Author’s Note: If you want me to recommend you a movie with badasses, the chances of me recommending a movie with characters like Rambo and James Bond aren’t very high.
Pete never really wanted to be like James Bond. Although he wouldn’t admit it out loud, he did want to have sex, especially his first time, with a beautiful and willing woman. That, he already accomplished.
He looked at the nude but blanket-covered form of his fiancee, Anna. She had proposed to him a few hours ago, with a steel ring, and Pete quickly said yes. He had already been sure, but he had been so worried about his work that he forgot that he had a lover who would willingly risk her life for him.
“Why didn’t I think of that earlier?” he whispered to himself and sighed. He also regretted quickly jumping to have his and Anna’s first time a short time after he said yes to her proposal. He really wanted to do that after they finally got married, but he felt like his life would end soon, especially with the job he had, the job he never wanted, the job he had willingly screwed up.
Honestly, though, if he were to die the next day (He had a strong feeling that he actually would die the next day. His boss liked efficiency very much, considered their inferiors expendable, and whoever they were, they definitely had eyes and ears everywhere), he wanted to feel his lover’s body with all of his own as well. And yeah, he did want to have a child with her. He did have some regret about doing it with her so soon too, though. Now that he thought about it, he felt like he and Anna were not so psychologically prepared for parenthood. Anna was short-tempered, he was a worrywart–“We can do this, Pete. Anna can help. You can help. And there are a lot more people out there who can help. And both of you have flaws, but look at how far you’ve gone together! You can improve!”
Pete took a deep breath and pulled his lover’s body closer to his. Years of chaos had shaped him into who he was at that time. At times, he had doubted the powers of kindness, optimism, friendship, and rationality, but he often saw people go against those values, and he saw how much damage they could cause. Despite finding such truths difficult to take in, he found a lot of valid reasons to take the path of the truly morally good.
He and the rest of humanity may screw up at times, but it wasn’t like he needed to lose his faith in himself and in them. He had encountered enough–more than enough, really, believe it or not–people with lots of kindness and maturity to have very strong faith in humanity and in God.
Speaking of God, Pete felt he should really visit his priest godfather, who lived nearby, for confession, but honestly, Pete was scared and felt like he shouldn’t go out. He didn’t want to suddenly leave his loved ones, especially Anna. So, he settled on making a Sign of the Cross and whispering a prayer. He felt like it wasn’t enough, though.
Feeling helpless, Pete quietly cried, hiccupping softly here and there while he felt the warmth of Anna’s body.
With a face that would probably turn his lover into a shouting and sobbing wreck, he looked back at what led to his numbered days and all this chaos.
Almost a week ago, while he was in his house, Pete received an e-mail from an unknown sender. At first, he deleted it, for why should anyone trust unknown senders?
But another email showed up. He deleted it. And another. And delete again. And again. And again. And again. They all had the same subject: “Chosen.”
After the fifth delete attempt, their monitors suddenly blacked out, followed by some weird artificial intelligence declaring that he should follow its creator’s orders that were “for the sake of national security” or else he would meet a sniper bullet or something from one of their group’s members.
At that time, Pete contemplated refusing immediately, but he found that not so productive. He didn’t like doing things half-assed, and he was already tired of seeing deception and violence being considered reasonable methods in dealing with problems. Such systems needed to go down, and he knew that getting himself killed and having his own death covered up easily afterwards by very dangerous people would not help much in beating their freaking bad attitudes up. So, he decided to dive into the world of secret agents, a.k.a. secret dumbasses, and deal with whatever villains he needed to deal with while wielding the power of friendship, kindness, optimism, and rationality. He would most likely be dead if he did, and also most likely dead if he didn’t, anyway, so Pete decided to take a path that would lead to a happy death.
Oh, and his opinion on popular spy stories lowered a lot thanks to the forced spy recruitment thing he went through, too. He facepalmed, wondering why a considerable number of people liked the protagonists of those stories.
With the AI in his hijacked desktop computer, he was briefed on his first mission the day after he got recruited. His boss was a mysterious sort, and also mentally disturbed, most likely, considering that they called their group “Angels” and strongly thought that violence and deception were the best ways to deal with problems. They only talked through e-mail and the AI.
