Never have I ever

It was a lazy summer evening and at Long Island were no guests, just the usual bunch of guys and Jazz hang around. Kunihiko was reading a woman’s magazine, there was a baseball match on TV and Jazz had a cardboard box in front of her.

“What is this?” Yamato poked his head between Jazz and the box and extended a hand to its content.  She swatted his hand away.

“Don’t touch this. My parents have sent me some of my old things. Yearbooks, some old photos, private stuff.”

“Yearbooks?” Saeki suddenly stood beside her. “Come on, let’s have a look. I’m dying to see you in your school uniform.” He winked at her.

“Then die.” Ren was unfazed and focused his attention on the plate with food in front of him. Yuta and Takao joined the others and tried to peek into the box. Kunihiko looked up from his magazine.

“Have they sent your trophies, too?”

“You have won trophies?” Yamato sounded skeptical. “I can’t imagine Pouty to be the best at anything.” He laughed.

“Thank you, Yamato, you are such a sweetheart. I’m really surprised that you don’t have a girlfriend,” Jazz replied sulkily.

“What are the trophies for?” Yuta asked.

“Weeeeell~” Kunihiko started to answer but Jazz interrupted him.

“Uhm, nothing special, just some contests…” she tried to change the subject. “Hey, have you ever won a contest?”

Everyone nodded and started to talk at the same time. “Sure, for writing…”

“A science fair at school…”

“Piano contest…”

“I won an award as start-up entrepreneur…”

“Some sports competitions…”

“For a paper I submitted two years ago…”

“Hey, not all at once!” Jazz laughed and closed the box before one of the guys could find something embarrassing inside.  “I know you all for several months now and still there is so much to learn about you.” She pondered for a moment. “I know! Let’s play a game! We have played this in camp a lot to learn things about each other.”

Yamato groaned and rolled his eyes, Yuta smiled widely, Takao nodded lightly and Saeki smirked.

“Oh Jazz, tell us more about you at camp. Was it a girl’s camp? Have you made pillow fights and practiced kissing with each other?”

“Ewwww… Saeki, you are such a pervert.” Ren shuddered.

Jazz rolled her eyes. “No, nothing like this. It’s called ‘Neverhave I ever’ and is really simple.”

“It has to be or otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to play it.” Yamato smirked.

“Oh, shut up. We can make it a little bit more interesting. I know, wait a moment!” Jazz dashed behind the counter and grabbed some glasses and a bottle. Then she cleared a table and set the glasses down.

“Okay, come here and take a seat.” She sat down at a chair and the guys joined her. Jazz sat between Yuta to her right and Kunihiko to her left. Next to Yuta was Takao, then Yamato, Ren and Saeki.

“So, everyone of us says something like: ‘Never have I ever been abroad.’ It has to be true of course. Then everyone who actually has been abroad has to take a shot.” She filled the glasses with liquor.

Kunihiko frowned. “What’s that? Shuchu?” Jazz nodded.

“Wait a minute.” Kunihiko stood up and went to the counter to fetch some bottles. He handed her one of them. “Here, take this. It’s not as strong as shuchu. Otherwise the game won’t be long.”

“Oh, okay.” She shrugged and took the bottle. Then she continued to fill the glasses and handed them out.

“One round as example?” Takao and Ren nodded.

“Okay. Let’s stick with this abroad thing. Who actually has been abroad yet?”

Ren, Saeki and Kunihiko raised a hand. “You have to drink.” The three men downed their shots and Jazz immediately refilled their glasses. “Yuta’s next.”

“Uhm, okay… oh, I know! I have never been bungee jumping.” Jazz, Yamato and Takao drank.

“Takao, your turn.” Takao considered the task.

“Uhm, never have I ever cheated on a test.” Yuta and Kunihiko.

“Uncle, really? And you have always told me to be honest.” Jazz giggled.

Yamato: “Never have I ever came in last in a race.” Jazz rolled her eyes and made a muffled sound, then she took her glass as the only one.

Ren: “Never have I ever lost my keys.” Jazz, Yuta and Yamato.

Saeki: “Never have I ever smoked.” Kunihiko made a face and drank. To the surprise off all the others Ren drank, too.

Kunihiko: “I have never written a book.” Saeki took his glass.

“Very funny, really.” He drank.

Jazz: “Never have I ever kissed on a first date.” Yamato, Saeki, Kunihiko and Yuta.

Yuta: “Never have I ever been in a fight.” The others all took their glasses.

“Jazz, too?” Yuta asked in surprise. She nodded and Kunihiko chuckled.

“Yeah, she was quite a tomboy.”

Takao: “Never have I ever stolen something.” Yuta, Yamato and Saeki.

Yamato: “Never have I ever been in hospital over night.” Jazz, Ren, Yuta.

The mood got lively, they laughed and made jokes. Ren fell asleep with his head on the table.

Saeki chuckled: “Never have I ever been so drunk that I passed out.”

Kunihiko, Yamato and Yuta. Suddenly Jazz glanced to her uncle, an eyebrow slightly raised. He nodded stealthily.

Kunihiko: “Never have I ever I have never made out in a public place.” Saeki, Yamato and Jazz.

Jazz: “Never have I ever had a one-night stand.” Yamato and Saeki. Jazz silently tapped on Yuta’s thigh and pointed at Saeki under the table. Yuta immediately got the hint.

Yuta: “Never have I ever dated more than one girl at a time.” “Wait, what about Jazz? Shouldn’t we rephrase that so it applies to her, too?” Yamato interjected.

Jazz nodded. “Okay, but let’s not say it specifically each time. You say ‘girl’ and I just assume you said ‘or boy for Jazz’, okay?”

Everyone nodded. “So, what about dating more than one girl at a time?” Yuta asked again. Saeki drank.

Takao: “Never have I ever cheated on anyone.” He blushed and glanced at Jazz who slightly smiled. Saeki drank.

Yamato had noticed what the others were doing. “Never have I ever used a pick-up line.” Saeki, Yuta and Kunihiko.

Saeki: “Never have I ever… uhm, I think I have to resort to the boring stuff… Never have I ever stayed till the end of a party and helped to clean.” Jazz and Takao.

Kunihiko: “Never have I ever had a threesome.” A wicked smile played on his lips. Saeki drank.

Jazz: “Never have I ever seen porn.” She grinned. The guys looked a little bit guilty, all except Saeki. Takao blushed a little bit, but they all drank. Little by little their pronunciation got sloppy.

Yuta: “Uhm, never have I ever dated the ex of a friend.” Saeki and Yamato.

Takao: “Never have I ever had a blowjob.” His cheeks were bright red and Jazz couldn’t hold back her laughter. She winked at him. “We could change that.” She giggled and Takao blushed even more.

Saeki, Kunihiko, Yamato and Jazz drank. Jazz gave Takao a meaningful look while she downed her glass.

Yamato: “Never have I ever been sued.” Saeki drank.

Saeki: “Never have I ever – never been… uhm… never been… ” He was obviously really drunk and struggled to keep awake. “I have never been… I have never been in jail!” He swayed. No one drank.

Kunihiko: “Never have I ever been hit by a girl.”

Saeki and Yamato drank. Jazz drank, too. Takao stared at her wide-eyed.

“Does that mean you have been hit by a guy?!”

“When I was ten or so. He was hardly bigger than me at that time. Relax, Takao.” She laughed. “Oh, is it my turn again? Uhm, never have I ever have I ever had sex in a car.” Saeki and Kunihiko.

Yuta: “Ugh, it’s getting harder already… wait… Never have I ever been naked in public.”

“Really? I would have sworn you were the type of guy to streak during a sports match or at a party…”

Jazz giggled again, then took her glass. She was the only one. All the guys, except for Ren and Saeki, who was really drunk by now, looked at her shocked.

“I lost a bet, okay? Don’t ask any further.”

Takao: “Uhm, never have I ever tried to secretly make pictures of the girls I slept with?”

Yamato laughed. “Is that a question or a fact?”

“Huh, oh, a fact of course.” Takao blushed again. Saeki drank or better, he tried to, but he spilled more than he actually swallowed.

Yamato: “Never have I ever bought a new car.”

Although he had downed quite a lot of shots he was still chipper. Kunihiko and Saeki drank. One moment later Saeki passed out on the table.

Jazz jumped up from her chair and cheered, Yuta joined her and gave her a high-five while Kunihiko and Yamato smirked. Only Takao was a little bit too tipsy to celebrate.

Jazz looked at her unlce. “I told I could drink him under the table! You owe me ten bucks!”

Takao’s eyes widened. “When did you make that bet?” She grinned and showed him her phone.

“He texted me that I would pass out before Saeki if I kept drinking like that.” She danced a little victory dance when Yamato came and patted her on the back.

“So Jazz, and now back to the beginning. What about these trophies?”

Her bright mood instantly darkened. “That’s none of your concern.” She soot a glare to Kunihiko. “Don’t you dare tell them about it!”

Her uncle chuckled. “Don’t be mean to me, after all it was me who passed you the bottle with shuchu so that you could fill it in Saeki’s glass.” He winked at her. “You better tell him or you’ll never hear the end of it.”

Jazz pouted. “Fine.” She shrugged. “I was a contestant in some beauty pageants and won the first price like three or four times.”

Yamato gaped at her, then he began laughing. “Yeah, sure. That’s a good one!” Yuta, who had been fetching some water, opened the box and took out a trophy.

“Uhm, Yamato? She’s serious. First place ‘Miss Cherryblossom’.” He waved with the little golden cup. “And there are more inside.”

Yamato stopped laughing, Jazz snatched the trophy from Yuta, Kunihiko grinned and Takao muttered: “I think she’s pretty enough to be Miss whatever she wants…”

“Well, at least you’ll always be Miss Pouty.” Yamato blew her a kiss and laughed at her disgusted face.

Jazz threw the trophy at him but failed, then she grabbed Takao’s hand and pulled him from his chair. “What? Where are we going?” The lawyer was confused.

“I wanted to change one of your ‘nevers’.” She winked at him and giggled while she dragged him out of the bar under the surprised eyes of the others.

Always on the roam Part 2

You were pleasantly surprised just how good you could mask your own feelings after that night with Nomura. You had cried for half an hour after he left, then you changed your sheets and washed them, getting rid of is scent in your bed. A shower did the same for your body. A strong coffee chased the remnants of your hangover and lack of sleep away. When you left your place you felt empty, but okay.

That changed the same instance you entered the office and saw Nomura at Kirisawa’s desk. He glanced at you briefly and showed you a small smile and you nodded, almost mechanically, before you sat down at your desk and started working. A lot of paperwork waited for you and you were glad that you had something that kept your wandering mind occupied. Rob had almost instantly answered your text, sending you a link to the website of a nice little hotel, somewhere outside of the city. The huge lump in your throat threatened to suffocate you for a moment, but then you got a grip on yourself again. You wouldn’t cry anymore. You wouldn’t wallow in self pity. You would suck it up and keep going, giving Rob a real chance now that Nomura wasn’t in your obsessed mind any longer.

Of course that was a lie. Of course sleeping with him didn’t change your feelings, at least not like you wanted it to. Your crush was even stronger now and since you knew how incredible sex with him could be it was even harder not to fantasize all day about him. But you knew that he wasn’t the type of man for something steady, that he usually only slept once with a woman and then he was gone. Well, he had already slept with you. It was done. No chance for another try. You could now bury your hopes and move on. No more wondering how it would be, how it would feel, what he would do with you. You knew now and even though you craved for that closeness you had shared the night before, it was clear to you that you would have to be satisfied with the memories, because you wouldn’t get the real deal once more.

You were deep in thoughts about that form in front of you when a voice made you look up.

“You look especially cute today.” You knew it was Nomura even before you saw him, the voice was unmistakable. You had heard him groan and whisper dirty little things in your ear. You would never forget that voice.

“Thank you, Deputy Chief, but I’m working right now. If there’s nothing I can do for you I would like to continue what I’m doing.” You tried to sound professional and calm. You managed somehow.

“Such an eager little detective… actually I have a task for you, but I’d like to discuss that in private. Would you come into my office, after lunch break maybe?” The look in his warm brown eyes was friendly, no trace of anything else than his usual, good co-worker style behavior. You instantly knew what he wanted to talk about. He wanted to make sure that you were on the same page, that last night had just been fun, no strings attached, no drama. Sure.

Still, you nodded. “Of course. I’ll come by your office after lunch.”

With a satisfied nod Nomura tapped on your desk with his finger twice and left. You stared at your desk and wished he would have touched you instead.


As if the day wasn’t already horrible enough Rob called you just before lunch, telling you he was around the corner and would love to take you out for lunch. Since you couldn’t think of an excuse you agreed, took your bag and met him in front of the PD. You took him to a little bistro that almost no other detective ever visited and you were glad for that today. Too much was swirling in your head, you couldn’t take the usual teasing now. You couldn’t take anything now. Rob was sweet like always, told you about the errand that took him there. You supposed it was some kind of excuse to meet you after you had stalled him for some days. You ate something, forgot instantly what it was, your guilty conscience preventing you from even tasting the food. You ate mechanically and nodded politely to Rob’s talking.

“So, how about next weekend?” Your attention was on him when he asked you that.

“For what?” You weren’t really listening, you know it was impolite but this was your least problem right now.

“For our trip? I called the hotel and they do have some rooms available. I thought maybe… we could book a double room? Or is that too straight forward?” He looked at you with a mixture of anxiety and hope and you really felt like throwing up. God! You were the worst person EVER!

“A double room? With only one bed, I presume?” He started to fidget under your gaze until you forced yourself to smile. “Okay. Sounds good to me.”

He smiled brightly back and sighed in relief. He had definitely shown a lot of patience and you knew what he expected from this trip. And somehow it seemed easier just to give in than to actually sort out your feelings for him – and for Nomura.

Rob insisted on walking you back to the PD. And since the universe or karma or whatever decided that you hadn’t suffered enough yet you met Nomura in front of the building. He stared at you and Rob, at your linked hands – not that you had been keen on that, but he had just taken your hand casually and you couldn’t bring yourself to pull it back – and his expression turned wooden.

“Hiroshi is already looking for you. Stakeout tonight,” he said, but his voice sounded strange.

“Uhm, okay… oh, yes, Rob, this is Deputy Chief Nomura, my superior. Deputy Chief, this is Rob,” you said when you felt the gaze of both men on yourself. You couldn’t meet Nomura’s eyes, you were only silently praying to get out of this really horrible mess soon.

“I remember you. From that singles party,” Nomura said and shook hands with Rob.

“Yeah, that’s right. It had been a lucky day for me,” Rob answered and pulled you closer.

“Don’t forget to come by my office,” Nomura reminded you and turned around.

“Of course. I’ll be right there,” you assured him and put some distance between yourself and Rob. “I’ve got to go now. Sorry. I’ll call you about the weekend. Got to check if I can take some time off,” you mumbled apologetically and dodged his attempt to kiss you with a quick motion towards the PD. He got the hint and hugged you briefly.

“I’m looking forward to it. Let’s hope you can get some days off,” he said and waited until you disappeared in the building.


You heaved a sigh and headed to the elevator. Nomura was waiting for you. The sight alone made you want to cry, but you stubbornly forced the tears back.

“He seems nice,” Nomura remarked and you nodded silently.

“Have you told him…?” You shook your head.

“Will you?” You shrugged. The elevator pinged and the doors opened. You stared straight ahead and got in, Nomura followed you. You both were silent. You wondered if somehow there were more floors today than usual. Fully aware that this was stupid, but the way up seemed like an eternity.

“You know,” Nomura suddenly started and brought your attention back to him, “we should – hm, nevermind. You better find Hiroshi first. I think what I wanted to discuss can wait.” He turned towards you, scanning your face, and sighed. “Do you regret it?”

Your heart felt like a stone, cold and hard and unable to actually do its work. You took all the strength you had left and faced him.

“Last night? No, I don’t. I wish I wouldn’t have done that without clearing things with Rob first, though. He really doesn’t deserve this. But aside from that? It was the best night of my life and I would do that every time again if I had the choice.” The elevator stopped and the doors opened. “And now I hope you’ll excuse me since I have to find my boss.” With that you almost ran through the hallway, out of his sight, away from the sheer despair that tried to drown you.


You hid in the restroom for some minutes, wiping some few stray tears away and taking deep breaths, trying to calm down. Stupid, stupid, stupid! That had been so stupid! Why didn’t you just present your heart on a silver platter to him? So he could just crush it with that charming smile he always wore? You wanted to scream, you wanted to cry, you really wanted to smash something, but instead you forced your hands to stop trembling and went back into the office.

“There you are! You need to go on a stakeout tonight!” Kirisawa instantly spotted you when you entered the room.

“Understood.” You nodded, not even asking a question. Where? When? Who? Didn’t matter. Anything that kept you occupied was welcome.

“And Nomura was just here. I should give you off next weekend?” Kirisawa frowned and looked at you. With wide eyes you stared back until you realized what just had happened.

“Oh, he must have overheard the conversation I had with my – my boyfriend…” you mumbled and suddenly everyone in the office fell silent.

“What?! You still got that guy? How comes he isn’t fed up with you yet?” Tennoji blurted out and the other laughed.

“Yes, I STILL have that boyfriend. He is really nice and sweet and wants to take me on a trip next weekend!” You almost shouted, the teasing was just too much today.

Kirisawa only nodded. “Got it. Next weekend. You’ll get the weekend off.”

Kyobashi casually came over to your desk. “So, you will spend the weekend somewhere together? You know what that means? Hotel sex is the best, you don’t have to care about the neighbors or the furniture…”

“I swear, if I hear another word from you about that trip or me having a boyfriend or anything only remotely sexual, I will staple your balls to your thighs. And that will be only time I ever get near them, do you hear me?” you hissed back and Kyobashi raised his eyebrows, chuckled and went back to his desk. All you wanted to do was banging your head against the wall. But you didn’t.

