Fighting in a foreign war
So far away from my home

Their first kiss is long and hard and in Egypt.

Cairo is hot, but when is it not? Jim thinks this and smiles at the rhyme. Bill is the artist, the poet, not him. Jim likes to think of himself as uncomplicated.

Which makes the following events that much more confusing.

The details will become dim to both of them later but they will both remember that it was the easiest job either of them had ever worked. They had the freedom to wander about town under only a thin cover, sun beating down on skin designed for the clouds and rain of England, not the merciless sun of North Africa.

Of course, Bill basks in it. He basks in everything; it's a talent he has, one of many.

I am on reprieve
Lacking my joie de vivre

If Jim had the capacity to be uncomfortable with himself, to be jealous, then he would be, around Bill.

That makes the interest Bill has in him striking— it's rare that Jim is flattered. He is not the least bit remarkable, which makes him a very, very good spy but a rather pitiful person, in the eyes of some (but not his own).

Bill kisses him all the same.

It's in their tiny apartment above a filthy, cheap falafel place. Nothing led up to it. Jim was flipping through some paperwork, reclining on Bill's bed only because Bill's was made and Jim's own was not.

He asks Bill, politely, if he would like to go out and get very, very drunk. Bill turns from the window, walks over, and presses his lips firmly against Jim's without asking.

Jim wonders exactly how long he's wanted that to happen for.

If only some rain would fall
On the houses and the boulevards

If the job hadn't been so easy, they might have had something to be ashamed of. Control would balk at the lack of professionalism in his two agents most known for it (perhaps Jim more so than Bill), but the two can't really muster up a care. They fuck with abandon in that dingy apartment, and Jim is amazed at what joy he can find in one man who (in his mind, anyway) stands even taller than the pyramids in the distance.

And of course, Jim knows he's not the only one. He finds this hard to focus on, and when he does, he finds that he does not particularly care.

One piece of Bill is enough. He thinks that if he had any more, it would be greedy.

With the roar of cars
And the lulling of the cafe bars

They roam the bazaars by day and by night they do other things. Bill is terribly sentimental and buys too many souvenirs, letting himself get gypped just so he can tell a story about it (and blame Jim for the lack of funds) later. Jim has to talk him out of buying a Persian rug, which Bill is convinced he can buy on Circus money.

The trip feels as long as the Nile but, in reality, it is very short.

It is on the plane back to England that Bill says, smiling, "I'd like to continue those conversations we had in the apartment, Jim."

"Of course," Jim says, grinning himself, and he finds that, surprisingly, happiness suits him.

It is very simple, in its way.

Lord I don't know if I'll ever be back again




a/n: these two make a big mushy mess of me, every time.

Title and lyrics are from "The Legionnaire's Lament" by the Decemberists. Reviews are beautiful, wonderful things and I beg you not to hesitate in leaving one; either way, thank you for reading!