Don’t Panic

by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ)


Kia was in the middle of making breakfast when he realized the world was going to end in a little more than an hour. He’d already burned his toast, too; it was shaping up to be a hell of a morning.

His ship’s primary display screen was lit up like Christmas, alerting him with every flash of the approaching fleet. Armed to the teeth and heading straight for earth, a thousand ships strong. It was always possible that they were friendly; anything in the universe was possible. Sometimes you got a bag of jellybeans with no licorice-flavored ones. Sometimes a fleet of interstellar battleships just wanted to say ‘hello’. Kia, however, trusted his self-preservation instincts more than he trusted the infinite variations of the universe. Better safe than disintegrated, he’d unfortunately literally did always say.

He could have his ship warmed up and be out of Earth’s orbit in ten minutes. He just had to make a little detour first. He left his ship — which he kept parked on top of an apartment building in the Lower East Side, as part of an arrangement he had with his landlord, Manny, who was a nice gentleman originally from Arcturus — and headed out into the street. There wasn’t time to walk where he needed to go, and the subway would take too long. He headed to the corner and watched as yellow cabs passed him by, all off-duty or filled with passengers. Kia sighed and reached into his bag to pull out a long cylindrical object with a button on the end. He didn’t like to use it often — it was a little showy — but desperate times called for desperate gadgets. He pressed the button and a loud whistle came out of the device.

Three cabs pulled to a screeching halt at the curb he was standing at. Kia picked the one that was a hybrid — he’d gotten drunk with the guy who’d invented that technology, a really slick cat from Proxima Centauri, loved antique pornography and cheap gin — and slid in the back, leaving the other two cabbies vaguely wondering why they were kicking out their passengers.

“Varick and Charlton, and fast, the world’s about to end,” he said. The cabbie laughed.

“The world ends every day, sir!” The cabbie said as he started to drive.

“True, true,” Kia said, and nervously checked his watch, which was synced up to his ship. “Thousands of birds fall out of the sky for no reason. Colonies of bacteria a million strong are wiped out when I wash my hands. It’s the little apocalypses that get to you after a while, isn’t it?”

“I try not to let it get me down,” the cabbie said, a smile on his lips as he watched Kia shifting in the back seat. “Life goes ever on!”

“Sure, sure, good attitude. It’ll definitely go on for the next…” Kia looked at his watch again. “Forty-three minutes.”

The cabbie frowned. “Are you serious, sir?”

“Serious as a heart attack,” Kia said, and then met the cabbie’s eyes in the rear-view mirror. “Actually, more serious than that; people recover from those all the time.” He let out a sigh and looked out the window, then got his wallet and emptied out all the bills in it into the front seat. “Here, take it, just start running red lights.” The cabbie looked in his eyes for a long time. Kia didn’t flinch, at least not until he was pushed against the back of the seat when the cabbie slammed down on the gas.

“Thank you, and I’m sorry about your loss!” he said when he got out of the cab at his destination. He bounded down the street and into an office building, bypassing the front desk with a little shout of “emergency!” and ducking right into a closing elevator.

“Hi,” he said to the people in the elevator with him, as he stood with his back to the door, facing them. “Good morning, I hope everyone is having a nice day. For now.” He smiled at them. “Hi.” The door opened on his floor, and he ran out in a spiral of limbs.

“Simon!” he yelled out as he wove his way through the maze of desks and cubicles. “Simon!”

Simon poked his head up out of his cubicle. “Kia? What on earth are you doing here?”

Kia skidded to a stop in front of him and grabbed his hand, intertwining their fingers. “I need you to come with me right now. It is very… very important.”

Simon looked back at his desk. He was holding a cup of coffee in the hand Kia wasn’t gripping. “Can it wait? I just got in, I’ve got to check my email…”

“If you check your email now you will regret it for the rest of your life.” Kia checked his watch. “Which will be a really rough twenty minutes, let me tell you.”

