Astoria: In Chaos – Part Six


Day 29

Miho woke before Hades, despite the fact he didn’t really need to sleep at all. He was lying on his stomach, one arm draped over hers, his head facing her.

“Well, now you’ve gone and done it,” she said to herself. “An Olympian god has a toothbrush in your bathroom.”

Chewing her lower lip, she continued the study of his face, until the light trace of her finger down his cheek roused him from slumber.

“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty,” Miho smiled, unable to keep her lips from turning upward.

The slow blink of his amethyst eyes as sleep slowly receded, was really cute.

Suddenly, however, Miho found herself pressed into the mattress, Hades’ weight against her, and her lips captured.

“Gah!” she gasped, when he released her. “What was that for?”

“Do I really require a reason to kiss you first thing in the morning?” he queried, eye contact so close. “Especially when you’re thinking such cheeky thoughts.”

“I was doing no such thing,” she huffed, wriggling a little, but she fell still suddenly when she felt his hand trail slowly down her torso and over her hips. “Okay, maybe I was… pondering,” she corrected, inhaling as Hades lifted his chest away from hers, in order to slide his hand to the hem of her nightgown and beneath.

“Pondering what, exactly?” he prompted, brushing just his fingertips through the fine, manicured triangle of her bush.

“Uh,” she breathed, spreading her legs a little wider in open invitation. “You know? I don’t remember.”

“Hmm, okay,” he whispered, speaking the words against her earlobe before nipping at it lightly. “Why don’t you tell me what you are thinking now?”

“I… am thinking Mieke won’t be up yet,” she sighed, his fingers beginning slow, lazy circles around her clit, “so there’s no way she’ll interrupt us this time.”

“You’re thinking about Agent Genever?” he snorted, biting down a little harder, and Miho let out a little yelp, soothed by the probing pressure of several fingers wormed inside her.

“Not anymore,” she exclaimed breathily, her hips lifting to meet his hand each time he plunged into her with increasing speed. “Only you,” she muttered. “All I can see, and think, and feel… is you.”

“Good,” he murmured against her skin, his tongue wandering down her throat. “Means you aren’t thinking about your neighbours hearing us.”

“What neighbours?” she panted, gripping his shoulders and urging him to roll to the side.

Taking the hint, Hades moved, and Miho’s hand dove into his boxer briefs to stroke him in rhythm with each lusty penetration.

When Miho’s ministrations began to falter, her breathing irregular and her eyes rolled back a little, she squeezed out broken words that made no sense – just hitching, utterances meant to reflect the incoherence the force of her orgasm flushed through her body.

A euphoric heat.

A beautiful pain.

A shudder and complete loss of bodily control, but safe wrapped in Hades’ arms.

“Not a bad way to start the day hmm?” he smiled, stroking her hair as the quivering subsided, and focus returned to her lidded eyes.

“Lucky I’m still conscious,” she eventually managed, kissing him fiercely before throwing off the covers and straddling his legs. “Or you’d not get this,” she grinned, wrapping her lips around his cock and sliding it into her mouth slowly.

“Maybe, I am not… finished with you yet,” he grated out, torn between the urge to push his head back into the pillow, or watch the tenacious bob of Miho’s head.

“Uh huh,” she hummed against his head, trailing the tip of her tongue around the ridge of his foreskin, following each pulsating vein.

When she dared to graze her teeth against the supple skin, Hades lifted his head a little – not in alarm, but perhaps more in surprise.

“This,” she smirked, looking along his solid abs to his face, “is for the presumptuous toothbrush placement.”

But her nibbling was gentle, not cautious, but certainly careful, from the tip to the base, before she sucking one testicle into her mouth.

“Oh… gah…” Hades exclaimed as her hand resumed its grip on his length. “Miho… you…”

Releasing him from her mouth made a delicious, wet slapping noise, and again Miho lifted her head.

“That look on his face,” she thought. “I can make the God of the Underworld make that face.”

Somewhere in the back of her mind she acknowledged the enormity of this, that so powerful a creature would surrender so completely to her.

“Second drawer beside the tampons,” she instructed, clambering up onto her knees and shuffling her body over his. “Unless you want me to finish this our here.”

Hades was already fumbling for the drawer, fishing around… tossing a tampon back in, before he managed to grab a condom – which Miho immediately snatched from him.

Her hips pressed down, her enflamed lips so drenched with desire, folded around his hardness. Meeting his gaze, Miho rocked herself against him as she placed the corner of the condom foil between her teeth, teasing the edge with her tongue.

“You have a wicked streak,” he murmured, stroking up and down her thighs before taking hold of her hips.

Slowly she tore across the small packet and withdrew its contents.

“Maybe, just a little bit,” she grinned, scooting back enough to place the condom over the head of his cock, and roll it gradually down.

“I will let you get away with it, for now,” he smiled back, but his jaw was tensed until she leaned forward all the way over him and kissed him again.

