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By Sarah Hapgood

The following two months seemed to fly by. Most the time they kept themselves to themselves, only venturing into the town for supplies or the occasional meal out. The weather held mild and fine until the end of October, and they led a very healthy lifestyle indeed, in spite of a huge preponderance of sausages on the menu and a high alcohol intake.

They stopped buying newspapers after Hillyard got upset over a cartoon in one, which showed Kieran at a cocktail party holding a dog-lead, whilst a rampant Hillyard rogered a terrified guest on a sofa behind him. The caption was predictably "HILLYARD'S SLIPPED HIS LEASH AGAIN!"

"That doesn't make sense", said Joby to Kieran "He's not your consort, so why should they write that about him?"

"Would you rather it was you then?" said Kieran.

"Quite accurate isn't it!" Joby sniggered at the cartoon.

"For God's sake don't let him hear you say that", said Kieran.

The days and weeks seemed to roll seamlessly together, only marked by the town getting steadily quieter as more people returned home, and the nights getting longer. Soon they found themselves sharing their part of the coastline with only the odd scattered group of fishermen. Occasionally they went to the snack bar frequented by the fishermen, for impromptu servings of fish and chips in the middle of the night.

"I wouldn't mind running a place like this", said Hillyard, looking around him what was little more than a shed made out of corrugated iron.

"It might help if you could cook", said Joby, sourly.

"That's what I'd have you for", said Hillyard "Chained to the frying-pan at the back. And everytime you burnt the chips I'd give you a good seeing-to over the counter".

"Oh what a delicious fantasy", Adam laughed.

"Don't encourage him", Joby growled.

One morning they woke up to find a frost had turned the grass around their tent grey. It was time to go back to the City. They arrived there on a foggy day in the middle of November, only a week before Gorth's wedding.

"One can't help feeling the neighbours must be groaning with dismay at our return", Adam sighed, standing in the middle of the living-room once more.

"I see they've acquired a fluffy pedigree cat next door", Julian spat, contemptuously.

"What's wrong with that then?" said Hillyard.

"Well it's the sort of thing you'd expect from two old poofters like them", said Julian "I bet it sits on its own special satin cushion and is called Mr Whimsy-Woo, or some such nonsense".

"No one would ever guess Jules was the biggest old poofter of them all, would they?" said Adam, much to everyone's amusement.

They had all been invited to Gorth's wedding, and a suitably grey and dreary day dawned for it.

"It's more years than I care to remember since I last went to a wedding", said Adam, pinning a carnation onto Lonts's shirt "I'd forgotten how much hassle they were".

"I've never been to one", said Lonts "Why did people do it so much in your time?"

"It was supposed to be a public declaration of love", said Adam "Which makes today's event even more of a travesty, unless Gorth and Tamaz have fallen madly for one another whilst we've been away, and that I can't believe somehow".

"How's it going?" said Joby, walking into their bedroom "We're supposed to be there for kick-off at eleven".

"We're almost ready", said Adam "You look very smart Joby, in an understated kind of way".

"Pointless me trying to look flamboyant", Joby grunted "I'd look a right nerk".

"One nice thing about today", said Adam "It'll be a rare chance to see everyone in this house looking smart and tidy. We'll hardly recognise one another".

"You'll recognise Hillyard alright", said Joby.

"Oh dear, one of his gaudy specials?" said Adam.

"He's got a pair of trousers on that Rupert Bear wouldn't be seen dead in!" said Joby.

"Who's Rupert Bear?" said Lonts.

"Someone from our time", said Joby "A talking bear that wore checked trousers and a scarf and lived in a house. I think he drove a car too".

"You're being silly again aren't you?" said Lonts, crossly.

"Addy", Kieran burst in breathlessly, clutching a comb "Can you do your usual magic trick with me hair?"

"Of course", said Adam.

"You didn't make this much fuss at your own wedding", Joby tutted.

"No, I was too busy trying to recover from the drinking session I'd had with you the night before", said Kieran.

"What a shame you didn't end up marrying each other by mistake", said Adam "It would have saved a lot of trouble in the long run".

Lonts went downstairs to find Hillyard and Ransey in the kitchen, picking over the remaining carnations from the tray that Gorth had sent round.

"Aren't you gonna comb your hair?" said Hillyard.

"I have combed it", Ransey snapped "I haven't had a chance to get to the barbers lately".

