6

We finish the meal in near silence, I think it's all been a bit too much for Eve today, hell of a first day on the job, but if it's the worst thing she'll ever put up with, then she'll look back and smile one day. I call a shiver unit in to get her home, and watch them depart, then turn back and go back into the restaurant.

The girls know where I'm going, and don't try to stop me.

Mina is in her room, playing with her hair, which is quite an incongruous sight if you've never seen it. She doesn't turn when I come in the door, but she's very aware of the fact that I'm there. I put my equipment down quietly on the floor and move up behind her, laying one hand on the top of her head. She pushes back against it gently, and I know that she's just enjoying the contact.

"Hey M." I murmur softly.

"Hey." there's a slight catch in her voice, and I gently pull her back to me. "It's okay." I say quietly. She pulls my hand over her face, and I feel the tears brush onto my fingers, then down to her breast.

"Am I really that much of a freak?" there's a tone to her voice that I know all too well.

"Would I love a freak?"

She leans back and looks up at me with those soft eyes, wet with tears "Yes you would you dumb lump."

I smile down at her "So does it matter?"

She tries to smile, and then she gets that look, you know the one, sometimes your partner just needs to know that if the world ended tomorrow, it wouldn't matter, because someone loved them once. Without a moment of hesitation, I kiss her softly on the lips, and she knows that the world could end tomorrow and it wouldn't matter.

We sit there for five minutes, maybe hours, and she relaxes and looks back up at me again.

"So what you working on?"

"It's not important."

"My man's wound tighter than the zip on a shivers ass and you tell me it ain't important, you be trying again there."

A thing I should be clear of here, as part of her retirement package, Mina got to keep her clearance level, she outranks me by a good three points, and probably will do for a few years yet, so I have no problems in telling her what I'm up to. The story takes all of two minutes, and at the end of it, she looks a little thoughtful.

"Mean something?" I ask.

She doesn't answer immediately, instead disengaging herself from me and retrieving a book from the cabinet at the side of the bed, tossing it across to me. I look at the title "One" and shrug, looking back up.

"It's about a person who goes around killing people according to the deadly sins of SLA, each one a punishment for disobeying one of the primary tenets of SLA."

"So what're the sins?"

"Read the book."

"Not my type of thing, tease me."

She reaches for the zip on top of her tunic and starts to draw it down with a sly smile.

"Whoa, whoa, later, tease me about the book woman!"

She pouts and smiles, sitting back down on the bed.

"According to the book, there's seven deadly sins against SLA, according to the book of the lord Slayer, those sins are Corpulence, Stupidity, Treachery, Ugliness, Disobedience, Pacifism, and Poverty. Anyone committing any of these sins will be struck down by those who rule the world."

I pick the book up and look at it as someone might a dead rat they find in their plate of steak.

"How long have you had the book?"

"About a week, it's on the best sellers list."

"Mind if I hang on to it?"

She smiles again "You'll have to convince me to let you."

I grin like a wolf. "I'm sure I can manage that."