Title: Paradigm Shift
Author: Harper Kingsley
"Good evening, Blessed Tierney," Zero said, taking the seat across from him. He was all soft skin and soulful eyes, and Gregor couldn't help wishing he hadn't been put in this situation.
Zero was an incredibly sweet boy trying way too hard. It was uncomfortable being around him. Gregor had never been fond of gushing sycophants.
"Hello," Gregor said. He risked giving Zero a small smile, nothing big enough to give Zero hope for more. He wasn't trying to be cruel and he was sure he was going to turn down any offer Zero presented.
The servers appeared and Gregor hid a sigh of relief that he wasn't going to have to have a conversation.
The first course included a clear broth soup with floating tendrils of bright green seaweed and cubes of tofu. Gregor sipped delicately and was pleased by the amount of flavor. It was just what he had been needing.
It was with the arrival of the second course that he wished to flee the room forever. That was when Judge Tersoe saw him and against all expectations recognized him.
"Rusty? Rusty Drummond, is that you?" a disbelieving voice asked.
Gregor wanted to cringe. Just the sound of that ridiculous name made him want to travel back in time and order himself not to be a fool.
He looked at the Judge, who was peering at him from down the table. "Hello Rulf," he said, giving a friendly smile. "It has been a long time, hasn't it? You're looking well."
"What are you doing here?" Tersoe asked, demanded really. The outraged expression of the woman seated next to him was almost comical.
"Enjoying a delightful meal. We'll speak later." Gregor lowered his head toward his bowl to show that they wouldn't be shouting across the table at each other. He kept his face blank, but his stomach felt bound in uncomfortable knots.
Park's interest at his side was almost a physical thing, but the man didn't say anything. Gregor was relieved, though he had no doubt that the name "Rusty Drummond" would end up as a search parameter as soon as dinner was ended.
Not that there would be much to find.
Rusty Drummond was the alias Gregor had used when Rulf Tersoe had shown up at his door looking for Gregor Tierney, great-great-grandson of the legendary Thunderjaw, hero of the Zombie Wars.
Gregor hadn't realized the man standing outside his door was a Judge and had felt no compunction about lying and giving a false name. By the time he'd found out the truth, he'd been terrified out of his wits and had no idea what he was supposed to do… so he'd packed up his things and fled.
Because he'd seen the emotion in Rulf's eyes and he'd had no doubt that the man was in love with him. He could practically hear the words Rulf would say when he asked Gregor to Bond with him.
But Gregor wasn't in love with Rulf. It had just been sex. And that was exactly what he'd been prepared to say. Right up until he found out that Just Rulf was actually Judge Rulf Tersoe, Adjucar of Green Sector, the embodiment of State Law for one of the biggest Sectors in the world.
Judge Tersoe literally had the power of life and death. And Gregor had looked him straight in the eye and lied, a Class Two Felony.
It was the kind of crime that came with a punishment that left people wishing for a swift Execution.
X-posted @ http://harperkingsley.dreamwidth.org