Hillyard gave a small moan of disapproval.

"At least I won't give everyone a migraine when I appear", said Ransey, testily "If I was you I'd be afraid to go out in those trousers in case everyone started lobbing custard pies at me!"

Somebody knocked on the front door.

"Can you answer that, Lonts?" said Ransey "You're more ready than we are".

"O.K", said Lonts, and he went to answer the door.

He didn't know why he had the irrational fear that it might be Ketts at the door, but he did. He'd barely given the novice priest a thought since his chat with Adam a few weeks before, but he now had the weird belief that Ketts had come for him. It wasn't even as if Ketts reminded him of Father Isaac in any way. Monene, with his unctuousness and waving hands, was more like Isaac, although thankfully a benign version.

"Who is it, Lonts?" Hillyard called out.

"The Ministry have sent a carriage for us", said Lonts, smiling with relief at the carriage-driver "That's all".

As weddings went it was bizarre and uncomfortable in the extreme. The invited congregation shivered in the chilly vastness of the new cathedral that Kieran had consecrated a few years before. Because the building was so new it hadn't mellowed at all with age, and the gleaming new brickwork gave it more a look of a mortuary than a place of worship.

"If it wasn't for the red cushions", said Adam, as they sat in the special pew reserved for them "This place would be far too uncomfortable".

"When's Bride of Frankenstein supposed to be turning up?" said Joby.

"Not long now", said Kieran.

"I must say the groom looks positively elated at the prospect awaiting him", said Julian, as a morose-looking Gorth sat down on one of the side seats. From the expression on his face an onlooker would have been forgiven for thinking he was in court awaiting sentence.

"Oh don't Jules, this is all too grotesque for words", said Adam.

"Nonsense", said Julian, robustly "I love a good wedding myself. Perhaps we should do it one day, Ada. Make Finia and Lonts legitimate".

"If you think I'm marrying into your family you can think again", Adam retorted.

"Why not though? It's about time your lot were give a bit of class", said Julian.

"Class!" Adam exclaimed "Your family line was founded by some trollop King Charles II met at a party and screwed!"

"That accounts for a lot", said Joby.

"Exactly", said Adam "Julian's always had a chip on his shoulder because my family were held in higher regard than his, in spite of all their ridiculous and anachronistic titles".

"What titles were they?" said Joby.

"Barons of Rockall, Lords of the Isle of Dogs", said Adam, facetiously "The Earldom of Millwall".

"Ignore him", said Julian "He thinks he's being clever. I'll admit there was a lot wrong with my family, but at least we didn't have religion".

"You make it sound like the worst kind of perversion", said Kieran.

"In his father's case that was true", said Julian.

"Watch out, something's happening", said Ransey, peering towards the entrance doors.

"About time", said Joby.

A fanfare of trumpets greeted Tamaz's arrival at the top of the cathedral steps. He was dressed in flowing cream silk, which served as a marked contrast to his flowing brown hair. The gown hugged his new womanly figure, accentuating his breasts and hips. His face though was now extraordinarily ugly. His lips protruded so much that it looked as though someone had slammed their hand down on the top of his head in cartoon-fashion.

"No wonder Gorth looks depressed", said Hillyard "The thought of bedding that later!"

"You should know all about that", said Joby.

"Nobody's forcing him to go through with this ridiculous charade", said Kieran "I don't even know why he's doing it".

"How on earth did they get Tamaz into his bridal gown?" said Julian "They must have used a crow-bar".

"According to what I read in the paper he's been using some weight-loss serum lately", said Ransey "Gets injected with it on a regular basis".

"I dread to think what size he was before then", said Julian.

"Crazy isn't it?" Kieran snapped "Here you all are, criticising Tamaz for being a bit tubby, and last year everyone was reeling with shock because I was a bit thin".

"There is no 'a bit' about it in either case", said Adam "You were emaciated, and Tamaz is fat. Either extreme is not good".

All through the service which followed Lonts looked out for Ketts, but he was nowhere to be seen. Monene was one of the officiating bishops, but he was serving as assistant to the archbishop himself, and all novice priests were not considered grand enough to be allowed in this great man's august presence. Lonts was relieved about this.

The wedding breakfast which followed was a very grand affair. Held in the State Dining-Room at the Ministry Headquarters, it was lavish but long-winded, going on for several hours. Gorth remained subdued throughout it, and Tamaz drank vast quantities of wine until he was swearing at all and sundry.

