Astoria: In Chaos – Part Four


Jazz could feel the eyes of the detective following she and Miho out of the cafe, and they were present when she led Miho to a car.

“What’s with the black saloon?” Miho frowned lightly – the cafe, after all, was well within comfortable walking distance from the Grand Olympian.

“Structural engineers need to inspect the integrity of the building before anyone except specific personnel are allowed back inside,” Jazz explained, motioning with her hand that Miho get into the front passenger seat. “Unless you’re against the idea, Hades would like to see you at his personal residence here in Astoria.”

So formal – it kind of gave Jazz away.

“Something on your mind, Agent Mann?” Miho questioned, moving around the car, but pausing at the door. “Go ahead and speak freely.”

In response, Jazz got into the driver’s seat.

She waited for Miho to join her in the cabin before starting the engine and drawing the vehicle from the curb.

There was silence for a whole minute, while Miho watched Jazz from the corner of her eye – then Jazz spoke up.

“Are you sleeping with Hades?” she asked.

Nice and plain, to the point.

“Well that was direct,” Miho nodded appreciatively, and Jazz’s brows furrowed.

“Is there any way to just get a straight answer out of you?” she breathed in exasperation.

“Did I sleep with him? Once. Did I have sex with him, which is more precisely what you’re asking. No,” Miho told her plainly. “Relieved? You seem a bit relieved, though Hades said you were with Hydra. Ooooh…”

Her eyes widened, sparkling.

“… Is this a three-way situation?” she continued, then tilted her head considering where Jazz said they were headed. “Plus me – a foursome?”

Had she not been driving, Jazz might have face-palmed, Miho could see as much, and chuckled.

“Fine, I’ll stop,” she grinned. “But why the question?”

Jazz held her tongue for a little longer, searching for the right way to articulate what she wanted to say, but in the end, decided to hold back.

“Agent Palmer reported he overheard you announcing your relationship,” Jazz said.

“Palmer is it?” Miho mused. “And for the record, I said commander – I didn’t name names.”

“Except mine, to Detective Yashitori,” Jazz pointed out, and Miho had to concede that.

“I understand her frustration,” Miho shrugged. “She wants to do what’s right, and doesn’t understand why HERA is getting in the way.”

“Her superior will explain it to her,” Jazz nodded, heading toward the more expensive end of Astoria.

“Like mine did?” Miho offered, and Jazz had to agreed that hadn’t worked out so well.

“I don’t suppose you did a whole lot to discourage her,” Jazz assumed. “Why did you take her from the scene?”

“Because she was going to make one,” Miho replied, peering out the window at the row of modern apartments. “Agent Palmer’s attitude was not going defuse her zeal, and if things got much more heated, the rest of the gathering mass of inquisitive onlookers might stop focusing on explosions, and start focusing on why an officer of the law was being denied access to the location of a potential terrorist attack.”

Yep. Miho had totally been doing HERA a solid.

“I see,” Jazz responded noncommittally, flicking on the indicator one last time and turning into the driveway of a private, underground carpark.

She did not, however, have a card to open the gate, and pulled the handbrake.

“This is it,” Jazz declared, looking up at the building. “Just hit the intercom for number 5.”

Miho unclicked her seatbelt, but remained a moment.

“You’re not coming up?”

“I have work to do elsewhere,” Jazz told her. “And Hades didn’t ask to see me.”

There were questions Miho had based on what Hades had told her of how Jazz was the reincarnation of the goddess Hera, but now didn’t seem quite like the right time to delve into it.

“Not a threesome then,” she hummed, glancing up at the building, then back at Jazz once more. “How many women have you delivered to his apartment exactly?”

“Including you? One,” Jazz replied. “Don’t embarrass yourself,” she added. “And don’t forget, Hades may look like a man, but he’s a top tier god.”

At this, Miho snorted, but muttered under her breath as she exited the car.

“He’s anything but just a man.”

The moment Miho was clear, Jazz backed out onto the road and soon disappeared.

“So,” she said to herself as she approached the glass entrance, “what are you going to do now Miss Fujiwara?”

Staring at the intercom button for number five, her hand hovering in mid-air.

Everything had been go go go since the morning – she hadn’t had time to process it was now well after noon and she’d been in the midst of a suicide-zombie attack.

