Peter Nureyev woke slowly, a rare lapse in the razor's edge of sleep and consciousness that he was used to. He blinked against the light streaming in from the half-shuttered blinds that they'd been too busy to close last night, and he allowed himself a lazy, slow stretch. The sheets were soft and warm around him, and at the back of his mind, he applauded Hyperion city for having at least one decent hotel on the planet surface. There'd barely been a single blood stain on the carpet- and in this city that qualified as spotless. The warmth of the sheets was fleeting though, and he reached towards the other side of the bed, reached out for-
Peter was ashamed of the sudden ache he felt in his stomach. He's spent years trusting his gut, and it had never once been wrong.
He sat up, sheets piling around him, and blinked away the prickling building behind his eyes.
Peter remembered moments of the night before -or had it been the early morning- and how he had collapsed to the mattress, pleasantly sore and completely exhausted from his and Juno - their celebrations. That he remembered crystal clear. Peter had the feeling that he would for a long time.
But the memories after that were less clear. He remembered saying something to Juno, half-asleep. Something sentimental about love.
Terrifying, because it was true.
Juno murmured something back, voice soft and far away. The mattress dipped under him and he was almost lost to sleep. But he kept swimming in and out of consciousness, drawn up by a draft and shifting towards warmth.
Reaching out and not finding it. Peter could almost hear himself, voice soft, half awake-
Reaching out, finding the sheets beside him still retaining some of the detective's warmth. Falling back into sleep without comprehension clawing him awake.
Peter clenched his jaw and allowed his heart one last pained throb before throwing the sheets aside. It was cold in the room, they had left a window open. It was colder inside Peter, and it didn't matter how many layers of his elegantly designed ensemble he put on.
The ice in his stomach stabbed at him still harder when he saw the two suitcases they'd thrown aside at the door. Juno's was still here. But his keys were gone. His comm. The clothes he'd shed onto the barely-bloodstained carpet were nowhere to be seen. Including that ratty coat and hat that he was so fond of.
No one but Juno Steel could make something like that look good.
Peter Nureyev walked outside the hotel room. It opened to an open walkway, painted metal railings all that separated him from the city.
Peter wasn't a man to kid himself. He wasn't dumb enough to try and convince himself that Juno was coming back. Or that he went out for a smoke and lost track of time. He didn't even make excuses that something terrible had happened- the detective had been mugged, shot, kidnapped by his secretary after being gone for so long.
Juno Steel walked out on him. He waited for the afterglow to fade, then got up, put on his coat, and left.
The P.I. wasn't stupid either. In such a big city there's only one place Peter knew he would go. If Peter could find his way onto the most heavily guarded safe on the planet, or sneak his way into an ancient Martian tomb under a psychopathic anthropologist's nose, he could probably deduce that Juno was at his office. Where he'd always wind up, at the end of the day.
There was always another case to solve, be it a murder or a master thief. Something about this town that drew Juno Steel back again and again, like a maelstrom. It just wouldn't let him go. And apparently, he didn't want to go.
In some part of his mind, deep down, Peter wondered if Juno had seen something in his mind - those weeks ago that felt like minutes - that he couldn't forgive. Peter had let him in again, to try and make him understand, to be selfishly validated for what he had done so long ago. Juno had said that he understood. That it was what he would've done. But Peter remembered the detective's brother. He wondered if killing one's own family was something that Juno just wouldn't - couldn't forgive.
Or was it the confession masquerading as pillow talk that Peter had let slip. There was nothing better for scaring someone away that bringing emotions into the mix. Even after the airlock. Even after 'you were the best thing that ever happened to me'.
Juno Steel knew that Peter could find him. He hadn't taken any precautions against it. Nureyev could a cab right now and march into that office - he knew would find the detective sitting at his desk, with a glass resting loosely in his hand and an empty bottle close by.
Juno didn't want to be found. And he trusted that he wouldn't be.
If Nureyev had any shred of self-respect left he would make good on his own offer. He'd leave Mars and never come back again. He'd go back to glamorous heists and sleeping light, to expertly crafted fake passports and faker aliases.
He'd go back to there only being one other person who knew his name.
But even then he couldn't find it in him to hate Juno Steel, Private Eye.
Peter Nureyev found himself at a loss for the first time in a very long time. He leaned on the metal railing and watch the sun rise behind the upper district, hazy from smog and dust.
He looked for a long time, trying to see the city that deserved Juno Steel.