Why had Nomura done that? Was it another way of teasing you? Did he try to push you even further away, conveniently into the arms of another man? When you closed your eyes you could still feel Nomura’s kisses, his touches, could still hear his groans and the dirty little things he had whispered to you. You could feel the heat rising in your face but unlike last night it pooled around your eyes. You so desperately wanted to cry and at the same time knew you couldn’t.

You quickly slapped your own cheeks twice to focus again on other things, grabbed your phone and wrote a text for Rob that you could get some days off that weekend. But you couldn’t bring yourself to actually send it. Maybe tomorrow.


The stakeout was quite standard. You sat in a car with Kyobashi – him of all people! – and stared at the door of a building, waiting for a perp to arrive.

“You have been pretty moody today,” he suddenly said and you groaned. You didn’t feel like small talk at all. You felt like a good, old fashioned chase. You wanted to run after an escaping perp, grab him after a while and slam him to the ground. No unnecessary cruelty, just to keep him from running. That would at least help you with your nervous energy.

“Yeah, you think so?” you scoffed and grabbed the binoculars to peer down the street.

“Yes. I think you’ve never before been like that. Not even when it’s that time of the month.” He shifted in his seat and you rolled your eyes.

“It’s called ‘menstruation’. Say the word, it doesn’t bite you,” you growled.

“Hey, I don’t want to pry, but you know that I can read you like a book and honestly I’m afraid that you will explode when you keep going like this.” He didn’t even seem to listen to you.

“So what? Are you trying to help me or do you need some new topics to make fun of me?” The sarcasm was thick in your voice and Kyobashi chuckled.

“No, I think I have enough to tease you about. I just don’t want you to do something stupid. At least not when I’m in a car with you.”

You frowned at him but then gave him a short nod. “Don’t worry, I got it under control.” Kyobashi nodded back and now you couldn’t stop thinking how bad it must be when even Kyobashi started to get worried.

24 hours. Wasn’t there this song? “What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours…” Yeah. Yesterday at this time you were tossing and turning in your bed with Nomura and now your whole life was a huge mess. It had been a mistake, you could see that now, and still you couldn’t really regret it. You only wished you could stop thinking about it.

The perp showed up shortly before Tennoji and Eiki came to replace you. You didn’t get the chase you were hoping for, but he did resisted arrest so at least you could get some adrenaline that helped you chase some of the somber thoughts away.

And after that? You were allowed to go home and sleep. You didn’t have to go to work before noon. The perfect excuse to not send a text message to Rob.


The next days were similar. You tried to avoid Rob, you tried to avoid Nomura, you buried yourself with work and after your shift you spend some time in the gym, tiring yourself out. The less energy you had the less you dreamt at night. And you didn’t want to dream because you always dreamt the same. Nomura, how he held you, kissed you. Nomura, how he told you he loved you. Nomura, how he made love to you. Not simply sex, but love.

You were so tired. This was not the life you wanted, not this empty existence. Didn’t you always think a man wasn’t the way to happiness? That you had to be content with yourself to be able to love someone else, not the other way around? So why the hell were you pining for Nomura so much? Why couldn’t you just move on?!

You were angry, mostly at yourself, mad about your lack of self-discipline. And on the other hand you were too tired to change anything, too tired to fight for – for what? Nomura? Rob? Your own sanity? You were a coward and you knew it. So when Friday rolled on and Rob sent you the last instructions for your trip the next morning you simply accepted it as your fate.


You dragged yourself to work on Friday morning, wordlessly sat down at your desk and started ploughing through the paperwork, when a piping hot cup of coffee was sat down in front of you. Looking up you saw Hanai, a tight smile on his face.

“Thanks,” you muttered and grabbed the cup, burning your tongue at the first sip but at least you felt something.

“Is something the matter?” you asked when he still didn’t left.

“Yeah, somehow.” Hanai frowned, obviously he wasn’t comfortable with the topic. “We are worried about you. Personally I fear you will wear yourself out when you continue like that. And your mood isn’t good for the team. So, if something bothers you, maybe it helps you to talk with us about it.” You would have smiled at his apparent uneasiness and that he still came to offer you some support, but you were too exhausted to do so. So you just nodded.

“Thank you. I’m really grateful for your offer, but that’s something I have to figure out myself. But I’m sure I will be better soon.” He nodded back and patted your shoulder awkwardly before he went back to his desk.

You must be a really pitiful sight when even Hanai noticed that something was wrong. You let out a short, bitter laugh and returned your attention to your paperwork.

In your lunch break you decided to go to the roof, the fresh air better than anything else to help you think. At this time tomorrow you would be in that cozy little hotel with Rob. Maybe you would explore the surrounding, maybe he would only explore you. The thought alone of his hands all over your body, his lips on your skin made you panic. You weren’t ready for this. You would never be ready. You just couldn’t imagine that it would feel like with Nomura. It would never again feel like that time.

Standing at the banister, letting the cool air and the wind chill your face and trying to even your breathing you didn’t notice that someone else came out to the roof, too.

“Already dreaming about your weekend?” The voice made you jump in surprise.

“Hello Chief Deputy,” you said without turning around. “Excuse me, I have to-“ you began and wanted to leave but he grabbed your arm.

“Don’t. Don’t go.” You froze. His touch, the sound of his voice – was that pain you noticed?

“Sorry, my break is almost over, I have to go back to-“ you muttered just to get interrupted again.

“No, that’s not what I mean. Don’t go-“ He let go of your arm. “Sorry. I – I shouldn’t… it’s nothing. I shouldn’t be bothering you…” You looked at him, noticed the dark circles under his eyes, the nervous way he ran his hands through his face and hair. He looked shaken.

“N-Nomura… what…?” You didn’t dare to hope, to breathe, to think. Did he come to prevent you from going on this trip? This stupid, meaningful weekend trip with Rob?

“Ah, sorry princess. Don’t mind me, please. Just – it had been a hard week,” he answered and showed you a smile. It was as faked as the ones you showed lately.

“No, please, speak your mind.” You were shaking slightly, fear and nervousness mixed with hope and anticipation. Would he really fight for you? Try to change your mind? Here and now?

“I-“ He stared at you with wide eyes before he closed his mouth again. When he kept on talking you could feel everything inside of you die. “I wish you a great trip.”

You could only nod briefly before you fled.


You ran to Kirisawa’s office and begged him to let you go early. You couldn’t stay here any second longer, already the tears started to form and you knew you wouldn’t be able to fight them anymore. Realizing in what state you were he granted your request and you left after your lunch break, not even saying “goodbye” to your coworkers.

At home you just managed to close the door behind you before you broke down.

You needed a few hours, but eventually you calmed down, washed your face – the cold water stinging so pleasantly against your swollen eyes – and started packing. You went through the motions like a sleepwalker, your brain not even involved. At least you didn’t dream that night.


The next morning found you much too soon, not enough sleep and the tormenting days before had you grumpy and moody. If he wasn’t part of your problem – albeit unintentionally and without his own knowledge – you would feel sorry for Rob. One hour before he would came to get you he called you one last time, making sure you were awake and ready. Well, you were at least awake.


The knock on your door startled you. A quick glance to the clock showed you that you had been spacing out for almost 45 minutes. You cautiously went to your door, almost reluctant to open it at all.

Another knock, more forceful this time.

“I’m coming,” you said and put your hand on the doorknob. As soon as you turned it and unlocked the door, it was pushed open from the outside, almost slamming against you.

Irritated and slightly angry you wanted to yell at the intruder until you realized who it was.

“You are still here!” Nomura stared at you with wide eyes, a light sheen of sweat on his skin, his breathing ragged.

“Well, I live here,” you replied, wanting to slap yourself for saying something stupid like this.

“I thought you were off to your trip.” He seemed confused.

You shrugged. “I – I cancelled it,” you said in a monotone voice. God, you were so empty. So pathetic. “Why are you here?” The question came rather late into your mind, but once it invaded your thoughts you couldn’t think about anything else anymore. Why? Why was he here? Why was he here when he thought you weren’t even at home anymore? Why?

“Actually…” he awkwardly scratched his neck, still standing in your doorway, while you stared at him, waiting for the moment this all would make sense.

“I wanted to – to convince you to stay. Not to go on that trip. And now I feel stupid because you already cancelled…”

Okay. This was not what you had expected.

“Why? Why don’t you want me to go on the trip? I thought you wanted me to go. Even ordered Boss to give me some days off.”  Because the safest way to get rid of you was to drive you into the arms of someone else.

Now it was his turn to stare at you. For some moments none of you said a word.

“When I wanted to talk to you the other day – I wanted to tell you so much… and then you popped up with that guy, holding hands… and really, I thought if you were happy I could just leave you be – but I can’t. I’m sorry, but I can’t.” He slowly came closer, shut the door once he was in your hallway and you breathlessly waited for his next move. He stopped right in front of you, his fingertips almost touching your cheek, but he still hesitated.

“Are you and – Rob? Are you still…?”

Instead of an answer you got on your tiptoes and kissed him. Not a fierce, passionate kiss. A simple, gentle kiss, two pairs of lips touching.

When you parted you cleared your throat and avoided his gaze, afraid to ask what was on your mind.

“So, you came here for me?”

He chuckled. “I came here for you. Hoping to have actually a chance with you. I wanted to make you forget about Rob.” He dropped a kiss on your nose.

“Who?” you asked giddily, almost drunk on your own happiness.

“Right answer,” he mumbled and kissed you again. You would have to talk about all this, but right now, there in his arms, you weren’t even able to think straight. You moaned into the kiss and grabbed his shirt, pulling him closer. As if a switch had been flipped the kiss suddenly turned heated, his tongue glided into your mouth, playing with your tongue.

He reluctantly pulled away, resting his forehead against yours. “We – I don’t want to rush things,” he mumbled and you nodded slightly, hummed your affirmation while you kissed him again, nipping at his bottom lip what you had learned was something he liked. Slowly you backed up towards your bedroom, pulling him along with you.

“That’s not… what I meant… with not rushing… things…” he muttered between kisses and you pulled back briefly to look him into the eyes.

“We can take it slow – as soon as I got you naked,” you said, voice firm because it was exactly what you thought. You just needed him. Everything else you could discuss later, but now you needed to feel he was real, actually there with you, not only some delusion your wrecked brain had come up with. He definitely felt real under your hands, your lips, pressed against your body, but you had dreamt so much about him lately that you just had to make sure that he REALLY was the one pulling your shirt over your head right now.

Your fingers flew over the buttons of his shirt, pushing the fabric and his tie away to touch his naked chest while he pulled you closer so that your still bra-covered breasts were pressed against him.

“I missed this so much,” he muttered, his lips trailing down your neck. “Missed you so much.” You gave him a needy whimper as answer and tilted your head to give him better access. His lips felt even better than you remembered and you were eager to find out if that only applied to his kisses or to everything else, too.

You could hardly believe this was really happening. Nomura, the man that according to the rumors never fell for someone and never had sex with a woman twice, actually came to your home, after you already had sex once, and was now undressing you, although he said he didn’t want to rush anything. This had to be karma making it up to you after sending you through hell for so long. And you gladly accepted it.

While he worked on your bra you quickly rid him of his tie and jacket, pushed the shirt off his shoulders and put your hand on his belt. He groaned against the skin of your neck and ripped the bra off you, hugging you tight after your breasts were bared to him. The feeling of his skin against yours was mind blowing. You would never get enough of this sensation, already knowing that you wouldn’t have been able to stand being touched like that by anyone else anymore.

“This – this is not just sex, right?” you asked, suddenly scared by the intensity of your own feelings.

“No, it never was for me anyway. Always knew I wouldn’t be able to let you go,” he confessed, making sigh in relief. Good. That was good – wait, what?

“But – but you left that morning and I thought-“ You slightly pushed against his chest so he backed off a bit, enabling you to look into his eyes.

“You never gave me the chance to talk to you afterwards. And then you planned this trip with that guy… I wasn’t even sure what exactly you want.” You were standing in front of each other, bare from the waist upwards, already panting – was this the right moment to discuss this?

“I’m sorry,” you muttered and actually meant it. All the wasted time, all the pain and insecurity – and not only on your side as you now learned.

“I’m making it up to you,” you promised and opened his belt. He groaned once more when you opened his pants and pushed your hands inside, under the fabric of his boxer briefs.

“Me, too,” he whispered, his voice slightly strained while your fingers curled around his already hard shaft. Feeling him in your hand, hard and heavy, slightly wet at the tip, was so much more than you had hoped for in the last few days and you reveled in the sensation. You dropped down on your knees, pulling his pants and boxers down and licked his length before he could even try to stop you. Not that you expected him to even try. He hissed when you took him into your mouth, enjoying the musky, slightly bitter and very unique taste of his precum.

“I – if you keep that up – I won’t…” He was panting and barely able to talk and you suddenly felt proud that you were the reason for that.

With a wet pop you released him from your mouth, licking your lips briefly, making him groan at the sight.

“Come here,” he ordered and you gladly complied, taking his outreached hand that helped you up. As soon as you were standing again he kissed you deeply, his hands now opening your jeans, tugging the fabric down over your hips, taking your panties with it. You stepped out of pants and panties as soon as they hit the floor, eager to be naked with him. Your hands buried in his hair while you kept kissing him you slowly walked to your bed, only letting go of him enough to crawl on it and drag him with you.

“Need you now,” you whispered, not even in the mood for any more foreplay, just wanting to feel him deep inside of you, making this even more real to you. You barely managed to get a condom from your bedside table, the impatience making you tremble slightly. He took the wrapper from you and kissed you gently, pushing you down and rolling the condom over his cock.

You lay on your back, eagerly awaiting him, legs parted, arms reaching out for him. Without hesitation he lay on top of you, supporting his weight with his knees and elbows. He kissed you gently, searching your face for any sign of discomfort or hesitation, but finding none of it. You just smiled at him and nudged his nose. He positioned himself and you wrapped your arms around him, hands on his hips to pull him closer .With one swift, impatiently awaited thrust he was inside of you, not stopping until he filled you completely. You were whole again. A soft sob, almost a whimper escaped you at this wonderful feeling and only when he kissed your eyelids you realized that you were crying.

“I love you,” he mumbled, prompting another sob from you. Your hands grabbed him tighter, your legs wrapped around him, too, you wanted him as close as possible.

“I love you, too,” you replied, feeling as if your heart would burst. Your head was spinning, unable to process what was happening right now. This was everything you ever wanted. And then he started to move.

It wasn’t the passionate, ecstatic sex like last time. You weren’t drowning in desire, not shaken by waves and waves of pleasure. This was so much deeper, so much more intimate and meaningful – truly the best sex you ever had. He wasn’t only touching your body, but soothing your heart.

Nomura held one of your thighs, making you tilt your hips slightly to thrust even deeper into you, making you moan and sigh, eliciting an occasional sob when your emotions got the upper hand over the fever your body was going through. You wanted him closer, deeper, more – just more of it all. You begged him to go faster, deeper, clinging to him as if he was the only thing that kept you sane. Unlike the last time there was no desperation, not the urge to memorize every touch because you knew this wouldn’t be the last time, there would be plenty of others so you could just enjoy it and get lost in the moment.

You exchanged countless of kisses and even though the fire in your belly was burning hot, you somehow knew that you wouldn’t reach the peak this time. This act was more an expression of your feelings than of your desire. This was not fucking, this was making love. And you loved every second of it.

When Nomura started to moan more, his breath already ragged and his skin sweaty, you knew he was close.

“Come for me,” you whispered, urging him on. “Come for me, Tadanobu.”

At the sound of his name from your lips he gasped, his thrusts stuttered, he pushed deep into you and kept grinding more than thrusting. His lips found yours, his hand grabbed your thigh almost painfully tight. After some seconds he slumped down on you. His weight was just perfect. You loved lying beneath him like this, covered by his body, your sweat mingling with his, your breath mixed while you sloppily kissed a last time for now. With a deep sigh he pulled out of you and got rid of the condom before he lay down next to you, pulling you close.

“I’m not letting you go again,” he said and snuggled closer and you smiled, this was so much bliss, so much happiness that it almost hurt. Almost.

When he had caught his breath he kissed you softly, pulling you on his chest so your ear rested over his heart. His heartbeat was so comforting you feared to fall asleep immediately.

“Uhm, you – you didn’t came?” It wasn’t exactly a question and you smiled even more.

“No, not this time.” You were fine with it, you suspected that your body couldn’t have handled the happiness AND the pleasure anyway.

“Hmm…” He sounded dissatisfied. “I’m not sure if I can let this slide.” His hand ran up and down your back, leaving a tingling sensation in its wake.

You lifted your head and smiled at him, sleepily and content and completely satisfied.

“It’s fine. I got so much more than just physical pleasure. And you will have countless of opportunities to make it up to me.”

He pulled you closer, your head down on his chest again.

“Yeah. Yeah, I will.”

You fell asleep to the sound of his heart – beating just for you.

Always on the roam Part 1

By the look in your eyes I can tell you’re gonna cry, is it over me?

If it is safe you tears, for I’m not worth it, you see.

For I’m the type of boy who is always on the roam,
Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home.

You knew it was wrong, you knew you should have fought those feelings when you first realized that they were there. But you couldn’t. Maybe you didn’t want to even. Maybe you thought that it would be different, that you would make a difference. That he would change for you.

You were so dumb. Naïve and dumb. Why should he change? Things were going great for him.

You remember when he told you not to fall for him and you jokingly said that wouldn’t happen. It was already too late then.

You couldn’t exactly say when it happened, just that one day you noticed a certain warmth in your belly when he entered the office and greeted you with his usual: “You’re cute again today. Do you want to go on a singles event with me tonight?”