Simon looked at him and Kia didn’t blink. He’d met Simon three years ago at a Halloween party; Kia had been dressed as a giant vibrator, but Simon thought he was a robot. Kia’d spent the next twenty minutes explaining all the reasons why his costume would be a terrible robot costume, like the fact that he was clearly battery operated. Simon had been dressed as James Bond. He’d looked very handsome in the tux. Kia couldn’t leave without him.

Simon set his cup of coffee down on the desk. “Okay, but if this is nonsense again you’re buying me a muffin.”

“It’s never nonsense. I’m a very serious person,” Kia said, and pulled Simon along by the hand back out of the building and into the street.

Kia looked at his watch and hissed breath. “No time, no time,” he said, and let go of Simon’s hand to dig his keys out of his bag. “I guess there’s no choice…” He hit a button on one of his keys. It made a little ‘chirp-chirp!’ noise and Kia waited, watching the sky.

“Ah… what, exactly, are we doing?” Simon said.

“Waiting for my ship,” Kia said.

“Your ship?”

A shadow passed over the two of them as a low humming sound filled the air, and Kia’s ship slowly lowered itself to the ground in very flagrant violation of parking rules. This was really showy, but he supposed it wouldn’t matter in… really no time at all, he really had to stop checking his watch.

“My ship,” Kia said, and opened the hatch. “Get in, the world’s about to end.”

“The world?” Simon said, his voice small. “This world?”

“This very one,” Kia said, and put an arm to the small of Simon’s back to guide him into the ship. He went in without resistance; he’d always been an agreeable sort.

“I wish I’d brought my coffee,” he said as the hatch closed behind both of them and Kia set the ship to escape orbit.

Kia’s ship rose silently and quickly out of Earth’s atmosphere, inertial dampeners keeping the movement to little more than a hum they could feel in their shoes. Simon just stood behind him, mouth hanging open, as Kia steered the ship to safely outside of earth’s orbit. When that was done, he breathed a sigh of relief and came up out of the pilot’s chair to deal with his passenger.

“So!” he said, clapping his hands together.

Simon was blinking owlishly at the screens and displays around him. “Is this… a spaceship?”

“Yes, it is a spaceship,” Kia said. It was understandable that the Earthman would take a little bit to adjust. He’d always wanted to tell him about this part of his lifestyle, but he’d never found the right moment to bring it up.

“Why do you have a spaceship?” Simon seemed to decide that all of the blinking lights and flashing displays were too much for him, and just focused on Kia.

“Because I’m actually from Alpha Orionis.” Simon looked at him blankly. “It’s a star system. About six hundred and forty light years away, as the crow flies.” Simon blinked in slow motion. “I’m an alien, basically.”

“Oh,” Simon said, and looked down at the floor. “So, you’re not a freelance journalist after all?”

“Oh, I am,” Kia said, smiling. “I get pretty regularly work from several intergalactic publications. Mostly human interest stories.” The Associated Galactic Press loved stories about the baffling details of human nature, like why people said things like “ATM machine” and “PIN number.” Kia guessed he was going to have to find a new beat soon.

“Human… oh. I see.” Simon looked around himself again. “Why am I on your spaceship?”

“Because I wanted to save you.”

Simon frowned at him for a long while. “From what? The ten o’clock staff meeting?”

Oh, this was the awkward part. “No, uh, from the end of the world.”

Simon took in a slow breath through his nostrils. “In a ‘we elect a Republican president’ sort of way?”

“As in an explosion, new astroid belt sort of way,” Kia said. No reason to beat around the apocalypse, as it were. Simon staggered a little and grabbed a hold of the back of the pilot’s seat.

“No. No, this is not happening,” Simon muttered, shaking his head.

Kia had never understood the human habit of denying the really obviously quite true. He looked at the ship’s console, which was still fluttering the alerts that had set him off on this. “It’s happening. Well, it will happen in… just a few minutes.” Kia thought it was probably in best taste not to give him a completely accurate countdown time. Might make him nervous.