Now, as for Pete’s first mission, he was asked to subdue (read: assassinate) a certain renegade spy woman codenamed Sizzler, a dangerous assassin and intel gatherer posing as a college professor, and make sure that she never reveals a bunch of secrets that she plans to unleash sometime. The mission conditions sounded strange, considering how he built his knowledge base regarding the world of secret dumbasses, but it made sense. “The best spies are the ones who can hide in plain sight,” said the boss, who called themselves “Lucifer” (“Yup, my boss is definitely messed up in the head.”). They (for the boss also said that “I may be a girl, I may be a boy, don’t just assume what my gender is”–“Really, it’s not like I’d look down on them if they were one of the two.”) also said that “The power of information should not be underestimated.” The statements all made sense, but Pete preferred dealing with things without all the violence and deception and delusions.
So yeah, he did just that. Like, waited for the woman to finish her work and stuff, and then when she had exited the school building, he asked her out on a date.
“Ummm…Ma’am…I’d like to…uhmm…”
It should be remembered that Pete already had a girlfriend that he loved very much, and that he strongly disliked cheating on her.
“Ask me out on a date? I’m flattered, but I don’t date students.”
“No! Uh, what I m-meant…to say is…uhm…I already graduated, yeah! Computer Science! Oh, and I just…I just…wanted to hang out with you, I guess? Like, at a bar or café or something? Looking at your looks, yeah, you probably have a lot of students who want to go out with you or something…”
Also, please remember that Pete hates lying, preferring to keep his skill level at it very very low. Oh, and he didn’t lie about Sizzler’s looks. He still prefers Anna, though. His girlfriend’s personality made her way more beautiful than this disguised woman.
“I think I see what you want now,” said the taller and smiling renegade spy woman who wore glasses and had wavy black hair. “Come on, then. I’ll take you to a ride to my favorite place.” She said that last sentence with a notably sultry voice.
“Note to self: Sex with her won’t be a really happy one, even if she’s the one who tries to seduce you. Reason: I don’t like having sex with a woman who I don’t love.”
They had some small talk with each other in her “chubby little Beetle” while they were on their way to her favorite café. His info about himself were all coated with poorly painted lies. As for what info that Sizzler said about herself was true, he found them hard to distinguish. He felt like she wasn’t totally lying to him, though. She had probably had an idea about why he asked her out already, considering the grin she had while he fumbled with his lies.
Well, Sizzler herself did confirm that she wasn’t lying as much as she usually did when she took him to a hotel and tried to seduce him.
“Can you guess why I’m called ‘Sizzler,’ then, Mister Bond? Let me give you a hint: I was once considered a top seductress.”
“I think ‘Incinerator’ is a better name for you. And my name is ‘Pete,’ not ‘James.'”
Honestly, he did feel aroused, but mostly uncomfortable. Especially in his lower half. The hardening would still be awkward but way less uncomfortable if happened because of Anna and within Anna’s sensory range.
“Damn secret dumbass boss.”
He also mentally reminded himself to get her to his side without forcing her and without having sex with her.
Regarding how they ended up there, well, she said “If you wanted to talk about that with me, then you should have just asked” with a tone, volume, and smile that made a lot of men and some women glare at him and him alone until he and the disguised renegade spy woman got out of the café patrons’ range of vision.
So yeah, Incinerator got her and Pete a hotel room, and then she quickly took her glasses and her generic-looking gray pants and jacket off. Maybe some of his fellow computer programmer colleagues would have been drooling a river if they were him at that time, but actually, Pete wasn’t happy.
Despite how hard he got from looking at Incinerator stripping, he wasn’t happy at all.
“You know, I like you,” she said to him as they were sitting on the bed, Incinerator breathing into his ear and pressing her large assets to his back. “Honest. Straightforward. Humble, too. A lot of the ones I go to bed with are all liars, egotistic people, people who prefer resisting me covertly. Takes a lot of talking, and it’s already getting boring. But you…and your attitude…mmm…make me think. Not like I hate thinking. I do hate thinking stupidly, though. Like what I’m doing right now…mmm…”
“Are you serious?” Pete asked with a monotone. Also, those sudden “mmm” caused Pete to shudder in terror.