And at some point you just agreed. Why not going out and meeting new people? You were tired of eating alone, sleeping alone, longing for someone, something that you tried to deny in the first place. You didn’t really want to meet someone new, but maybe, just maybe Nomura and you could talk a bit and get to know each other better. Maybe he would find you interesting. Maybe he would develop a crush on you just like you did on him.


It took less than five minutes to regret your decision. Of course he didn’t fall for you. He hardly even spoke to you. After the introduction he flirted with a beautiful red haired woman and you had to watch. You couldn’t NOT watch it. It was like a car crash – you just had to look.

How she threw her head back when she laughed and placed a hand on his arm. How he made sure that her glass was always full. The smoldering glances. The small touches. The smiles. Ugh. You hated every second. With your last ounce of self respect you tore your gaze from them and met the eyes of a nice looking man across from you. He smiled at you and you tentatively smiled back. Flirting wasn’t exactly your strong point, but after another glass of wine it seemed easier.

You talked a lot with Rob, that was his name, about his job – he worked at a bank, credits or something – his hobbies – he loved to go fishing and hiking – and his choice to be a vegetarian. He wasn’t exactly funny but cute and he tried really hard to make you smile. It was – nice. So when you saw Nomura walking away with that redhead you didn’t hesitate to give Rob your number – and get another glass of wine.


The next few days you felt awful. Whenever you saw Nomura your heart pounded and your stomach clenched. You couldn’t stop imagining what he might have done with that woman that night. You wished to be in her place. Even for just one night. Everything was better than this unrequited crush. You tried really hard to get him out of your mind, out of your heart.


You went on some dates with Rob. You let him kiss you after your third date. It wasn’t exactly bad but it didn’t make your heart race. Still you were willing to give him a chance. He really seemed to like you. Actually called when he said he would. Never tried anything without checking if you were okay with it. He didn’t even choose a restaurant for dinner without asking if you liked it.

So you found yourself on your couch, making out with Rob after another date, hoping time would pass quickly so you could send him home and go to bed. To dream of Nomura. That night you cried yourself to sleep.


You had romance, did you break it by chance over me?
If it’s so, I’d like for you to know that I’m not worth it, you see.
For I’m the type of boy who is always on the roam
Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home that’s my home


The next day you came to work, tired and grumpy, just to run into Nomura on the way to the office.

“Hey, my favorite detective! You are cute as always!” His cheerful voice made you want to punch him. Or kiss him. Or both. You did neither.

“Nomura, good morning. What can I do for you?” You didn’t even fake a smile, just looked at him with your slightly red eyes.

“What’s wrong, princess? Didn’t get much sleep?” He winked at you and you simply sighed. Why did you have to fall for him? Him of all people?

But you did and now you had to either get rid of those feelings or act on them. You were afraid of both options.

“Something like that, yeah…” you muttered and he peered at you intently.

“Trouble with your boyfriend?” He sounded actually concerned.

“No, not really trouble, just – stuff. Anyway, did you need me for something or was that just the impression I got from your exaggerated greeting?” If you had to choose between fight or flight it was the latter today.

“If you want to get a new boyfriend you can come to another singles event tonight. A cute girl like you won’t have trouble to get someone else.” You felt his warm gaze on you and wanted to scream at him to shut up, that it wasn’t so easy to replace another person, someone you actually dated. Kind of. Somehow. But you didn’t. You found yourself nodding again.

“Sounds good. When and where?”

He grinned. “How about I take you there tonight?”

He could take you anywhere and you would be happy, so you nodded again.

“Great. I’m dropping by the office at 8pm. Be ready by then.” With that he waved and walked off. And you cursed yourself for being so stupid.


The evening came and with it your nervousness. He would take you there. Did that mean he would bring you home afterwards? Or would he ditch you again to spend the night with another woman? Why did you even do that to yourself? And still you ran to the bathroom at 7.30 to touch up your makeup and change your clothes. At least you had some spare clothes in the office in case you stayed the night. Not that anyone would notice.

Halfway confident with your appearance you went back to the office, just to get some teasing comments from your co-workers. They were all ready to leave, Tennoji and Eiki already gone. Kyobashi, Hanai and the boss were still there and Kyobashi unabashedly looked you up and down.

“Having a date tonight?” His eyebrow raised he looked at you.

“I’m going to a singles party with Nomura,” you admitted and Hanai frowned.

“I thought you had a boyfriend?”

“Uhm, things are – complicated…” you vaguely answered and went to your desk, pushing piles of paperwork around.

“Are you following my example and get a boyfriend for every day of the week?” Kyobashi kept asking.

“No, just going out. It’s not as if I’m obliged to end up with one of the participants. I just don’t feel like staying at home tonight.” You didn’t want to discuss this right now. You and Rob, that was something undefined and honestly you didn’t saw a bright future for the both of you.

Kirisawa stared at you for a moment.

“You could come with us to Station,” he finally offered.

“But I already agreed to go to the singles event. It’s not that I can cancel at the last minute.” More that you didn’t want to. You still hoped that spending time with Nomura could lead to something between you. Even though it usually just led to more tears you shed alone in your bed afterwards, while he was surely having fun with another woman.

You really needed to get over this! And you would! First thing tomorrow.

The door was opened and Nomura came in.

“Hey guys, I’m going to borrow the princess for a bit,” he announced and nodded at you.

“Princess? More like the grumpy stable-lad,” Hanai said and you poked you tongue out at him.

“I’m ready, we can go,” you said and took your bag.

“You’re looking really cute,” Nomura said, waved toward the others and opened the door for you.

The ride in his car was awkward. You analyzed every motion, every glance, every word, but in the end you weren’t any wiser.

“So what’s with the guy you dated? Why aren’t you with him tonight? Why are you coming to a singles event instead?” He broke the silence eventually and you looked at him, slightly confused.

“Well, actually… he’s nice and all, but he isn’t the one, you know? Nothing exclusive anyway. And all I want to do is go out and get a bit drunk, talk with other people. It’s not that I’m going to hook up with someone.” You shrugged.

“I never saw you as someone who would hook up with someone else in the first place,” he answered with a grin. Yeah, right. You weren’t that type of girl. You wanted something steady, that was just the way you were. Not flings or one-night stands. But your heart wanted Nomura, and he wouldn’t give you something steady.

“Maybe you saw me in a wrong light, then,” you answered seriously. “Maybe I am the type for a hook up. And maybe that’s exactly what I’m looking for tonight. Just one night. Without strings attached.” You looked out of the window, your words the closest to an actual confession you dared to admit.


Oh, you keep telling me, you keep telling me, I’m your man.
What do I have to do to make you understand?

For I’m the type of guy who gives girl the eye, everybody knows.
But I love them and I leave them, break their hearts and deceive them
everywhere I go.


You arrived at the bar where the party was held. You had stopped talking again after your little statement. Nomura put on a smile when you entered and you did the same. After the introductions he started flirting with a blonde, a nurse or something, and you started to drink. Not much. Just enough to numb your heart and your brain. You suddenly realized that you hadn’t asked him if he would take you home afterwards or if you should get a cab. Oh well, you would see eventually. It didn’t really matter.

You talked with some people, both guys and women, not really trying to make friends or find a date, just chatting and drinking. Soon the first couples formed, but there were still enough possibilities to casually talk with others. You got another drink and realized that you might be a bit tipsy. Time to get some air.

You stumbled out of the door, took a deep breath and decided to just walk up and down a bit. When you came around a corner you saw them. Nomura and the blonde. She was trapped between the wall and his body, giggling, with a hand on his arm. He leaned against the wall with one arm, the other hand brushing her hair from her neck. He leaned in and whispered something that made her giggle once more. You couldn’t hear them, just watched them being so close. You turned around before you could see them kissing. You instantly regretted coming here at all, your heart ached so much and you felt completely sober. Sober and stupid. He would never consider being with you. Never.

You went back inside and took a seat at the bar. You weren’t in the mood for the party anymore. You were in the mood to drink. Not the wine you usually had. You ordered some Tequila shots and downed the first two without even blinking. The barkeeper shot you a glance but you only waved him off. No need to worry about you.

Half an hour and maybe six shots later Nomura came in, his hair and clothes slightly disheveled. The sight nearly broke your heart. At least the part that wasn’t already shattered to dust.

“Hey princess, I thought you had left already with someone,” he cheerfully greeted you and sat down next to you.

“Thought the same about you.” Your answer was already slurred.

“What are you having?” There seemed to be worry in his eyes but maybe you were just too drunk already to read him correctly.

“Tequila.” You motioned the barkeeper for a refill.

“Is that a wise decision?” Nomura seemed amused.

“Is it ever?”  You had trouble to fixate him with your gaze already. Maybe it was time to switch over to water. Oh, what the hell! Just one more. You downed the shot and made a face. The time for salt and lemon had long passed.

“So, didn’t found someone for tonight?” he kept teasing you.

“Who says that? I mean, the night isn’t over yet, is it?” You tried to get up but swayed until Nomura grabbed your arm to steady you.

“I think your night is over. No more Tequila for you,” he chuckled. “Seems as if you missed your chance for a hook up.”

“Hmph…” The sound you made wasn’t ladylike, it was a typical drunken noise to show your disagreement, confusion, anger – every little emotion you just felt. “So what about you? Already got lucky or do you want to go home with me?” Your in alcohol drenched brain made you say the most horrible things.

“You wouldn’t want that, princess,” he said, somehow sad. But you were too far gone to notice.

“What? Afraid I wouldn’t like it?” With that you got on your tiptoes and kissed him. A sloppy, drunken kiss that ended in giggles. But still so much better than anything you had imagined.

“Come on, live a little,” you taunted him and he clenched his jaws. Next thing you knew was that you were driving back in his car. He was actually taking you home.


The tensed silence was even worse than on your way to the party, but it helped you getting a clear head. Or at least a clearer head. There was still enough Tequila and unrequited longing to drown all your reason. When he put his hand on your thigh at a red light you almost jumped. When his hand wandered upwards you wanted to moan.

“You sure about this, princess?” He was still looking at the road.

“Definitely.” Maybe that was the solution for your problem. You could just forget about him once you had him in your bed. It wasn’t your heart that wanted him so much, it was your body. As long as you kept telling yourself things like that you could actually go through with this hook up thing.

“We are here, princess. Still sure?” He gave you another out but again you ignored it.

“Absolutely. So how about you stop talking and come in instead?” You left the car in a rush of bravado, walked, slightly swaying, to your door and fumbled with the key.

And suddenly he was there. Pressed closely behind you, his hand on yours helped with the key, his breath ghosted over your neck. When your door finally opened you were already panting, his lips were attached to your neck , one arm around your waist kept you upright. You stumbled into your hallway together, every reservation forgotten when you turned in his arms to kiss him again. This time it was even better, slower, but still full of desire and hunger. Your knees grew weak and you clung to him desperately.

“Maybe we shouldn’t do this after all,” he whispered, his voice already hoarse. “You’re drunk. You don’t know what you’re doing.”

“Convenient excuse, Deputy Chief, but I’m not that drunk.” You rattled off your badge number, your social security number and your telephone number. “Prove enough? Believe me, I know exactly what I’m doing.”

“Maybe, but it’s still a stupid decision.” But he didn’t stop kissing you, touching you. His hands were all over your body, opening buttons and tugging on clothes.

“I don’t need to be drunk to make stupid mistakes,” you replied before you opened his belt. And if all this was a mistake, at least you would enjoy every moment of it.

Your clothes landed on the floor all over your place while you slowly made your way to your bedroom, pausing every once in a while for a heated make out session against a wall, a door or on a piece of furniture. You were rather surprised that you made it into the bedroom at all. And still had your panties on. Nomura was in his boxer briefs, dark and tight, and if that sight didn’t get you sober nothing else could. The realization was like a bucket full of ice water. He was really there, in your bedroom, in underwear, and he WANTED you. That much was clear. And you felt not only your body reacting, but also your stupid heart. The pounding wasn’t only from your arousal.

“Hmm, princess, you have no idea how long I wanted to see you like that,” he put your thoughts into words. His hands on your waist pulled you closer and he kissed you again, your lips were already swollen and red but you just couldn’t stop. Kissing him was like a dream come true. He slowly walked you over to your bed and stopped next to it. He kissed your neck, your collarbone, down to the valley of your breasts. Dropping on his knees he let his lips trail over your body until he reached the waistband of your panties.

“I think you don’t need these anymore,” he muttered against your skin and tugged the fabric down your legs. You gasped when your sex was exposed to him, his hungry eyes and curious hands. He grabbed your hips and pushed you on your bed until you were sitting on the edge. Everything was like in a haze, the heat of his tongue trailing up your thigh, the strength of his hands holding your hips, his beard tickling your skin. You didn’t want to close your eyes, you wanted to watch him all night long, his face finally buried between your thighs. You were propped on your hands behind your body so you had the perfect view when he wrapped one of your legs over his shoulder and licked a broad stripe over your folds. You couldn’t hold back your moans when his tongue circled your clit, making it the centre of your needs when he flicked it over and over, sucked it between his lips. At some point you plopped down on your bed, your back arched, your mind blank, just focusing on the pleasure he caused you. Your breath came in quick, shallow puffs, mixed with sighs and moans and occasional ‘fuck, yes’s and ‘oh god’s. Your legs started to tremble, your whole body taunt and needy, ready to snap any minute now, the pressure in your belly almost unbearable when he brought a hand up and slid two fingers into you. With a loud cry you came on his tongue, your core clenching around his fingers. You panted and sobbed, the intense pleasure coursing through your body made you almost oblivious to anything else.

So you only noticed Nomura hovering naked over you when he kissed you again, the taste of your arousal on his lips and tongue. You reached down and grabbed his hard cock, feeling the precum on the tip. Nomura hissed when you spread the sticky liquid with your thumb over his tip before you started to gently pump his cock.

“You better – ughh, stop that… I don’t want to… to come like that…” he pressed out between gritted teeth. You grinned lazily, still in your afterglow, but stopped and got up slightly. He moved away to give you room and you crawled to the middle of the bed, patting on the mattress to show him where he should lie down. When he did you straddled him and leaned in to kiss him, your hips grinding down on him, his hard cock gliding through your slick folds. He grabbed your hips, threw his head back into the pillows so you had the chance to attack his neck. Your breasts grazed his firm chest, your hard nipples begging for attention when he cupped your soft mounds and started to play with your nipples.

It was torturous for the both of you so when you finally decided that you had played enough with him you were already in need for another release. You reached for your nightstand, opened a drawer and pulled a condom out. You shifted slightly and opened the wrapper, looked at Nomura in all his naked glory beneath you and a wild pride surged through you. The one you loved, the man you wanted more than any other man before – he was here and you would have sex with him. And afterwards you would be free to love someone else.

At least that was the plan. You rolled the condom over his cock, held it in place and positioned your hips. You lowered yourself onto him and you both moaned when he finally entered you. You took your time, wanted to savor the moment and every single inch of him. When you were finally sunken down on his lap as far as possible you put your hands on his chest to steady you and watched his face as you started to raise and lower your hips. He had his eyes closed, his lips were slightly parted, you saw and felt the heaving of his chest, the beating of his heart. For a moment you made yourself believe that it beat only for you.

Nomura’s hands slid from your thighs up to your hips. One stayed there and the other mad it’s way to your breasts. He rolled and tugged your nipple and you sped up your movements, riding him so that you dragged your clit over his pubic bone for more friction.

Your soft whimpers and his low moans filled your ears, you felt the light sheen of sweat covering your body and the heat in every spot he touched.

Suddenly he wrapped his arms around you and sat up, holding you in his lap while he kissed you and you just wanted to cry. This kiss wasn’t the hungry kind, not only lust and passion, it was sweet and soothing and sent your heart into overdrive.

Before you could get drunk on that feeling he had shifted you both so he could lay you down on your back, your legs wrapped around his waist while he kept sitting on his knees. Your ass rested on his thighs, your hips were raised, your breast bounced with his every thrust. Each one hit your sweet spot deep inside your core and even more, each thrust was directed at your heart. You felt the fire burning again in your belly but you were afraid that this time it would consume you fully, not leaving anything behind but an empty shell. There was no denying anymore, you had lost your heart to this man who only thought of you as a casual sexual adventure.

An especially deep thrust made you cry out in pleasure and despair, you sobbed and panted, unable to decide if your body or your heart was in charge right now.

“So good, princess… feels so… perfect… come for me… come around my cock…” he muttered while he started circling your clit with his thumb. You were so close already, so close, so afraid, so confused – so done for.

You grabbed your sheets tightly when the pleasure overwhelmed you again, you arched your back, tried to meet his thrusts as good as you could. You gasped, followed by a long moan when he slumped down on your, kept thrusting some more before he came, too. You trembled under him, the waves of your orgasm washing over you when you felt him twitch inside your core, when he growled in your ear and bit into your shoulder.

You only noticed your tears when he rolled off of you to get rid of the condom. Quickly you wiped your face clean, suddenly only wanting him to leave as soon as possible so you could cry openly. But he stayed. He snuggled close to you, hugged you tightly form behind and rested his head between your shoulder blades.

“You are really something,” he mumbled, his words affectionate and his touches gentle.

Your exhaustion made you fall asleep quickly.


Don’t you know that I’m the type of man who is always on the roam,
Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home.

When you woke up in the morning he was still there, but already getting dressed.

“Morning, princess. Sorry, I’ve got to leave, early meeting in the PD. Are we good?” He smiled at you like on every other morning when you met in the hallway. It was killing you.

“Sure. I better get ready, too. New case, lots of work today,” you answered, trying to keep your voice steady. He nodded, obviously satisfied, and grabbed his jacket.

“See you at the PD.” With a last wave of his hand he was gone.

He had been right. You had made a mistake. Sleeping with him didn’t help you to forget him, it only made your infatuation grow bigger. Now you would never be able to get over him.