Wriggling her pelvis, she positioned him at her entrance, aching in her depths for the sensation of complete and utter fullness, for an internal friction met with external stimulation that last time saw her black out.

“A man can wait only so long, Miho,” Hades growled, digging his fingers into her ass cheeks and lightly pulling down, but she resisted him – enough for her to know he was being very mindful not to over-power her.

“As a god, you have all eternity,” she hissed against his lips.

“I only want eternity if I can spend it buried in you,” he rumbled, and this time was successful in breaking her mild resistance.

She enveloped him, and both closed their eyes to savour the sweetness, their pulses racing, their bodies united.

When that moment broke, Miho took Hade’s hands from her butt and interlaced their fingers. Her steamy gaze burned into him as she undulated her body deliberately, moderately, sliding him almost completely out before rolling forward until she could submerge him no more.

Sweat began to shimmer across their skin, the salty sheen evidence of their increasingly energetic entanglement.

Squeezing her hands once, Hades unravelled their fingers, and she continued to ride him, he took a firm hold on one breast, and pinched the nipple of the other between his thumb and forefinger. She winced then bit down on her lip, the backward tilt of her head signal enough she enjoyed the sharp sting of each pluck against her pert nub.

“Yesss,” she breathed, desperately digging down, leaning forward to bite against his neck, whimpering as her body approached that place were its movements were driven only by the instinct to feel that explosion of ecstasy again.

But, she wanted to hold off, wanted him to cum first, and so she kissed him hard and filled his mouth with her tongue, focusing on her mission, clinging to hold back the swiftly approaching storm of raw bliss.

Hades flinched, his own hips rising up to meet the downward motion of Miho’s, until his ass didn’t even touch the bed. He thrust with the kind of passion that still frightened him, but was helpless against. Miho’s taste surrounded him completely, the radiant heat they shared an intoxication potent enough to push him to the very limits of his self-control.

And when he came, he pounded into her roughly, bouncing her onto him so hard he feared she might break, but Miho just gripped one of his wrists and pressed his fingers to her clit, grinding against him as he rode out his high.

“Hades… yes, ye…eh…eh…” she panted, and Hades felt it when she came, squeezing him tightly, milking the very last of his offering into the condom, until she flopped forward against him.

Heaving to catch her breath, swallowing to endure the eruption that at first cause her muscles to contracted, then spasm before relaxing, Miho clung to wakefulness with her lips pressed to Hades’ neck. Lightly his fingertips ghosted up and down her spine and she shivered again, nearly peaking again from just that feeling alone.

“For god’s sake… don’t move,” she exhaled unevenly, twitching against and around him still.

“For my, sake?” he chuckled, rolling her onto her back.

“You know ex-actly… what I mean,” she huffed, bleary eyed as she looked up at him. “Wha…?”

The top of Hades head was suddenly all she could see, and a bolt of lightning struck her sharply as he closed his lips around her screaming clit and suckled softly.

“No, no,” she growled. “I really will pass out if you, if you do that to me again.”

He lifted his head, his chin smeared with her juices.

“You are safe here with me,” he told her seriously, flicking out his tongue against her.

“You’re going to kill me,” she whined. “Hades… if I die…”

“You won’t die,” he chuckled, smoothing his fingers from her pucker, back to the welcoming smile of her pussy. “I won’t let you die.”

“Son-of-a…” she gasped as he drove into her, long digits curling upward and dragging out in broad strokes that had her back arching beyond her control.

With his free hand, Hades forced her flat against the mattress, and plunged vigorously to her core, while his tongue assaulted the angry red of her swollen clit. Miho writhed as much as she could, held down as she was, until her head jerked back, her mouth dropped open, and all parts of her became stiff.

Lapping in long motions, drinking up her sweet tang mixed with sweat, Hades continued until Miho fell slack, then moved in beside her.

Her head had drooped to the side, her eyes closed, and though her breathing remained heavy as it fought to feed the wild race of her heart, it soon began to even out. Hades moved away only briefly to discard the condom, before settling Miho back in his arms, gliding his fingers through her hair until – several minutes later – Miho began to stir and opened her eyes.

“Mmm,” she murmured weakly, her body delightfully heavy, the ache of her muscles reminder enough of how strenuous their ‘morning exercise’ had been. “You can’t keep doing that.”

“No?” he queried, kissing her tenderly.

“Seriously,” she sighed opulently. “I’m not sure the human body was built to withstand orgasms that powerful. Blacking out cannot be healthy.”

“I will ask Dr. Phelps, shall I?” Hades smirked.

“Only if I can be there when you do,” Miho volleyed, nipping at his chest.

“Which somehow leads me to the one thing we didn’t discuss last night,” Hades segued. “Have you reached a decision about working for HERA?”

