[ Sky – Master Post ]
Characters: Sin, Severen, Betty, Arkady
Warnings: Heavy social dynamics, questionable speculation on sexuality, Severen’s mouth.
Notes: Thanks go to tehopheliac for setting me off on the gay rant, this afternoon. It turned into this fic. Also, yes, I’m a day behind. I got ridiculously ill, yesterday.
The record company was trying to cover up Singularity, again. It happened, from time to time — someone would get in a panic that one of the stars was gay, and we just can’t have that kind of vibe going around, and then Severen would sit down and write a nasty letter, and it would all blow over. Sometimes, Sin liked to tack on his own thoughts, as well.
The thing was, of course, that the accusations were entirely untrue, but they were better for publicity than the truth. Severen was in a long-term relationship with the only person he’d ever slept with. He was completely uninterested in men, women, or little green aliens. Most of the time, he was entirely uninterested in sleeping with Sin, which was, of course, why Sin had girlfriends for that. In fact, in an effort to dispel the current rumours, Severen was including some photographs of Sin in a variety of compromising positions with an assortment of pretty, young ladies. The images should have made Severen angry, maybe jealous, but it always made him smile to see Sin having fun. He’d never really gotten the appeal of people and touching, but those were among Singularity’s favourite things.
It was times like these that made Severen realise exactly how strange what they had really was. Singularity lived to change the world by interacting with people, personally. He overturned the Regents’ rulings by taking them out to lunch, and telling stories that didn’t seem at all applicable to the situation, until the end of the hour. He convinced his students to study by making the subject far more interesting than it should be. And in the end, he won Severen by being persistent and indomitable, and never taking ‘no’ for an answer for more than two days.
Severen, himself, was far less easily amused. He didn’t change people’s minds, he simply ignored or circumvented them. Lately, folks tried to attribute his bullheadedness to his fame, but he’d always been that way — stubborn and sneaky. He’d never have lived long enough to finish his degree, otherwise. He fell in with Sin, because Sin saved his life, and didn’t ask anything in return. In the end, that was a real selling point.
So, once again, here they were, having the same old argument with the same old people. Except, this time, they wanted some publishable photos of Severen enjoying a girl. They wanted to build a fake relationship for him, to keep the hopes of the fans alive. What the suits in the office didn’t seem to get, however, was that the fans liked that Severen was gay. Or at least that was what he let them think. The girls didn’t want to sleep with him, they just wanted pictures of him with Singularity. He was exotic, and he intended to stay that way. The girls wanted to take Arkady home with them, and for all that he wasn’t interested, he really couldn’t blame them. Arkady was exceptionally good looking.
Severen rapped the end of his pen against the table, considering how rude he could be about the letter, this time, when Singularity walked in with Betty and Arkady.
"Arkady, what the shit are you doing in my living room? Betty, what the fuck are you doing with my boyfriend?" Severen threw down the pen and picked up the glass of plum soda. "Sin, what are you doing that I don’t want to know about?"
Singularity laughed, and Arkady pointed at him. "It’s all his fault. I heard the desk is on your ass again."
"Your sexy boy-thing, here, has an idea that we might be able to help you out," Betty chimed in. "He says sending photos of himself with every pretty girl west of the Mississippi hasn’t helped. So, I guess we’re supposed to pretty up some photos of you."
"They really don’t like the gay on you, Batty. And I’m pretty sure they like the monogamy on you, even less. So, all we have to do is give them something so exciting they’ll stop asking." Sin grinned and draped himself across the back of the chair, chewing on Severen’s ear. "And if we throw in Arkady, they’ll have to back down, or risk his distinctly heterosexual appeal."
"Oh. Oh, hell no. I refuse to believe that you are even slightly serious, Singularity. This is absurd." Severen looked up at Betty and Arkady. "Is he serious? Did you actually agree to this, Arkady?"
"You ask him, but not me?" Betty put on her faux-offended face.
"Why would I ask you, Betty? I know you’d do anything for Sin." Severen let a hint of a smile twist his lips.
Arkady sat down on the edge of the table. "Sev, you know I’m straight. I’ve got a wonderful girl, she might even marry me. I’ve managed to keep that last part off the table. But, after that shoot for Propaganda, you can’t cover this with anything. So, we’re going to jump in with you."
"They’ll have a choice, here. They can leave you alone, like we want them to, or they can take the photos with me and Arkady. If they put you up with me, it’ll ruin me for the male fans. If we threaten to leak the ones of Arkady, it ruins him for the female fans. Pretty much, they leave you alone, or we alienate the market, and keep the fans who actually like the music." Betty perched on the chair at the end of the table. "And if we play it like this, they’ll know that we support you, and that they can’t really play us against you. Baron volunteered, you know, but Lir talked him out of it — there’s too much scandal, there, even if it has been ten years."
Severen reached out and took Betty’s hands, with a smile. "Betty? Don’t ever let me underestimate your ungodly ability for blackmail, again."
She laughed as Singularity went to find the Polaroid. They were going to make quite a statement, that night.
Three weeks later, a letter came in urging the band to reconsider publishing the photographs on pain of a lawsuit. Their threats of prosecution for ‘defaming a property of the company’ wafted past like the last cries of a dying spectre, as no one was quite certain how the suits intended to sue the band for defaming themselves. It was worth more than just a beer, in the end. Severen had the whole band over for dinner, and Betty finally stopped insisting that Sin was lying about Severen’s culinary skills. That alone might’ve been worth the effort of dinner for seven, but Severen had one thing to say, that he hadn’t gotten to.
He shook Arkady’s hand. "Thanks. I know that couldn’t have been the most pleasant series of events."
"Don’t worry about it. What’s a man if he can’t get naked to bail out a friend?" Arkady grinned and pointed to Betty. "I think she’s the one you have to thank. She got through all of this without even trying to get your boyfriend in the sack."
Severen’s face fell. "Shit. Goddammit, Arkady, why do you have to be right?"