a plan.
(SPYGOD is listening to The FIXX (One Look Up) and having a Full Moon Barley Wine )