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it takes two to be serious

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She keeps a gun in her desk and a knife in her pocketbook. He slides a cigarette behind his ear and always has a pen in his hand. She's not quite the muscle, he's not quite the brains. She's the only one capable of crosswords, and once he stabbed a man in the heart on his first try. He can find you anyone, and she pulls on his leash like a pro. It's not the best life you could have, not in London, but it's the one they've got, and it'll more than do.



"They didn't hire us," says Bel, tapping her foot, and Freddie grins at her, smelling a chase and high on it, replies, "But isn't this better than our six hundredth adultery case?"

"MI6 are going to chuck your corpse in the river," says Bel, tucking her hair behind her ear, "And I can't say I blame them."

"I know you don't mean that," says Freddie, dismissive, and Bel raises an eyebrow, says, "Do you? How nice for you."



She's underestimated because she has curves like Marilyn and hair just as blonde. He's underestimated because his wrists are thinner than hers and he twitches when she says his name. She's dangerous because she's slipped into a hundred hotels unnoticed, because she smiles just right and she's in your house with a camera flashing in your face. He's deadly because his wit is sharp but the knife in his pocket is sharper, because he comes back fighting and if he punches above his weight class, he tends to win more often than not. She smiles thinly and slips a cigarette between her teeth, he lights it for her and lays a gun on the table in one smooth move.

He isn't a killer. She isn't a thief. But those are masks they'll wear, if they have to.



"That's a new coat," says Bel, and Freddie smirks the smirk of the guilty.

"Remember that time in Whitechapel?" he says, and Bel's eyes narrow.

"I'll get the petrol," she says, and Freddie slides his hand up her neck, says, "You really do think me quite incompetent, don't you? He's in the Thames."

"I don't see how that makes you competent," says Bel, but she lets Freddie kiss her, anyway.



He seeks the truth, but with a little 't'. She wants to be free, but she'll buy her freedom with blood, and it won't be her own. He fucks her in a narrow bed in Clapham, but she's on top more often than not. She pants his name into his ear, he kisses between her legs and stays there for hours, drinking her in. He's too skinny and she's too beautiful, and nobody ever seems to quite get it. He makes her laugh, and he makes her come. She looks at him and knows what he's hiding, clicks her fingers and he follows, every time. You're too good for him, echoes in both their ears, but it never seems to ring true, not with a pistol under the pillow and poetry on his lips, whispered until she falls asleep in the crook of his arm, silent in the dark.



"You understand that we could kill you right now, Mr Lyon?" says the agent, and Freddie does something too provocative to be called smiling.

"Yet you haven't, how amusing," he says, cigarette hanging from his bottom lip, "Have you come to offer me a job?"

He's met with silence, and chuckles into it.

"Really? Now, tell me, is Her Majesty's Secret Service particularly interested in the inevitable rise of the proletariat and our triumph over the selfish bourgeoisie?"

"You could try your luck in Russia," says the agent, dully, and Freddie snorts.

"I don't think so," says Bel, patiently, and Freddie smirks into the crook of her neck, sits up, lights a cigarette, says, "What will you pay me not to try Russia, bidding opens in ten?"

"Ignore him," says Bel, as he blows smoke out in a long, slow, stream, and Freddie smirks again, says, "Oh, please do. I dare you."



They don't dare him. They don't dare him even a little.