“Hmm,” she hummed, swirling a fingertip around his left nipple. “It was difficult to tell Detective Yashitori selective truths,” she admitted. “But at the same time… I get it.”

Miho closed her eyes and smushed her cheek against Hades’ firm chest.

“With you and I, and the toothbrush… you don’t think me cruising into a job without even an interview, smacks of nepotism?”

“Your interview has been all I’ve seen you do so far as a journalist,” he answered. “And I’m not offering because of how I feel about you romantically.”

“Tongues will wag,” she warned, flicking her tongue against his skin.

“Will that bother you?”

“Me? No, I’ll just tell them they’re jealous I get to black out on a regular basis,” she grinned. “I’m more concerned about your reputation, picking up strays. You have to lead, and if your subordinates think you…”

At this Hades chuckled.

“Anyone intimating, alluding or outright declaring you owe your job to special treatment will be reprimanded,” he told her clearly. “And if they have time to wag their tongues, they’re clearly not focusing their all on work.”

“Well, I do need a job,” she noted airily, “and your insurance plan is top rate.”

“So, you agree?” he prompted, tipping her chin up a little, and his hopeful expression made Miho’s heart melt.

“You’d better not go looking at me like that at the office,” she chuckled, pecking him on the lips lightly.

“That’s the advantage of being the Underworld Princess,” he smirked, “I can look at whoever I like, however I like, wherever I like.”

“Uh huh,” she sniffed, throwing off the blankets but rising gingerly against the twinge of her recently tensed muscles. “Brrr,” she shuddered, unaware just how cold the apartment was snuggled up to her beau. “It’s freezing.”

“It did snow yesterday,” he pointed out, and Miho grabbed her robe, wrapping it around her naked body as she went to the window, outside of which was still dim.

“Less snow, and more blizzard I think,” she reported with a frown.

Looking over her shoulder, she caught the tail end of Hades sighing.


“The power of Olympus and its gods, especially the top tier, keeps balance on Earth and everything in its proper place,” he explained, also exiting to join her by the window, sans robe. “With Zeus away from his throne and others joining him, it looks as if Earth is finally beginning to reflect the discord of the Pantheon.”

“That isn’t good,” Miho frowned, shuddering a little, as much from the thought as the cold.

Hades wrapped his arms around her and gave her a light squeeze.

“I’ll need to return to Olympus,” he declared soberly. “If Persephone has been unable to keep the seasons from changing, the top tier gods need to meet.”

“Persephone? If seasons are her um, jurisdiction? Portfolio? With the weather like this, could she be hurt, or… can gods even get sick?” Miho queried, turning around to look into Hades’ face.

“Not from illnesses the affect mortals, no,” Hades answered, “and I doubt very much, this is about Persephone alone. After breakfast, I’ll check, just to be sure.”

“Well I’m sorry to say what I threw together last night is all that was left that was edible, unless you want cup noodles for breakfast,” Miho confessed. “Left my groceries at the mall with my phone.”

“We can go out for breakfast,” he determined, sliding his hand down one of her arms to take her hand and give it a tug toward the door. “I know this excellent little vegan café not far fro…”

But Miho had planted her feet.

“You’re not going to tell me you’re into cross-fit too are you?” she asked, narrowing her eyes at him suspiciously. “Because you know, I love meat…”

“I have gotten that impression, yes,” Hades interrupted, an uncharacteristically cheeky smile reflecting in his eyes. “I was joking. You pick the venue, I will cope.”

“I’m just saying,” she clarified, allowing him to lead her toward the bathroom, talking as they go, “by all means eat all the wheat grass and spinach you like…”

“What’s wrong with spinach?” he piped up.

“Mushy, flimsy, limp,” she listed.

“Hmm, could the limp part be the one that bothers you most?” he questioned, reaching in to turn on the shower with the kind of familiarity of someone who’s done so a million times.

“I’m not the one finding sexual innuendo in everything I say,” she pointed out, voice suddenly syrup as she pushed her robe from her shoulders and let it slip to the floor.

Goosepimples assaulted her skin and made her nipples almost painfully hard, but the bathroom was quickly filling with the gently waft of steam, and the promise of further exercise.

It took Miho some time to locate her winter clothing. When she and Hades exited her apartment building into the morning frost, however, she still felt underdressed. Hades on the other hand, dressed in his suit from yesterday, didn’t seem all that bothered, but quickly made his way to where he’d parked his car.

Which was completely frozen over.

“Roads haven’t been ploughed,” Miho noted, continuously moving her feet.

“I doubt the city was expecting such severe weather at this time of year,” Hades noted, looking over the frozen shell that enveloped his car.

There were very few vehicles on the road – it seemed even locals of Astoria, of New York thought better of venturing outside.

“I can go back up and get some cold water?” Miho suggested, but Hades was glancing about.

When he was done, and Miho noted there was no one in sight, Hades places his bare hand against the ice. It popped and screamed, then cracked like glass, before falling away in jagged pieces.