"Get off my fucking train!" he roared at a quivering attendant, when he decided to get up and circulate around the table.

Tamaz overheard Joby muttering "thick as shit" under his breath and rounded on him fiercely.

"Why don't you come and provide babies for everyone, yes?"

"How did you recognise the description of yourself so easily then?" Joby snapped back.

Fortunately Tamaz had lost interest in talking to him and had moved on, further down the table.

"Don't start on me", Joby boomed at Kieran "I think he's a fat tart, and just because he's President's Consort isn't going to change my opinion any. He's got no grace, nothing. He's a travesty".

"Look, this dinner's obviously costing the honest tax-payer a small fortune", said Kieran "We could at least enjoy it".

Elaborate baskets made out of twisted stems of spun sugar were circulated, containing out-of-season fruits.

"The cat's got worms again", Joby giggled, fishing out a small dead insect from his basket.

"I think it's time I took you home", Kieran sighed.

"You can't leave yet", Gorth protested, from the head of the table "Please!"

"I'm sorry, Gorth", said Kieran "It's all Joby's fault, he's had too much to drink".

"Makes a change from you", said Joby.

"I'll take him home, Patsy", said Adam "Lonts is getting bored anyway. I'll take them both back".

"You can't leave either", said Gorth "That means Kieran will be without a Consort for the rest of the evening".

"I think I'll cope somehow", said Kieran "I'll appoint Finia as my Consort for the evening, he's decorative enough".

"I'll take Joby and Lonts back", said Hillyard "Then Adam can stay here".

"That would be a great help, Hilly", Kieran admitted.

"I'll escort them back, and then return for you", said Ransey.

As he spoke the four hermaphrodite children were carried into the room like trophies. To the discomfort of many of the guests they were then passed around the room as though they were after-dinner mints.

"What is this, pass-the-parcel?" Joby exclaimed.

"Quick, get him out, Hillyard", said Kieran "I'm getting more and more concerned with his safety with Tamaz here".

"You're pissed too", said Joby, as Hillyard helped him up the final flight of stairs back at the house "Pissed as a fart, I can tell. And who's seeing to Lonts?"

"Ransey's settling him", said Hillyard, hauling Joby up the last few steps "When Lonts is asleep he'll go back and fetch Kieran".

"Isn't that Tamaz a right old slapper?" said Joby "Rough as houses. Narks me like mad that a tatty tart like that's getting all that respect. He'll end up ruining everyone, you mark my words".

"Just ignore him if he bothers you that much".

"Oh yeah? Like you're having to ignore Trantin?"

"He's got nothing to do with it", Hillyard elbowed open Joby's bedroom door and pulled him in.

"Eh, this reminds me of that night in Husgalonghi", said Joby "When I seduced Adam".

"You're gonna seduce me now are you?" said Hillyard "A few drinks and you're anybody's!"

"Oh I've blown it", Joby collapsed onto the bed "Kieran's gonna be really mad at me. Why did I have to drink so much? I'm a complete embarrassment".

"Don't be so hard on yourself", said Hillyard, lighting the gas lamp over the bed "We've all had a few. I'm not feeling too steady meself".

"You'd better go to bed then", said Joby.

"Yeah I suppose I'd better".

Suddenly Hillyard was on the bed next to him, pulling Joby's shirt down over his shoulder and chewing at him hungrily.

"Hey hang on", said Joby "You'll break my skin if you keep that up".

"I want you, Joby", Hillyard panted "Come on, you've got nothing to lose. I won't hurt you, you want it too, I know you do".

"Kieran could come back at any moment".

"He'll be hours yet. Gorth'll keep the party going as long as possible".

"I don't know", said Joby "He's bound to find out".

"Joby, I need comforting", said Hillyard "I want to be with someone I care about, and you turn me on so much. Come on, I'm a lonely man".

"Alright then".

Hillyard's face lit up in total wonderment.

"You will?" he gasped.

"Yeah. But Kieran'll probably beat the shit out of me when he finds out".

"I'll protect you. I'll say I left you no choice or I caught you at your most vulnerable. He'll understand".

"I hope so".

Joby flopped back against the mattress and Hillyard fell next to him, gently removing his clothes.

"It's wrong", Joby whispered "This is all wrong".

"Kieran'll understand, I know he will", said Hillyard, soothingly "Everyone knows how I feel about you, they always have".

