Doing the Tourist Thing
A Pink Dormouse Production
Ethan was having fun. Officially they were in London for research purposes; The Shop was doing well, but he thought they should check out the competition and pick up a few ideas. Ethan also had a craving for North Indian cuisine, and none of the restaurants in Manchester matched up to the place he had discovered sometime in the early eighties. Or possibly it had been the early seventies when he first ate there; his memories of the first three years of both decades were a little blurred.
They booked a suite at Claridge's, because what were credit cards and savings accounts for, if not to abuse? It helped, of course, that the more expensive the hotel, the fewer questions were asked. So long as no one frightened the other guests, the staff left well alone. And the other guests were far too polite to notice anything remotely untoward about Lorne, even if they did raise an eyebrow or two at the tightness of Ethan's leather trousers.
Mysteries and Atlantis were first on their list, of course, and Ethan was pleased to see that The Shop had them beaten both on layout, and variety of stock. Neither sold coffee, or had the space to turn into a music venue after hours either, which just went to prove that Manchester was the place to be these days.
They spent a couple of hours on Charing Cross Road, then Ethan decided that was quite enough research, and headed for Covent Garden. It was, if anything, more garish than he remembered, meaning that Lorne fitted in just fine. The Oddbins that Ethan had lived over seemed to have moved, but again Ethan's memory of that was not entirely reliable. The shops and market stalls had their usual array of overpriced tat; Ethan blew more of the savings-stroke-credit-card there, and again at Camden Lock, and on Carnaby Street. They had an estate car -- an expensive estate car. They might as well fill the boot before they went home.
It would have been easy enough to go straight to the restaurant, but they both needed a little time away from people. Nine months in England and no one had come looking, so they were probably safe. The paranoia never truly went away, though, even if Ethan had fewer nightmares about the Initiative. That just left space for other bad dreams to creep in. Like those in which The Bitch insisted he bring Lorne to tea, then regaled them with tales of what seemed to be someone else's childhood.
Back at the suite, Ethan was able to put all threats out of his mind for once and doze peacefully, while Lorne flicked through the movie channels, until it was time to go out.
The older waiters remembered Ethan from before, which was either heartening, or meant he had subsidised the place at one time. They asked after Diedre, and made appropriately sympathetic noises when told of her death. Ethan changed the subject quickly. His thing with Diedre had always been about the convenience of her flat, and their mutual appreciation of certain others, even if it had, until recently, counted as his second longest relationship.
Ethan had every intention that his thing with Lorne was going to beat all previous records, and then some. They had managed a year already, not that he was going to admit to knowing what day today was, and it all felt remarkably normal. At least as normal as a relationship between an ex-mage and a big green guy from another dimension could ever be.
Lorne ordered Champagne, so maybe he knew what day it was too. Tomorrow they would do the tourist thing and visit some museums, but tonight they would celebrate having found each other. Even if they did not admit that was what they were doing.
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