“I need to sit down…” Simon said, and his knees were clearly buckling. Kia swooped in to put an arm around his waist and guided him to a seat in the lounge, just a little further back from the cockpit. Kia kept a hand on his shoulder, rubbing his back in a way he was pretty sure humans found soothing.

“Believe me when I say there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Nothing anyone can do.” He made a little explosive gesture with his free hand. “Invading fleet. Bad news big time.”

Simon had his face buried in his hands. “God, this isn’t… this can’t be…” He continued muttering on like that, and Kia supposed he should do something more than just pat him on the back. It wasn’t every day a man got to be the last of his kind. Kia snapped his fingers as the thought occured to him — Simon was the English brand of human, and he’d written a whole article of their ways of dealing with crisis. He left Simon to go deeper into the ship, and returned a few minutes later.

“I got you some tea,” he said, holding out the steaming mug to Simon. “It’s Sleepytime.”

Simon looked up at him with reddened eyes, blinked very slowly once, then took the mug. “Thank you,” he said quietly, and took a small sip.

Oh, what did you say in situations like this? Kia hated an awkward silence — well, it was mostly silent except for the soft bleeping of the countdown until the fleet arrived. “But… hey! It’s not so bad!” Simon glared at him at that, but Kia pressed on. “There’s a whole universe out there! This isn’t the end of the world!” He paused. “Well, okay, it’s the end of your world, but not, uh…” Simon was staring bleakly into his Sleepytime. Kia decided to try patting him on the back again. “There, there.”

“When?” Simon asked, his voice rough and aching. “When is it going to happen?”

Kia glanced at the display. “In about one minute and forty-three seconds.”

Simon put the mug down and put his head back in his hands. Kia supposed at a moment like this, the respectful thing to do would be to remain quiet. He was sad about how the day was going, too; he’d always liked Earth, long enough to spend the past fifteen years of his life there. He liked humans, as strange and inexplicable and goofy that they could be. He’d really miss them. That was why he’d made sure to take his favorite one with him.

His ship’s console changed its display, and Kia left Simon to go see what the results of the apocalypse were. “…huh,” he said, as he examined the readout. He read it a few more times, just to be sure, then turned back to Simon. “Um, good news?”

Simon dropped his hands to let Kia see his face, his brows drawn together in pain. “What could possibly be good news right now, Kia?”

This was really just embarrassing. “I… may have slightly overestimated the threat.”

Simon stared at him, as though Kia’s words were taking the time to physically walk across the ship and climb into his ear. “To… what degree?”

“It turns out the fleet was a lot smaller than I originally thought!”

“How… much smaller?”

Kia held up his fingers about two inches apart. There had been a thousand of them and they had been very well armed, but Kia had just made a mistake in his reading of scale. Really, to be fair, Kia couldn’t have been expected to notice certain details early in the morning, before he’d even had breakfast.

Simon held up his fingers the same distance apart, then stared down at them as though he might see a fleet of battleships within them right there. Doubtful; Kia’s ship had very excellent environmental filters. “That was the fleet?”

“It attacked a beehive in Spain.”

Simon closed his fingers together, crushing the imaginary fleet, and looked up at Kia. “Is that… code?”

“No,” Kia said. “It attacked a beehive. In Spain.”

Simon looked down at the floor, and then brought his eyes back up to Kia. “Was it…” He took in a breath. “A bad beehive?”

Kia had never been an expert on intergalactic politics. He couldn’t tell you anything about the motivations of most of the species in the galaxy, let alone why any one of them would decide to go to war. “Let’s just say it was,” was the easiest way to answer Simon’s question.

Simon was straightening up a little more. “And they’re done? It’s over?”

“It’s over,” Kia said, and checked his ship’s screen again. “The bees won.”

Simon frowned again. “The bad bees?”

“Well, there were heavy worker casualties.”