With a self-depreciatory laugh you got up, took your phone and answered to a text Rob had sent you the evening before.

‘I would love to go on a weekend trip with you. Can’t wait!’

You weren’t fair to him, but maybe you would be able to love him eventually. If you were ever able to get your heart back from Nomura.

You know, I can’t make it all alone.
Sometimes that’s the way, that’s the way.
I’m not sad, I’m not sad, I don’t love you.
Just got to do.

Leather jacket

Snuggled against the broad back of your boyfriend you are enjoying the wind that roars in your ears, almost just as much as the roar of the engine somewhere under you. The vibrations of the motor bike seem to travel directly into – no no no, focus in the ride! It’s been a long time since you and Hiroshi had some time alone together, but now you have wrapped up that long and difficult case and even if you and Hiroshi don’t have a day off together you can still go on a ride with his Harley after work.

That’s why you are racing with him through this warm summer night, the lights of the city long left behind, the moon and the stars over your heads spend just enough light that you can see the landscape flying by. It’s like dreaming.

You wrap your arms tighter around his waist, his leather jacket warm at your cheek. You love the smell of it, the old leather and Hiroshi’s scent mixed together to something utterly comforting and soothing.

Suddenly he pulls over and the bike rolls towards a small clearing. You hop off and wait for him to tell you why you have stopped. He taps on your helmet and you take it off while he does the same.

“Look over there,” he says and points away from the street. You turn around and see water glittering. The stars and the moon are reflected, the movements of the waves makes them sway on the ground and stay fixed on the sky. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

“Wow…” you mutter and he steps behind you to wrap his arms around you. The night air around the lake is chilly, but his chest pressed against your back is warm. “I would never have guessed that there is a place like that around here.” You are so awestruck that you whisper.

“Yeah, it’s pretty hidden,” he whispers too, but right next to your ear and it sends a shiver down your spine.

“How hidden?” you ask after some seconds.

“If you go over there you can’t be seen from the street,” he answers and points towards a group of trees next to the lake.

“And have you brought me here with an ulterior motif?” you ask further, teasingly this time.

“Hmm…” he hums in your ear. “Maybe…” With that he nibbles your earlobe and you squeal before you wriggle out of his arms and start running towards the trees. He follows you with a grin.


When you reach the trees you realize that there’s even a small bench. Sitting here and watching the stars could be pretty romantic. But the long time without him and the sight of him in his leather jacket was just too much for you. No way you will be able to keep the mood purely romantic. You love how he looks in that black leather. It is soft and worn, smells like Hiroshi and freedom and adventure. Whenever you smell it you feel adventurous yourself. That and the fact that the ride itself is pretty hot with all those vibrations and Hiroshi between your thighs – you just wish he could have been in another position. Not on that Harley, though. Even though it’s a pretty sturdy machine, there’s no way to get frisky on it. But it can take you to places like this.

Your musings are interrupted by Hiroshi who slowly saunters towards you. You love the way he walks when he isn’t in duty. All confidence and swagger, and he has no idea what this does to you.

“I see you found the bench,” he says and you can actually hear his smile. “Isn’t the view breathtaking here?” He sits down next to you and puts an arm around your shoulders, pulls you closer and kisses your temple.

“What about your ulterior motif you had mentioned?” you ask, not wanting to let the mood drift into the wrong direction.

“Ah, yes.” He grins and you can see it in the dim moonlight. “I thought about something that would make this view even more stunning.”

“Yeah?” You raise an eyebrow, unsure if he can even see it.

“You, naked, bent over that bench,” he simply explains and now you’re glad that it isn’t bright enough so he can see your suddenly burning cheeks. You don’t know how to answer that. Usually he isn’t that straight-forward, but then again, he can be pretty bold. You simply nod and turn your face to kiss him, giving him the answer without words.

He pulls you closer and cups your face, his thumbs running over your jaw line while his tongue brushes yours. You love the way your kisses usually start, sweet and slow, before they become more urged and passionate, before the hunger washes over you and robs you of your senses, before reason gets swallowed by lust and need.

There are already the first changes in his kiss, the desire slowly noticeable. The way he starts sucking at your bottom lip, how his hands slide down your neck, leaving tingles in their wake. He pulls you even closer until you almost straddle his lap, but he has made clear what he wants today so you just hover over his lap without taking initiative.

Slowly he opens your jacket and presses kisses on the naked skin of your cleavage. His hands grab your hips and he pulls you down on his lap and you wrap your arms around him, your hands buried in his hair. Your kisses get more and more passionate, his lips roam your neck and you nibble at his jaw line from time to time. You slowly grind down on him and he groans, his hands sliding under your shirt and pushing your bra up. Your breasts spill out of the cups and he gently massages them, his thumbs rubbing your nipples that are already hard from the cool night air. He takes off your jacket and shirt, the bra stays where it is for the time being. You know that Hiroshi likes it when you’re naked but he also likes it when you keep something on. Not much, though. ‘Naked is the new black’ he once said when you asked him if you should wear something special for him.

You start taking off his jacket and shirt, too. It’s your turn now to explore his chest and stomach with your hands and lips. You gently run your nails over his skin, leave light red trails that are barely visible in the soft moonlight.

“I love it when you do that,” he groans approvingly and you smile. You love how much you affect him. You want to drive him crazy with desire just for you. You never felt so sexy and covetable with any other man before and you want him to feel the same. He is the one for you.

You shiver when he licks your bare chest and he stops.

“Are you cold?” he asks concerned but you shake your head.

“Not really. If you’re worried so much you can warm me up already,” you purr teasingly. He growls and pulls you closer.

“I’m going to make you sweat in no time,” he grunts, his voice thick with desire. He crashes his lips against yours and cups your ass, groping the soft flesh. He really likes your ass, more than your breasts. That’s why he likes to bend you over, like over this bench. He just loves taking you from behind, his eyes glued to your ass and his cock that slides into you again and again.

He lifts you up and you scramble off his lap. Standing next to the bench he opens your jeans before he pulls it down. He crouches down in front of you and helps you take off your shoes before he fully pulls your pants off.

“Are you overly attached to those panties?” he asks when he slowly trails his hands up your legs. You shake your head. You have dozens like that, simple cottons panties. Not sexy but comfortable. And easy to tear.

“Good,” he whispers when he’s finally face to face with you again. He pushes you backwards against the wooden bench.

“Turn around,” he says and you comply. He quickly puts his jacket on the bench before he gently pushes you forward until you kneel on the soft black leather. You put your hands on the backrest and wait with bated breath for his next move. He leans in and kisses your neck and you moan. Goosebumps run over your skin at his touch. He trails his lips and hands over your arched back, his fingers grazing your sides before he slides them over the soft curve of your hips and down your legs. On their way up again he strokes the inside of your thighs until he reaches your panties. You know the fabric is already damp and he hums approvingly when he notices it, too. His fingers wrap around the edge of your panties and with a tearing sound he rips them off you. You moan again. His fingers now dance over your wet folds, the cool air in stark contrast to his warm hands. He gently slides a finger inside you and you gasp.

His other hand snakes around your body to circle your clit with two fingers. Your arms tremble but you stay upright.

“Oh, that’s… so good…” you moan and he chuckles.

“Not only for you,” he growls with a deep voice. “But I can’t wait any longer.”

He pulls his hands away and next thing you hear is the clinking of his belt and the sound of his zipper. Then you feel his hard, velvety length pressed against the soft flesh of your naked ass. He simply rubs himself against you for some moments, his hands grabbing your hips tightly.

“Ugh, you feel so fucking good,” he groans before he slides his length between your thighs, through your wet folds. You are panting and so is he, the excitement and arousal constantly growing. You want to beg him to put it in but you can’t. All you can do is moan but as if he heard your thoughts he finally pushes into you and only stops when he’s buried in your warmth to the hilt.

He leans over your back and kisses your neck again. You turn your head and try to kiss his lips but it’s a sloppy kiss, all tongue and nothing else. Then he finally starts to move and you almost sob. The whole foreplay seems to have taken ages and all you want now is that he fucks you hard and relentless. Again he wraps an arm around you and starts rubbing your clit, slowly at first but then faster, speeding up like his thrusts. You try to brace against the force he uses and smile when you feel the bench moving with you. You just hope that it won’t break. But wouldn’t that be a funny story, a great memory? You giggle lowly but of course Hiroshi hears you.

“What’s so… funny… huh?” he grunts and gives you a particularly hard thrust.

“Just… enjoying… the ride,” you reply, as smugly as you can muster.

“You’re going to… enjoy it… even more,” he promises and his other hand leaves your hip to grab your breast. He rolls your stiff nipple between his fingers, tucks and pinches it lightly. A jolt of pleasure shoots through you and settles in your belly where the tension is already hard to bear. You moan loudly, not caring for your surroundings. You are alone after all.

Only the slapping sound of his hips slamming against your ass is heard, your panting and your mixed moans.

“Hi- Hiroshi, I’m… sooo close…” you cry out and he starts pounding you even harder, his fingers work you over the edge. You grip the wooden backrest harder, your body trembles and a breathless gasp marks your climax. You close your eyes and let the waves of pleasure wash over you, the satisfaction and love fill your heart and make you sob.

Hiroshi slows down but doesn’t stop, he grunts while pushing into you again and again, his hands back on your hips. You feel weak now and just want to lie down but keep yourself in this position. You know that he is close, too, the way he grips your hips is almost painful and his breathing is labored.

“Fuck,” he hisses under his breath.

“Exactly,” you sass and he slaps your ass as answer, not too hard, but it’s enough to send him over the edge as well. He grunts and thrusts deep inside of you, followed by some more shallow thrusts.

Still panting he leans in to kiss your cheek.

“I love you,” he mumbles, his sweaty chest pressed against your back.

“I love you, too,” you answer, slightly shivering since your own sweat cools off in the night air.

Tomorrow you will have to work again but tonight it’s only you and him, the stars, the moon and the faint smell of his leather jacket under your skin.

Heaven Hath No Fury: Two Endings

XIV. Their own free will.

Bowing was not in the nature of either the Minister of Wishes or Punishments, but the weight of each god’s guilt in the face of Miho’s admonishments was considerable.

“Make your choice,” Mieke growled, itching – it seemed – for them to resist so she could justify a bloody approach to their mission.

“We…” Leon began, but Zyglavis finished for him.

“… have bowed enough,” he stated carefully, and continued more quickly when the Goddess of Canes Venatici sharply lifted her chin, “but…

He stepped aside, leaving Leon alone before the throne room doors.

“But,” Zyglavis repeated, “you are right. Punishment is long overdue.”

With deliberate ceremony the doors swung inward, and hand in hand, fingers entwined, Miho and Mieke stepped past Leon and Zyglavis into the throne room.

The greeting the they received was less than gracious, with not a word uttered before a sphere of light, large enough to engulf both goddesses, came barrelling toward them.

“Not unexpected,” Miho dropped, raising her free hand.

Just her palm touched, and a tingle raced through her body as the King’s energy began to diminish, shrink until it was little more than a tiny golden pearl dancing over her fingers.

“Have you nothing to say?” Miho asked, her voice a surprisingly restrained whisper.

“Let me rip an answer from his throat,” Mieke snarled, more eager for carnage than Miho it appeared.

“Then he’d be dead, his suffering short,” Miho pointed out, closing her fist around the bright bead of power.

Quick hiss.

A few sparks.

It was gone.

“I cannot be killed,” the King proclaimed haughtily, then flickered his gaze to Leon and Zyglavis who had moved up to Miho’s right shoulder.

“What’s this?” the King sneered. “Mutiny?”

“I may be the Minister for Wishes,” Leon declared, “but of all those you have wronged in your existence, she most deserves retribution.”

“Do you truly believe she will not steal your stars also?” the King questioned, holding his ground, but when Zyglavis added his piece, there was far less certainty in the celestial monarch’s eyes.

“For my failure to protect her, to stand up for her, to rescue her,” Zyglavis began, “my very own betrayal – I would give her my stars is she requested them.”

“Outrageous!” the King exclaimed.

“But it will be your stars I’ll be taking, Morthwyl.”

All but Miho and Mieke seemed stunned at the pronouncement of this name.

None had heard it before, and yet instantly they knew Miho had spoken the true name of the King of the Heavens.

In shock and horror he stumbled back against his throne, eyes bulging – for her knew the implications.

All confidence fled.

Miho had him exactly where she wanted him.

“Miho!” Karno shouted, he and the other gods running to join Leon and Zyglavis.

“Leave it,” Leon commanded. “It’s over.”

“Yes, it is,” Miho agreed, stepping up to the King, whose attempts to flee were quashed by Mieke.

“Morthwyl,” she said, a hateful word, “give me your stars.”

There was absolutely no hesitation, and just like that, Miho’s tormentor surrendered his power, his immortality, his everything.

And Mieke no longer needed to keep him from running. His body slumped pathetically to the floor at Miho’s feet, all the shine, the luminescence of his presence void.

Slowly, Miho turned to the now sizeable crowd behind her – not just the zodiac gods, but others who now peered at her, flabbergasted – and smiled as she inhaled.

“Now what?” Scorpio asked, blunt as ever despite his mortality.

“Now, I banish this miserable creature to a mortal life on Earth,” Miho replied in a strong, clear voice, looking from god to god, “give you all back your stars, and leave the zodiac gods to govern the Heavens in a way – I hope – that will not necessitate my returning here again.”

“What?” Krioff blinked, and everyone else was just as stunned.

“You’re not going to take the King’s place?” Ichthys blurted, and Miho raised a brow.

“Would you like me to?” she queried, and it was clear Ichthys didn’t know how to answer that question without digging himself into a hole. “I never desired power for power’s sake,” she explained, and there was silence but for the deposed King’s whimpering, “only what I needed to exact my revenge, and prevent this malevolent wretch from causing further suffering.”

“But,” Teorus began, but the rest of his sentence failed when Miho swept her arm in a dramatic arch, starlight floating majestically from her fingertips and coming to rest within the eyes of those to whom they belonged.

Perhaps now – if they all worked together – they could overpower Miho and Mieke and hold them accountable for their act against the King, but the crowd merely parted as Miho stepped toward the exit, Mieke behind her dragging Morthwyl by the collar.

“Where will you go?” Zyglavis asked quietly when Miho reached him, and she paused to look him in the face.

“Away,” she responded, “but never truly far. So don’t fuck this up.”

That was all the goodbye anyone got. The Heavens fell quiet, still, the calm before a storm of insecurity perhaps, but at least freedom from tyranny.


In the wake of their triumph, Miho and Mieke laid together, their legs entangled. Blissfully Miho raked her fingers gently through Mieke’s hair, savouring the silky sensation and the softness of her lover’s breath against her breast.

“Think they’ll come looking for you?” Mieke wondered aloud, before kissing against one of Miho’s nipples.

“In the afterglow of victory, you want to talk about them?” Miho scoffed, but her indignation was exaggerated.

“I just want you to be safe, to be free,” Mieke grumbled, tilting her head back to look up into Miho’s face.

“I think we’ve made a pretty good argument for leaving us alone,” Miho smiled, bring her lips closer to Mieke’s, “but if they’re stupid enough to disturb the peace, I’ll destroy them all.”


XV. Made to kneel

Miho’s shadow cast a deep darkness across those at her feet. With their knuckles pressed to the glossy, marble floor outside the King’s throne room, Leon and Zyglavis found it impossible to rise, to move, to defy – though they had made their decision to stay loyal to the status quo.

Even though it was pointless.

“There was a time,” Miho said, eyes cast down at her brother, “I wanted to kill you, Leon.”

Her fingers slipped slowly through his hair, brushing his bangs up then tilting back his head so he could see her standing over him.

“A part of me still does,” she told him thinly, leaning down to whisper. “The ruination of a life, for the ruination of a life.”

“Miho, don’t,” Zyglavis barked, and her head snapped to him, her fingers curling in Leon’s hair and gripping tightly.

“Don’t what? Exact appropriate revenge upon the brother who handed me to a monster on a silver platter?” she growled, and it was echoed by Mieke snarling. “Do you know what he did to me, Zyglavis? How I held my heart so tightly bound because I didn’t want anyone to think for a second I used my power to steal away their free will for my own desire? That is what Leon did – snapped his fingers and had me sprawled, writhing beneath the furious thrust of the King and made me want it!”

Her exclamation was accompanied by the sudden rise of Leon’s body, and as if he was weightless, Miho flung him aside with such force his body cracked and imprint in the marble wall.

Before he could even let out a winded groan, other gods, including the enfeebled Karno, Krioff, Huedhaut and Scorpio came running down the wide hall in their direction. But they all slid to a swift halt when Mieke’s form bulked out into the celestial form of the Goddess of Canes Venatici, and snapped threatening jaws that barred their path.

“She will eat you,” Miho warned with a smirk. “Or at least chew you up and spit you out again; I don’t think she finds you any more tasteful than I do.”

“Miho,” Zyglavis entreated once more, redirecting her ire.

“He’s sitting in that throne room knowing full well what’s transpiring here,” she sniggered, glancing to the large doors behind Zyglavis’ back. “And he will leave you to languish at my mercy because he is a coward.”

It would have been the perfect moment for the King of the Heavens to burst onto the scene and prove Miho wrong – but he did not.

“Cling to that hatred you’ve developed for me, Zyglavis,” Miho began again, reaching for his cheek with her palm sizzling, “because…”

“Hate you?” he frowned, and it was not as a result of imminent pain. “What you’re doing is madness, but whether you believe me or not, I hate myself more for playing a part in what led you here.”

“Your self-deprecation is wasted on me,” she spat, enveloping him in flame and finally more formally announcing her presence to the King.

Zyglavis’ charred body cartwheeled through the immense doors, then skidded across the mirrored floor before slamming into a vacant throne.

