Alto Clef Jr.: Étoile et toi
rating: +17+x

Moonlight draped the pair upon the terrace overlooking the sea. Between them a set table, two candles flickering futile in the Paris night. Fine wine. Rare kobe ribeyes with truffle saffron sauce. Caviar. 300$ blue cheese.

And all set for them.

Nathan hadn't been on a vacation in a long time. The years went on, mission after mission, kill after kill. Identities came and went, targets ebbed and waned, wounds healed, grass grew, trees grew, kids grew. And he, a swimmer of the currents, was adrift in his world. He wanted agency. He wanted breaks. The Director argued that he didn't need breaks.

The Director knew a lot. But he knew nothing about the human soul.

No amount of technology in his body nor amount of drugs in his system could change the fact that Nathan was tired. He was tired, and he was desperate for the type of human bond that could only come from a lack of total and complete knowledge and transparency. And he was desperate for the whimsies.

The whimsies of the eyes. The whimsies of the hearts.

The whimsies in front of him, at this very moment.

"You know, Nathan. I'm enjoying my time here. I'm enjoying my time here with you."

"… Yeah?"

"… Yeah."

"I'm… glad to hear that. I'm glad we're enjoying our time."


"Uh, unrelatedly, but. How about these chairs, huh? Uncomfortable as hell."


Knife through butter.

Butter put upon bread.

The candles burned down.

The wine flowed forth.

He sighed and looked into the moon.

Nathan was a romantic for sure. But he knew nothing about the human heart.

The finest food and drink money could buy. Calculated romantic music. An air of mystery and intrigue. And an attractive dinnerpartner. All these were in front of him. But none seemed to sate him. Perhaps he had to take matters into his own purview.

"Say, Nathan. I know what I saw in you, of course. But what caught your eye on me?"

Nathan looked up from his meal, looking across to his date.

"Well. I figured a man like you should already know his appeal, shouldn't you?"

"… I want to hear you say them, Nathan."

"Oh, oh. I see. Well… I'd say first and foremost your eyes."

Amber coronas

upon eclipses

and he,

lost within them.

"After that… the way you carry yourself."


Fall as grace


Built as brick

He chuckled. Nathan chuckled.

"And finally… your feathers."


"Thank you, Nathan. I'm glad for your thoughts."

"I suppose I couldn't ask for yours in turn?"

"Ah, I would, but I should be going at this point."

He got up from his seat, slowly, carefully. He picked up his hat and jacket and started to walk away.

"Y-you're leaving already?"

Buck, a fair distance away, turned around to face Nathan.

"Ah, no. Not quite yet. I have time for a few… Well. I can make time for you."

"Didn't you say you should be going, though?"



"Before I do, I'll leave you with two last questions."

"… Go ahead."

"Have you ever heard of something called the original character tournament?"

"I'm… afraid I haven't. Is it a writing contest of sorts?"

"Ah, I'm not quite sure. I heard of it from a friend. But, that's beyond the point."

"Very well. What's your second question?"

"Are you ready to die?"

Nathan sighed, picking up the fork and knife from the table. He sprung up from his chair, poised to go straight for the jugular, and


The grenade beneath his chair went off.

He went up in flames.

Flesh and clothes and furniture were covered in a film of napalm as the M308-1 detonated. Pain coursed throughout Nathan's body as he was being burnt to the bone, and then


Buck fired a single shot from his revolver. Right through the brain stem, right through the back-up computer.

Nathan went limp. His burning corpse hitched on the terrace's guard rail before his center of mass shifted back and he went diving through the Paris night, down, down, into the sea.

The skyline was aflame.

And Buck wept.

This was written for the SCP Original Character Tournament. Be sure to also read The Kids With Guns series and its prequel by AFX NeuromancerAFX Neuromancer.

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