“Or you could do that,” Miho sniffed, eagerly folding herself into the front passenger seat when Hades opened the door for her.

Once closed inside, Hades had to fight to get the engine to start, but it finally turned over and Miho cranked the heater.

“You know, after yesterday, I’m surprised you weren’t called away last night,” she thought aloud. “With all that’s going on…”

“Had something else transpired, I would have been notified immediately,” he assured her, carefully navigating the icy road.

“Are they connected? The zombies and the weather?” she asked, but continued to hypothesise. “But what is even the point of these zombie attacks? The mall I mean; what’s the endgame?”

“There doesn’t appear to be much in the way of a correlation,” Hades responded, slowing for a red light, “except…”

And he glanced at her.

“What’s that look for?” she ruffled. “Just because I was there for three of the attacks doesn’t make this about me – I mean, that would make for a pretty arrogant story, right? Not to mention there have been other incidents involving the zombies where I wasn’t there.”

“I know,” he nodded. “And I was not suggesting you had anything to do with them.”

“My necromancy is a little rusty,” she revealed.

It was a tense journey, with Hades even finding it difficult to safely drive – when abruptly he pulled the car to the curb, hitting the brakes in a way that had them sliding for some distance before finally coming to a stop.

“What the hell?” Miho blurted, not looking into her lap for fear she might find her wildly beating heart there.

The expression on Hades’ face, however, caused Miho to swallow further exclamations.

“What is it?” she queried quietly.

“Zeus,” he replied flatly. “He is close by, others too.”

“Here, here?” Miho scowled. “In Astoria, even after you caught Minotaur?”

“I am certain my brother is here,” Hades confirmed, then looked to her. “Stay here.”

“Stay here, are you kidding me?” she snorted, unclicking her seatbelt as Hades exited the car.

“Miho,” he admonished, but she didn’t let him continue.

“Don’t even,” she said curtly. “Until I sign off on that employment contract, you’re not my boss.”

“This isn’t about taking orders, Miho,” he told her, his eyes darkening. “Zeus can be dangerous and spiteful, and if he thinks he can gain an advantage over me by using you, I believe he will.”

“And you said there were others with him,” she countered, assuming a stubborn posture. “So, if you go after him alone, it’ll be one against many; that isn’t something I’m willing to just sit in the car for.”

“This is a situation where you just cannot help,” he insisted, taking her shoulders, but still she glared at him with dauntless obstinacy.

“I can watch your back, that’s something,” she argued, lowering her brows when he looked set to offer another rebuke. “It’s not in my nature to sit on the side-lines, mortal or not, I accept the risks that come with chasing the truth.”

Sighing, Hades cuddled her to his chest.

“Snuggles can’t win arguments, Hades,” she told him, voice slightly muffled.

“I know,” he sighed, resigned, “So stay behind me, and if I tell you to run, do not hesitate or sass, just go.”

“The not sassing part is going to be tough,” she murmured as he released her, but straightened her posture as he turned down the sidewalk.

She followed closely behind, trying to match the indents he made in the snow, until he stopped outside a building site, the fence surrounding it boarded to hide whatever lay beyond.

“Here,” Hades said in a low voice, easily pulling away part of the barrier to let them through.

“Usually you’re telling me to keep out of fenced off areas,” Miho whispered wryly, trying to sound nonchalant, “not breaking into them with me.”

If Hades found this to be amusing, he didn’t show it – all shadows and foreboding as they began their way through scaffolding to a metal stairway leading down.

Swallowing hard, Miho tried desperately to ensure her footfalls made no sound, that she kept her balance on the icy surfaced – Hades did not look back to see if she was fine, either trusting she could manage or focused on the fact his rebellious brother was so close by.

After several meters voices began to drift to them, and Hades slowed his pace. There was something so very unnerving seeing a man of his stature tip-toe, and it increased the rate of Miho’s rapidly beating heart.

“… will turn the tide,” a deep voice declared smugly.

“Perhaps,” followed a female. “If…”

“If, Artemis?” the first voice growled, as Hades finally turned to Miho and motioned for her to crouch in order to stay concealed on the landing they had reached.

Inching to the edge, slightly at Hades’ back, Miho spied six individuals, two of whom seemed to reach out with just their existence in invisible waves that shook her.

Like Hades.

The other four were covered in dirt, shovels and picks lying around them.

Much like Hades, the man who could only have been Zeus, was not what Miho had expected, except perhaps for the mean glint in his eyes and the sneer on his lips – he was the epitome is sour, or arrogant, of belligerent.

But, her gaze was drawn to the pulsating white orb nestled in the palm of Zeus’ hand, a light no larger than a tennis ball, but sparking erratically with an energy Miho felt immediately fearful of.

“With this, Poseidon will have no choice but to side with me, and Hades’ betrayal will be undone,” Zeus smirked, closing his fingers around his treasure.