“Why would I even bother lying to you when you know a lot about who I am, hm? Mmm…I know why you wanted to meet up with me, you know…”
Although the apparent mental turmoil that he seemed to have caused in Incinerator was kind of relieving, he’d gladly take a slap to the face from Anna for being in this situation.
“You’re a renegade spy, and you have secret info. My boss wants you dead.” Screw whatever Lucifer would do to him. He’d rather spit figurative cleaning agents on the dirty system he was forced into than follow it with no questions asked.
“Ah, Lucifer, that damn bastard,” she said with that calm, sultry tone as she looked up, much to Pete’s relief. “Annoying, no? Killing people, lying to people, even people important to us get hurt. Mhm…” And damn it, there was her breath going into his ear again. Arousing, but mostly disturbing. “I should ask Anna to whisper really near my ears more when I finally do that with her.”
“Yeah,” he said, frown deepening. “Deception and violence, I hate those things.”
“Mhm…I agree with you even more now. I deserted him because of those things, but I’m quite a hypocrite, no? I’m hiding in plain sight, disguised as a professor, secretly killing anyone who wants to expose me.”
“I suppose you’ll kill me soon, then?” The hardness beneath the front of his pants, the tightness of Incinerator’s grip, and the hotness of her breath were making him feel helpless. He could feel some tears forming in the corners of his eyes as he breathing became rougher. “If yes…then can you at least let me say goodbye to my loved ones?”
At that, she pressed her chest harder onto his back, licked a side of his neck very slowly, and nibbled some skin. Pete now found a punch to the face plus a nutshot from Anna very appealing. He also wouldn’t mind having some cuts and bruises in the struggle to get him out of this unwanted event.
“I’m starting to like you even more now…but you seem to be taken,” she said as she pulled herself away from him, leading Pete to breathe a sigh of relief. “I don’t quite remember when the last time was, but for a long time, I have not felt guilt about seducing someone who’s taken. Perhaps it’s because I viewed them as just things, not people. Still, I like teasing you like this, and I’m interested in experiencing how well you would do with me in bed. If you need some stress relief, just call me, okay? As long as your lover is okay with it, I’m fine with being a mistress if it’s you. You’re the first person I actually like, you know. I’m sure you’d give me a really good time.”
Pete blushed, but he was still frowning. “Thank you for the compliment, and the offer is tempting, especially with that body and voice of yours, but no. I don’t feel happy with that sort of arrangement. Believe it or not, I think I’d lose all of my sanity before I’d say ‘I’m really happy with this!’ and even that would be something I’d say for a moment before I go breaking down into a mad pile of lust and discontent for who knows how long. I freaking need my sanity, and I need it for my ultimate goal: eternal true happiness.”
“This isn’t a shounen anime or manga, dear.” The bed creaked, and then Incinerator suddenly bit on his ear, purring as she licked it. Really pleasing to Pete’s lower half, but really disgusting to his soul. “Oh, and don’t worry, I don’t push myself into unwilling people.”
Pete then decided to go more physical regarding his thoughts on this situation.
Pete facepalmed at the smirking woman who he had pushed off the bed.
“Then do as you say,” said a glaring Pete. “Believe it or not, I really love my girlfriend, and what you’ve been doing has been making me feel dirty all over. And I hate this job that I was forced into.” He jumped off the bed and walked to the bathroom. “Excuse me, ’cause I need a freaking shower right now.”
He heard Incinerator say something as he opened the bathroom door. She was smiling at him, though her smile this time seemed more like the calm and gentle fires that usually burned in a fireplace.
“Indeed, I am a hypocrite,” she said with a less sultry tone and a tired smile. “You have my heartfelt gratitude for the reminder, Pete.”
“You’re welcome,” he replied with a tired but gentle smile as well.
He deflated the balloon of tension in his lungs when he got into the bathroom, and the sigh echoed a little in the bathroom.
Then, he cried to God, managing to make a Sign of the Cross awkwardly as he fell to his knees on the ceramic floor.
“God, God, God, help me, help me, help me…”
He and Sizzler, a.k.a. Incinerator, a.k.a. Magda, had been planning to bring “Guardian Lights,” the government organization they fought against, to justice. Magda knew that their superior members were few, which was a reason behind the slow assassinations done on renegades. For traitors against Guardian Lights, leaving was easy. But for their higher-ups in Guardian Lights, starting a seemingly legal hunt for them was also easy.