The King stood beside it, and didn’t even look down at the smouldering body to his left. His pale eyes staring straight ahead and meeting Miho’s fierce gaze.

“That is quite enough,” the King’s voice rang out, and though his stance was strong, not a single soul missed the tremble in his voice.

“Oh?” Miho chuckled, stepping through the debris alone, while Mieke easily held any resistance at bay. “What now, my love? My greatest, deepest, desperate love? Enough? No no, not yet.”

As she cleared the crunching splinters of lacquered wood and crystal, the King began to gather his strength in blazing wafts of bright divine energy. It gathered from places older than anyone could remember, even the King himself had forgotten perhaps, but Miho seemed entirely unconcerned.

She stood, relaxed and waited.

“Majesty…” Zyglavis croaked, shakily raising himself up on one elbow, his uniform smoking, his skin charred. “Please… she…”

“She has NO power here!” the King roared in an absolutely unheard of display of raw public emotion.

“In one word, I will have all the power,” Miho whispered. “You will give me your stars as willingly as I once gave myself to you.”

“There is no such word,” the King growled. “And I will give you nothing but the end of your miserable existence,” he added arrogantly.

Though his voice had gathered some strength, there was still a kernel of doubt.

“Hmph,” Miho smirked, then admitted, “I nearly gave up. When I couldn’t find it buried anywhere in the Heavens, in no record or archive – then I realised you’d never have allowed it to be recorded.”

“Miho,” Zyglavis entreated once more, and in the split second her gaze shifted to him, the King launched a massive sphere of pulsating power at her.

For a second she was engulfed, muted by the potent luminosity, until tendrils of green flame wreathed in glittering, slithering, aqua shards broke through and revealed her unharmed at the centre.

“You knew if anyone ever discovered your true name,” she persisted unfazed, walking a slow, menacing path toward her target, “they could bring you to heel, and so I abandoned my fruitless quest to find it. Instead…”

“You have nothing!” he laughed, but Miho hadn’t quite finished her sentence.

“… I’m going to give you a new one.”

Any clamouring noise behind them died. All out in the corridor beyond Mieke, who still held back those who might defend the King, fell still and silent.

“Impossible,” the King gasped, readying another attack, greater fury building in his movements until Miho was but a few arms lengths before him.

“We shall see,” she smiled, eyes sparkling galaxies. “The former Goddess of Fate’s influence over what things are and will be, was the first thing I took – the power to re-write fate, after that.”

“It’s not…” the King actually stuttered, stepping backward.

“So I name you…”

All strained to listen, but only Miho and the King himself heard the name she whispered.

His eyes grew wide and the light around him shattered like glass then dimmed to nothing.

“Now give me your stars, you malodorous creature,” Miho hissed, pinching his chin harshly and pulling their faces close. “Then get on your knees and beg for your life.”

Tears touched the chalk of his cheeks, but with his true name on her tongue and in her mind, the King could not resist Miho’s command.

It was more of a slump that dropped him to the floor, shuddering and utterly pathetic in defeat.

“Please,” he murmured in a hoarse appeal, “spare me.”

Though he had done as she asked, Miho was still caught in the moment of receiving stars unlike any others she had stolen. Her senses expanded everywhere, every tiny little corner, and flooded her mind and heart with an almost overwhelming feeling of omnipotence.

“Spare you?” Miho parroted, her voice now carrying with it a dark reverberation. “No.”

As curt as the word itself, was the snapping of barbed, shadowy wires sprawling from Miho’s body and stringing the deposed tyrant up by wrists, neck and ankles.

A spectacle, a demonstration and a warning to any who might consider further overthrow.

“This era ends with you,” she snarled, biting the end off each word.

Then she tore him apart.

Whatever matter made up the former King of the Heavens was ripped asunder. Joints popped, bones broke, and blood sullied the regal décor of the throne room. Mushy piles of what could no longer be recognised as belonging to either man or god, hit the floor and quivered before melting into pools of silver that quickly evapourated.

Exhaling a slow breath, Miho closed her eyes – the moment had been such a long time coming, she wanted to savour it.

“Now what?” Scorpio called from beyond Mieke, the only one to raise his voice amid gods who still had their stars but were stuck dumb by what they had just witnessed.

“Mieke,” Miho dropped, and the huge dog returned to her human form before striding to take her love’s extended hand.

“What difference does it make to you,” Miho said, kissing the back of Mieke’s hand before drawing their bodies together, “if your puppet strings are pulled by a king, or a couple of queens?”

Staggering to his feet and clutching his slowly healing chest, Zyglavis peered at the entwined goddesses as they kissed – passionately, fearlessly.

“She really killed him?” Ichthys piped up, and Karno nodded slowly.

“Looks… like it,” he exhaled, sweeping his eyes to Leon whose head hung.

“What do we do?” a nervous god queried somewhere in the crowd.

“What do you do?” Miho laughed, her voice carrying to every ear in the Heavens. “You do exactly what you’re told, just as you always have.”

Grinning, Miho led her most loyal partner to the throne and sat, before the Goddess of Canes Venatici draped herself comfortably across a welcome lap.

“And,” Miho went on, sifting her fingers lazily through Mieke’s hair, “for you impotent zodiac gods, I have a whole host of ways for you to entertain me.”

“Can we have the King back now?” Ichthys whimpered. “Please?”

“Nope,” Miho snickered flippantly, lolling her head back, “but, little fishy, I guarantee that as each day passes you will wish for his return more and more.”

“And shame we control the wishes now,” Mieke added with a wide grin.

But it was Miho who had the final words.

And the punishments.”



Heaven Hath No Fury: Original Sin


It was the most animated Miho had been in… she didn’t know how many days and nights had passed in seclusion. Her body actually ached when she stood she had been sitting stationary for so long, just staring into the reflecting pool – watching Earth ebb and flow, but powerless to influence it in any way.

The arrival of her brother was unexpected; the King had told her no one would find her, no one could see her – if she was going to be petulant, stubborn, if she insisted on defying him, then she would do so alone.

“How did you even find me?” she gasped, stopping sort of hugging the man who, looked unusually… disturbed.

“You’ve been wishing so hard,” he pointed out in an attempt at casual. “Think I couldn’t hear you?”

“Heard and unanswered,” she pointed out, drawing herself up.

The Goddess of Corvus was not short, but Leon was still taller. In their childhood he’d always loomed over her, and even as adults it seemed when they were simply side by side, he was an immense tower.

Now, however, he seemed somehow so much smaller – not even his shadow could touch her.

“This, this is unbearable,” she growled. “Brother please, help me escape this nightmare.”

Hesitantly his answer came.

“I… am here to grant your wish,” he declared, but he sounded so unsure, and this concerned Miho deeply.

“Then let’s get out of here,” she urged, taking his hand, but her usually confident, arrogant brother did not budge.

In fact, he cast his eyes to the ground.

“What?” she frowned. “I wished to be freed from this purgatory, so free me.”

“I… must also grant the wish of the King,” Leon said, his voice quiet, his voice incongruously diminutive with every other memory Miho had of him.

The King’s wish.

Miho’s chest clenched.

“And what, exactly, has he wished for?” she questioned.

But she already knew.

He had already gone so far as to strip her of her title and position, and to cloister her away on an isolated estate from which she could not use her power – and she had not broken. Her consent was all he could not take by force.

But he could wish for it.

“He wished you’d fall in love with him,” Leon answered after a short pause, “and I have to grant it.”

“No,” she hissed, balling her fists and scowling at him. “Why would you… how could you even think of granting that?”

“No one defies the King, Miho,” Leon pointed out, and this caused true rage to blossom across her pale features.

I defied the King!” she roared, eyes blazing.

“And look where it got you,” he volleyed. “You won’t even remember this, you’ll be happy,” he added, but this had the opposite of its intended effect.

“No, I won’t,” she snarled, backing away from him like there was somewhere she could run where it would make a scrap of difference. “You would betray your own family for that… monster?”

“He’s the King, Miho,” Leon retaliated, stepping toward her, but she scurried back like he meant to physically assault her.

“He’s taken enough!” she barked, but her voice had become thick and panicked. “Don’t… don’t take my free will too, don’t make me his slave.”

Brows knitted, Leon struggled. He was himself powerful, but the King was something else entirely. It was not that he feared the repercussions of defiance per se, would never admit to fear, but he had to rationalise what might happen if a minister such as himself was to disobey – others might also, chaos could allow evil to gain a foothold.

And to prevent this, all he had to do was sacrifice his sister to a creature who, even he had to admit, was the single most selfish being he’d ever encountered.

“I’m sorry, Miho,” he exhaled finally, lifting his hand slightly, fingers poised, and full force horror exploded in his sister’s eyes.


The light touch of gold-spun hair tickled against Miho’s cheek – and she smiled up at the King who hovered over her. Though the hands that held her down gripped tightly, possessively, there was a gladness in her heart that sang amid the shortening length of her breathing.

“Your Majesty,” she exhaled, unable to blink for fear his angelic presence would vanish.

Her body hummed so powerfully for the want of it him it was almost painful: a deep, aching, burning resonance, as much a part of herself as the lips that longed to kiss him, the heart that beat for him, and the warm, wetness of her core that desperately beckoned him inward.

“Tell me what you desire,” he commanded, the twist of his lips a smirking, arrogant tease in which she saw only benevolence.

“Ahh,” she groaned, the torment of his rigid length rubbing just between her legs, so infuriating she could barely form a coherent response. “My King, fill me so…”

Her response, as she had spoken it then, continued in a gushing overflow of sexual yearning and hyperbolic banalities – while an unseen figure at the bedside loomed like a storm cloud flashing with violence.

“I desire the crush of your throat beneath my palms, to feel bones bend and snap,” Miho’s shadow snarled, unheard and glaring at the monster king as he forced the air from her past-self with the crush of his body. “I desire the slide of your entrails through my fingers, slick and slippery with the last of your malodourous life, and I want to see the light of the stars leave your eyes, your last thought regret you ever crossed me.”

Revulsion rose into her throat as her-past self moaned incomprehensibly.

Glowing, sweaty, dominated and enraptured by complete and unparalleled worship, this pathetic ghoul of her former self, wrapped around the most powerful creature in all the heavens; and though she knew now his perverse heart had no true capacity for love, her past-self loved him with such brutal dedication it very nearly tore her apart.

But as she reached out now to pull him away, knowing what she did, knowing he would tire of her and cast her so thoughtlessly aside, her hand passed through him.

An incorporeal observer of the past, her rage and frustration were the only things with true substance.

Yet she was suddenly tethered, unable to recoil, and just as the King had all but suffocated her with his unchecked want for control over her then, Miho felt herself slipping back beneath him and the wish her brother had granted.

“GET OFF!” she roared, sitting bolt upright in the cold, dark room.

The power of her exclamation was so extreme, the blankets flew apart, the fabric shredded and sent scattering around the space.

In surprise, woken so suddenly from fitful slumber, the slender, pale and naked figure that had been curled against Miho’s body, flinched to wakefulness and the urgent gasping of her companion.

“Miho,” a soft voice whispered, and a gentle hand sought fingers clasping the sheets in a vice like grip. “You are awake now.”

Angrily the Goddess of Corvus sobbed out the remnants of sleep, and the sensation of pressure within that was nothing short of the most heinous violation.

“The nightmare is over,” her lover told her, her other hand sliding slowly up Miho’s exposed spine to the nape of her neck. “Retribution is soon, is now.”

“I know, Mieke,” Miho panted, grasping for calm, “and it will be such a reckoning.”

“And I will help you,” Mieke smiled, rising up on her knees and snuggling into Miho’s back, and wrapping her deceptively thin arms around the other goddess’ neck. “And keep you safe.”

What grace she’d lost in forsaking the Heavens – what pain she’d suffered in knowing the truth – those ragged edges of memory still deep in her mind and flesh were smoothed by honest words and honest intimacy. The Goddess of Canes Venatici, savage and vicious in her most powerful form, lapped gently against the ghostly wounds that still bled in Miho’s soul; and the vengeful rage swirling within became a little less tumultuous… for a few hours.

Astoria: In Chaos – Part Seven

Though Miho laughed, Cyprin was clearly trying not to hit out at Hydra with their aura.

“Hydra!” Jazz barked, and he momentarily stopped.

Jazz,” he acknowledged, licking his lips.

Oh, how she knew that look.

“What’s going on?” Cyprin managed, straightening out their clothing.

“Everyone is the building is on heat,” Miho chimed in, even as Jazz fended Hydra off and warned him to calm down.

“How about you then?” Hydra leered, side stepping Jazz and grabbing Miho’s wrist faster than either she or Jazz could intervene.

“No thanks,” Miho laughed, but his grip tightened and he nudged her against the wall.

“Hydra!” Jazz growled, reaching for him as Miho protested again.

“Get off!” she snapped, no longer laughing, no longer smiling.

His face grew closer, a split second from contact when Miho spoke the second syllable lept from her lips, Hydra stalled.

Blinking like he’d just woken, Hydra had very little time to consider his proximity to Miho, before Jazz pulled him back so hard he stumbled across the office.

“Jeez,” Miho exhaled heavily, slumping a little.

“What the hell?” Hydra gasped, touching his mouth with the back of his hand like he’d actually kissed Miho.

“Yeah,” Miho agreed, looking back out into the hallway to find the semi-naked threesome participants sitting up and looking dazed, then horrified.

“Agent Mann,” Cyprin prompted. “Whatever just happened is going ot have substantial fallout.”

Nodding, Jazz glanced at Miho.

“You okay?”

Fabulous,” Miho replied. “Not sure how, but if I can do something to help with the mop… up…”

Yeah… ew… that wasn’t really what she meant.

“Let’s get on with critical incident protocol,” Cyprin said. “You’re welcome to assist Agent Mann, Miss Fujiwara,” they added.

“Just stay close,” Jazz told her and Miho inclined her head. “That came out of nowhere…”

He he, get it, came out of nowhere?

“… there’s no telling what else might happen.”

“Frogs from the sky,” Miho murmured.

For the rest of the day, Miho worked with Jazz, consoling distraught HERA staff, assessing their needs, and filling out referral documents for appropriate services. It was rewarding when you put aside the bizarreness of what had occurred. At the end of the day, there was still no explanation as to what caused everyone to suddenly become so horny they couldn’t resist one another; all HERA knew, was it had occurred locally, spreading no further than the building.

Day 31

Agents and administrative staff were understandably reserved the following day, edgy, wondering if some unseen force would drive them toward lewd acts again – or worse.

Miho had slept through the same dream of being chased by Zeus and friends to the whooshing, rhythmic sound from above.

In a tangle of blankets she woke with a start and nearly fell from the bunk. Breathing heavily, she took some time to calm herself before getting dressed. She’d always managed on her own, lived on her own, been fine on her own, but now she found herself wishing she could wake beside Hades… and not just because the ‘wake up’ was amazing.

She greeted Jazz with a yawn and went through the motions of a yawn, before asking if she could spend some time with Mieke in achieves.

“Cyprin wants me investigating what happened yesterday,” Jazz told her.

“The archives are pretty well guarded though, right?” Miho pressed. “Should be fine, and it’s like you said, Zeus would be an idiot to attack the building head on.”

“After yesterday I’m not leaving anything to chance,” Jazz said, ignoring Miho’s sigh. “Don’t tell me you’re stir crazy already.”

“Not stir crazy,” Miho frowned, “just – I don’t have a whole lot of friends, and it would be nice to at least see the one I can talk to about all this stuff. I also need to make sure she’s okay after yesterday.”

“Send her a message, she can meet us for P.T. this morning,” Jazz compromised.

“P.T.? Doing what?”

“Cardio and weights in the gym, sparring, then swimming,” Jazz listed, and Miho stretched her arms above her head.

“You and me, sparing?” she grinned. “No auras though, that would be cheating.”

“Sure,” Jazz smiled, accepting the challenge.

Naturally, Jazz knocked Miho on her ass a whole number of times – her training making her far superior to a mere journalist – but that wasn’t to say Miho didn’t have her moments. Mieke cheered and grinned when Miho pulled a number of dirty tricks to gain the upper hand, and in the face of criticism declared when it came to physical combat there should be no rules.

“Normal baddies don’t play by the rules,” she argued, stepping out of the women’s change room with both other women behind her, “I don’t imagine the godly monster kind would be any different.”

“It’s not about rules,” Jazz argued, “rather technique.”

“I have technique,” Miho laughed.

“Dirty fighting is not a technique,” Jazz persisted. “You know as an agent here, you’ll have to pass a number of physical tests.”

“So you accepted the offer?” Mieke queried, looking happy.

Luckily for her, yesterday had been her day off, so she’d not been caught up in the libido incident.

“More or less,” Miho nodded, dipping her toe in the luke warm water of the indoor swimming pool. “We got a little distracted, what with Zeus and all.”

Her comment was flippant, but Mieke knew her well enough to see the vague shadow of uncertainty in Miho’s eyes.

Perhaps to hide this fact, Miho lined herself up with the edge of the pool, and arched a graceful dive. Her body broke the surface, but the impact was a little harder than it should have been, not because she had misaligned her entry, but because the water was…

“Wha!” Miho gasped, struggling to the blue, giggling surface and grappling for the pool’s edge.

“Is that…” Jazz began, but Mieke finished for her as she helped pull Miho to safety.


“I like jello as much as the next person,” Miho said, trying to wring the sticky goop from her hair, “but only if naked men are wrestling in it.”

Though they might have liked to ponder that a little more, or at the very least access the Tres Spades Jello Tournament fiction, Jazz contacted Cyprin while Mieke went to change and Miho slipped into a shower stall.

Except when she turned the taps, a steady blue stream of sloppy jello emerged.