Can a zombie even suicide if it’s already dead?

Whatever. Suddenly, Miho found her mind in a spin, much like the night before.

“Come in, Miho,” Hades’ voice sounded, and Miho blinked to find her fingers pressed against the intercom, through which Hades had spoken.

“Right,” she muttered, and when the heavy door clicked open, she pushed it in.

It was a short trip across the foyer, the out into a lovely garden with a covered walkway. Following signage, she found number five, and touched the doorbell button lightly.

Hades must have been waiting just behind it, for the door opened inward before Miho could retract her hand, causing her to flinch a little.

“Sorry,” he smiled apologetically, but he was studying her – posture, body language, expression. “Come in.”

“You don’t have a, beta site or something for if the Grand Olympian gets compromised?” she asked, following him up a flight of stairs to an airy open plan living-dining-kitchen area.

“Yes,” he replied, leading her over to the kitchen counter.

“Shouldn’t you be there? Zombies and explosions and all?” she queried, settling herself on a barstool.

“I’m co-ordinating from here,” he told her, opening the fridge and collecting an armful of various foodstuffs. “I have full confidence in my agents’ abilities to cope with the situation.”

“So we even know what the situation is yet?”

After he carefully placed the contents in his arms down on the bench, he looked at Miho with a raised brow.

We?” he repeated.

“Yeah, we,” Miho affirmed with a confident nod. “I was there when this happened, here and on Olympus, and since you haven’t gone all MIB and erased my memory, and sent Agent Mann to chauffeur me over here, we are definitely a we.”

That may just have been the stupidest sentence Miho had ever articulated. And then it occurred to Miho that Jazz or Agent Palmer, may have told him what she’d said to Detective Yashitori.

“Did you eat on your date with Detective Yashitori?” he then asked, and Miho narrowed her eyes.

“Are you in my head?”

“I don’t know,” he admitted, staring back at her, both of his hands flat on the counter and a slight forward lean to his body. “Am I?”

“Jealous?” she challenged. “Narumi is cute.”

“On a first name basis already?”

“You didn’t answer my question,” Miho grinned, refusing to break eye contact.

“I asked mine first,” he pointed out, his smile tugging a little wider.

“No, I did not eat on my date with Detective Yashitori,” she announced, maintaining her expectant gaze, but Hades straightened, and started to throw baby spinach leaves into a colander.

“Rude,” she murmured with a small pout, not pursuing her answer, thinking, perhaps, about what Agent Mann had asked on the way over.

“So other than detoxing my system with a fine non-GM, high antioxidant meal, why am I here?” she then questioned.

Suddenly the atmosphere was a lot more casual.

“You disappeared,” he said as he prepared various ingredients. “Was it wrong of me to feel concerned?”

“If you were concerned about where i was an whether I was okay, Agent Mann could have told you that over the phone,” Miho pointed out. “Would you like to try that answer again?”

“I was concerned,” he repeated a little more emphatically. “You’re not a trained HERA agent, yet you threw yourself toward serious harm without thought…”

“Thanks, Dad,” she huffed. “But unless you were inside my head the moment I heroically pitched a rubbish bin at an explosive zombie, you have no idea what I did or didn’t think.”

Emitting a slightly peeved snort, she crossed her arms.

“And if you’re going to ground me and send me to my room, you’d better point me in the right direction,” she added, lip curled back a little.

But Hades sighed in defeat, and instantly Miho felt guilty – after all, not last night he’d lost countless of his people.

“I don’t want to fight again,” he told her, and the honesty in his face drained all the swirling, heated anger from her.

“Uh, how am I supposed to stay mad when you make that face?” she grumbled, slouching, and Hades continued to make their late lunch.

He said no more, and after a while, Miho felt words simply pouring out of her.

“The cop, Narumi Yashitori,” she said. “I didn’t reveal anything to her, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you those explosions got her attention, and HERA got on her nerves… like they got on mine.”

“I see,” he nodded, beginning to pile two plates with the meal he’d prepared. “We’ve a department who will answer any questions she has.”

“I’d be interested to know exactly what they tell her,” she thought aloud. “It was like looking in a mirror.”

