Sapphire followed behind Steel, her brow furrowed. There was nothing but open meadow before them. The scene was gleaned from a thousand memories of a thousand agents, all blending into the epitome of what a truly serene and restful meadow should be.
There was a stream, bubbling and gurgling, as the water cascaded over and around rocks. Explosions of colorful flowers erupted every few feet and busy insects hurried from one bloom to the next.
A breeze scuttled past Sapphire, pushing by her as it raced through the blade of grass. On the wind she could hear the calls of a dozen different birds, all coming together in one joyful song.
Her heels sunk into the soft ground and she mentally replaced them with sandals.
"Might as well do the rest," Steel muttered, never turning around. He strode forward, his pace steady and certain. His own three piece suit shifted, replace by a pair of khakis and an almost-tight polo shirt.
All right. Her blue dress, so fashionable, was replaced by a billowy blouse, washed until it was the consistency of butter against her skin. Her skirt was as equally comfortably, loose and airy. It swished through the tall grass and sent grasshopper airborne in all directions as she followed Steel. Where are we going in such a hurry?
You'll see soon enough.
They came upon a narrow dusty path and still Steel continued on. When he got like this, there was no budging him, so Sapphire trailed behind, enjoying the sun on her face and the why Steel's muscles moved beneath his clothes. This had been an odd choice for her partner. Steel never dressed to display his better features. Her eyes dropped to his rear and she permitted herself a slightly wicked smile.
Then, suddenly, he stopped so abruptly she nearly collided with him.
"Steel, whatever possessed you…?" she started to say, and then trailed off. Before them was an oak tree, its limbs providing a pool of shade in a day rapidly heating up. The stream curled past it, its banks a riot of flowers. There was a blanket spread out, with a picnic basket and several pillows, set to one side of it. "This is…" She stepped past him to hurry to the spot. She held wide her arms as if trying to embrace the day itself. "This is…"
"A surprise, I believe they call it." Steel joined her. "I believe you mentioned to Ruby how much you envied humans their summer vacations. "
Sapphire laughed and clapped her hands together. "I did! And you did this for me?"
"Whom else would I bend time and space for? I believe you will find fried chicken and cold potato salad in the hamper. There is wine cooling in the stream." Steel sat in the blanket and patted the spot beside him.
"That's why you chose the outfit you did, to keep my mind off other… things."
"My mother raised no fool." He flipped open the hamper and pulled out two red and white checkered napkins. He looked up just as Sapphire leaned forward and she kissed him most thoroughly.
"No, she raised a thoughtful and wonderful…" She said as their lips parted.
"We shall discourage any more thoughts along that path." Steel cleared his throat and handed her a napkin. "Later, after the sun sets, there will be fireworks, for I was led to believe that it cannot be a proper vacation with then."
"Until then?" Sapphire's smile was coy as Steel's shirt suddenly vanished.
He looked down in surprise and then back up, even the resourceful and competent agent. "We shall simply make fireworks of our own.