Pete sunk his back as far as he could go on the passenger seat of Magda’s chubby little Beetle. Sirens and megaphone-amplified yells sounded behind them as the Beetle went at a disturbingly fast speed. He didn’t know if Beetles could go as fast as how it went there, but the speed he was experiencing added to his fear of being unfairly arrested and then treated cruelly in prison. Desperately, he tried to look at the bright side.
“Do your best, do your best, there will be people who will help you if you’re honest, even if you get arrested…and if you end up in prison, at least you have an opportunity to make prison life better for the prisoners you’ll be with…”
The sudden sharp turns of the vehicle and the sudden bursts of speed got him screaming.
They were being accused of robbery. He pushed aside the thought of negotiating with the police when Magda informed him of Guardian Lights being pretty convincing when it came to fake evidence for renegades and any other person who got in the way of their goals. Pete didn’t hesitate to call them the “Secret Stupid” now.
And now, Pete was torn between letting his girlfriend know about this and not letting his girlfriend know about this. He wanted to go home, be safe from the damn government, and forget that all this ever happened, but being in his house was also a danger, and anyone close to him would definitely be in danger. Not going home would mean being on the run from police for a crime that they never really did and never even planned on doing, and it would also mean not being able to stick close to loved ones safely too.
But with the level of chaos occurring around him, he didn’t want to think about such things for the moment. He would just scream, cry, pray to God, admit that he’s really helpless, thank God for all the good times he had in his life, and wish so hard for true happiness.
There were no sounds of gunshots, but Pete remembered all the news of police brutality that had been occurring recently. Their pursuers probably wouldn’t hesitate to shoot someone as tan as him and Magda without question. Speaking of brutal police officers, Magda did say that they also wouldn’t hesitate to manipulate a bunch of racist officers in order to dispose of certain people as well.
Pete cried harder while practically lying on the seat that he reclined, its upper body lying on the seat behind it.
He wouldn’t wish this sort of situation on anyone, especially now that he was experiencing such a mess. If he had to know about the world’s cruelty, he’d rather do it through books and the world of arts and fiction. Anything past first-hand experience may not be as potent as first-hand experience, but they were still potent, and even more so if the creators were to do their best in depicting them logically.
Still, Pete does acknowledge the possibility of getting into situations as dangerous as this. He didn’t like being delusional. He would not only complain, but he would also work to fix the problems, unlike so many of his fellow humans.
And with his sharpened optimism and truth-seeking instincts, instincts calibrated by certain precious moments of social interaction, chaos would often lead him to finding ways to solve problems properly.
He pulled the back of his seat back up until he was in a comfortable sitting position.
It was just right after he and Magda had their chat (Pete shuddered and frowned) at the hotel, they were going to Magda’s place, and suddenly, police cars started chasing them from a lot of directions. “I’m not surprised. They have eyes and ears everywhere” was what Magda said about this.
Now, Magda was driving towards a place that was owned by a freelance hacker friend of hers. All the speed and turns didn’t seem so disturbing to Pete as well.
“So, where’s your friend?”
“How do they get a signal for Internet and stuff without being detected, then?”
“He has pals. Tree huggers, animal lovers, computer geeks, just like him.”
“So…how do we get there safely?”
“Right in front of you.”
And Pete now became sure of the fact that they were flying off a cliff and diving into a deep-looking lake.
“Looks like my dear Chili Pepper won’t be hearing from me for a while.”
Somebody being able to connect to the Internet while being the only one with a house deep in the forest would amaze Pete’s younger self.
“Don’t even think about stepping near any electronics while in that state.”
Speaking of Pete’s younger self, this guy sure reminded him of that. He was shorter, had permed sandy-colored hair, dark eyebags under narrowed eyes, a deep frown, and a hoarse nasal voice. Surprisingly, his dividerless house was clean and well-organized, no scattered trash and misplaced items. Standing conspicuosly at the back was a neatly connected set of metal boxes and other computer-related hardware.
“Oh yeah, this guy likes nature, right?” Pete asked Magda.
“Yup,” she confirmed.
“What, you got a problem?” the hacker growled. “I swear, if you’re one of those fuckers who don’t give a shit about the environment, I will sic some of my beefcake pals on you and have them watch over you while you live in the forest for a week.”