“I certainly hope not,” Hades smirked, moving with the two plates over to the dining table. “I hardly know what to do with the Miho I already have.”

At this Miho couldn’t help but laugh, laugh and feel a little triumph – she really did like to challenge people, and there was also something about the way he suggested he ‘already had her’ that made her wonder if if… if um…

“Miho?” Hades prompted, and startled she focused back on him.

“Sorry, totally just spaced out then,” she laughed sheepishly. “I wasn’t thinking anything inappropriate, I swear.”

“Inappropriate?” he queried, putting both plates down and looking back as she slipped from the stool she’d been perched on. “What exactly would you consider inappropriate right now?”

Finding it impossible to articulate in words, Miho shimmied expertly out of her panties and flung them at Hades.

“How’s that?” she offered, but Hades just blinked back at her.

“How’s what?”

Again, Miho blinked. Her panties were where they should be, and Hades was well within his rights to look at her in confusion.

“Is it too early for an adult beverage?” she asked, giving her head a shake as she headed over to the table.

“What would you like?”

“Something with bite,” she replied, rolling her neck. “Obviously I’m too tense.”

“And you wonder why I worry about you,” he sniffed, heading to a sleek liquor cabinet filled with unlabelled bottles.

He returned a moment later, pouring a pale amber liquid into a lovely crystal tumbler.

“This was distilled by Dionysus’ daughter Methe,” he explained, holding it out to Miho.

“The Goddess of Drunkenness?” Miho laughed, his fingers brushing Miho’s ever so briefly as the glass was exchanged.

Nothing much came of it, because while this may have started in Voltage, this isn’t a Voltage story anymore.

“The very same,” he smiled, and sat down opposite her.

Lunch was a rather quiet affair. There was cutting and chewing and swallowing (not usually Miho’s style, that last part), and by the time Miho’s plate was completely cleared, her belly was pleasantly full and her glass was suitably empty.

“That was delicious, the meal and the liquor,” she said, rising to collect both their plates and convey them to the kitchen sink.

Not spying a dishwasher, she simply went about filling at the sink, rolling her neck and stretching her arms while she waited for it to sufficiently filled.

“Stiff?” Hades questioned from behind her, closer than Miho expected him to be.

“Sorry what?” she exhaled, and actually found herself tensing.

Both of them froze, Miho with her head turned enough to see Hades in her peripheral vision.

“Your neck? Shoulders?” he clarified, slowly raising his hands, giving her every chance to move away, watching for even the slightest sign of discomfort or displeasure in her face, her posture, any evidence of repulsion or warning – not that he really thought she’d be subtle about expressing any of that.

But there was nothing, and finally his large hands fell lightly against her shoulders.

As first the pressure of his fingers kneaded gently into the taut muscles Miho hadn’t really even realised were holding so much tension, but when she let out a long sigh, they dug a little harder.

“Mmhmm, if you ever want to give up your job as a god, you could definitely make a living as a masseuse,” she exhaled breathily, unconsciously leaning back against him.

Then froze again, before lifting her chin so quickly she nearly head-butted him.

“Oh, shit I’m sorry!” she blustered when he actually stumbled back a little, and she whirled around to at least look apologetic.

“Seems to me like being a masseuse could be hazardous to my health,” he noted, and actually looking a little embarrassed, rubbed the back of his neck.

“I am really sorry,” she cringed. “Wow, so embarrassing.”

“Not as embarrassing as if you’d given me a nosebleed,” he pointed out wryly, clearly trying to ease her mortification with humour.

“Could I even do that?” she wondered. “I mean…”

Then she stopped. She had been going to say, ‘… I mean do gods even bleed,’ but then realised she had seen first-hand that not only could they bleed, they could die.

“Yeah, obviously I do need to relax,” she chuckled, biting her lip a little. “Maybe some more of Methe’s booze?”

“How about I make you some tea?” he offered instead.

“Tea huh?” Miho thought. “Not very sexy… friggin’, you totally just blew your chance to blow a god.”

“Afraid I could drink my way through all your good stuff?” she smirked, still trying to cover how much like an idiot she felt.

“If you drank a fraction of my good stuff, you’d be dead,” he answered.

It was an innocent enough response, but given Miho mind had gone to a dirty place, she was now caught up in drinking HADES’ good stuff.