“Uuuuugh,” she growled, stomping out and turning on one of the basin taps to find much the same. “Great, guess I’m staying sticky.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Mieke snickered, and Miho swatted her backside.

“I’d have thought HERA would have some kind of protection against stuff like this,” she grumbled.

“I’m not sure anyone anticipated water turning to jello,” Mieke argued, handing Miho a towel.

“Looks like the whole building has been affected,” Jazz reported, striding back into the change room. “Toilets blocked…”

“Showers useless,” Miho huffed.

“… catering is in an uproar,” Jazz finished.

“On the bright side, the jello isn’t trying to hump anyone,” Miho added.

Later that day in Cyprin’s office, they confirmed agents had been unable to discover the origin of the power that had unceremoniously transformed the building’s water to blue jello. Though once again it had only affected the single HERA building – not the primary building, and none of the agents reported anything offsite – the daily operations of the organisation were seriously impeded.

And it didn’t get much better.

When furniture started to move around on its own as if alive – fridges chasing people out of kitchens, chairs refusing to be sat on, tables rolling onto their backs – there was no way work could be done in the building, and most HERA employee were forced to evacuate.

This included Miho and Jazz, who – with armed agents just in case – left for Jazz’s apartment. A black town-car drove carefully in front of them, and there was also one at their flank; their presence actually made her more nervous.

“My very own motorcade,” she smirked, burying her apprehension behind her smile.

“Don’t let it go to your head,” Jazz sniffed.

“Oh believe me, I’d prefer we could do our thing without the need for armed guards,” Miho declared. “And, well, thank you for letting me stay at your place. I know Hydra only didn’t put up a fuss because of what happened yesterday.”

It wasn’t like Miho was rude, but it seemed a bit out of character for her to thank Jazz just like that; Jazz looked at her sideways just brief, and found Miho peering back at her honestly.

“You’re welcome,” Jazz smiled. “We moved to a bigger apartment not so long ago so, he’ll be there later but you probably won’t notice him unless something happens.”

“If Zeus messes up your apartment, I’ll kick his ass,” Miho huffed, and Jazz laughed.

“You’ll have to get in li…”

The conclusion of her sentence was swallowed by a monstrous flash of lightning that hit the lead car, but it was hardly normal lightning. Before Jazz’s reflexes could kick in, the car in front leapt into the air and was engulfed by flame, flipping on its side.

No matter how quickly Jazz slammed on the brakes, there was no avoiding collision, as their car skidded in the treacherous conditions. Desperately, she lurched across the centre console against the vehicle’s momentum and grabbed hold of Miho as best she could, enveloping them both in Hera’s protective shield a mere split second before impact.

Grimacing against the strain of high velocity metal bending around them, the stress of absorbing the speed at which they hit the other car, Jazz could do little more than close her eyes and concentrate. To them both it seemed as if they moved forever, when in truth their crunching spin lasted but a few second then stopped, before the trailing car hit and slammed them up against a brick building.

When the screaming ceased, and the mangled cabin of their vehicle was filled with the two women panting.

They’re in a car wreck, get your mind out of the gutter!

“You okay?” Jazz hissed, immediately tugging away her seatbelt.

“Okay is not the right word,” Miho gasped. “How are we even still alive? We are alive right?”

“Not for long if we don’t get out,” Jazz growled, swivelling in her chair and beginning to kick at her door. “That was Zeus.”

“Figures,” Miho volleyed, searching for something to break her window that was miraculously still intact.

An old-fashioned steering lock caught her attention, and she stretched to reach it on the floor before swinging as best she could. The roar of further thunder-claps and the accompanying lightning muffled the shatter of glass, but Miho was more concerned about the heat growing from the crumpled bonnet and radiating through where the windshield used to be.

“This way,” she barked, beginning her awkward climb out the window.

And Jazz didn’t hesitate to follow, her mind a blur of what she was going to do after they were both free. Through snow and slush, they scrambled away from their vehicle like it might explode at any moment, but Jazz grabbed Miho and pulled her to a stop when Artemis stepped around one of the burning town-cars.

“I suppose it makes sense you’d be guarding Hades’ pet,” Artemis maligned, stepping slowly, deliberately around what looked to be a smouldering car door. “But what a waste.”

“I am no one’s pet,” Miho spat, her nose wrinkling and her lips drawing back into a sneer.

“Ha!” Artemis laughed. “Hera may as well be a golden cage. You can sing all you like, but they will keep you locked away until you forget how to sing.”

“Complex metaphor,” Miho nodded. “I didn’t expect that from someone so stupid looking.”

“Damnit, Miho,” Jazz hissed through her teeth, urging her backwards until the world flashed and was shook by thunder so close it rattled around inside Miho for some time.

“Get out of the way,” Zeus drawled at Jazz, a man seeming several hundred feet tall though he wasn’t dissimilar in height to Hades.

“You have got to stop whatever you’re doing here, Zeus,” Jazz declared, but her tone leaned toward pleading. “Can’t you see what is happening to the world?”

“You would blame me, when all I ever wanted was the one I love returned to my side!” Zeus growled, lifting his hands.

“Oh shit,” Miho murmured, doing her best to resist the urge to close her eyes, but she jumped against Jazz suddenly, when something abruptly splattered against the ground before them, and it wasn’t Zeus’ wrath.

Unless Zeus’ wrath now looked like a bloody, frog-pancake.

“Is that…” Jazz began, but paused when the sky rained down an amphibious hail of Kermit the Frog’s extended family.

Artemis looked to Zeus, but Zeus’ fierce gaze was fixed on Jazz.

And as the wind picked up and began to dance down the street in whirling dervishes, frog filled tornadoes swept in from both ends of the street.

“Hey! Down here ladies!” came a voice above the frognadoes.

Yeah, frognado.

Dripping with frog guts, a sewer grate to Miho’s left shifted away, and head popped up.

“Quickly!” the figure below urged.

Their pinkish-grey eyes peered up, dark grey, curly hair swishing around strong shoulders. A hand reached for Miho’s ankle, but Miho pulled back, just as Jazz dragged her from the path of an arrow fired by Artemis.

“Or you can stay there and be slaughtered if you’d prefer,” the individual below sniffed dismissively, but Miho had already crouched.

“I’m convinced!” she quipped, dropping her butt into the slush before lowering her legs into the manhole.

“Don’t you dare defy me!” Zeus roared, and more lightning cracked against Jazz’s shield, a violent spray of sparks and peacock feathers attesting to the sheer power Jazz had to resist.

“Hurry, hurry,” the unnamed person muttered, very nearly dragging Jazz into the darkness.

“Ack!” Miho squeaked, movement around her feet suddenly leaping toward the brightness of the manhole, revealing a great torrent of fuzzy rat bodies. “No, no, no, no, I hate rats, not rats, not rats, why did it have to be rats?”

“The rats are your friends,” their rescuer declared, taking Miho’s wrist with one hand, and generating a gentle light that illuminated the narrow sewer tunnel.

The frosty sludge.

The grimy bricks.

And a really, really big crocodile.

“Don’t mind Agnes, she’ll guard our retreat, so less talking and more running.”

Miho was then dragged into motion, and Jazz followed closely behind.

As they travelled at speed, other small critters – including mice and several cats – joined their little procession through the undercity, with Agnes lumbering behind. There was no evidence of pursuit, but such were the twists and turns they took, even if Zeus or Artemis had entered the sewers behind them, Miho thought they would have seriously difficulty locating them.

“Where are we going?” Jazz demanded to know.

“As far from angry Zeus as possible, Hera,” their leader replied.

Of course, this caused Jazz to blinked, for her soul’s identity wasn’t common street knowledge. She chose, however, to say nothing, as the tunnel widened suddenly before them, filled with light emanating from a multitude of tiny, delicate, glowing mushrooms.

Miho might have appreciated the sight, if she wasn’t so out of breath having fled the wrath of top tier gods on a rampage, and that there was now a mouse peeking out from her collar.

“Tea?” the nymph offered blithely as she climbed down a ladder into the surprisingly clean and homely space.

“Who are you?” Miho gasped, nearly losing her footing as she also descended.

“Jackie,” they answered, peeking a little cheekily over their shoulder and tossing Miho a wink.

“Well, that explains everything,” Miho snorted. “But thank you for the assist.”

“I can’t get reception down here,” Jazz scowled, her face dark, her eyes now a little watery; she had – after all – just lost several colleagues.

“So Jackie… you’re a…” Miho prompted, heading to where Jackie had a spotless kitchenette.

“Nymph,” they replied cheerfully. “Chamomile?”

“Yeah, I’m definitely in shock,” Miho grunted, finding herself a place to sit, slumping forward a little and dislodging her little mouse friend.

“You’re safe here,” Jackie assured, chorused by the soft prattle of a boiling kettle. “Zeus is fucking crazy.”

“I need to get in contact with HERA,” Jazz blustered, burying her upset behind a veneer of cold calm, “but there is no reception.”

“There’s a landline over there, go ahead and use it,” Jackie said, pointing over at a retro, circular dial phone. “But best you don’t have them ferreting around down here searching for us, there are all sorts of nasty things.”

Her brow twitching, Jazz lifted the phone receiver from its cradle and began to dial, while Miho stared at her shaking hands.

“How did you even know?” she whispered, and Jackie responded.

“It’s my business to know what’s going on in Astoria,” they answered lightly, carefully handing Miho a steaming mug of sweet-smelling tea. “So when Zeus and Artemis make landfall, I’m there to find out why; aaaand there you are, Hades’ squeeze.”

“How do you even know that?” Miho exhaled, lowering the mug without taking a sip.

Bringing up Hades made her realise, that in such a short time she had come to miss him, that in the aftermath of what she had just escaped, his arms around her was what she wanted most.

“Aw, don’t worry,” Jackie soothed, plopping down beside Miho and putting a slightly muscular arm around her shoulder, “I’m sure Hades, and probably some of the other super gods will high-tail it down here once they learn you and Hera were attacked in the open street like that.”

Turning her head, Miho peered at the nymph closely.

There was a strange, androgynous beauty about them, a near hypnotising depth to their eyes that made Miho forget they were in a sewer – until Jazz let out a loud breath and put the phone receiver down.

“Cyprin thinks it’s too dangerous to go back to the beta HQ right now,” she reported, flicking her braid over her shoulder. “There was nothing officially recorded about our plan, or the route we were taking, so it may be there is a mole in HERA feeding Zeus information.”

“Lovely,” Miho sniffed, cracking her neck. “I hope Hades gets the opportunity really kick Zeus’ ass for this.”

“So,” Jackie prompted, slithering her arm away from Miho, “what’s the plan?”

“Can you get us topside?” Jazz asked, but she assumed since the nymph appeared to live in, and move around through the sewers, they had the ability to get just about anywhere.

“Of course,” they smiled – not arrogantly, but simply proud of their own abilities. “Tell me where you need to be, I’ll get you there.”

“Great, I’ll have Hydra meet us, say, behind Queens Library at Broadway?”

“No problem,” Jackie nodded, and Jazz returned to the phone, presumably to call Hydra.

“So what’s gotten Zeus’ panties in such a twist over you?” Jackie then enquired, focusing back on Miho. “Love triangle?”

At this Miho nearly choked on her own breath.

“Hell no!” she coughed. “Zeus is a grade-A cunt, stomping around with an aura of hubris far bigger than lightning bolts he’s killed HERA agents with,” she spat out, the colour rising in her face.

The increase in volume of her voice also caused various rodents milling around to sit up on their hind legs and look over – black beady eyes curious for a second before…


All of them with a quiet whooshing noise, ceased to be rats and mice, and began fluttering around the space on delicate, brightly coloured wings making no sounds at all.

“Umm, which one of you was that?” Jackie frowned, scrutinising a lacy opalescent butterfly that had landed on the back of her hand.

“It wasn’t you?” Jazz asked.

“Well don’t look at me,” Miho shrugged, but Jazz was looking at her.

“Okay, coincidence is one thing, but if I ignore all the circumstantial evidence much longer, Miho, readers are going to get pissed off.”

“About friggin’ time I got some super powers,” Miho nodded. “But, my transmutation skills are just as out of practice as my necromancy,” she replied.

“All that happened at HERA HQ, only happened when you were there,” Jazz insisted, narrowing her eyes and batting a couple of fluttering insects away. “And then the frogs on the street? You were there.”

“So were you,” Miho pointed out, peering at her hands like they were the source.

“Hey, frog and butterflies are cool,” Jackie grinned. “Do something else.”

“If it’s me, I’m not doing it on purpose,” Miho admitted. “So in advance, I’m sorry if you end up as a butterfly, or a frog, or a sentient piece of furniture.”

“You’d better no,” Jazz scowled. “As if this isn’t already complicated enough.”

“What was that thing Zeus dug up?” Miho exhaled heavily, shaking her head.

“You know about that?” Jackie piped up, leaning their face closer to Miho.

“You mean, you don’t know?” Miho countered, and Jackie’s brow twitched. “Isn’t it your business to know?”

“Well obviously I won’t know this until you tell me,” Jackie volleyed. “So spill it. What about Chaos?”

“Chaos is right,” Miho sniffed. “Zeus dug up a glowy thing, and now it’s in me.”

“Ooooh, well that’s a whole different level of pain,” Jackie declared, and their expression made Miho feel genuinely uncomfortable. “Zeus stopped flailing about in a tantrum a while ago and started making plans to retake his position at the head of the Pantheon, but he didn’t have enough power, even after recruiting other gods to his cause.”

Though Jazz wanted to get in contact with Hydra as quickly as possible, she couldn’t pass up this kind of information, and began listening intently.

“And where better than in New York to find congealed deposits of Chaos’ energy?” Jackie smiled, like it was all no big deal. “I’ll be honest though,” they continued. “It’s a bit weird you ended up with it – how’d that happen?”

“It just did,” Miho answered. “Hades and I encountered Zeus and friends uncovering this angry ball of light, that then just came at me and… poof…”

Lightly, she tapped her chest.

“It just, seeped in,” she sighed. “Aaand, now it’s apparently frogs and butterflies.”

“Chaos sought you out,” Jackie concluded. “Ouch.”

“Well, how do I get it out?” Miho exhaled, then swallowed.

Jackie shrugged.

“No clue,” they admitted. “But the saying shit happens? Oh, shit is going to happen because of you from now on.”

“Because I needed more of that in my life,” Miho grunted, looking to Jazz. “HERA can help with this right? I mean, Chaos, can’t stay in me, look at the city right now – the last thing it needs is more anarchy.”

“Amen to that,” Jackie agreed. “So, maybe you should get your boy on the horn?”

With a nod, Jazz returned to the phone to contact Hydra, while Miho stared intently at the butterfly sitting on the back of her hand.

“Cheeseburger,” she whispered, flaring at the inset, but it did nothing but slowly flap its wings in contempt. “Bah, I’m not hungry anyway.”

“Understandable,” Jackie smiled sadly. “I doubt any of those HERA guys survived the crash.”

“Way to make me feel better, Jackie,” Miho grumbled, lifting her eyes to focus on Jazz.

Miho could see the strain through Jazz’s professionalism, and it made her angry.

“Zeus is going to pay for thi…”


The butterflies disappeared, and tiny sparks filled the air; agitated, white oscillations cutting jagged paths through the air.

“Ahh, if you’re going to explode, could you maybe wait until we get to street level?” Jackie pleaded, and Miho closed her eyes against their burn.

“Let’s go,” Jazz prompted, slipping her hand around Miho’s and pulling her to her feet.

Without Jackie, Jazz wondered if they’d ever have made it out of the sewers. The smell had faded to the very edge of their awareness, but the gloom seemed to stick to their skin.

When natural light finally returned, they blinked furiously against the bright, and Hydra had wrapped his arms around Jazz before her eyes had adjusted to the glare.

“Don’t tell me to let you go,” he growled against her neck, ignoring both Miho and Jackie who stood close by.

“Believe me,” Jazz murmured, just as happy to feel his warmth as he seemed to desire hers, “I’d like to stay just like this, but…”

“It’s too dangerous out in the open,” he filled in, separating from her enough to look into her face, “but you’re not hurt are you?”

“No,” she smiled, “but things are a whole lot more complicated now. We’d better get going.”

“Thanks for the help, Jackie,” Miho said, and the nymph gave her a bright smile that twinkled in their eyes.

“No problem,” they grinned, giving Miho a light hip bump. “I could leave a rat with you, you know, in case you need my help again.”

“Umm, no rats,” Miho rushed, shaking her head furiously, and Jackie laughed.

“Eh, I’ll be keeping tabs on you anyway,” they chuckled. “Stay out of Zeus’ way okay?”

“That’s the plan,” Miho nodded, and joined Jazz and Hydra at his car.

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.”

Astoria: In Chaos – Part Five


Day 27

The two women talked, snuggled, wrestled, tickled, ate more chocolate and eventually fell asleep, but Mieke had to get up for work at 6am and was out the door looking weary – but happy – leaving Miho to clean up.

In a sleep deprived daze, Miho replayed the conversations of last night.

“Have to shelve that for now,” she muttered, dropping a couple of bowls into the sink.

Still in her pajamas, she plopped back down in front of her laptop. Unlike the previous day, however, the sentences began to form, and once she had begun writing, her fingertips flew across the keyboard with ridiculous speed. On the screen appeared the contrast between what the city citizens knew, and what the suited authority known as HERA kept from them, alongside the ins and outs of theology that could change the entire world.

“Imagine,” she thought, “A world without ‘faith’ because the facts of the higher powers of the Earth were revealed. Might make things better, but could very well make things worse.”

That was of course assuming people believed it. There would always be deniers, the self-deluded, who would believe what they wanted to believe despite the facts. One only had to look as far as those refusing to vaccinate their children from preventable diseases to see just how stupid humanity could be.