Simon rubbed a hand over his face. “So… good?”

“Earth is safe, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“It’s safe?” Simon let out a little hitching breath, something that couldn’t make up its mind if it wanted to be a laugh or a sob. “Everything?”

“Everything except those Spanish worker bees,” Kia said. “Abejas de trabajador, I guess.”

Simon was up out of his chair and grabbing Kia by the biceps. “Everything is okay? Do you promise?”

Kia swayed back on his feet a little, but grabbed Simon by the elbows. “I promise! Everything is fine!” He grimaced a little and gave Simon his best apologetic face. “I’m sorry I got you so scared, but you have to admit… better to be overcautious just outside of orbit than blown up like a bunch of bees.”

Simon closed his eyes and took a very deep breath. “Okay. Okay. Where… where are we now?”

“…Just outside orbit. Like I just said.”

Simon looked around the small interior of the ship. “Are there… windows?”

“Oh!” Kia smacked his forehead and laughed. “Of course you’d want to see, silly me. Hang on.” He tapped a few keys on his console and the sides of the ship faded into transparency, giving the two of them a clear view of the Earth, a pretty blue bauble in the inkiness of space.

Simon grabbed a hold of his arm and Kia slipped it around him, steadying him again as he looked a little unstable. “Pretty good view, huh?” he said, but he wasn’t looking at the Earth. He’d seen the Earth. He’d never seen that expression of stunned wonder on his favorite human before. It was nice.

“It’s… amazing,” Simon said in barely more than a breath. His eyes looked a little wet. Kia had never figured out the rhyme or reason of human tears, so he just decided to not acknowledge it. He rubbed Simon’s hip a little.

“I guess I could have shown you earlier, but… there was the whole secret alien thing.”

Simon wiped a hand over his face and sucked in a sharp breath. “This is…” He glanced over at Kia, but he couldn’t keep his eyes away from the sight of the Earth below for longer than a second. “This is like… your house is on fire. You have time to grab one thing. So you grabbed me.”

Kia nodded. “That’s a pretty accurate metaphor.”

Simon turned to look at him again. Kia could see the Earth as a spot of blue reflected in his eyes. “Me.”

He just smiled at Simon. “Yeah, you.”

“Why me?”

Kia would have thought the answer to that question was obvious. But humans sometimes had a little difficulty with the obvious. Like, he was pretty obviously not from Chicago, but no one had ever bothered to ask about the truth. So maybe Simon had never really looked before. Maybe he hadn’t seen.

Kia smiled at him softly, took Simon’s face between his two hands, and kissed him. Simon took a moment to respond, whole universes were born and died while he hesitated, but then he was kissing Kia back.

“You’re my favorite human in the world,” he said against Simon’s mouth. Simon let out a little laugh, one that Kia could feel against his lips, and that was just so nice.

“You know there’s six billion others you don’t even know, yes?”

“I figure they can’t be as good,” Kia said, brushing his fingers along the nape of Simon’s neck, smiling as the touch made him shiver.

“So… an alien… just kissed me… in space,” he said, laughing a little at the end of it.

“That’s pretty accurate, yeah.”

Simon let out a long breath and swayed forward to rest his head on Kia’s shoulder. “Today is… different.”

Kia laughed and let his arms settle around Simon, stroking up and down his back a little. “Well, I hope so. If you’ve been kissing other aliens in space without telling me, I’ve honestly misjudged our friendship.”

Simon sighed against Kia’s neck. “Are there other aliens? I mean, on Earth? Minus the ones that just got…” He let out a semi-hysterical little giggle. “Beeten?”

Puns unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one’s point of view) were almost unheard of on Kia’s homeworld, so he had no greater reaction than to say, “Oh, of course. Plenty.” He kept running his fingers up and down Simon’s spine, like petting an animal — although he supposed with the whole cross-species thing, that wasn’t too unfair of a comparison. “Couple of people in politics. Actors. Random guys, too. Like Marco who runs that diner we go to, he’s from Rigel.”