“Ah, okay, tea then would be good,” she nodded, looking away as she gnawed on the inside of her cheek a little.

“Why don’t you…” he began, but was interrupted by the ringing of his mobile phone. “Why don’t you get comfortable on the balcony?” he suggested, before digging the phone from his pocket and answering. “Alex…”

Gratefully, Miho made good her escape from the kitchen, and let herself through the glass doors that led out to the balcony.

“Maybe I should write my memoirs,” she thought aloud. “Not that I could publish it if I wanted to be faithful to the last few days and… not if I want to keep their secrets.”

The taste of Hades was then pushed far away by heftier rumination. Her discussion with Narumi replayed, and she found herself scowling, uncomfortable in her padded outdoor chair.

“What are you thinking?” Hades asked, and when Miho focused back in, it was on the teacup Hades held.

“Mm, you can’t read my mind?” she responded, lifting the cup from his light grip.

And their fingers brushed ever so slightly, but because they’re both adults and not a pair of quivering shyness receptors, the fleeting contact slipped pretty much under the radar.

“No,” he admitted, taking his own steaming drink and sitting in the chair beside her. “And though you do seem prone to spacing out, you’re relatively difficult to read.”

“To be fair, I’ve had a bit on my mind lately,” she argued lightly. “There hasn’t been an awful lot of down time to think things through.”

“From what I know about you, you are the impulsive type,” he chuckled, taking a sip of his tea before continuing. “Act now, think later.”

Her first impulse was to be contrary, but she bit down on her tongue and took a few seconds to better consider her response.

Which technically made her contrary. Whatever.

The point is, after a short pause, she put her tea to the side, rose from her seat and turned to him.

Mildly surprised, Hades looked over the top of his cup and up at her, and continued to do so in silence as she stepped in front of him. He did not protest when she reached out and carefully relieved him of his tea, and put it down next to hers.

“You were finished with that, weren’t you?” she asked him rhetorically, her tone an imperative despite the question.

“It seems that way,” Hades smiled slowly, shifting a little in his seat.

Laced with significant challenge – the challenge to reject her – Miho forced herself to maintain eye contact as she placed her fingertips against his crossed leg, and nudged it away from the other.

“I’ll be careful,” she smiled, as she leaned forward and placed her hand on his shoulder, nestling her knee in beside his thigh before rocking her whole body forward, “not to head-butt you.”

“Likewise,” he replied, resting his hands lightly against her hips, securing her, forward-facing, in his lap.

“Being head-butted by a god might have some pretty serious repercussions,” she chuckled, slithering her fingers around his neck and dragging her nails through the short hairs at the nape.

“Then I suppose we’ll have to start with something a little, gentler,” he reasoned, inching his face closer as she dropped hers, but she held back just short of their lips touching.

“Still, I’m pretty robust,” she breathed, lowering lashes briefly as she pressed herself down against him. “Survived a round with Minotaur, after all.”

“I won’t kiss you into a coma,” he vowed, his grip at her sides tightening as his lips closed around just her lower one.

Now, Miho had been kissed plenty of times, but there was a serious thrill in the soft restraint of the way he barely suckled her flesh. She couldn’t tell if the shiver that rushed through her was because it had ‘been a while’, or if it came from knowing the incongruity of his tender approach and the potency of the power she knew he was capable of.

He could tear her apart, but it felt like he was handling something fragile and delicate.

“No?” she exhaled when he allowed her to speak freely.

“Mmm,” he murmured as she rolled her hips forward. “But I can’t promise what comes after won’t cause you to pass out.”

“Come on, Underworld Princess,” she goaded, looping her fingers under his tie, slipping her fingers along the silk to loosen it at the front. “Make my mind go blank.”

Challenge set, permission given, Hades smoothed one hand up Miho’s spine to the back of her head, and drew her face firmly to meet his.

He allowed the taste of her tongue to overwhelm the fleeting flavour of his forgotten tea, and all memory of their awkward kitchen encounter faded.

There was now no hesitation in the roam of his hands; the heat of her body and the pressure she was increasingly exerting against his crotch, dragged him away from thoughts of the crisis currently plaguing the pantheon and Earth. Though he had avoided affections of any kind since Jazz had chosen Hydra, claiming – even to himself – there was just no place for it anyway with the pantheon in a shambles, he could not deny the comfort of another’s intimate touch.

