It was a warm summer evening in the heart of Los Angeles, California.
The city bustled with constant activity, with people occupying the streets, the sidewalks, small shops here and there, just about everywhere, filling the little metropolitan area with life.
Oh, and did I mention they also didn't have to wear masks? Or have a little panic attack for themselves every time a stranger came within 6 feet of them, even.
That's right, our story today takes place in a time, far, far away, if it even exists at all, in which all this crazy shit has blown over and the world has begun spinning again. Kids are going back to school, their elders back to work, and everyone gets to return to their daily lives, restrictions and wretched bugs be damned.
And, of course, it'd also be a time in which you can actually have a friendly little get together without being doomed to sit alone in your house behind a screen. Which, by chance, happens to be the basis of this dumb little oneshot you're reading right now.
The honorable Jonas Laski sat that night in his living room, a roaring fire off to the left of the grand leather armchair he was sitting in. He was giving a hard stare to the marble chess board that sat on the coffee table in front of him, carefully calculating each and every potential move he could make against his opponent, weighing his options carefully.
His eyes had focused so hard on the little carved figures in front of them that they began to burn. Laski blinked a couple times, shifting his gaze toward his companion, who eyed him smugly.
"What's the matter, Jonas?" Judge Campbell mocked from where he sat across from the coffee table in a chair of his own, clutching a glass of brandy in one hand. "Scared I'm gonna kick your ass?"
"Shut up." The bald man grumbled at him as he returned his focus back to the white marble pieces in front of him, his expression pensive, the soft orange flames from his fireplace reflecting from his dark brown eyes.
Finally, his hand sought out one of the pieces, effectively capturing the other judge's knight, plucking it off the chessboard and shoving it off to one side triumphantly.
"Say goodbye to your knight, Soup Boy!" Laski mocked, leaning back in his chair and picking up his own glass of aged brandy for a nice long sip. He gazed at the other judge with a glint in his eye, sure as hell that he now had his opponent in a headlock, and that his latest move had just cost Campbell the entire game.
But ol' Soup Boy just fixed him with a condescending glare before focusing his attention on the black chess pieces before him.
And it only took a few seconds for the other judge to make his move, capturing Laski's bishop with pride evident in his features.
"Kiss your little bishop goodbye, Baldo!" Campbell mocked, a smirk spreading across his face as he moved to pluck the offending figure off the chessboard. Laski's blunt satisfaction soon turned to disbelief as he sat back up in his chair, setting his cocktail glass back down as if it'd insulted him.
He grabbed the bishop piece from where it was clutched in Campbell's hand, keeping the other judge from moving it much further and trying to remove it from his grip.
"Now hold on just a damn second! You can't move there!" Jonas griped, now trying to wrench his bishop from Albert's hand defiantly. But his opponent refused to give the small piece up, pulling harder against Jonas, locking the two in a pathetic exchange vaguely resembling tug of war.
"Oh yes I can! Suck it up, your honor." Albert informed the man petulantly, still smirking at Laski's now grumpy face. He gave the bishop yet another hard yank, but he remained unwilling to give it up.
"No you cannot! Give the damn thing back!"
The chess piece didn't budge.
"You're perfectly welcome to just forfeit the game and give yourself a refresher on the rules, Jonas, but that'll just be a waste of time. Now let's just sit back down and let Mr. Bishop die so I can beat your ass!" Albert yapped right back at him. Jonas was standing now from the leather armchair, as if it'd aid it his fight for his lost piece. It didn't, and his opponent gave the coveted object such a sharp tug that it took the other judge off guard as he nearly tipped over and fell onto the coffee table.
"I don't need a refresher, Judge Campbell. And you can't stick your filthy pawn there, that's illegal!" Jonas snarled at him after regaining his balance, then giving the bishop a hard, vengeful yank.
"I can put my pawn wherever the hell I want. Give me your bishop!" Albert growled at him, now growing aggravated at Laski's ignorant persistence. He yanked on the small figure yet again, sharply, succeeding once again in almost making Laski fall on top of the chessboard, which would inevitably end the game whether Albert's move was illegal or not. This prompted the other judge to finally walk around the knee-high table to stand by his pissy companion, doubling his efforts to reclaim the carved marble.
"Give it back! You can't to that, it's against the rules!" Jonas griped, pulling so hard now that he began to shake.
"Oh, come on Jonas! Don't be such a sore loser!" Albert yapped back again, now yanking on the piece with every bit of strength in him to meet Laski's enthusiasm.
"Don't you be such a sore cheater!"
And it was at that moment that Laski finally lost his balance with yet another sharp tug on Campbell's part, leaving the bald man to fall on top of the other judge, landing straight in his lap. The two were combined into a ludicrous heap of suits, ties, and idiot.
Taken back quite a bit by their current position, but still unwilling to give Laski the satisfaction, Campbell bit back again.
"Give it up, Jonas. So I can get on back to rightfully claiming another win over you." He said calmly, despite his tight grip on the object between them. Jonas refrained from picking himself out of the other judge's lap, more concerned with whether or not he'd win this particular pissing match. He shifted to a more comfortable position on top of the man, one he hoped would aid in his fight for the chess piece. He spared a glance to his companion's face before focusing back down on their tug of war death match, giving another sharp tug.
"Over my dead body." Laski challenged, his eyes flicking back up to the other man's face, noticing it was now a lot closer to his own all of a sudden. He gazed into his eyes for a few beats, taking in the amusement and slight aggravation he found there.
And, maybe, just maybe, it had been the significant amount of aged brandy that Jonas had been sipping not a few minutes before that caused him to lean towards the other judge. His lips met Albert's in a soft kiss.
He was surprised, but far from displeased, and soon Campbell found himself kissing back, tasting the smooth alcohol on him, which seemed to taste better on his companion than it had the entire time he'd been drinking it from that lousy cocktail glass.
At last, Albert's death grip on the bishop loosened as he wrapped his arms around Jonas, holding him as the kiss deepened. The bald man had long since stopped caring about his captured bishop, dropping the carved marble to run his fingers through the soft, beige down on Albert's head.
They pulled apart after a while, and Jonas was left leaning against Albert heavily, stroking his cheek with his other hand.
"I've missed you." Jonas admitted softly, gazing once more into Albert's piercing blue eyes, trying to think of anything else, anything more than the simple three letter statement. But doing so proved difficult with the other man's face so close, his soft baby blues boring into his own dark eyes, reflecting back the same sort of strong emotion that Jonas was almost certain shone in his.
"I really have," he continued after another quiet moment, still caressing the other judge's face with one hand.
"Between the virus and the..." Jonas soon became inarticulate in his attempts to convey his feelings to Campbell as he recounted the horrors of 2020 in his head. It had been the same course of events that left him on the floor of his kitchen at 3am on many nights with a bottle of scotch in his hand, sobbing. "I've just...missed you."
Albert leaned in close to Jonas again, pressing a soft kiss against his cheek. He wrapped his arms tighter around the man, pulling him closer in their current position.
"I've missed you, too." He told the bald man, who rest his head against his shoulder with a soft sigh.
The two just sat there quietly for a while, listening to the soft crackling of the fire off to the right of them, in each other's arms.
Needless to say, they'd stopped caring about whether or not Albert's chess move was legal, and the once-coveted marble bishop lay on the floor, forgotten, along with their game.