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A dress

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Innocence was struggling to open the door of the hideout. ‘Roy, hi, I wanted to…’ called Innocence as he entered the room, but he nearly tripped over his own legs because. Roy. Was. In a dress.

It was not a dress, really, it was the dress, Mary’s dress, strikingly, unbelievably blue in the rust colours of Mars. And it was tattered to shreds.

Roy was bent over his workbench, visibly occupied with wires and pieces of rusty metal. As if he wasn’t standing in a dress, almost shredded to ribbons that were. Not. Hiding. Anything.

It took a moment of stunned silence for Innocence to notice that Roy was in fact wearing an underskirt as well, but still. His legs, usually hidden under the fabric of baggy pants, were here in the open, and Innocence couldn’t help himself but notice powerful thighs and perfect calves. The dress left Roy’s arms open, too. They were slightly tanner than his legs, with shocking lines and curves of scars, old and new, clean and narrow but mostly ugly, lacerated, from claws or weapons made out of scrap. There were also strange patches on his skin, smooth, sleek, as if they were pieces of metal alloyed into Roy’s skin.

He was not bulky like some of the bandits they had encountered, but he was strongly built, and Innocence puzzled over how he could even pull the small piece of clothing on.

‘Roy?’ Innocence hesitated, not knowing what to do with himself, whether he should ask something or just leave.

Innocence had seen Roy doing weird things and almost everyone they talked to assumed—and quite loudly—that Roy was crazy. Sometimes he was, and sometimes Innocence was grateful for Roy’s crazy.

But this… For this Innocence had no words.

Roy pushed away from the workbench, and his incredible eyes focused on Innocence, his face softening. ‘Hey, kid.’

‘Is everything okay?’ asked Innocence tentatively.

‘What?’ Roy traced Innocence’s gaze and eyed his own… garments. ‘Oh, this.’ He grinned and spread his arms, swaying his hips a little, showing off. ‘Do you like my new outfit? Am I pretty?’

‘You… You’re playing me, right?’

The look on Roy’s face changed to one of pure offence. ‘Why do you think that? I just wanted to look pretty. I thought our enemies would be distracted with my stunning beauty.’

A mental image immediately popped in Innocence’s head, and he barely suppressed a laugh and felt his cheeks heating up a little. Roy in this dress looked stunning indeed, he had to admit that.

Roy kept his heavy boots on, though, but somehow this and his several days stubble complete with a spot of oil over his left brow didn’t ruin his looks. A sudden thought stroke Innocence, and he almost choked because it seemed to him that the dress looked better on Roy than on Mary.

Innocence hadn’t seen that many Technomancers except for Sean in the camp and those who were after Roy but they all looked exquisite, upper-class, and he never had this impression about Roy, but now, seeing him in a dress, he thought he could see a touch of nobleness that showed not only in Roy’s actions but finally in his looks, too. He tried to imagine Roy in Sean’s tight, strict black coat, accentuating Roy’s physique, and it led to his cheeks heating up even more.

Roy might have noticed his reaction because he laughed, loud and open and with a mischievous gleam in his eyes. ‘I am pretty, don’t you think?’

Innocence averted his eyes, fumbling with his scarf. He was sure that his thoughts were written all over his face, and his friend laughed even more.

‘C’mon, kid. Mary’s still recovering from the overload and can’t use her powers, and I want to check if her dress is still useful for her.’ He touched one of the metal wires on his tanned shoulder that glinted in the dim light of martian day. ‘If it’s not, I can remove all this tinsel and utilise it properly. It’s a damn ton of precious metal.’

Innocence laughed in relief, ‘You played me, in the end.’

Roy was still grinning, and it was a grin of delight and good humour. ‘Actually, I can use your help, I need to remove some of these wires.’

Innocence smiled, eager to help Roy, and came closer, sensing the sharp tang of electricity that had been following Roy these days.

‘You… I think you’re really pretty,’ said Innocence sheepishly.

‘Thanks, kid. I’m flattered.’ Roy laughed again, and it was a good laughter.