"This is it", Joby swallowed heavily "It's really going to happen. You and me".

"Do you fancy me?" asked Hillyard.

"I think so".

"You THINK so?"

"My body's telling me I do", said Joby.

"That's all that matters then", Hillyard kissed him "We'll worry about the rest tomorrow".

Adam walked back into the kitchen, where Kieran was making cocoa over the range. It was nearly three in the morning, and the kitchen was the only remotely warm room in the house.

"Is Lonts alright?" Kieran asked.

"Fast asleep", Adam sat down in the chair next to the range "It's been a strange day hasn't it?"

"Depressing", said Kieran "Leaves a bad taste in the mouth somehow".

"What got into Joby, drinking like that?"

"Nerves I expect", said Kieran "He always does get nervous when we have any close contact with the Ministry. He's terrified I'm going to become President again. If only they'd give us the Castle back. I'd give anything to be living back at the cottage with Joby, but as each days passes it seems more and more remote".

"Not fair is it?" said Adam "I thought that with Wolf Castle we'd found a place to settle, but it seems like we're as much nomads now as we were when crossed over".

"We'll get it back one day", Kieran slid onto his lap "And when we do we'll build a damn great wall around the place, and tell everyone else to go to hell".

"Your legs are cold", Adam stroked Kieran's legs, bare from where he'd removed his rain-soaked trousers and left them to dry next to the range.

"Joby says I've got legs like a wishbone", Kieran giggled "I hope he's asleep as well. He can't half go on when he's drunk".

"Don't disturb him. Bunk down with Lonts", said Adam "I can sneak into Julian's room, he won't mind".

"Oh if Joby's asleep, he'll be out like a light for hours", said Kieran "He won't notice me coming in".

"He is asleep now, I checked up on him too", said Adam, quietly.

"What's happened?" Kieran sighed, heavily "Something has, hasn't it? I can tell from the way you're looking at me".

"Hillyard's with him. I think you know exactly what I mean".

The words went like a knife into Kieran's heart.

"Well I suppose I shouldn't be surprised", he said, tearfully "It's been on the cards for the past sixteen years!"

"Oh Patsy, don't read too much into it", said Adam, holding him close "They were both drunk".

"Not too drunk it seems", said Kieran "I know I'm being unreasonable. God knows I hurt Joby enough when I went with Hillyard myself, but this is the first time since we've been lovers that Joby's ever been unfaithful to me. I don't count you".

"I'm sure it's just a one-off. Joby won't do anything to lose you".

"Addy", Kieran buried his face in Adam's neck "I just want him. He's grumpy and bad-tempered most of the time but ..."

"You don't have to explain", Adam laughed "It's like how I am with Julian".

"Good job you and me have each other then isn't it?"

"You will always have me. I told you that in the beginning and it still holds true".

"But about Joby", said Kieran "What would you do in my position?"

"I would take him out to lunch tomorrow and enjoy myself listening to all his excuses and self-reproach", said Adam "Far more fun than a broken champagne bottle and a five-year jail sentence, believe me!"

"Hillyard", Joby nudged him "Wake up, it's morning".

"Then wake me up again when it's afternoon", Hillyard muttered in reply.

"No look c'mon, God knows where Kieran is, but he can't be far away", said Joby "If he comes in here and catches us like this ... shit, I don't know what the hell we were thinking of!"

"I know what I was thinking of", said Hillyard, suggestively "Your lovely body, that's what".

"Oh give it a rest. Can't you just go back into your own room?"

"I see, now you've had use of me you're chucking me out", Hillyard laughed and rolled over onto him.

"This is serious, Hillyard", Joby hissed "I've been unfaithful".

"You enjoyed it though?"

"What's that gotta do with it!"

"Horny little sod. No wonder Adam raves about you".


"Alright, alright, I shall disappear back to my own room. My erection's gone down anyway".

"The human race is safe again is it!" said Joby.

"I bet we had more fun than Gorth did last night", Hillyard sniggered.

"That wouldn't be difficult", said Joby "Come on, clear out. I wish I knew where Kieran was".

"He'll be cool about it I'm sure", Hillyard sat up. Last night's condom was hanging off the end of his limp penis like a chewed sausage skin.

"I wish I had your confidence", Joby looked round him nervously, as though Kieran was about to leap from the wardrobe brandishing a carving-knife.