Simon lifted his head up. “He came to earth to run a diner?”

Kia shrugged. “Everyone’s got dreams, man.”

Simon laughed and shook his head. “And you’re a journalist. Who writes about humans.” He gave Kia a big smile. “Do you ever write about me?”

“Oh, no.”

Simon frowned a little. “Why not?”

“Well… from an outside standpoint, like, a galactic standpoint, you aren’t very interesting.” Simon frowned more and Kia squeezed him tight. “But I personally find you very interesting!”

Simon feigned a pout for a moment or two, then started smiling. “Enough to kiss me.”

Kia grinned and let his hand slip a little under Simon’s shirt, his fingers touching the bare skin of the small of his back. “Enough to do a lot of things to you.”

Simon’s eyes widened and his eyebrows crept up towards his hairline. “…Alien things?”

“Well… I guess since they involve me and you they’d technically be alien,” Kia said. “Since we are both aliens, depending on your point of view.”

Simon snorted as he smiled. “I’m not an alien.”

“You are to me!”

“Of course to you, you’re an alien!”

Kia just shook his head. “See, you have to get some perspective. Broader perspective.”

Simon leaned in to him and looked out the transparent walls to Earth below. “I can see Australia. All of Australia. That’s… a very broad perspective.”

Kia traced his initials with his fingertip against the base of Simon’s spine. “You are but one kind of alien in a great big universe.”

Simon laughed and rested his head on Kia’s shoulder again, his eyes close. “But I’ve got my green card. I’m naturalized.”

“Still an alien,” Kia said, lifting his hand to brush his fingers along Simon’s jaw. “Just like me.”

“I guess I am,” Simon said softly against his neck. After a moment, he huffed a small breath and nodded his head, like he was deciding something, and straightened up. “Honestly, this is all starting to overwhelm me and I think if I think about this for too long I’ll have an utter screaming freakout, so I’d like to go back to the thing I’ve liked most about today, which was the part where you were kissing me.”

“You’re a very smart human. I’ve always liked that about you,” Kia said, and kissed him again.

As come-on lines went, Kia supposed that “Would you like to see the bedroom on my spaceship?” was actually fairly failproof. If he’d been thinking more sharply, he’d have tried it much sooner. Simon had heard it and become unbuttoned in more ways than one, and soon he was pushing him down into the bed as they kissed again and again. Kia laughed a little and flailed a hand out to find the buttons near the wall, and then the walls in his quarters were fading to transparency just like the others, so that the moon and the stars and all of the heavens could see them getting to first base.

Simon lifted his head to look out at it again, and laughed. “Insane, it’s completely insane.” He kissed Kia’s mouth a few dozen more times, then said, “You know, you didn’t have to wait for the end of the world to kiss me. I’d’ve gone for it under perfectly mundane circumstances as well.”

“Well, you have to admit, it worked pretty well,” Kia said, and then started shaking his head when Simon scowled at him. “Which was not my intention when I brought you here! I swear, I really thought the world was ending! I haven’t faked an apocalypse since I was a kid!”

“I want to hear that story,” Simon said as he slipped a hand under Kia’s shirt, brushing fingers up his stomach. “Later.”

“Oh, I’ve got a bunch of them,” he said as he started unbuttoning Simon’s shirt. “All kinds of crazy space shit. You’ll love it.” He put his hand flat on Simon’s chest to feel his heart beating. Just a single beat, quick and steady. That was wild. He sat up from the bed, firmly putting Simon in his lap as he got him out of his shirt. He took Simon’s arm gently in his hand and kissed along his bicep, trailing his lips down to the bend of his elbow. He skimmed his teeth against the skin there and licked along the center, slow and wet. He could do this all day.

Simon did not seem impressed, though. “Ah, Kia? Why are you making out with my elbow?”