But the moment that light began to ooze through his grip, slithering through the air in sinuous streaks that seemed to cut through reality, Zeus looked less certain.

Miho recoiled from the edge as those crackling serpents coiled upward to their vantage point, threatening to give them away.

“Go,” Hades hissed, only just loud enough for Miho to hear, and she moved to comply as she had agreed, but found herself suddenly yanked back by the ankle.

If she had not been dragged into view – mid-air – above where Zeus and Artemis stood staring with necks craned, Miho’s yelp certainly would have drawn their attention.

Desperately she reached for Hades’ hand, his arm outstretched toward her with equal urgency.

Their fingers brushed, but parted, leaving Miho dangling upside down beyond his reach.

“What, is this?” Zeus snapped, his eyes flashing with lightning.

“Uhhmm,” Miho uttered, trying to wriggle free as the ribbons curled up her legs and began to wind around her waist.

She wanted to call for Hades, but if she did…

Hades’ actions gave himself away.

The purple gloom of his aura stretched forth bony fingers to grasp her, pin-pointing his position for Zeus and Artemis to see, but the former’s lightning slashed at its attempts to retrieve Miho leaving her stranding amid a frightening storm of godly power.

“Hades!” Zeus shouted, a sound booming with anger, a rage that tore through the cold and caused Miho to fall still, even as the flashing streams sputtered up her torso.

Gasping, she echoed Zeus, but her was a breathy plea.

“Should have stayed in the car,” some distant part of her thought, tensing against the throbbing slivers as they reached her throat.

“Help…” she mouthed, all air from her lungs crushed by sudden contraction, a violent boa constrictor squeezing so tightly she thought she might pop.

With his aura still struggling against Zeus, evading Artemis’ where he could, Hades pushed himself up, took two swift strides and then jumped. His arms closed around her, interrupting her silent scream, and together they fell like stones at the other gods’ feet.

The other figures, demis Hades might have recognised had he not been so preoccupied, quickly surrounded them, and Hades rolled over Miho protectively and glowered the full force of his opposition.

“Zeus, I did not come here to fight,” he announced, his tone a thin wire stretched almost to its limits. “Stay your hand.”

“Stay my hand?” Zeus snarled, struggling to control his outrage. “When here you are, sneaking like the plague rat you are, poisoning the Pantheon against me.”

“This is not how we should discuss our differences,” Hades pressed, ever so quickly glancing down at Miho, who looked up at him with wide eyes – seemingly in shock. “Don’t you see what is happening out there?”

“And you would hold me responsible for that,” Zeus snorted, stepping toward them, and in response Hades rocked back to his feet, drawing Miho up with him. “You were the one who defied the King of Olympus.”

“Because you were wrong,” Hades volleyed, trying to stay calm as he and Miho were surrounded.

Zeus he could go toe to toe with – Zeus, Artemis and a pack of demis? Perhaps not.

“You chased Hera away, chased her to misery yet still demanded she belonged to you,” Hades continued, eying all about him. “You were so desperate to control her again you leapt at Deandra’s ruse and put Olympus and Earth in peril: selfish, personal desire from a god – my brother – who I know to be better than that.”

“Selfishness is taking the Pantheon for your own the moment you spied the slightest chance!” Zeus roared, then pointed at Miho. “And I’m going to take it back.”

Hades’ arms tensed around Miho who still seemed dazed, only half hearing what was going on around her.

Drums were sounding, thumping, thumping, somewhere inside her, a rhythm broken by the heavy pounding of her heart. It felt as if the earth was shaking, that she was about to lose her balance and topple into nothingness, despite the strength of Hades’ embrace – and the voices around her seemed muffled, garbled, rearranged in a confusing muddle.

“You may occupy my throne for now, brother,” Zeus grated, “but I will be taking it back, along with that mortal.”

“Definitely, not,” Hades dropped flatly, his expression darkening, his lips peeling back a little more. “If you want to return to Olympus, you will have to win back the trust of your family, not act like a terrorist or create chaos on Earth.”

“Earth is insignificant!” Zeus roared, and with the others close – getting closer – Zeus reached out as if he could simply pluck Miho from Hades’ grasp.

“Hades,” Miho whispered, burying her face in his chest, but it was the structure that answered. Shuddering violently, steel girders cried out, rivets popped and flew dangerously across the frigid space. Perhaps the weight of ice and snow had compromised the structural integrity of the building, but the way pieces of metal and wood fell around them, then continued to fire about, suggested something else was at work.

The chaos provided Hades a moment to dodge past Zeus for the stairs.

“Hades!” Artemis barked, leaping into his path.

The glowing aura of her bow and arrow aimed at his chest, her expression a little unsure – hunting was one thing, firing about the God of the Underworld was another.