Slowly, Miho gathered up his polo shirt until they needed to break away from each other long enough to slip it over his head. Though the night air blew against his exposed torso on gentle wafts, Hades did not feel the cold in the slightest – the heat from Miho gaze as she slid from his lap and knelt between his legs cause fire to spread both without, and within.

“What if I make you pass out first?” she grinned up at him, walking her fingers up the bulge in his pants, following the zipper up until she could slowly drag it down.

“That would be some feat,” Hades inhaled, clearly trying to play it cool as she teased him through his briefs.

“But if I win?” she asked cheekily, peering up the firm undulation of toned abdominal muscles and licking her lips.

“I wouldn’t call that a win for either of us,” he replied, his hands reaching for her hair, weaving his fingers from behind her ears to the very ends. “I would be unconscious, you would be awake, and I would not get the pleasure of…”

His sentence broke off as she freed his shaft and lowered her head – but she looked up through her lashes expectantly.

“The pleasure of?” she prompted, flicking her tongue out but purposefully missing his head by a tiny margin – and it was clear Hades was exerting considerable willpower not to raise his hips toward her mouth.

“Of hearing the sounds you’re going to make,” he explained, combing her hair to one side and gathering it there. “Of seeing your face reflect how good I want you to feel.”

“Mmm, good answer,” she smiled – a genuine smile, because the tone of his voice assured her his words weren’t meaningless lines.

Kissing against his head ever so lightly, caused Hades to hiss out a slow breath of anticipation; he wanted to close his eyes, but could not lift his gaze from her. The way she lowered her head, sliding her lips around his girth, her tongue warm and wet and firm against him all the way to the back of her throat – he was enraptured. The dig of her fingernails into his thighs reminded him of current tumult, but the twisting, turning, building storm of fire setting all his senses ablaze, was all about her.

Blinking away tears of effort, keeping her gag reflex at bay, Miho took great pleasure in the squirm of this god at her mercy, feeling her own skin burn with want.

“Miho,” he rumbled, straining to reach forward and draw her up from her knees.

“I’m not finished,” she protested breathlessly, but Hades was already well on his way to removing her blouse, strong fingers burrowing under the torturous underwire of her bra and unhooking unkind clasps that held her breasts captive.

At the close of his mouth over her right nipple, Miho gasped sharply, rolling against him, pressing with a crashing wave of need to be filled with more than the uncertainty of late.

“Uh, don’t just tease me then,” she whined, his face gripped tightly between her hands, fingertips digging into his scalp.

And so easily he picked her up, her legs wrapped around his waist, grinding. With a last kick he left his trousers and underwear on the balcony and carried her inside.

She might have wondered how often he had lovers at his earth condo that he had condoms handy, especially in the kitchen, but she was more glad they were there. Stopping now was not an option.

Her pants were shed before he placed her against the cold marble benchtop, the cool contrast shooting splinters of pleasure up her spine.

“No, don’t leave me,” she breathed, when Hades began to crouch, encouraging him back up to her mouth. “I want to stare at you, right up until that moment you break me.”

“I don’t want to break you,” he swallowed, nipping at her lips while he secured the condom into place.

“Oh I want you to give it your best shot,” she grinned, exclaiming a soft moan as his fingers pressed into her wetness, thumb rolling hard over her swollen clit. “It’s not every… day you get to fuck a god, after all.”

The clamp of her teeth on his shoulder caused him to grimace as he explored within her, the scrap of her nails patterning his shoulder blades with uneven white lines unable to break the surface. Each time he pushed inward, Miho’s hips met the limit of his fingers and tried to wriggle further still, and Hades relished the glow in her cheeks and the slight lack of focus in her gaze.

“I want you,” he murmured around her tongue, and Miho leaned back a little.

“Then stop being so polite and take me,” she asserted, even as he placed his fingers into her mouth, tangy with her own taste.

His eyes flared with a fire she’d not yet seen, her imperative releasing the man behind the gentleman god with his own wants, needs, and the will to pursue them.

With a firm grip on her once more, he lifted her from the counter, holding her against his chest easily with one arm, and aligning the head of his aching length against the breach of her snatch – and Miho held her breath though her lungs burned.

