Adinew's spoon scraped the corners of the ramekin, pulling up the remnants of purin and popping the last half-bite of custard into his mouth. His tongue satisfied but his heart still yearning, he eyed the last bowl sitting on the counter.

"Don't even." Paolo didn't look up from his novel. "I get at least one out of this batch."

"You'll never find a better husband with that attitude."

At this, Paolo set his book down and walked across the room, wrapping his arms around his spouse from behind. "Hey, first the stress-eating, now the self-deprecation. What's going on?"

"Worried about my approval rating." Adinew relaxed a little under the attention. "City Council elections are next year, and lockdown's a big change to drop on everyone beforehand. And with me in charge of administering the upload…"

"You did good. Your public referendum proved people want to protect their families and their community. Everyone's excited to do their part. So, what's really going on?"

Adinew watched the poukas outside the window, lazily floating in the wind. He dropped his ramekin and spoon into the scrubber, and the noise seemed to snap him back.

"It's… it's all this." He waved over the plateaus and spires and canyons of the city, limned with neon light. "We're going to give up our whole lives, five million times over." He choked down a lump in his throat. "What if the Pyramids never come back? What if we're making the wrong choice? If I made the wrong choice?"

"Then we made the wrong choice." Paolo laughed and cupped Adinew's chin. "And everyone's still alive. But if we do nothing, and THAT's the wrong choice…"

After a long moment, Adinew finally nodded. He returned his husband's embrace, and they looked out at the poukas a while longer.


Category: Book: Last Days