Pete sighed. “People who think that destroying nature won’t harm them are annoying, but I think you would convince them better if you didn’t force them…”
“Meh,” the hacker replied, raising both of his arms as he turned around. “Too lazy for that childish nice guy shit.”
Pete sighed in exasperation.
“Oh, and Ferry~ Need some mana?”
The sultry voice plus that visual novel reference did not go unnoticed.
“Hell yeah, Sizzlah~ Charge me up, will ya?”
Pete shut the door after Magda ran into the house. The unwilling secret agent stood outside the cabin, protecting his ears from the sounds of the hacker and the seductress eating their faces off. He also had a feeling that Ferry’s temper was way shorter than Anna’s, so he decided to stay there until one of them asked him to enter the house.
Pete ended up regretting that decision.
He didn’t dare watch, but kinda listened.
“Anna’s okay with it, so I guess–NO, DAMN IT. Sex makes babies too, idiot. You should not forget that primary function. Humanity crumbles when they forget that function. Not like babies are demons, but I don’t want to be a dad while I’m not ready to be one. Though yeah, I will admit that I have this growing urge to run to my girlfriend’s place and ask her if she’s willing to have sex with me, and she’s highly likely to say yes considering how many times she had tried to do that with me, but NO, YOU WILL NOT CONSIDER THAT GOOD, DUMBASS.”
So, a few minutes of cacophony later, Magda and Ferry let Pete into the cabin. Also, Pete did not have dinner that night.
Pete didn’t really care much about dinner, though, as he did not have much of an appetite after all the crap that he’d been through during that day.
Four days had passed, and Pete’s mood didn’t improve much. Sure, no police officers had chased them, no assassins had come to snuff them out, but the prolonged exposure to the fact that “THEY WANT TO KILL US AND THEY WON’T LISTEN TO REASON” without being able to do something largely significant about it turned him into a sobbing and/or ruminating wreck more often.
His time at Ferry’s cabin mostly involved him being inside the cabin, while the two friends with benefits (“I don’t think I’d ever be good for commitment, but I don’t mind being topped-up now and then by someone who’s hot and willing” the hacker stubbornly declared) went out to gather food and firewood and worked out stuff with the computers when they were in the cabin. Pete thought of helping, but hacking wasn’t really his forte, and all the crap he was going through had killed his motivation and messed up his body clock. The chaos was so sudden and so heavy. All the info about him being a classified high-class criminal wasn’t helping too. Him being classified gave him relief, though. There wouldn’t be crowds of people wanting to hunt him down if he stepped into the city. Thing is, the police would definitely be right next to him if he were to be in its streets already.
Still, he wished that he could go home and call Anna and sleep with her. He tried to run back home once, but Magda and Ferry had convinced him to stay at the cabin for a while as they worked hard to fight against Guardian Lights. He didn’t know what they did and how they did it. He just left them to their work while he played the video games that he could play there. Now that made the hours pass by much faster. Even though he was still feeling about as crappy as Touko Fukawa usually is, when he Magda decided to drive him to his home in a Beetle loaned to her by one of Ferry’s pals, he thanked the hacker for his help and his video games.
Now, he had managed to get into his house during the early morning, with his hair uncombed, untied, and scattered all over his face. No police sirens, no crazy secret dumbass e-mail (He had pulled out the plug for his computer quickly), no backstabs…
But still, he knew that he was in grave danger, and he felt helpless against it.
He shut and locked the front door behind him when he went inside. He fell to his knees, his face touched the ground, and he begged to God again…for forgiveness, for peace, for eternal true happiness–and he cried yet again.
Suddenly, a loud and sharp knocking woke him up. It was darker than when he entered the house that morning. He glanced at the clock, and he found out that it was already 6 PM.
But even though he slept longer, he still didn’t feel quite better. He did feel a little better. And then that relief increased some more when he answered the door and locked his brown eyes with a very precious pair of sapphire eyes.
Anna was glaring at him. He silently nodded, gesturing her to enter his apartment. She entered and turned on the lights, while Pete shut and locked the door.
“Don’t touch the computer,” he added. “Don’t ask why, please.”