“You, are beautiful,” he told her quietly, carrying her further into the kitchen until her back pressed flat against the smooth stainless steel of the refrigerator.

“Are you stalling to infuriate me?” she responded, squirming though his hold was firm enough to prevent much movement.

“I’m stalling,” he breathed, his forehead to her lightly so they were eye to eye, nearly lip to lip, “because I want you,” he continued, and ever so slowly gravity pull her down onto him, “to enjoy this moment especially.”

Wincing a little as he stretched her open – certainly more so than any previous lover – Miho’s entire body quivered until she could swallow him no more.

Satisfied by her shuddering groan and the low-lidded way she enticed him with her eyes, Hades finally succumbed to the tightness of her clenching pussy, withdrawing only to return to that blissful warmth again and again. Neither paid any mind to the rhythmic crack of the fridge as they shoved it against the wall with the force of their passion – both were far too caught up in the rising pressure building relentlessly against their desire to make the conflagration last.

And Miho let go of words, all the words she used to describe things and feelings and sensations, and as each moment of sweet, deep, penetration and the dizzying pleasure drew her closer to peak, she clung to Hades’ shoulders and sucked on his lips, rocked her hips toward the crash of hers until her mouth fell silently open.


Miho murmured into wakefulness, her body heavy with a satisfying ache and her mind clouded with the echo of acute sensation.

“Welcome back,” Hades smiled down into her face, his body propped up on one elbow.

Blinking slowly to try and focus her eyes, Miho took a moment to take in her surroundings. Hades laid beside her in a large bed, his lower half covered by a graphite coloured sheet, while she was completely concealed. Lightly he touched her hair, and Miho’s eyes flickered closed with a sigh.

“You kept your word,” she exhaled, nuzzling against his hand. “I… have no idea how I got here.”

“I’d hate to disappoint,” he chuckled, curling a lock of her hair around his finger.

“Oh, you most certainly did not,” she assured him. “Quite…” she went on, clearing her throat. “… epic.”

Looking modestly pleased with her description, Hades gently began to draw scrolling patterns down Miho’s neck then across her exposed collarbone, causing her to pleasantly shiver.

“Ahh, you want to go again, hmm?” she breathed, peering up at him with heated desire no less than before, but clearly lidded. “But, if I’m honest, I don’t think I have the energy to move much right now.”

“That’s fine,” he said, leaning down to kiss her lips, allowing her to feel his still present desire despite what he said. “It’s still night,” he told her, shimmying down under the sheet and offering her his arm.

Somewhat laboriously, Miho rolled over and rest her head against his shoulder, his strong arm holding her to him.

“Get some sleep,” he suggested, planting a kiss against the top of her head. “I’ll keep the nightmares away.”

“I don’t think I even have the energy for nightmares,” she admitted wryly. “You sure know how to wear a girl out.”

Snuggled against him, curling one leg over his and her arm across his chest, Miho took in a deep breath of Hades’ scent, and closed her eyes.

In that darkness, Miho rediscovered delicious drowsiness, and focusing on the sensation of Hades breathing, his heartbeat beneath her palm, she drifted into sleep once more.

Day 25

Some time after 1am, Hades felt the urgent vibration of his cell phone. Reluctantly, he carefully pried himself away from Miho, ever so carefully so as not to wake her. With a quiet murmur she shifted a little, then snuggled against the pillow – but remained asleep.

Out of earshot he took the call from Jazz, and quickly apprised of yet another instance of the undead, his plans for ‘breakfast in bed’ with Miho were completely dashed.

He left her a note, to which she woke some hours later, groggy until her hand crunched into paper where Hades should have been.

“Dear Miho,” she read. “I had to go but didn’t want to wake you. Go ahead and make yourself at home, just stay out of the liquor cabinet. Hades.”

Miho scowled and even pouted since no one was around to see it.

“What does he think I am? Some kind of lush?” she snorted, stretching her still somewhat sore body.

The ache, however, reignited memories of the night before, and Miho found herself grinning. She grinned all the way to the bathroom and scoped it out – neat and clean with a shower…

“… big enough for fucking,” she verbalised, turning the water on and stepping under it.

It felt weird.

