Miles was exiting the whorehouse, his shoulders slumped and in need of being shitfaced-drunk, when he bumped into Jeremy.
"There you are, I've been looking all over for you," Jeremy said, giving Miles an appraising look. "Jesus Miles, if that's how you look after getting laid, you should ask for your money back."
"What do you want, Jeremy?" Miles asked briskly, his heart pounding in his throat at being caught by surprise. He quickly started walking back towards City Hall, knowing Jeremy would follow.
"Monroe asked me to go find you," Jeremy explained. "He's in your office."
"Don't tell anyone where you saw me," Miles ordered sternly. "Got it?"
"Hey, your deal with Nora is your own business," Jeremy threw up his hands in surrender. Miles left him in the hallway and headed to his office, trying to figure out what Bass could possibly want.
Miles had been avoiding Bass the last few weeks, though he wasn't even sure if Bass noticed- the man had become obsessed with figuring out why the power went out and how to get it back on, and was spending most of his time either in his office or in the dungeons, interrogating prisoners.
"Hey, Bass," Miles greeted him hesitantly.
"Hey, Miles," Bass echoed, a small grin on his face. His eyes were red and his hair was beginning to resemble a bird's nest, so another sleepless night at the office then. Miles sat down in front of him, trying to gauge his mood and why he called for him.
"You didn't think I'd forget, did you?" Bass asked, grabbing a bottle from Miles' stash and pouring them both a drink.
"Forget what?" Miles asked, confused.
"Your birthday, dumbass."
"Oh," Miles took the proffered glass numbly. "Shit."
"You forgot your own birthday?" Bass asked incredulously.
"I've been a bit busy," Miles defended himself. "It's been... A bit hectic lately."
"Yeah, I know," Bass nodded solemnly. "Things have been a bit crazy, between these Rebels, and Georgia and Texas breathing down our necks. But if we don't keep living our lives, then they win, right?"
"After what happened last year, I figured it'd be safer if we skip the bar and just get wasted here," Bass' voice hitched slightly, the only indication for how affected he was by the Birthday Bombing. They both were and were changed by the experience. Bass spent most of his time now looking over his shoulder, seeing danger everywhere- everywhere but right in front of him.
"Right, smart plan," Miles cleared his throat and picked up his drink, wondering how drunk he'd have to be to get through this night. Would they reminisce about birthdays past? Remember all the good times they've shared, twisting the knife in Miles' gut even more? Jim thought he didn't have the guts to go through with it and sometimes Miles wondered if he was right.
"Happy birthday, Miles," Bass raised his glass and clinked it with Miles'. "We're still here, despite those bastards' attempts."
"Hopefully we'll be here next year, as well," Miles lifted his glass and took a swing, letting the bitter drink burn its way down his throat. Miles forced himself to smile at Bass and pretend to have fun, knowing full well this time next year, only one of them will still be alive and the Republic will be changed forever.