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Sleeping Arrangements

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A man's gotta live somewhere while his district is being rebuilt after being bombed to dust. The government spread the inhabitants of Banlieue 13 out in emergency housing around the arrondissements and some of the surrounding départements, and made some emergency funds available to those who wanted to travel to other cities. A lot of the people in gangs ended up in jail for possession or trafficking, although it didn't really touch the higher-ups, but life wasn't perfect and at least they'd been disrupted and were under government surveillance now.

Leïto opted to stay in Paris, and he was going to stay in one of the designated shelters until Damien pulled him aside, after they left the five gang leaders and the President of the Republic behind, and said, "You and Lola want to stay at my place again?" To which Leïto nodded.

They would have run across the city to Damien's flat but one long battle in a day was enough. Besides, saving the honor of the republic merited a short vacation.

Standing there, outside on the street, Leïto looked at the night sky and mused, "Do you think we could beg train fare to make it home tonight?"

"Don't count on it," Damien laughed. "Two sweaty guys in workout clothing who look like they've been in a fight?"

Leïto shrugged and started walking. "In that case, we sleep outside. It's a beautiful night anyway."

Damien chased after him, caught up, then said, "By the way, don't freak out if my place is a mess still; my girlfriend probably left it like it was after I got set up."

"Girlfriend?" Leïto said, turning his head a little. "You mean somewhere in between undercover jobs and saving the country you have time for women?"

Damien grinned. "Usually only between assignments." Sylvie had been around for a while, but it didn't seem right to call her to explain things quite yet. Maybe he'd invent something to tell her next week, or maybe he'd tell her the truth. She was smart enough to take the truth.

He didn’t think, though, that he wanted to continue things – he'd call to say that something had happened, and explain what it was, but he didn’t know how long Leïto and Lola would be living with him, and it would be awkward to have all of them. He had a few words for describing why. 'Bisexual' usually topped the list, and 'serially monogamous' was another. He didn’t like emotional infidelity, and at this point that was where he would end up. Better to be honest.

They went back to walking, and Damien spent a few minutes trying to remember if he'd seen Leïto staring at Tao’s chest or ass.

"How did you get in the good graces of so many of the gang leaders when you stand against them?" he asked finally.

Leïto shrugged. "Ali-K is Lola’s cousin. Third or something, through her father. The rest of them…just running around. Blowing up walls. I bought tech gear off of Tao a couple times. That sort of thing."

"That sort of thing," Damien repeated. It had never occurred to him to ask if Leïto and Lola had the same parents. Their family name was the same. But Leïto was almost ten years older, so Damien supposed that it wasn't unlikely.

"I wonder how you stay so honest if you deal with them so often," Damien said finally, and Leïto laughed.

"Shouldn't I ask you that?" he responded. But before Damien could answer he realized that they were close to a police station. They managed to hop a ride on rounds with one of the beat cops, after Damien flashed his badge, and were dropped off at the edge of the district. They ended up hopping from police station to police station that way, chatting with the officers who gave them rides, and finally they were let off not too far from Damien’s apartment somewhere around midnight.

Damien swore when he saw the security box. Still no memory of the pass code. He rang his neighbor, who didn't answer, and finally he and Leïto climbed up the side of the building before breaking into Damien's apartment.

Damien went to the front door, which was broken but had been replaced by plywood, and ignored the rest of the mess in the front hall that was left over from the struggle. When he got back to the kitchen Leïto was already on the phone.

"I was with Damien, saving the world," he said, laughing.

Damien didn't hear Lola's response.

"I'm a cop-killer, you know," Leïto said, and Damien clenched his hands in reflexive rage over the lightness in his voice. The law was the law and it would be respected –

He left the kitchen to go take a shower, stripping off his shirt and dropping it in the laundry bin on his way. The bed had been made, and there was a note on top of the sheets.

Damien –

The police tell me that you were caught for drug dealing. I don't believe them, but I don't want to get involved either. Call me when it's over if you feel like it. I won't wait too long.


He put the note on the nightstand and went to take a shower.


When he got out of the shower and was wearing enough to actually pass for decent, Damien went into the main part of the apartment and found Leïto on the couch, reading.

"You can take a shower if you want," Damien said.

"Thanks," Leïto said, closing the book. Damien glanced at the title – one of his counterterrorism training manuals. "Lola is staying the night in one of the shelters, and she'll come tomorrow."

"All right." Damien imagined inviting Leïto into his bed, but knew he wouldn't: it would be hard to spend the night together and then separate once Lola arrived. He suspected once he knew how Leïto's tattoos felt under his hands and tongue, and the pressure of their bodies together, he wouldn't want to give up that pleasure.

Leïto moved to walk past him towards the shower, and Damien stayed still, though he felt like a scared horse, ready to bolt if Leïto did something unexpected.

Leïto went into the shower. Damien went into the guest room and made the bed in preparation for Lola’s arrival the next day, and only when Leïto walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist did Damien remember that Leïto had no clothes anymore. They’d all been vaporized.

Damien went into his room, grabbed a shirt and shorts, and threw them over at Leïto, who caught the shirt in his hand and let the shorts bounce against his chest and fall to the floor.

"You weren’t gonna catch that?" Damien asked, needling him.

"Not unless you wanted me to let got of the towel," Leïto responded easily, and his eyes flicked up to Damien, then back down to the floor as he bent down to pick up the shorts. A few drops of water ran down his shoulders. When he stood up again, the flag that the knight on his pectoral was holding looked like it was stabbing a star.

"I'm not afraid of what you got under it," Damien laughed.

Leïto shrugged. "Your loss." He tucked the corner of the towel more securely and put on the shirt over his head.

Damien didn't say I know, even though he did want to see. The problem was that he’d want to touch, too, so while Leïto dropped the towel and put on the shorts, Damien kept his eyes elsewhere by turning on the police radio receiver that was next to the bed. It was crackling news about patrolling around the relocation areas and close to Banlieue 13, mostly.

"Where should I put the towel?" Leïto asked.

"You can hang it back up."

Leïto wandered out of the room, then poked his head back in a few moments later. "You going to bed?"

"Yeah," Damien said, because he was tired, even if he wasn't really sleepy.

"I'll see you in the morning, then," Leïto said, and when Damien nodded, he waved his hand, and in a voice that imitated a child's, he said, "Night-night."

Damien laughed. "Night."

"Breakfast is your treat," Leïto added, and then he shut the door. Damien thought about chasing after him, but decided that he would have paid for breakfast anyway,. He turned off the lights and got into bed, and let the crackle of police alerts smooth his way into dreams.