Not the water – being in Hades’ condo when he wasn’t there.

He had such a presence, and with the recollection of it still pressing against her skin, into her, its absence was significant.

But it was the morning after, and now she didn’t quite know what to do about it. The sex was good.

No, that word doesn’t do it justice.

How the hell do you describe an orgasm so intense you pass clean out?

Divine – duh.

Miho sighed, and resisted the urge to indulge too much in the memory.

When she was dried and dressed in yesterday’s clothing, she wandered out into the open living area to find another note on the kitchen bench.

“Me again,” she read, then snickered at the dorkiness. “Help yourself to whatever’s in the fridge. Wow Hades, if your subordinates knew how fluffy you really were.”

She was starving, but she didn’t want to linger.

She sighed again, but this time because she didn’t want to extrapolate on their relationship all… how many face to face days of it? Okay, so giving in to their mutual attraction was a bit of a fast forward, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything.

So she left, locking the door behind her.

That isn’t a metaphor for her heart, reader, calm down.

With just her handbag, she walked for a while. The longer she spent on the street, the more she found herself scouring every nook and cranny for signs of the undead, until she couldn’t stand it anymore and hailed a taxi.

Making only one stop before her apartment – to acquire herself a new police scanner from a ‘source’ of hers – Miho then shut herself away in front of her computer.

The cursor flashed on the empty document as she struggled to find a place to begin, to order her thinking into some cogent form.

But her brain was clouded.

“Ugh, this isn’t working,” she growled at herself, and instinctively looked to her phone.

In times like those, she would have called Mieke. Rain, hail or shine, night or day, her best friend was always there when she needed her.

The last time they’d spoken, however, had been in the café when Miho had discovered the truth of her employment, and upon reflection, Miho knew she had been pretty harsh about it.

Now she knew the secrets of HERA – well, some of them – she understood it must have been pretty difficult for Mieke to keep everything concealed, and for her to balance their friendship and her work.

Oh but how Miho hated admitting she was wrong, and there were a bunch of messages from Mieke on her phone she’d be ignoring… and she would really have to answer them properly.

“Fiiiiiine,” she hissed to herself, then dialled Mieke.

It was answered within one ring.

“Miho?” the other woman’s voice rang out in surprise.

“Glad you haven’t forgotten my name,” Miho said wryly. “You busy?”

“Ahhh, nope, not busy at all,” Mieke rushed, and Miho smiled.

“Fancy a sleep over? In addition to apologising for what I said to you the other day, and you know, ignoring your messages, I have stuff to tell you.”

“Definitely,” Mieke responded. “Um, give me about an hour?”

Glancing at the clock, Miho shrugged.

“No problem, I’ll get started on the snacks.”

Day 26

Mieke arrived in her Batman pyjamas. The first thing Miho did, was draw her over the threshold into her arms and squish her tightly.

“I’m sorry,” she smooched against the other woman’s neck. “I was a dick. I didn’t try to look at things from your perspective- I am a dick.”

“Me too,” Mieke grinned, hugging Miho right back. “I didn’t want to lie to you. It was horrible and I am horrible.”

This mutual confession was step one.

Step two.

“Chocolate will cleanse us of our sins,” Miho announced, finally releasing Mieke and kicking her apartment door closed.

And so it happened, that on a pile of cushions, tangled in several feather doonas, Miho and Mieke laid in the middle of the lounge room, comfortably snuggled up and stuffed full of melty chocolate muffins Miho had baked.

“I think I ate too much,” Miho groaned.

“As is tradition,” Mieke giggled, but she too felt on the uncomfortable side of full.

“Okay, so,” Miho exhaled, “I need to tell you something, but you have to keep it to yourself.”

“Well it goes without saying I’m good at that, right?” Mieke pointed out, giving Miho’s belly a poke.

“Okay,” Miho repeated, taking a deep breath. “I had sex with Hades.”

Poised for another attack on Miho’s stomach, Mieke froze and stare, not even blinking.

“With Hades?” she repeated, but it truly came out like a question.

“Yeah,” Miho affirmed breathily. “You know, he was getting in my way, and then the whole Minotaur thing and suddenly I’m on Olympus walking around hand in hand then fending off zombies and…”

“But you… with Hades?” Mieke stammered, and Miho prattled on, waving her hands around in an animated fashion.