"I'll never forget last night", said Hillyard, pulling his clothes off the bed-rail "You were terrific".

"Thanks, but let's keep that between ourselves shall we?" said Joby.

"I love pumpkin soup", said Kieran, after the bowls had been set in front of them in the 'Blue Lion' "Especially at this time of year. What do you think of it?"

"It's alright", said Joby, lifting his spoon with a distinct lack of enthusiasm.

"So", Kieran sighed "What did you think of Hillyard then?"

"I don't think that's funny", Joby snapped.

"I'm just trying to lighten your load a bit", said Kieran "The way you're carrying on I feel like the guilty one!"

"Hillyard said you'd be cool, but I didn't think you'd be this fucking cool!"

"Adam advised me to play it this way", said Kieran, quietly "And he should know".

"That's true", said Joby "We were drunk, that's all. No big deal really, and don't tell him this, but I felt sorry for him. He was going on about how lonely he was".

"Well I suppose it's a slight variation on 'my wife doesn't understand me'".

"I missed you at times", said Joby "Hillyard's good, but I couldn't have the giggles I have with you. I nearly fell off the bed at one point and you'd have laughed like a drain, but he just pull me back on ... you don't wanna hear this".

"Hillyard certainly takes sex seriously when he's at it", said Kieran.

"You can say that again. Goes at it like a pneumatic drill. Great for relieving the pressure, but I did miss you".

Kieran reached across the table and squeezed his hand.

"If he carries on like that all the time I'm not surprised Stombal was so frail and ghostly", said Joby.

"It's raining again", Kieran glanced out of the window.

"We're alright Kiel, aren't we?"

"Yes we are", Kieran smiled "Couldn't be without you, Jobe".

"I know it's not been easy at times. For us I mean. We should've had longer in the cottage".

"You're my life", Kieran whispered "My entire life. Which isn't bad for someone I just accidentally picked up with".

"All the best relationships start that way", said Joby "Now let's eat our soup".

"Hello Ransey, how did your old assassins' reunion go?" asked Adam, as Ransey joined him in the kitchen later that afternoon.

"I was meeting some old treasury colleagues actually", Ransey retorted "And for your information I've been offered a job as assistant to the Head Treasurer".

"What?" Adam exclaimed, pausing in the middle of stirring a stew "Not working for the Ministry again? Are you going to accept?"

"Of course I'm not", Ransey dumped a wad of brochures and leaflets onto the table "I've got more important things to do, like planning a trip for us lot. Where is everyone?"

"Lonts is upstairs having a nap, Julian's in the bath, Finia's ironing one of his frocks in the living-room, and the others are all out".

"What do you think of this?" Ransey unravelled a poster of a tug-boat.

"Very pretty", said Adam "Love the little funnel. Is it for your bedroom wall?"

"I was thinking of this sort of boat for us to travel in", said Ransey "Not too big, not too small. I can get a reasonable deal on one, no trouble".

"I see", said Adam, in a subdued fashion "And it would collect us in Marlsblad, would it?"

"You really don't want to go back there do you?"

"Holds too many memories. But it seems I'm out-numbered, so that's that".

"No you're not", said Ransey "I know how unhappy you've been at the thought of it. And I think it would be better for us to join the ship at the City Harbour instead".

"Still two against six, old love".

"Not necessarily. I'm financing this trip, so I decide where we leave from, and if you don't want to go to Marlsblad, we don't go to Marlsblad".

"Oh Ransey!" Adam gasped in delight, flinging down his wooden spoon and kissing him on the lips. By the time he had finished Ransey looked as though he'd been bashed over the head several times with a bag of cement.

"I-I'm sorry", Adam collected himself "But you don't know what this means to me".

"I think I'm getting some idea", Ransey blushed.

"Julian, I'm being serious", said Finia "I saw them through the gap in the kitchen door. He was kissing Ransey".

"What a gruesome thought", said Julian, standing in the middle of the bathroom and rubbing himself down with a towel "Don't take it so seriously, Finia. Adam never did have the brains he was born with. His motto has always been 'if it stands still paint it, if it moves kiss it'. I really don't see as how I need to start getting jealous of Ransey".

Finia suddenly flung himself at Julian and grasped him round the waist.

"I don't want him hurting you again", he cried "Not like before, in Husgalonghi. He made you so unhappy".

