"I cannot believe I didn't get to protest Donald Trump," Liz says, for what Finn estimates (conservatively) is the ten thousandth time.
Finn would turn to glare at her – she's lying on the sofa and hogging the bloody fan, the one he stood in line for at B&Q because the online sellers would "take too long," per the fucking Queen of Comms at the beginning of the summer's second heat wave – but he's found a prime spot by the open window where he can get a bit of breeze but stay out of the sun. So he contents himself with, "It was three fucking weeks ago, Liz! And whose idea was it for Comms to be on duty during the protest?"
A mutter comes from the sofa. He suspects it's either "Shut up, cocksucker" or "Don't remind me, you fucking nerd," and he has standard comebacks for either of those insults, but it's so, so hot that he lets it go.
He leans back in his chair, feels the sweat from his bare back slide across the wooden slats, hears the chunk-chunk-chunk of the tower fan and of the old skateboard wheels from outside where the feral teen from next door is trying to jump the kerb, and curses this fucking, fucking summer.
During the first of the hellish heatwaves that had swept England, he and Liz had stayed in her flat, but its windows didn't open and the glass trapped all the sunlight. When he'd idly wondered aloud if the sun would catch fire to her furniture and he and Liz be burnt up like ants pinned in the beam from a magnifying glass, she had stood up and said, "Right. We're moving to Camp Kirkwood for the duration."
He looks around his lounge, now marked forever with Liz's stuff everywhere, and sighs as he had done then. But he privately admits that at least at his place they can achieve this cross-breeze with judicious opening of windows, and a tree in the tiny patch of back garden shades their bedroom.
It is also true that being here in his flat, Liz has better access to his wardrobe. She's taken to wearing his shirts and nothing else whilst at home, because she doesn't want to sweat on her own gear. Or at least that's what she says.
He glances at her, bare legs open on the sofa, his white dress shirt half-buttoned and fluttering in the fan's breeze, and looks away. It's too hot for that, too.
"I still can't believe I didn't get to protest," she says again.
"Oh for fuck's sake," he says. "It was still the biggest fucking protest seen in yonks, and the force looked bloody good. No incidents with the public, several photo ops of constables interacting positively with protesters. What the hell would your face being in one of the photos matter?"
She sits upright. Her – his – shirt falls off one shoulder, which is just damned annoying on several levels. Her voice rises. "I understand that you don't have actual principles, Finn, but some of us—"
"Make TED talks about ours, which means we don't have to fucking parade up and down White-fucking-hall just because the Orange Menace is visiting."
She narrows her eyes at him. "As soon as I work out what you're blathering about, I'm going to crush you like the worm you are."
"Jesus, Liz. You fucking live your fucking goddamn principles every goddamn day, and make those of us not so blessed live them too—"
"What are you saying?"
Finn knows that dangerous tone. He kind of loves provoking that tone, which would worry him if he thought about it, which he doesn't. Instead, smugly: "Who was it who went with Charles to the Mayor's office and talked him into allowing the blimp?"
She's on her feet now. "They were my talking points!"
"Well, you gave me the outline, but I improved on it." He smiles. "Hence, blimp. Hence, good publicity for us all."
"You bastard, you cannot steal the credit for that!"
"I think you'll find I can," he says, even more smugly, and closes his eyes in triumph.
Which is why, of course, that he's surprised by her dropping onto his lap and caging his head between her arms. "Say that again," she grits out.
He's only wearing boxer-briefs, which makes this moment a bit tricky. Still, he's undaunted. "I think you'll find I can take—"
But her mouth stops his words and his heart. Sometimes he can't believe he's here with her. Can't believe his hands can slide up her sweat-slickened back and around to her breasts, can't believe her hand goes to his hardening cock and closes fast. "Let's just see what you can take, Finn," she says.
But it is really very hot, and so he manages to stand, and staggers with them both to the sofa. No breeze, but that fan does help.
As he and Liz fuck, he closes his eyes and hears nothing but breath, heartbeats, the repeated creaking of the sofa, the chunk-chunk-chunk of the fan. When he comes, he hears nothing but her.
The next morning before work, he takes the rubbish out to put in the bin. That feral teen is skateboarding up and down the street already, but she stops in front of his house and grins at him.
"You and your roommate want to have hate-sex again, next time you should close the window," she says cheerfully. "You guys were really really loud yesterday."
Her skateboard wheels make that sound again, chunk-chunk-chunk, as she glides away.
He finds himself laughing as he goes back in to Liz and his life. Maybe it's not such a terrible summer after all.