“And the moment we get back I’m nearly blown up by more zombies, and then Agent Mann is dragging me to Hades’ condo by the river, and he cooks and we drink and then…”

“Then?” Mieke prompted, even though Miho had already divulged the conclusion.

“And then he fucked me so gloriously I passed out,” Miho sighed, her body quivering and her nethers tingling at the recollection. “Holy shit it was soooo good,” she gasped, lolling her head back, and Mieke rose up on her elbows to look down into Miho’s face.

“Do you have any real idea what you’ve done?” Mieke asked her flatly.

“Sucked on the godrocket of Princess Underworld?” Miho offered cheekily. “Not that I could fit all of it in my mouth,” she giggled.

“Oh my god!” Mieke exclaimed, caught somewhere between excited and flabbergasted.

“Well I’d have said that, but my mouth was full at the time” Miho laughed.

“Well… I mean… describe it – in absolute visceral detail!” Mieke demanded.

What followed was a graphic account, with partial re-enactment, of Miho’s sexual encounter with Hades, and Mieke hung off every syllable.

“So he just… left you in his condo on your own?” Mieke blinked.

Hades was pretty private, always professional, and rumour around HERA was, in lieu of Zeus, he was the real leader of the pantheon – and now her best friend had…

“Left me a couple of little notes,” Miho added, “but yeah, pretty much.”

“Well, what were they like?”

“What was what like? His kisses? His choice of position? His testicles?”

“Yes,” Mieke nodded, and that set them laughing again. “I mean the notes. Were they lovey dovey – hearts and love Hades?”

“Nope,” Miho shrugged. “Boring really, business like.”

“Oh, well that sucks,” Mieke pouted. “What now though? I mean, is this a thing? Are you and he a thing?”

“I…” Miho began, then paused to think on it a little more deeply. “… nah, I don’t think so.”

“Really?” Mieke frowned. “I mean, it’s not like I know him personally, but he always struck me as the type to commit, not be just casual.”

“Look, it was probably all the excitement, the adrenaline, the alcohol – holy shit that god-brewed stuff is sooo good.”

“Did you just change the subject?” Mieke gawped. “You slept with a top tier god, the top tier god arguably running Olympus, you don’t get to change the subject.”

“I don’t really know him as a top tier god though,” Miho defended with an awkward shrug. “Just a hot guy with weird cosmetic choices getting in the way of my investigation. You know, even in Olympus it was like… amazing but they have the same kind of sadness and fear as we do.”

“Yeah, I suppose,” Mieke agreed. “I heard some gods actually died.”

“And then came back as zombies,” Miho affirmed. “I just can’t figure out why though. Just for destruction? For mayhem? Revenge? And who? Hades said he didn’t think Zeus was behind it.”

“Ugh, Zeus. That guy scares the shit out of me, and to be honest, I wouldn’t put anything past a megalomaniac like that. When the whole… hey wait a minute, you misdirected again!”

This revelation dissolved into a tickle war that left both women gasping for breath.

“So,” Mieke panted. “Are you going to see him again?”

“That’s… a really good question,” Miho shrugged, stretching out her limbs and wriggling her fingers. “I need to go begging to be unsuspended, or get looking for a new job, or I’m going to end up living at your place.”

“Or with Hades?” Mieke offered, but it was met with incredulity.

“If I moved in with every man I slept with, Mieke, I’d have a pretty decent real estate portfolio,” she expounded, then looked thoughtful. “Damn, I should have thought of it sooner.”

“I still think you’d have a shot with Hades,” Mieke pressed.

“Maybe, but what’s the point? He’s immortal, and I am mortal, which means I’ll be a wrinkly old prune before too long and he’ll still be an Adonis.”

“Not seeing a problem there,” Mieke laughed.

“I think it’d be painful for him to see someone he cared for wither away, and maybe he’d just ditch me for a younger model anyway, which wouldn’t be much fun either,” Miho reasoned.

“Hmm, I see your point,” Mieke frowned. “But you could at least have fun with him while you’re not reliant upon a pacemaker to keep you ticking, right?”

“I guess,” Miho nodded, not quite sure why that idea made her feel uneasy.

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