“You are wrong to follow him like this, Artemis,” Hades told her, his own aura looming to provide support. “You know his actions further destabilise both worlds.”

“He is the rightful king,” she argued, drawing the bowstring back further.

Rather than respond again with words, Hades opened his mouth, but swiped at Artemis with the reaper, forcing her into defence.

As Hades burst out onto the street, blasted by a fiercely swirling storm of icy shards, the construction site began to topple. Debris tumbled from the very top first, and Hades and Miho’s retreat down the road was echoed by the clatter of destruction, muffled only by the howl of biting wind.

“I’m all right,” Miho told Dr. Phelps, though the serious gaze from Hades kept her lying down.

“heartrate and blood pressure are normal.” Dr. Phelps said aloud, pretty much ignoring her.

“Blood work?” Hades prompted, his arms crossed.

“Pathology is working on it.”

“Yoohoo, right here,” Miho sniffed.

“We can’t ignore what happened, Miho,” Hades explained. “Whatever Zeus was digging for, sought you out, was absorbed into your body.”

“And it felt like being inside a pinball machine,” she described, “hitting everything at full tilt and ricocheting every which way, but now I feel okay. Hades you – you have to go to Olympus.”

“I know,” he sighed, “but I also need to make sure you’re safe.”

The conversation seemed to go around in circles, until Cyprin arrived with Hydra and Jazz, and they stepped outside to talk.

“Maybe you should take her with you,” Cyprin suggested. “Zeus surely wouldn’t risk trying to infiltrate Olympus with everyone on high alert.”

“I thought about that,” Hades exhaled, “but the top tier gods could be occupied for some time working on a solution to our current situation – I will not be able to ensure her safety personally any more there, than here.”

“This building has a dungeon too right? If I remember correctly, the other one was pretty secure,” Hydra smirked. “Mostly.”

“That’s a bit harsh,” Jazz chided, but then looked thoughtful. “Leave her with me until you come back. We’ll stay in the barracks, do paperwork, until you return.”

Hydra blinked.


“I’m not a baby,” Miho grouched from her infirmary room door, “and I don’t need sitting..”

Hades looked set to rebuke, but Miho continued.

“… but I don’t fancy a run-in with Zeus. So, if it’s the dungeon or hanging out with Agent Mann here, I choose the latter. She’ll be a good role model.”

Was she being serious? Hard to tell.

“Promise you won’t leave her side,” Hades frowned.

“I’m an adult, Hades,” Miho snorted, patting his cheek firmly. “Not an idiot looking to get swatted like a bug. I’m not going to go looking for trouble.”

“Oh?” he uttered, taking her hand. “Precedent would suggest otherwise.”

“What could I possibly get up to in a HERA building under Agent Mann’s supervision?”

“Hm,” Hades mused. “No doubt a lot.”

“Go save our worlds,” Miho grinned, pulling him to her lips, speaking against them. “I’ll be a good girl.”

Reluctantly, Hades stepped away from her with a curt nod, offering Miho no more than that before he departed, leaving her with only Jazz and Hydra.

“I’ll be out in a moment,” Miho breathed, chewing her lower lip a minute before turning back into her room.

Warning Miho against any strenuous activities, Dr. Phelps let her leave the infirmary with Jazz and Hydra, the latter seeming quite disgruntled.

“Is it me you’re pissed off at or Hades?” Miho asked him bluntly.

“This isn’t pissed off,” Hydra sniffed, tipping his chin in an arrogant way that reminded Miho of Zeus.

“Right, right,” Miho nodded, not taking his attitude lying down. “I suppose pissed off is a giant nine-headed serpent thing running amok through the streets?”

“Three, actually,” Hydra corrected tersely.

“Three streets?”

“Three heads,” Hydra growled, aware he was being baited, but unable to keep from biting.

“Hmm, so the sucky attitude is about an inferiority complex then; I guess that makes sense,” Miho mused, looking purposefully thoughtful, even as Hydra tried to cross behind Jazz toward Miho.

“Okay, that’s enough, both of you,” Jazz snapped, catching Hydra’s arm to hold him back, even though she knew he wouldn’t actually hurt Miho.

Okay, maybe she didn’t quite know – for his hatred of Hades and the gods in general still ran deep, and it was clear Miho had endeared herself to the God of the Underworld. Jazz had read it all over Hades’ face, his body language, when she had arrived at the infirmary once again on account of the wayward journalist.

The way he looked at Miho went far and beyond how he’d ever looked at her – things she now found in Hydra’s consideration of her.

“We’re all going to get along, or I’m going to be the one getting pissed off,” she added, then looked to Miho. “Miss Fujiwara…”

“Miho,” Miho piped up.

Miho,” Jazz amended, “if you really have somehow stolen something Zeus wants, you’re going to need both myself and Hydra on your side…”

“Okay, I know, I’m sorry,” Miho sighed. “Biting off more than I can chew is sort of my trademark, but this is the first time I’ve ever actually regretted it… sort of.”