“Why not?” snarled his lover, who wore an orange shirt and blue pants (which was another sight for his sore eyes). “And where have you been? I haven’t been able to contact you for about five fucking days, Pete! FIVE FUCKING DAYS! Your parents, your siblings, your friends they’ve been worried! I’ve been worried! I’d break up with you if I weren’t as patient as I am today! You better explain what happened, Pete!”
Pete understood why she acted like that, but still, he hesitated. He wanted to tell her about what he went through so that someone could help him bring Guardian Lights down, but assassins could be nearby, and he may lose her if he wasn’t keeping a close eye on her. He didn’t want to lose her.
“It’s…government work…I don’t want to say more right now. I’d…I’d rather tell you after I get some more sleep…I’m sorry…”
His chest felt like it tightened multiple times as he looked down and gave that response. But Anna would definitely understand. She had matured, and wasn’t that very forceful woman back then anymore. Still fiery, but more illuminating than burning.
Pete felt more relieved when he felt her arms pull him closer into an embrace. He felt so relieved that he started crying.
“It’s alright, Pete…” she assured. “I won’t force you…and…I’d like to ask you something now. It’s not about what happened to you these past days. May I ask, then?”
“Mm,” he weakly replied as he sniffled and wiped away the tears off his face, “Go on. I need a nice distraction.”
“Will you marry me, Pete?”
He paused. In front of him was his girlfriend, standing, reaching out a small, open box to him. In that open box was a gray ring that looked unusually thick for an engagement ring.
“It’s more durable, more cost-effective, and I think it can serve better in reminding us of our vows.”
“So, will you marry me, then? If you’re in some life-or-death situation, then I’d like you to know that I’m already really willing to risk my life for you. Don’t worry, I won’t murder people. I’ve learned a lot and grown up a lot, thanks to you.”
Pete took the ring, wore it, and then pulled his girlfriend’s face closer to his for a passionate kiss. He felt what seemed like a muffled gasp, but as he deepened his entry into her mouth, he felt what seemed like a moan. Opening his eyes, he saw Anna’s flushed face.
And then he realized that he forgot to ask an important question, so he stopped and pulled away from her face, letting go of her as well.
“…why’d you stop, Pete?” she asked as she pouted and panted. “I was enjoying that…”
“Uhh…” He scratched his forehead as he looked away. “I forgot to ask something…and even though it’s likely that you’d say yes…I’d like to ask…umm…do you wanna do that thing you wanted to do with me? Like, you remember all those attempts that I rejected ’cause–“
She pulled him closer by the collar of his wrinkled brown sweater. “If it’s having sex with me,” she whispered, “then fuck yes.”
And then she dragged him to his room, with Pete pushing aside all thoughts related to secret dumbasses and all that crap.
Dinner? Well, each other was enough for them. Not like they ate each other literally, of course.
Now, after going through some fluffy sleep, stinging nightmares, and sweaty awakening after that night that he had mixed feelings about, Pete decided to dress up and go for a short walk outside. A part of him reminded him of horrid fates that awaited those who had done stuff like passionate sex with their lovers, stuff that usually happened in the world of fiction.
But the unwilling secret agent felt more confident, more optimistic, so he pushed that crazy voice away and opened the door to exit his apartment.
He opened it, stepped out a bit, and paused to take in some refreshing air.
“Why do I feel like falling, though?”
He looked down at his chest.
Screaming person who heard somebody get shot? Hmmm…
“Oh wait, there it is now. It’s not Anna, though…Anna…”
Eyes widened as memories of his precious Chili Pepper flashed before his very eyes. And then his family, his friends–
“NO! No, no, no…PETE!”
“Ah. I’m dying. Damn, I can’t do anything now, huh? I can’t do anything…damn it…help me out, God…I’ll…I’ll leave it to you…”
In his blurring vision, he saw someone near him, felt someone cradle him in their arms. He saw a police officer’s uniform, and a mop of gray hair. He seemed to be hearing…crying?
“Pete…I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”
The dying Pete smiled at Flem, a police officer friend of his.
“Well, at least he regrets it. He’s not looking abnormally cheerful.”
“Hey…do your job right, man…You can do it…You can do it…You can do it…”
The smiling Pete’s words of encouragement for his friend were his last words.
Next Part: The Mourning Lover