As she continued, she considered all Hades had told her, things Jazz had said, and then pictured Detective Yashitori’s face as she asked the same questions Miho herself had asked not so long ago. Oh, how she had fought against the heavy curtain of secrecy: fought Hades, fought Jazz, fought HERA.

Now she knew.

It was heading into twilight when she finally finished her article and printed it out several times over, tucking one away in a safe hiding place. Then she considered how she was going to contact Hades. It struck her that she didn’t have his phone number – he hadn’t given it to her – and she recalled the HERA building being closed for structural integrity inspection. Still, with no other way, scribbled a quick note to him, showered like the wind, then threw on some new clothes, smoothed down her head, and headed out.

HERA agents stood as silent sentinels outside the fenced-off, blacked-out area around the HERA building, the foyer of which also seemed to be shrouded in large sheets of plastic. Though she didn’t recognise either of the two men, or the single female agent, she approached one with the same confidence she tackled everything, and smiled brightly.

“Evening,” she greeted. “I have something of importance to give Hades.”

True to form, the agent simply eyed her.

“Come on, tell me you guys don’t know who I am by now?” Miho grumbled. “I’m the reporter Hades took up to Olympus, and only yesterday was here when zombies rushed this very building.”

This did cause the agent to consider her a little less stoically.

“So, Hades? Can you call him down here for me?” Miho prompted expectantly.

“Hades is not available at present,” the agent told her plainly, and a little huffily, Miho took an envelope from her bag.

“Okay fine,” she sniffed. “How about you give him this? And in case you’re wondering, it’s the article I’ve written about this whole operation and everything I’ve seen recently, so, you might want to ferry it post haste to the hands of your friendly neighbourhood god as soon as possible. Print runs happen pretty early in the morning you know.”

Pressing the envelope against the agent’s chest, Miho released it.

“Oh, and if he stands me up for dinner, I won’t be held responsible for the consequences,” she smiled sweetly, then turned on her heel.

All that remained now, was for her to wait.

At her favourite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Miho took a sip from her fourth cup of coffee. For surely the five hundredth time she glanced at her phone to see she’d been waiting three hours.

Three hours and nothing.

Not even a text message.

Despite being wired thanks to the caffeine, she was well and truly weary.

The caffeine was the only thing keeping her awake.

“So that’s how it is,” she muttered, scowling as she emptied her cup, and it clattered back into the saucer.

Rolling her shoulders, she shuffled out of her booth loudly and shouldered her bag, muttering under her breath. But when she lifted her eyes to fix them balefully on the exit, Hades blocked her path.

“You’re still here,” he noted and looked first relieved, then frowned as he took in her expression.

“Only just,” she announced, her tone in no small part sour.

“I tried calling the number you put in the envelope Agent Hall passed on,” he explained, “but it connected me with an Italian man somewhere in New Jersey.”

“Excuse me?” Miho blinked, frowning as Hades took the slip of paper she’d written on from his pocket and read the number from it. “No, 1, not 7,” she corrected, exasperated.

“I see, that would account for Mr. Morticella then,” he agreed.

“Come on Hades,” Miho sighed. “You’re telling me that with your resources, the ones Agent Mann used to track me down with Detective Yashitori in fact, you couldn’t have looked up my number?”

Shifting a little uncomfortably in the face of her irritation, Hades conceded her point.

“Yes, you’re right,” he acknowledged humbly, nodding apologetically. “And I am sorry, but I have been… busy.”

Exhaling a heavy, lung-emptying sigh, Miho allowed her shoulders to slump. She was being unfair, and was just pissed off because she was over-tired and not at all used to being kept waiting.

“No, you’re right,” she admitted. “You’re right. Zombies trump my sorry ass.”

“It’s not that sorry,” he hazarded, leaning just a little to indicate he had glanced at the posterior in question.

She had to laugh.

Her smile waned a little though, when Hades dropped the folded article she’d written on the table where she’d been sitting, and lowered himself into the booth – after all, she didn’t know how he was going to react.

“This is quite a comprehensive story,” he noted: benign.

Studying him – his expression, his posture, his eyes – Miho returned to her seat opposite him.

He, glanced at the empty coffee cups.

“Fuelled by coffee?” he queried lightly.

“Yep,” she nodded. “Though I still don’t think much of what I’ve experienced has sunk in.”

“It may need to,” he told her gravely. “I still haven’t discerned the origin of the zombies, nor those behind them, and there was another incident involving them today.”

This he told her freely, despite the fact she’d compiled all his secrets in plain writing.

“Anyone hurt?” she ventured, and Hades winced a little.

“A member of the public was killed,” he admitted, and Miho bit her lip.

“That’s likely to draw more scrutiny from city law enforcement,” Miho pointed out, like he didn’t already know that. “If you haven’t heard from her already, you’d better brace for Detective Yashitori.”

“She has made some inquiries,” he affirmed. “Her Lieutenant also,” he added. “But they’re not the first, and will unlikely be the last.”

“She’s tenacious,” Miho warned.

“So are you,” he replied, the slightest of smirks touching his lips, but Miho frowned again.

“And look where that got you, Fairy-floss.”

“Where exactly is that?” he queried, unruffled and peering at her steadily.

For a good half a minute Miho just looked back in silence, until finally she responded.

“You’re not going to ask me what I’m going to do?” she scowled. “You’re not going to ask me to keep my mouth shut?”

“Do I need to ask?”

This caused Miho to scoff.

“Do you assume you don’t, just because we slept together?” she volleyed, but Hades didn’t falter, didn’t flinch.

“No,” he said, “but I do assume based upon what I have come to know and understand about you, that you have no intention of attempting to publish this.”

Hackles rising, Miho had to bite down on her tongue to prevent a snapping retort from escaping.

Hades, meanwhile, smiled at her mildly.

“Are you angry because I am making such an assumption, or, because in making it I’ve robbed you of the opportunity to make the grand reveal?”

Miho couldn’t help but react to this, but before she could stand out of indignation, Hades had placed his hand over hers in a light grip.

“But I will ask anyway,” he told her, much more seriously. “If – now knowing what you know, and feeling about it how you feel – you will please uphold HERA’s policy of secrecy, for reasons not borne of anything other than to protect?”

His please hit her exactly where it was meant to.

“Oh, see that’s not playing fair,” Miho grumbled, and Hades’ reply – that could have been amused – remained serious.

“All’s fair in love and war, I’m told,” he declared, his thumb moving slowly over the back of her hand, and Miho straightened a little.

“We’re not at war, Hades,” she responded carefully. “Our opposition came about because you and HERA were acting all shady. Anyone with an ounce of concern for civil liberties and proper authority would be concerned.”

“If that were true, I’d have had a whole lot more than you to contend with,” he said easily, eyes unwavering.

“Lucky for you then,” Miho nodded, finding it increasingly difficult to ignore the soft sensation of his skin against hers.

It traced warm little arches back and forth, a sweetly idle but entirely purposeful motion that rippled to other parts of her body.

“I should go,” she announced, exhaling the last word as she began to shuffle sideways, but Hades’ grip tightened and she stalled. “Come on, I need to go begging to my editor to lift my suspension, or my diet for the foreseeable future will be cup noodles.”

“Work for HERA,” he said, a statement delivered with certainty.

“Excuse me?” Miho blinked.

“You have a way with words,” he explained as she settled back, “I’ve seen plenty of evidence of that. You’re driven, fearless, even if sometimes far too irresponsible, but I’ve also had the privilege of witnessing you throw down a fully grown, and well trained agent, so you’re hardly helpless.”

“You don’t… owe me anything,” she told him slowly, trying to figure out his motivation, despite the glowing resume he’d just recited. “You don’t need to buy my silence; you already know I’m not going to publish anything that could compromise HERA.”

“That’s not why I’m offering,” he responded, but Miho remained suspicious.

“And I don’t need recompense for the other night, either,” she added, and this caused Hades to frown.

“You think so little of me? That I’m the type of man to offer someone a job because I slept with her?” he articulated, a thin fissure of hurt wearing into his expression.

Miho swallowed. She had reached across the table and slapped him in the face with her comment, her handprint brightly outlined on his cheek.

“Or maybe,” he continued, his hand withdrawing, “that’s the type of man you’re used to.”

“Hades, you’re not a man,” she exhaled, slumping a little. “And I’m sorry for questioning your integrity, you know, everyone speaks of you so highly, so reverently, it just doesn’t make sense.”

“What, doesn’t make sense?” he pressed.

She sighed again.

“Me, after no sleep,” she groaned, and rubbed her eyes. “I need some downtime, uninterrupted sleep.”

“Right,” he conceded, voice tight. “You should go home and rest properly.”

“Yeah,” she agreed, and finally managed to get to her feet.

Maybe she’d have kissed him, at least on the cheek, but it didn’t seem appropriate now.

“If you’re staying on Earth for a while, make sure you’re eating properly, what with Persephone not here to keep an eye on you,” she offered instead.

“If you’re so worried,” he replied, looking up at her as she stepped beside him, “consider my offer; you can keep an eye on me yourself.”

“I’ll think about it,” she agreed, and with one last awkward nod, Miho headed out of the cafe.

It wasn’t until she stepped onto the street and was hit in the face by the cool air, she realised her cheeks were on fire. Her body was tense, uncomfortably so, and her hands had made fists all by themselves.

“That could have gone better,” she muttered to herself, then, with a careful look around the street, she began in the direction of home.

Day 28

After sleeping like a rock, Miho woke to find a text message from Hades.

Now you can call and abuse me if I don’t show up on time…

At this Miho snorted. The message went on to detail the employment he’d offered, and with growing interest she explored the terms.

“Wow,” she exhaled, shaking her head. “This is… wow.”

A position in HERA’s media department writing cover stories. It was the absolute opposite of what she’d been pursuing her whole life, the opposite of her stance on lies.

She would become ‘The Man’, and that idea made her feel very awkward. Still, she could not deny, she wished she hadn’t seen the rotting faces of the zombies that had attacked Olympus – even now, safe in her apartment, she felt a creeping fear that just outside there would be more, or worse, someone she knew or cared for had become one.

Mieke came to mind, and Miho scowled fiercely at her phone.

Aside from the outline of the position Hades offered – hrr hrr – the salary and insurance package was far and beyond anything she could have hoped to achieve in journalism.

Then she had to weigh up the merits and pitfalls of having Hades as her boss.

Was that another nail in the coffin of their ‘not really’ relationship? Sleeping with the boss was never a good idea.

Sighing, Miho rolled over and texted Mieke. She was, after all, an employee of the organisation, and likely knew Hades far better.

That’s a tough one. You know it’d be cool to work together… but I also know how you feel about the whole cover up thing. Follow your heart?

“Follow my heart? Really Mieke?” Miho growled. “So not helpful.”

Still sprawled out in bed, Miho glared at the also unhelpful ceiling until Hades’ face appeared there.

“No, no, no. Bad,” she huffed, finally dragging herself up.

Skipping breakfast thanks to a fridge containing only out-of-date items and a carton of pretty rancid milk, Miho headed for the mall. The shopping list on her phone allowed her to focus on something totally benign.

She wound her way up and down the shopping centre aisles, dropping this and that into her cart – many of which weren’t on the list – but it wasn’t until she’d nearly run over a toddler that she realised she’d spaced out.

“Sorry,” she murmured to the mother who glowered, but what she really wanted to say was she should keep her offspring on a leash.

Pure maternal instinct.

As she passed through the checkout, wincing at the total and realising her next credit card statement was really going to hurt, a rise in noise beyond the supermarket drew her attention toward the food court.

Rolling her cart in that direction, she was met very suddenly with a rush of people – frightened people, screaming, crying people – and not a single one of them paid her any mind.

“Gunman?” Miho thought, perhaps the most likely scenario, but rather than run, she rolled her trolley against the nearest shopfront, and dug her phone from her pocket.

Reporter mode, activated.

It wasn’t the first time she had put herself in harm’s way for a story; there was of course Minotaur, but she’d hadn’t seen this coming. No, there had been other times she’d resisted the instinct to flee, and forged on in search of an exclusive.

What she discovered, however, was no gunman.

Having slunk her way to the food court, what she found caused her body to seize up.

Tables and chairs were upturned, a thankfully empty pram nearby lying on its side. Food and drinks littered the floor, a multi-coloured mess of convenience splattered everywhere by people caught completely off guard.

“No,” Miho exhaled – a weak, shuddering breath.

“Help me,” came a rasping, desperate plea, and Miho spied a teenager on the ground nearby.

His expression told Miho he was not only petrified, but in considerable pain, as did the impossible bend of his leg mid-calf.

“Please,” he cried, his voice a little louder, and Miho motioned for him to be quiet.

Clumsy fingers fumbled for the text message Hades had sent her, and frantically Miho hit call.

“No, no!” the teenager cried suddenly, raising his voice loud enough to draw the attention of more than just the creature crawling close enough to grab his ankle.

“Fuck,” Miho dropped, abandoning her phone in favour of grabbing the metal leg of the nearest fallen chair.

With all her strength, she swung the chair at the zombie’s head, and with a sickening crack the blow made good purchase.

“Why here?” she hissed, throwing her weapon at the four shambling shapes that approached, before grabbing hold of the teen’s wrist. “This is going to hurt like hell,” she warned him, then began to drag him out of the food court along the polished floor. “Hades!” she shouted as they passed her phone still sitting on the ground. “Get to Astoria Mall, right now!”

They passed her trolley, but Miho – for obvious reasons – ignored it. Several times she tripped over something left behind by a fleeing shopper, but she and her semi-conscious cargo made it to one of many exits largely uninterrupted.

“Where is mall security?” she gasped, peeling off her jacket to place under the teen’s head, before checking for bleeding wounds.

She hadn’t seen any mall cops, and that was odd.

Sirens wailed in the distance, but Miho hoped HERA arrived first – if others entered the mall there was a real risk of further contamination, forget about the spread of undead rumours.

“No!” she barked suddenly, when a couple of men approached the doors outside of which Miho was camped. “No one else goes inside.”

For a few seconds they stared at her.

“Ma’am,” one began, but Miho chewed the end off the rest of what he’d been about to say.

“No really,” Miho insisted. “If you want to be helpful, go on and seal up any way those mad men can get out.”

“We need to move you back, Ma’am,” the other man declared, completely ignoring Miho’s imperative.

“Aren’t you listening to me?” she snarled. “The last time I saw these guys, they had explosives strapped to their chests and they did a whole lot of damage to nearby buildings!”

That caused the men to pause, but it had the desired effect. One of the men called for bomb squad backup, while the other barked orders at uniform police officers finally arriving on the scene. The downside to that was, her apparent knowledge of people performing terrorist activities, immediately placed her under suspicion, so as she and her injured teenaged friend were evacuated from the area, he was taken to a waiting ambulance, and Miho was place in custody.

“Well,” she mumbled to herself, “at least that bought some time?”

Watching from her place in the back of a police car, Miho actually managed a mirthless laugh at the relief she felt when she recognised several new additions to the crowd – suits and plain clothed HERA agents taking charge. And the uniforms simply relinquished control, while others, including the men who had ordered her to remain for questioning, argued a little before being overwhelmed.

“Yep, that’s how they roll,” Miho snorted.

“They?” asked a familiar voice, and Miho’s view was blocked by the appearance of Detective Yashitori. “Don’t you mean you?”

“Not yet,” Miho responded, looking up at the woman as she opened the back of the patrol car and motioned for Miho to get out. “I don’t know, maybe.”

“Officer Bryce says you’ve seen the perpetrators of this attack,” Narumi went on, studying Miho carefully, critically, “and is holding you for questioning because you also suggested they may have explosives?”

Licking her lips – a nervous tell to be sure – Miho searched the crowd of police and suits.

“So what did you see exactly?”

Another sigh emptied Miho’s lungs and she met Narumi’s gaze.

“What I saw was five, hmm maybe six men, old, worn looking with sunken cheeks,” she detailed. “Bloodshot eyes, the kind you get from being hyped up on meth or ice: aggressive clawing and biting and tearing anyone who got in their way.”

It was an accurate description, and similes weren’t lies.

At least Miho told herself that.

“You have experience with drugs?” Narumi enquired, raising a brow, and Miho chortled.

“Come on, Detective, this is New York and I’m a reporter.”

“Well, right now you’re suspected of involvement, or at the very least knowledge of, a terrorist act,” a tall, well build man announced as he sidled up to Narumi’s side.

“Meet Detective Tennoji,” Narumi smiled, but it dimmed as a shadow fell over her.

“A pleasure to meet you Detectives,” Hades greeted pleasantly, and Miho fought to keep from smiling herself.

Before they could speak, before they could ask, he handed Narumi a document.

“Miss Fujiwara has been released to my custody,” he told them.

“Like hell!” Tennoji growled, drawing himself up.

“On whose authority?” Narumi demanded to know, slightly more composed.

“It’s all in that document,” Hades explained, then took Miho’s arm.

Stubbornly, Narumi shoved the document at Tennoji, and grabbed Miho’s other arm.

“This is not a game of tug-of-war,” Miho frowned. “Detectives, please trust they know what they’re doing.”

“I’m far more interested in what you have been doing,” Narumi stated flatly.

“From what I have heard, Miss Fujiwara made a case for first responders not entering for fear of there being an explosion,” Hades reasoned. “Hardly the actions of a terrorist.”

“You’re going to help them cover this up now?” Narumi hissed at Miho.

“I think I was pretty forthcoming with what I saw, Detective,” Miho shrugged, only now pulling her arm away. “I’m no terrorist. I just happened to be here when this all went down and in all honesty, I’m still shaken.”

“Let’s go,” Hades prompted, giving Miho’s arm a slight tug.

Tennoji moved to intervene, but Narumi stopped him.

“I don’t know if they have explosives,” Miho said when they were out of earshot, “but it was the best I could do to buy ti…”

Prophetic maybe?