Kia lifted his head up. “Because… oh. Does that not… do it for you?” Kia didn’t exactly have any sexual experience with humans to speak of. It’d been a pretty lonely time, but, well, he’d been holding a bit of a torch.

Simon shook his head. “I’m afraid not. Does it… do it for you?”

Kia snorted. “Well, yeah!” He gave Simon’s elbow-pit one last little kiss and straightened up. “Okay, so what parts are good on humans?”

Simon blushed a little. “Well… the neck is always a good place to start…”

“The neck?” Kia tilted his head and brushed his fingers along the curve of Simon’s throat. “That’s such a vulnerable area, though.”

“Yes, ah…” Simon’s eyes closed and he shivered. “Ah. I suppose that is some of the appeal.”

Kia just started grinning. “Man, I love you humans, you don’t make any sense.” He wrapped his arms around Simon’s waist and started kissing his neck like he would the most appealing of elbows. He could feel Simon’s pulse, that one-heart beat, under his tongue. That was just insane, and made Kia’s own heartbeats go into syncopation. Simon was making these noises too, sighs and gasps and hiccups of breath right into Kia’s ear.

“So, so… God,” Simon gasped. His hand found Kia’s where it rested at his hip, and his fingers crept under the sleeve. “So then this is what works for you?” he said, and slid his fingers up Kia’s forearm to stroke his fingertips just so gently at the inside of his elbow. Kia grunted hard and buried his face in Simon’s neck as the feeling zinged through his body.

“I like you,” he said breathlessly into Simon’s collarbone. “You’re really clever.”

“For a human?” Simon asked as he put his hands under Kia’s shirt to pull it off over his head.

“For an anything,” he said, and kissed Simon again as he went for both arms with stroking fingertips, the man was clearly secretly a completely insane obscene sex genius. He went for the other side of Simon’s neck to see if it got him to make any different noises. It did. Fantastic.

Simon was pressing his thumbs into Kia’s elbows, and Kia was pretty sure he could do that until the heat death of the universe and he’d be happy, but then Simon moaned and grabbed his face to kiss him hard. “Okay,” he panted when he pulled away. “If there are any alarming differences between our two species below the belt, I’d like to be informed now before we go any further.”

Kia was feeling pretty enthused below the belt at the moment. “No, pretty much the same, as far as I know.”

Simon smiled at him. “No tentacles or pseudopods?”

“I believe you Earthmen call it a ‘penis,'” he said, making the air quotes with his fingers, and then Simon was laughing and undoing both of their pants, undertaking a great amount of wiggling and tossing aside of fabric until he was back in Simon’s lap again, this time the both of them naked.

Simon looked down at their laps. “Yes, that looks fairly familiar,” he said, then gave Kia a nervous little smile. “Technically, you know, this is my first time with another man.”

Kia’s hands trailed from Simon’s hips to grip his rear, and Simon sighed at that. He was getting a suspicion that their two species had fairly shared interests when it came to points south of the border. That was awesome. “Technically, I’m not a man. I mean, my species has three genders.”

Simon opened his mouth to explore this detail, then closed it again and shook his head. “Tell me later. You’re close enough to a man for me.”

Kia leaned in to nuzzle Simon’s lips with a smile. “And you’re my first human, so this is a pretty cool educational experience all around.”

“My horizons have been very broadened today, yes,” Simon said into his mouth, and then slid the extra few inches forward so their cocks rubbed together. “Ah.” Yes, it seemed their anatomy was very compatible. Kia gave a private thumbs-up to the infinite variations of the universe, and reached a hand down between them to wrap a hand around Simon’s cock. “Ah!” Simon gasped, and then mirrored Kia’s actions. This cross-cultural exchange was going very well, he thought.