“Sort of?” Hydra frowned, and Jazz glanced at him in warning.

“Well, I don’t regret going with Hades into that construction site,” Miho elaborated. “Zeus and Artemis and all those others against Hades…”

“What did you think you could do to help?” Hydra pressed, and Jazz rolled her eyes, pressing the elevator call button.

“More than sit in the car where it was safe and let Hades get hurt where I couldn’t put myself between him and his enemy,” Miho glared, stopping to inflict the full force of her fierceness at Hydra, and though he was certainly not afraid of her, he had to admit she definitely had a way about her that some would find intimidating.

Her courage and conviction he also had to pay – if it was he and Jazz, he’d have said the same thing.

“Powerless sucks,” Hydra conceded, even managing a slight, understanding smile. “You’ve got balls, I’ll give you that.”

“Yeah well, right now my balls are on lockdown,” Miho grunted. “So, Agent Mann…”

“Jazz,” Jazz revised, just as Miho had.

Jazz,” Miho repeated. “What’s the plan?”

“The barracks is on sub level one,” Jazz answered, ignoring a quiet groan from Hydra. “For now, you and I stay put inside this building.”

Miho wasn’t used to following – a free spirit in every sense – but she was afraid of Zeus, and what it might also mean for Hades if she got herself captured like some stupid damsel in distress.

“Yes Ma’am,” Miho saluted, and Jazz shook her head.

This was going to be a loooong assignment.

That evening, Miho finally laid her head down and stared up at the ceiling of the barrack’s sleeping quarters. Several others, including Jazz, were already asleep, but Miho’s mind buzzed.

The day had not been anything she’d expected, but lately that actually seemed the norm. What else seemed to have slipped so quickly into familiarity, was having Hades close at hand, and it was his face she saw last before she drifted off to sleep, and thoughts of his lonely toothbrush back in her apartment.

In sleep, she ran. Her footfalls crunched heavily in the snow, while Zeus, Artemis and a pack of rabid creatures from Greek mythology snapped at her heels. She knew she had to keep going, not to slow, just get around the next corner and Hades would be there to hold her safe – but when she turned that corner she found just another street of ice and cold and the closing shadows of her foes behind her.

From somewhere above, the wind seemed to pulse in a heavy rhythm – not a helicopter – but the terrible beat of giant wings that caused cars to roll over, street signs to pull free of the asphalt, and glass to shatter.

“Hades!” she panted, the purple glow of his aura somewhere ahead, just out of reach, and Zeus wrapped his fingers around her arm and jolted her to a jarring stop. “Get off!” she roared, wheeling around with her free fist clenched, but that wasn’t how Zeus ended up cartwheeling away from her, collecting the rest of Miho’s pursuers in the process.

In the white of the snow, Miho stood in a deep darkness, but she didn’t know where it came from.

Day 30

“You look like shit,” Jazz told Miho, holding out a cup of coffee when the other woman emerged into the mess hall. “Feeling okay?”

“Nightmares,” Miho admitted. “Other than that, just peachy.”

Jazz studied her carefully, searching for any visible changes the unknown energy might have caused.

“You’re going to make me blush if you stare any longer,” Miho announced, ignoring the curious gaze of several agents partaking of their breakfast. “Would you like me to twirl?”

“Sure, twirl away,” Jazz shrugged.

Despite wearing a pair of borrowed sweat pants and a hoodie, Miho’s pirouette was quite graceful – she even managed to complete it without spilling the coffee from her mug.

“That was pretty good,” Jazz acknowledged. “Do you dance?”

“Used to,” Miho stretched, grunting a little as she took a seat. “But, I ended up not having the time for it, running around after you and Hades and the likes trying to cover up the truth.”

“Speaking of running after Hades,” Jazz prompted, lifting an eyebrow, urging Miho to elaborate on that idea.

“Oh? You want all the juicy details huh?” Miho chuckled over the rim of her mug. “Right here?”

She glanced about, noting the few agents who remained look quickly away.

“Hmm, is that a personal inquiry, or is it professional?” Miho continued, tilting her head a little.

For a moment Jazz thought about this, unsure exactly which it was.

“Both,” she said finally. “Hades is someone I admire; holding the Pantheon together in Zeus’ absence, especially now in the face of recent events, must be no small feat…”

“You think I might get in the way? Be a liability?” Miho filled in, but Jazz shook her head.

“Irrespective of who you are or what you do, Hades makes no decision lightly,” she expounded.  ”If he wants you around then he’s weighed up the pros and cons….”

“So wounded you think there’d be cons,” Miho pouted in an exaggerated fashion.

“It’s not about that,” Jazz went on. “It’s about whether you’re actually more to him than a vessel for whatever Zeus is after.”

“So if I was to get swatted by Zeus, it would actually make a difference to you whether I was with Hades?” Miho chuckle.

