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Four Years After The Revolution

By Ika
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He looked up at the sound of footsteps, but it was just two lovers, entwined, passing by: two girls, he thought, but he couldn't be sure. Servalan chic ("Uberwhore") was the new fashion on Earth for men and women alike. Oh, and for the four or five new genders that had suddenly emerged. And for the post-gendered who thought seven was a stupid number: or maybe they just thought all numbers were stupid. He wasn't sure they weren't right there, but ...

The sun was slanting towards the horizon now, warm on his back through his shirt, and tickling the back of his neck, and his shadow in front of him was long and broad, falling across the people (or the post-people) who walked (or flew, or skated, or rode, or drove) past. He felt suddenly and hugely grateful to the sun, for being warm, for being simple, for being there.

Then there was another warmth next to him, in the seat next to his, and he looked round.

"Hello, Avon," he said.

Avon raised an eyebrow.

"Kerr," he said quickly. "Sorry."

"Do try to keep up... Roj. It's been Kerr for four years now."

Kerr touched him on the cheek softly and smiled in the new way, right into his eyes. Except it wasn't entirely new: it had been there, even ten years ago. What was new was that this was how he always smiled now. And what was new was how much it hurt.

He put his hand over Kerr's, on his face, and moved the finger to his mouth to kiss it. Kerr brushed it lightly over his lower lip, then pulled away.

"Do they still serve ale?"

Roj smiled. "Of course. They serve everything."

"We'll see about that."

He watched Kerr walk over to the booth at the centre of the tables. He was looking well; the eyeliner was new since last year; he'd stopped wearing lipstick two years ago.

A sudden, brief picture of Kerr's face on the pillow, looking up at him blindly, lipstick smudged, was almost unbearably erotic; then the back of Kerr's hand smearing across his mouth, wiping the lipstick away. "Just call me Frenchie" he'd said, and Roj hadn't understood, and Kerr had made him stop - right then, in the middle - and watch the old movie.

That had been in the months just after the war, when Roj and Kerr had been delightedly lost in affection and pleasure; before they'd realized that it was Blake and Avon who needed each other, who fought and loved and hurt and healed each other. Affection and pleasure were things they'd both found since, time and again, on their different planets, with their different lovers.

********

"How have you been enjoying your visit this year?" said Kerr.

"I wonder how long I'll keep coming back," said Roj after a long pause. "I always thought... Never mind."

Kerr looked at him, took a sip of his drink, and said "What have you been doing?"

"Travelling, mostly. Seeing the sights." Looking for somewhere he could live. "I spent a couple of days with Jenna on the way back to the Sol system. And you?"

"Having babies with Orac. Learning to fly. Reading. And the usual."

"Cooking, shopping, fucking?"

"Of course."

"I miss you," Roj said unintentionally.

"You miss everything."

"I know."

"These anniversary meetings were your idea."

"I know."

"Will you be coming back next year?"

"I don't know." *********

Roj wasn't sure whether the modified who came to take their signatures in payment was a genuine survival or one of the new genders. He supposed it didn't really matter, and took the blue cube from her (her? its?) hand and signed his name: Roj Blake.

"Thank you," said the mutoid, glancing at the signature, and flew away.

He wondered what was showing on his face that made Kerr take his hand then.

"If your name still meant anything, you wouldn't have won," he said. "It's finished. We're all free of Blake now. Even you."

"Avon..." he said through the pain.

"Blake," said Kerr, and kissed him, but the name sounded strange and the kiss was gentle and affectionate.

And Heaven knew he was miserable now.


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