Grimm toasted him before drinking, which was very mannerly of her. Hadrian replied in kind, the burn of halfway-drinkable brandy down his throat after a kill one of the small pleasures in life. Not as satisfying as the killing itself, but it was a decent cap to an evening where he’d gotten to scratch the itch. Mother Rebellion was always good for that, he’d found. Loran and his cohorts had the freedom-and-justice speeches down pat but they always had a use for people liking him. Overthrowing empires was messy business, especially when you were on the losing side. As a kid Frag had fancied himself a practical sort, the sort that’d go with the winning side, but he’d learned better as he got old. The fights were sweeter if you weren’t supposed to win, if you were scrabbling from one desperate hour to another.
The Coruscanti grinned. He probably wouldn’t have liked Major Murder half as much if she gave a frak about what he thought. It always felt safer to work with her than Fletcher, who on odd days could be counted a friend if you squinted hard enough and he managed not to open his mouth for a few moments. Grimm, though, Grimm wasn’t prone to frilly little things like feelings. She was a lot like Hadrian had been, in his good years under the Feds: the thing on a leash the higher-ups let loose when shit went down.
"You're a vicious freller, Locke. And you can take that as a compliment."
The green-eyed man laughed and poured her a drink, then one for himself as well.
“There any other way to take that, Major Murder?” he teased. “You’re a red hand yourself, I’ll tell you no lie. One of the finest I’ve seen, and I’ve seen some damned good ones.”
Eyeing his transparent tumbler, the deserter shook it amusedly before knocking back the drink. Fishing out a pack from his breast pocket, Hadrian nimbly took out a cigarra and saw it lit with a snap of the wrist, lighter flashing. Breathing in the smoke with a little sigh of pleasure, he deigned blow away from his companion in a gesture of good will.
“They probably think the same thing upstairs,” he noted. “You notice we’re only ever paired together when they really want something dead?”
Finding a holoscreen on the side of the table, Frag had the inset ashtray rise from it and flicked ash into it. Glancing at the pack of cigarras he’d left on the table, the Old Perlemian spelled in golden letters across it, he tapped the cardboard and raised an eyebrow.
“One of your poisons?” he asked. “I’m in a giving mood, tonight.”