It was all quite serious, but Miho’s laughter wasn’t about mirth, but rather covering up her apprehension.

“Not directly, but if his girlfriend was to get harmed, it would certainly hurt him.”

“Girlfriend huh?” Miho said to herself, turning the word over in her mouth.

“Do you plan on answering?”

“Oh, sure,” Miho laughed again. “We haven’t talked labels, but ahh, he has a toothbrush at my place – interpret that how you will.”

The look on Jazz’s face said it all, as did the way she nearly choked on her coffee.

“I’m not big on applying labels to things,” Miho shrugged. “No need to overcomplicate. We are what we are, so you stop fretting about it…”

“I’m not fretting about it,” Jazz sniffed. “I just like to do my job well.”

“I said I’d be a good girl and I’m certainly going to try,” Miho grinned. “Having Hera’s soul and her artifact should make guarding me a breeze.”

“Mm, so he told you about that,” Jazz murmured.

“Maybe that tells you more about how much he trusts me, than the toothbrush,” Miho smiled, but it waned as she shook her head, trying dispel the warm-fuzzies invading her body.

Jazz observed this. It may have been true that Hades trusted Miho enough to share secrets as big as who was Hera’s reincarnation, but there was something about how Miho refused to definitively answer the question about the status of their relationship, that bothered Jazz – it was like Miho was holding back, not fully invested, and if that was the case, perhaps she couldn’t be entirely trusted regardless of the way Hades felt about her.

After breakfast, Jazz escorted Miho to the Public Relations section in the building, and introduced her to various people she might end up working with. Why Jazz was giving the tours when she should have been out in the field doing her job, wasn’t asked; she watched Miho work the room, making a good impression with her infectious smile and confident body language. Before long, she had convinced one agent to let her help with his assignment, and was sitting beside him at his desk brainstorming ideas.

Relaxing a little, Jazz dug out her phone and sent Hydra a message. Much to his disdain, she’d suggested he could investigate the latest zombie sighting without her. Outside was still a whiteout, and while the cold wouldn’t kill him, it made moving around the city difficult. She had to smirk a little at his curt response stating he wasn’t far away, knowing that was just how he was, but she looked up suddenly to the sound of a moan.

“Whoa, hey there!” Miho barked, rolling her chair away from her new friend when he abruptly placed his hand against her leg and slid it all the way up her thigh.

As she stood, she and Jazz alike blinked at the sudden state of the office.

Agents – men and women, women and women, men and men – had abandoned their work and were entangled in various states of intimacy.

“Um, Jazz?” Miho prompted, stepping in beside the only other person in the room who seemed to find the situation bizarre.

“Miss Fujiwara,” the male agent smiled, approaching her with a lusty expression. “I cannot get over just how… much I want you… I have to…”

“You have to stop right there,” Miho warned, her eyes flashing with the danger of him pushing any further, and Jazz also glared.

“But how am I supposed to kiss you if you keep running away?” he asked, stars in his eyes, lips puckering.

“That’s close enough Agent Warwick,” Jazz warned, nudging Miho behind her, just as a bra came flying across the office and landed over Agent Warwick’s shoulder.

“What the hell is going on?” Miho exhaled, peering wide-eyed at the unfolding orgy.

“Good question,” Jazz grunted. “Let’s go.”

The pair backed into the corridor where two people walking in their direction stopped suddenly to embrace and press against the wall, hands diving beneath clothing.

“Is this a balance of power thing, like the weather?” Miho asked, but Jazz didn’t have the answer. “And why aren’t we making out right now?”

“My guess is because I have Hera’s artifact, and you got hit by some buried super power,” Jazz reasoned, motioning for Miho to move hastily to a nearby stairwell.

“So most of HERA’s agents are humans?” Miho exhaled, following Jazz’s quick pace up the stairwell. “You think gods, demis and monsters might be immune to…”

“How am I supposed to know?” Jazz huffed, slamming her palm against a door – that didn’t budge. “Oh come on,” she growled, giving it another shove, but she stopped when she heard a few loud grunts from the other side, followed by a few oh-baby, oh babys. “For fuck’s sake.”

“Literally,” Miho grinned, watching, actually amused, as Jazz hit the door with her shoulder, shoving the bonking pair away from their love-making surface, and sending them tumbling to the floor.

Which didn’t really stop them – they simply assumed a new position and continued to screw like no one was watching.

“Please let Alex be normal,” Jazz whispered, skirting around a threesome in the corridor in order to reach Cyprin’s door.

And so it was, that Cyprin was normal… Hydra, however, not so much.

The two women stood in the door way of Aphrodite’s child, staring as Hydra chased Cyprin in laps around their desk.

“Don’t just stand there!” Cyprin yelped.

“Go ahead and join in Jazz,” Miho chuckled. “I’ll wait outside.”

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