They stroked each other slowly at first; Kia was unsure if what he liked to do to himself late at night on an empty spaceship was the same thing that would work on Simon, but gauging from his reactions, from the way he got hotter and harder in his hand when he twisted his wrist, the way he squirmed on his lap and shivered out Kia’s name, some techniques were universal. Their wrists bumped together as they fell into a rhythm. Kia still thought the whole neck deal was wild, but he had to admit, it was very easy to access in this position. He licked a line up Simon’s throat, stopping just below his ear, and his hand got a little slick as Simon grunted. The human body, man; he was really looking forward to getting a more intimate knowledge of it.

Simon was getting a more intimate knowledge of Kia’s body already. He pushed him back into the bed, straddling his thighs. While his one hand was tight on Kia’s cock, he let the other trailed down Kia’s arm, thumb pressing into his bicep where it flexed with each stroke of his hand, the cool flats of his nails skimming the soft skin inside of his arm. Kia just started smiling as the warm feelings built inside of him, watching Simon watch him. It shouldn’t have taken an apocalypse to get them together like this. He should have stolen Simon away in his ship that first night, when he was wearing his tux and drinking martinis, and shown him the universe.

“Don’t stop, please,” Simon panted, thrusting into Kia’s fist. There would be time for the universe later. Kia stroked him harder, tightly jerking his wrist in a way that seemed to work quite well.

“Not even if the world ends” he said, and brushed his fingers down the center of Simon’s throat.

“God, you… ridiculous…” Simon ended that statement in a long low grunt as he came, splashing Kia’s hand and his own stomach. When he started to soften in his grip, Kia brought his hand to his mouth for a curious taste. Salty? Now that was weird. But then Simon had caught his breath and was skimming his nails down the inside of Kia’s forearm. “Amazing. Wonderful. Now you.”

“Oh, cool, now me,” he said, and just smiled as Simon’s hand slid over his cock steady and quick. He rested his hand over Simon’s heart again and felt it pounding, one powerful drum, and looked out at all the stars above them. It was good to give the universe a show now and then. He closed his eyes and came with the thrum of Simon under his palm and the shape of the Earth behind his eyelids.

When he opened his eyes, Simon was frowning down at him. “Something wrong?” he asked.

“It’s… it’s pink,” he said, and Kia followed his gaze to where Simon was staring, at the pool of bright pink come drying on his belly. Kia laughed.

“Yeah, I always figured that one might give me away.” Kia snaked an arm around Simon’s hips and pulled him down to lie on the bed next to him.

“Yes, that you were either an alien or that you had a terrible disease.” He sighed and wrapped his arms around Kia, cuddling in close to him to breathe against his neck. They were quiet like that for a while, all manner of heartbeats returning to normal. “So… what now?”

“Well… it’ll be a little awkward when we go back to Earth, since I caused a bit of a scene, but I think I can manage to cover things up.” Kia knew a guy in the mayor’s office; he wasn’t an alien or anything. He just knew a guy.

“Do we… have to go back to Earth?”

Kia lifted his head up. “Don’t you want to?”

“Well, I suppose I’d like to pack a bag and maybe put in a leave of absence at work, maybe call my Aunt Hortence and say goodbye, but…” Simon looked up and gestured to the stars. “I don’t know if I can go back to a cubicle after… this.”

“But Earth is saved. Everything is okay.”

“That’s very good. I’m very happy about that. But I have to say the stress of the situation has made me think I’d rather like a vacation.”

Kia looked at him, and then out at Earth, that stupid planet he’d grown so fond of. But he’d been there for a while. Perhaps it was time for a little holiday after all. He brushed Simon’s hair out of his face. “Do you want to see the universe with me, Simon?”

“Well, at least some of it.”

“I know a very good fraction of a fraction of a slim percentage we can see,” he said, and leaned in to kiss Simon. “And I can’t wait to show it to you.”

Really, it was the most successful apocalypse Kia had ever experienced.

Special thanks to ladysisyphus for providing, like, half of Simon’s dialogue. I’ll buy you a drink at the Bar at the Edge of the Galaxy, darling.

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