"My darling boy", Julian kissed his forehead "I am never going to attempt such a selfish thing as suicide again, whatever nonsense Adam gets up to. I won't leave you alone".

"Promise?" said Finia, sternly.

"Absolutely", said Julian "I made a vow to you back in the summer. The only way I'll abandon you now is if I suddenly have a seizure or get kicked up the arse by a tram-car or something. You've got nothing to worry about, believe me".

"I'll go back and finish my dress", said Finia, and he sheepishly bolted back down the stairs.

Julian pulled on his robe and went out onto the landing. Adam's bedroom door was standing slightly open, and he could hear Lonts whimpering from within. He went in to find the boy thrashing about on the bed. He had kicked off the bedclothes, and was sweating profusely, in spite of the fact that he was wearing only a t-shirt and nappy.

"You were having a bad dream", said Julian, after he had coaxed him back into consciousness.

"Adam", Lonts sat up and looked around him in confusion.

"He's only downstairs", said Julian "Do you want me to fetch him for you? Have you messed yourself?"

"No I'm alright", Lonts flopped back against his pillows "In the dream Ketts was chasing me through the woods at Marlsblad, and the Gorgon was near".

"It was just a dream", said Julian "Dreams can't hurt you".

Lonts grabbed Julian's hand and held onto it for a moment as he composed himself.

"Feeling better now?" said Julian, after a while.

"I hadn't noticed before what nice hands you've got", said Lonts, stroking Julian's fingers "Your fingers are so long and gentle-looking".

"Yes, deceptive aren't they?"

"Adam has stubby fingers. Not at all like the rest of him".

"Well at least he doesn't bite his nails these days", said Julian "He used to be terrible for it".

Lonts began to hum distractedly and stroked Julian's hand, slowly running his fingers up the other man's arm as well.

"You'd better stop", Julian withdrew his hand gently "You'll get me carried away".

"Oh Julian I'm sorry", Lonts gasped "I didn't do it on purpose. Don't punish me!"

"Of course I'm not going to punish you", said Julian "Anyway, if anyone needs a good spanking round here at the moment it's Adam, and I shall probably do so before the day's out".

"What's he done?" Lonts's eyes widened in surprise.

"Been snogging Ransey in the kitchen", Julian sighed.

Lonts began to giggle.

"You mustn't worry about Ransey", he said "I expect Adam was just trying to comfort him. Adam's very kind".

"Yes, quite the little Pollyanna isn't he?" said Julian, dryly "Come on, the dear old thing must have dinner ready by now".

After supper Ransey spread out his brochures and leaflets on the living-room table, and informed everyone of his plan. The others had guessed that the trip was nearing fruition when the poster of the tug-boat had been pinned up on the kitchen door.

To Adam's pleasant surprise no one raised too much objection to missing out on Marlsblad. It was currently quite cold enough in the City, let alone what the temperature would be like up there. By now they were all more keen on the idea of heading southward to warmer climes.

"Lixix would be a good first stop", said Ransey "And then perhaps we could either carry on down the coast, or head out onto the open seas".

"There seems precious little point in doing that", said Julian "When there's no other countries to seek out".

"There might be a few undiscovered islands dotted around", said Joby "You never know".

"And even if there isn't", said Kieran "It'd sure give us a bit of peace".

Adam let the conversation wash over him. He was sprawled on the sofa, with Lonts lying half on top of him. The boy was squelching on his thumb contentedly, and they were both staring at the television. The volume was turned down, but the picture showed a drama in which two men were sitting in what looked like a police interrogation room, having a very heated discussion across a table.

For a moment Adam experienced a pang of regret that they wouldn't be staying in the house. He enjoyed domesticity, and remembered how uncomplicated life had been the previous winter with Julian. Then he remembered how difficult life had been for them in the City recently. And the cold weather playing havoc with his chest, the realisation that there was a madman loose out there with a fixation on Lonts (although there hadn't been sight nor sound of him recently, it was still extremely worrying), plus Hillyard's trauma over his unauthorised biography, and the prospect that if Gorth carried on nosediving in popularity Kieran would face more and more mounting pressure to reassume the reigns of office. It would be nice to stick two fingers up to all that, to lose themselves on the high seas.

Lonts had nodded off. His thumb fell out of his mouth and his head lolled on Adam's chest. Adam knew then that the contentment he prized so much could be had anywhere, provided everyone was safe.

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