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Mission Mishaps and Uncomfortable Positions

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It was a clear, moonless night, and the Rhiminee Cat was on the prowl.

Alec crouched on the roof impatiently. The aptly-named Street of Lights glowed softly beneath him, providing barely enough light for him to see his hand in front of his face.

He heard raised voices in the room beneath him and prepared himself for trouble.

Seregil swung himself back up onto the roof with a grace that Alec envied. "It would seem," said Seregil, sounding amused in spite of the worried crease along his forehead, "that the lady does not appreciate the romance of being kidnapped to a life of luxury by the Rhiminee Cat and would instead like to be bought properly."

Alec smiled uneasily.

"I rather fear she is calling the guard." Seregil was off along the roof without another word, Alec close behind him. It was almost too dark to follow Seregil; Alec predicting his moves on faith alone.

It wasn't quite enough - Seregil stopped abruptly and Alec hurtled straight into him. It was only Seregil's quick reflexes that stopped them from toppling off the roof altogether, although Alec found himself hanging uncomfortably from the gutter on the edge.

The sound of commotion from within the house below made Alec wince. "Now what?" he whispered. The gutter creaked and moaned as he attempted to shift position and he froze.

Seregil was crouched on one knee on the roof, listening. One hand settled on top of Alec's. "Drop to the ground," murmured Seregil. "Try not to break a limb."

Groaning, Alec obeyed, thankful for every bruise he'd gained when Seregil was teaching him how to fall. He landed safely, although not without some pain as his legs jarred on the hard cobbles.

Seregil landed beside him.

"Run?" asked Alec.

Seregil shook his head, head still cocked in a listening position. The clatter of booted footsteps at the front of the alley was not comforting.

"You could kiss me," said Alec, quickly. "Press me up against the wall." Despite the situation, the thought of it made him shiver.

"Much as I am tempted," said Seregil, voice warm with amusement, "give our guard some credit."

Alec blushed.

"Flatten yourself on the ground at the back of the alley," said Seregil. "Don't let any skin show." To fit the moonless night, they were wearing all blacks on top of more casual clothes and for his part, Seregil folded himself into a ball in the back corner so that he resembled nothing so much as a dark lump, not at all human.

Alec did as he was asked. The cobbles beneath him prodded in uncomfortable places and it was an effort to keep from twitching around, trying to find a more comfortable position. He breathed as shallowly as possible, trying not to gag from the smell of the alley.

He heard a pair of guards enter the alley with a clatter of boots. Alec held his breath completely.

The guards had a murmured conversation, then moved away.

They waited some moments more before Seregil unfolded himself and prodded Alec into getting up before deftly scrabbling up the back wall and back onto the roof.

They passed two more alleys before Seregil indicated that they should drop to ground level again.

"Take off your mask and your darks," he said. "Try to look casual."

Alec did as he was asked, shaking his hair out and running his hands through it to get it into some semblance of order. He discarded the black overclothes in an untidy lump at the corner of the alley.

"What are we doing?" asked Alec.

"It's too dangerous to keep going by rooftop. We'll attract too much attention in darks."

"We'll be recognised like this."

"That's the Street of Lights out there," said Seregil, matter of fact.

Alec nodded in frustration, not understanding. "But, I mean... we're known to be a couple. We'd have no business there."

Seregil laughed. "It's not unheard of for couples to visit the Street of Lights."

Alec felt heat flood his cheeks again.

"There, are you blushing? That's perfect. Follow me; you'll tell me you've changed your mind, and we'll go home."

Alec clutched Seregil's hand tightly as they walked out into the street.