The blast sent a massive cloud of smoke and dust into the air at the centre of the mall complex, though Miho was unable to see it. As if by reflex Hades moved, and Miho found herself enveloped once more in Hades’ arms, his back to the beleaguered building inside which subsequent detonations sounded.

Screams rose up from the morbidly curious crowd well outside of danger’s range, and though they too were well out of harm’s reach, Hades continued to shield Miho until relative silence settled once more.

“Sometimes it sucks to be right,” Miho whispered, her eyes closed, her body rigid until Hades straightened.

“More people could have been injured, perhaps killed if you’d said nothing,” Hades responded, his breath shifting the hairs behind her right ear.

“And I… didn’t tell her what I really knew,” she breathed, consciously relaxing her body back against him.

“I didn’t think you would,” Hades smiled. “And I am glad you’re safe.”

Then he flinched as something cold touched his cheek. Looking up, his brows twitched at the sight of snow at the end of spring.

“Is that…?” Miho trailed off, also peering upward, and her question was answered as the snow began to fall like a blanket. “What the hell?”

Hades’ expression looked grim as he released her.


“You said you were shaken,” he focused back in, but she could tell his mind had no gone elsewhere. “Will you be all right?”

“I’m okay,” she nodded, chewing the inside of her cheek for a few seconds. “What do you need me to do?”

“I’ll have an agent take you home,” he replied, narrowing his eyes like he thought she might put up a fight – but she didn’t.

“If you can spare one,” she nodded.

“I can.”

Despite the chaos, the magnitude of what needed to be sorted, Miho was soon inside a company car being driven home.

Hades had touched her hand before she’d entered the cabin, a fleeting sign of affection though his expression remained serious. It was clear to her he was reluctant to let her out of his sight, and if she was honest, as the car moved away she felt less safe.

Exploding zombies should not be a norm.

At Miho’s apartment the agent lingered, making triple sure she was okay before he left.

After using her spare key to get in, all locks were double checked before Miho finally released some of the tension from her shoulders.

On her way to the bathroom, she glanced out the window at the snow that was falling like a billowing white.

“Ugh,” she grunted, turning on the bath taps.

Though the weather had been mild for weeks, the abrupt cold snap added to the fraying edges of her nerves. Then there were the two detectives to think about, eyeing her off like she was involved in terrorist activities and worse, covering it all up. She hadn’t lied to Narumi, but she hadn’t told the whole truth, and Miho realised just what a fine like she was walking.

With another grumble, Miho submerged herself deep in the tub, and let out a long, luxurious sigh. As the warmth sank through her skin to muscles tired from being tensed for action, more of her new reality sank in also.

“I’m a fuckin’ hero,” she whispered to the reverberating walls.

She had, after all, rushed headlong into dangers and dragged that boy – whose name she did not know – from the infections jaws of a slathering zombie.

“Oh shit,” she muttered, for two reasons.

One, because she was supposed to text Hades and hadn’t.

Two, because she had abandoned her phone in the mall.

She’d had to remember where her spare apartment key was, but it hadn’t twigged until that moment that her bag and belongings were not with her.

There wasn’t much she could do about it since she didn’t have a landline phone, and so she closed her eyes and inhaled a deep, steamy breath.

There she allowed herself to be suspected half way between awake and asleep, and time slipped away until she was jerked to attention by three solid knocking sounds from somewhere else in the apartment.

Sitting up, she strained to listen until the knocking came again.

“Damned broken doorbell,” she hissed, pulling herself up.

She gave her body a cursory dry before wrapping herself in a towel – whoever had come to visit would just have to deal with her moisty, dishevelled state.

“Okay, okay! I’m on my way!” she called, when the knocking sounded for a third time, this time more emphatically.

Hades blinked when Miho swung the door open, a grumpy frown affixed to the heat-flush of her face.

Drips fell from rebellious strands of hair that had escaped her messy bun, and the tucked-over knot keeping the towel around her looked set to unwind.

Likewise, Miho stared right back at Hades, suddenly wishing she hadn’t opened the door looking much like a drowned rat.

“You didn’t text,” were his first words, breaking the moment.

“Left my phone at…” she began, but he finished.

“At the mall,” he smiled, holding her handbag out to her.

Swallowing, Miho extended her hand, but the second she closed her fingers around the strap she froze.

His gaze, though fixed upon her face, seemed to smooth along her shoulders, along the ridge of her collarbones, and down to her barely concealed breasts.

With sudden desperation, Miho’s body demanded she drag Hades inside and devour him, but some small angel or demon in her mind told her not to; there was still the whole job offer thing to consider.

“Are you alright?” he asked, closer than he had been – somehow he’d stepped forward and she’d not noticed, sandwiching her hand and the bag between his body and hers.

“Ahh… I’m…” she said, but finishing that sentence proved difficult as his face drew closer. “Hades,” she whispered.

“No, I’m Hades,” he told her quietly, lips hovering before hers. “You, are Miho.”

“Right,” she swallowed, her free hand taking hold of his upper arm. “We shou…”

Tired of her hesitation perhaps, but more likely reaching the limit of his self-restraint, Hades silenced Miho with the ardent smother of his lips; and Miho crumbled, leaning into him with encouraging reciprocation.

In the doorway of her apartment, they bundled up all the day’s, week’s emotion, and let it melt away through the dance of their tongues and a transference of body-heat and passionate need.

All thought and rationality fled from Miho’s mind – her body simply responded as Hades backed her into the apartment and kicked the door closed behind them.

“No more polite,” he growled.

The confident roam of his hands beneath the towel, its path up her left side and to her breast, demolished the lingering remains of Miho’s self-control. Within seconds she found herself toppling back onto the couch, and Hades straddled her, tugging away his tie and pulling at the buttons of his shirt.

Awkwardly, vision a hazy blur of desire and urgency, Miho struggled with his belt buckle while her mind tried to figure the location of the nearest condom.

“Handbag, handbag,” she muttered, searching the lounge though her lust kept drawing her back to the final reveal of Hades’ perfectly chiselled chest, the definition of his pecs and abs.

“There,” Hades pointed at the floor behind Miho’s head, right where she’d finally abandoned it.

The bag, not her head.

The way he reached forward, laying his body against her, caused Miho to shudder with anticipation. She took the opportunity to kiss up his neck as he took hold of her handbag and dragged it within her reach. Miho dug a hand into it blindly as Hades sat back, wriggling to get out of his pants; once he’d achieved that, he took his shaft in one hand, and wormed his hand between Miho’s legs, rubbing fingers against her clit in firm strokes.

“How am I supposed to…” Miho whined, having difficulties pulling open the small zipper compartment where she kept a small supply of ‘just in case’ contraceptives. “Fuck… Hades, stop, stop, I can’t get the damned…”

Hades chuckled as she fumbled in frustration, but he was of little help, and Miho whimpered as he slowly burrowed two fingers into her moistness.

“Okay don’t stop,” she huffed, biting down on her lower lip, watching him stroke his cock, base to tip. “Uhh, that is sooo sexy,” she purred.

“Let me help you with that,” he smirked, releasing his erection and leaning over her again.

“Oh,” she breathed when he withdrew his fingers, and his head nudged against her entrance.

It was a really stupid thought, but suddenly Miho understood how easy it could be to say ‘fuck it’ and have unprotected sex. She wanted Hades to just throw all caution to the wind and pile drive her, the two of them as close as two people could be – but he did no more than tease, and a few seconds later rocked back triumphantly with the small foil packet in his hand.

“Quit smirking and get on with it,” she snarled, glaring, squirming beneath him.

“Still impatient,” he grinned, tossing the packet aside and rolling the condom over his length, before slowly licking his fingers.

“Hades,” Miho hissed, reaching her arms up and clawing at the air, and he was more than happy to indulge her need.

Running his thumbs along her inner thighs, he parted her legs and then leaned down to meet her hungrily lips. He groaned into her mouth, remaining poised at her entrance but holding back – and though he wanted her badly, the frenzy in her eyes was something to savour considering it had felt like she’d kept him at arm’s length since their first ‘encounter’.

When her nails dug more firmly into his shoulders and she bit down and held onto his lower lip, he finally relented, driving himself inside her to the delicious tension she squeezed around him.

Breathing came intermittently, gasps interrupted by their chests pressed together, by the strenuousness of Hades’ thrusts, and the frantic need to taste one another’s thirst.

“Miho!” came a call from outside the door, an urgent one at that, and the voice was followed by a second sentence and the unceremonious entrance of Mieke into the apartment. “I heard you were in a…”

Compromising position?

“Oh… god…” Mieke gawked, absolutely frozen but for her mouth that somehow kept moving. “Hades! Sir… wow… I mean, oh god, Sir!”

At Mieke’s abrupt arrival, Hades had laid down against Miho, curling his arms under her shoulders and sheltering her like he thought the interloper might be a threat – then he met Mieke’s wide-eyed shock.

Of course it was obviously what he and Miho had been doing, their lightly sweating bodies crushing together, Miho’s legs wrapped around the back of his thighs leaving his ass fully exposed.

“Worse timing ever,” Miho hissed out against Hades’ neck, nipping at the skin despite their situation.

“Agent Genever, if you could turn around?” Hades suggested, still a little breathless.

“Yes, buns… I mean Sir! Sir!” Mieke corrected quickly, spinning around, and the moment she had, Hades reluctantly eased himself out of Miho and stood up.

With a heavy sigh, Miho rolled over and looked up at him while he collected his clothing, pouting furiously.

“I’ll just…” he began, and Miho finished for him.

“Yep, go ahead, bathroom’s the first door on the left.”

With an apologetic look – like the interruption was his fault – he pecked her quickly on the lips then disappeared.

It wasn’t until she heard the door click that Mieke whirled around, just as Miho – still naked – sat up looking pissed off.

“Oh. My. God,” Mieke whispered conspiratorially, crossing the room but stopping short of sitting down on the couch that now seemed… um… contaminated? “Does this make you two official?”

“No,” Miho grumped. “It means you’re an exceptionally effective contraceptive.”

“Wait, wait, hold on,” Mieke blurted. “You two were trying for a baby?”

“Are you on crack?” Miho exclaimed. “I can barely look after myself let alone an infant, and even if I wanted babies… no. Cock-block.”

“I’m sorry,” Mieke grinned, her pale cheeks filled with colour. “But you know, what has been seen cannot be unseen so…”

“I suggest you unsee it,” Hades declared, appearing fully dressed.

Miho still sat there stark naked and not at all bothered by that fact.

“Right,” Mieke nodded, taking a step back from the couch and unable to meet Hades’ eyes. “I just wanted to check on Miho, but now I see she is… okay I’ll just…leave and let you two do… stuff.”

“Be careful in the snow, Agent Genever,” Hades warned, walking her to the door like it was his apartment.

“Sure thing, Sir, and sorry again for interrupting your… nothing… bye.”

Hades let out a heavy breath and remained staring at the door after it had closed behind Mieke, but he heard Miho laughing.

“There is no way she is ever going to forget your divine ass,” she grinned, and though he looked at her reproachfully when he turned, she only smiled the wider. “And once she gets over her shock, expect to get teased.”

“I would hope she’d know better,” he grumbled, flopping down onto the couch and dragging her into his lap.

Relaxing against him, Miho closed her eyes and let him kiss her briefly.

“Hmm are you hungry?” she asked him as her stomach gurgled. “I never managed breakfast and skipped lunch so…”

“I could eat,” he replied, planting his lips against her shoulder, and Miho lolled her head back.

“Food,” she clarified, patting his cheek before dragging herself up.

“You’re not going to cook like that are you?” he chuckled, giving her bum a light smack.

“Don’t be stupid,” she tsked. “I’m going to put an apron on.”

While Miho whipped something up, Hades watched her with a smile – a hungry smile. When he offered to help, she batted him away until food was laid out. As they ate, conversation danced around their interrupted exercise and what it might mean, and stayed away from the topic of explosions and zombies, and ended up instead talking about Mieke, right up until Miho yawned for the fifth time.

“Okay, I think it’s time I put you to bed,” Hades chuckled, taking up the dishes from the table and putting them in the sink.

“And after you’ve done that, what then?” Miho queried, standing behind him with their glasses in her hands.

Slowly, he turned to consider her, reading over her expression but ultimately responding with a question.

“What would you like me to do?” he asked.

“I knew you were going to ask that,” she grumped, reaching around him to put the glasses with the plates.

When she straightened, he brushed the back of his hand against her cheek, and without even thinking about it, Miho leaned toward the touch.

“Ugh, I want you to stay and keep the nightmares away,” she murmured, and Hades smiled.

“Gladly,” he told her gently, leaning forward and kissing her forehead.

Though a little begrudgingly perhaps, that he had made her say it, Miho led Hades to her bedroom.

She had put on more than an apron before cooking dinner, but little more than an unimpressive pair of sweatpants and a hoodie. That he still wanted to follow her to the bedroom when she was attired like that, encouraged her more than she thought it should.

“Arms up,” he instructed, but she batted his hand away when he reached for her.

“You may be considerably older than me, but I’m not harbouring any daddy fantasies,” she chided.

“How much do you like that outfit?” he enquired, peering at her so seriously, a serious response formed on her tongue.

“Er, it’s just some cheap running gear,” she shrugged, then flinched as purple light flashed around her in the shape of Hades’ reaper aura, slashing the fabric away from her body without casing her a single scratch.

“That, is cheating,” she told him sternly, and this time it was he who shrugged.

“Or is it merely using all resources to my advantage?” he asked, smoothing his large hands lightly over her shoulders.

“I mean it though, if you treat me like a child, I will definitely throw a tantrum,” she persisted, and Hades held up his hands.

“And I’m well aware of how intense those can be,” he chuckled, and Miho gave him a playful shove against his chest.

“I’ll get you a towel and, I probably have a spare toothbrush around here somewhere,” she told him, snagging a baggy t-shirt from under her pillow and slipping it over her head before heading back into the hall.

When she returned, Hades’ shirt was already hanging on her wardrobe door, and his belt was sliding free.

Swallowing another yawn, she nudged the folded towel against his back.

“Bathroom is the…”

“Found it earlier,” he pointed out.

“Oh, right,” she sighed, following up some mutterings about best friends.

And by the time Hades re-entered the bedroom, Miho was already tucked into bed on the left side.

Without hesitation, Hades moved to the right, slid in beside her, and snuggled her against him.

“I put my toothbrush next to yours,” he said against the top of her head, and Miho looked up at him with a slightly concerned expression, clearing her throat before responding.

“Um, I’m not sure that’s… that’s such a good idea.”

“And why wouldn’t it be?”

His question sounded innocent enough, but Miho knew he wasn’t that dumb.

“Next you’ll be wanting a drawer, then some room in the wardrobe,” she pointed out, speaking dramatically with her hands to cover the awkwardness.

Hades did not seem the slightest bit fazed.

“Would that really be so bad?” he queried calmly, and Miho rolled over and sat up to look down at him.

“Okay, fine,” she huffed, scowling as if the next things she spoke had been drawn from her using torture. “You know I… sex with you was amazing, but home visits and toothbrushes and drawers aren’t casual sex, they’re more than that, and you… I may act like I’m fifty feet tall, but I’m 5’11” and mortal but you… you’re not. You’re an actual god, immortal and powerful, and I don’t know many stories from history where that ever worked out happily ever after.”

“So far an accurate assessment,” he nodded.

“Then you see the problem I’m having here,” Miho exclaimed, but Hades shook his head, and pulled her against his chest by the wrist.

“You think I haven’t also had these thoughts?” he asked her, smoothing back the hair either side of her face. “The very moment I felt myself stir beyond mere physical attraction, I had to wonder if there was any point.”

Despite being the one to bring it up, Miho swallowed the lump suddenly in her throat.

“Perhaps we were simply drawn together by circumstance,” he continued evenly, but his fingers continued to sift through her hair, “caught up in this chaos not even a god like me has all the answers to, but there has never been anything false in how I’ve acted toward you. I’ve never done, or said anything I didn’t mean.”

“I… don’t know what this means,” Miho sighed, biting her lower lip in frustration, but Hades laughed.

“Are you truly so unaccustomed to the concept of love?”

“Whoa whoa, you’re just going to come right out and say it?” she rushed, attempting to sit up again, but Hades preventing her from rising.

“Would you have me call it something it’s not?” he offered. “You are not one for lies, I’ve learned.”

“Well, no I wouldn’t want you to lie,” she frowned, getting all tangled up in terminology and dogma. “But…”

“But what?” he prompted a little more flatly. “Have I misread the signs? Because if I have, I’ll…”

“No,” she admitted, but looked away like she was for some reason embarrassed.



“No,” she repeated. “It’s just that, I’m too old now to look for anything other than a future.”

“And there is no future with me?” he continued.

“I don’t know!” she admitted. “Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe a mortal should take odds she has a fighting chance of winning.”

“You did take a chance, picked a fight, with me in fact,” he pointed out. “And I’m telling you right now – you already won.”

Slack jawed, Miho just peered at him, lost for words.

“I will show you,” he whispered, brushing her cheek softly, “give me your trust, and I’ll show you.”

Gnawing at the inside of her cheek for a moment, searching his eyes, his expression for any trace of falsehood, of a game gods were purported to enjoy playing with mortals, Miho – finding none – dropped her chin a little, and leaned her head into his touch.

“You have my trust,” she declared breathily, finally lying down again, draping herself over his body and snuggling down.

“Jeez,” she muttered as he wrapped his arm around her, and she planted a kiss against his pec. “Our clashes, Minotaur, Olympus, the zombies, explosions… this… I feel like a stone being tossed about by a raging river, tumbling rapidly in one direction to some unknown destination.”

“The unknown isn’t all bad,” he reassured her with a kiss to the top of her head. “But even if it is, I’ll be with you to face it.”

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.