Silver Linings

by Ryuu Ouhi (龍王妃)
illustrated by DragonReine


There were some days where Kevin simply hated his job. Where something so horrifying, so unthinkably bad just blindsided him without sign or warning, and made him rethink his faith in humanity and wonder if he would be able to do enough good to make the world a slightly better place before they stuffed his ashes in an urn.

They got the calls minutes after the video stream went live online and the word ‘bombs’ and ‘destroy’ were said. They were already speeding out in their cruisers by the time the first explosions happened. But things escalated too quickly and the crazy bastard who claimed to be behind it had ended the whole thing with a bang that obliterated half of a school building – and himself – before they could even reach the nearest bombing site to the station. In the end, all the police could really do was help with the cleanup.

Cleanup. Hah.

As if they hadn’t spent the last ten hours scrubbing off the scorch marks and bloodstains with soap and water, instead of searching in piles of rubble and shifting chunks of concrete and twisted wires to pull out broken bodies and taking statements from hysterical witnesses and listening to the cries and moans of the injured and grieving over the piercing wail of ambulances and the screeching of megaphone-enhanced instructions.

Even the resident super-powered defender of justice was unable to reach there in time to prevent the worst of it. It wasn’t his fault – there was an actual, honest-to-God dragon rampaging in the Scottish countryside apparently (and Kevin really should get the first-hand story about that when he felt less like someone squeezed him through a noodle maker, because dragon, what the hell?), and because superheroes in the real world weren’t exactly common like they were in comics, their one hero was the only one who could deal with a nigh-invulnerable, fire-breathing reptile. He was still battling the dragon when the video started. Even when the dragon was dealt with it still took several minutes for him to fly across the East Atlantic to get back here. The bombings took less than fifteen minutes from start to finish; by the time their hero returned, there was little he could do except help put out the fires and clear away the larger pieces of rubble so it was easier for the emergency services to do their job.

“It’s almost midnight, and you’re still here?”

Jesus Christ. Kevin did not quite manage to jump out of his seat – too tired to even do that much – but his heart did bounce up to his throat before slamming back into his ribcage like a startled rabbit. He grimaced as he thumped his fist over the excessive pounding in his chest before he turned his swivel chair to glare at the being floating outside the one open window of his office. He’d hoped the fresh air would clear his head. It hadn’t helped. “Gilgamesh,” he said, in as polite a tone as he could manage, “don’t you have any world-saving to do?”

Gilgamesh met his glare with narrowed eyes. Given that said eyes were all glowing silver in iris and pupil, the effect was unnerving, if not downright frightening, to the average person. Thankfully, Kevin had a little over two years of practice with dealing with Neo-Eden’s Silver Star (as the media was so fond of calling the city’s pet superhero) that the pale gaze no longer brought the discomfited shudder he used to get when those inhuman eyes turned towards him.

“Commissioner Yang,” Gilgamesh said, his brow furrowing with something that looked like concern. “I do not know the exact daily schedule of your police, but I do not think that this is the normal hour for you to be in your office.”

“Wow, give the guy a cookie,” Kevin muttered, deciding that it wasn’t worth the bother to be even remotely civil. He already had a lot of paperwork to sort through on a daily basis and this disaster with the bombs only doubled the amount of papers he had to check, double check, sign and pass on for filing or further processing. All of that on top of a Really Bad Day only made Kevin less inclined to be patient, and dealing with a demigod from out of time that was still adjusting to the modern world and its foibles was really low on his list of fun things to do. He looked down at the papers and files scattered over his desk, and started sorting them into more organised piles, hoping that Gilgamesh took it as a hint to leave him alone.

There was the rustle of a silken cape and the faintest thump of boots’ landing lightly on cheap carpeting as Gilgamesh let himself into the office. Kevin resisted the urge to sigh. Of course, Gilgamesh didn’t pick up the hint, although Kevin suspected that the obtuse behaviour was deliberate. Ancient Mesopotamia no longer existed, but Gilgamesh still tended to behave with the arrogance of a king, following no rules or orders beyond those of his own making. Being more or less invincible and capable of punching through a building simply made it impossible to control him, despite several governments’ best efforts.

Might as well get some work done, Kevin thought. If he was actually busy instead of simply acting like it, Gilgamesh would have to leave eventually.

Trying to keep his eyes focused on reports instead of sneaking peeks at the demigod walking around in his tiny, cramped office was proving to be difficult, however. Kevin wasn’t blind, and while he had essentially quit the dating market long ago, he was just a man and couldn’t exactly stop himself from window-shopping, as it were. The purple and white bodysuit clung to every angle and plane of Gilgamesh’s muscular build, from broad shoulders to rounded ass to heavy thighs, all of it framed by the drapes of a deep blue cape that only emphasised just how freakishly tall he was. Kevin was not a small man, but being near Gilgamesh often gave him the impression that he would understand how his brother’s silly bonsai trees would feel if placed next to a great oak.

It was really unfair how even the ridiculous costume didn’t detract from Gilgamesh’s sheer physical presence and masculine beauty. If anything, it only made him more compelling. Privately – when alone in his apartment and desperately reminded that he had not been any semblance of a stable relationship for the past ten years – Kevin could furtively appreciate having to spend so much time around such a fine specimen of a man, even if it was only for work.

Right at this moment, though, Gilgamesh was only an unnecessary distraction, and Kevin cursed whatever higher powers decided that this was the best way to torment him.

“Where are your people?”

Kevin didn’t look up from the toxicology report in his hand, although he could feel the weight of Gilgamesh’s eyes on him. “I sent them home as early as I could afford to let them go. They needed to be near friends and family after the bo– after what happened today.”

“And you don’t?”

The question sounded genuinely curious, as if Gilgamesh expected an honest answer. Kevin’s lips twisted into a smirk that held no humour. “Most of my family don’t live here. Not all of us can fly to opposite sides of the world in an eyeblink, you know.” There were the expected phonecalls and emails, but beyond cursory questions to check that yes, he was alive, and yes, he was still mentally and physically intact, there was no other messages from his family. They avoided contacting the black sheep of the family whenever possible, and even the threat of bombs didn’t change that attitude.

“No loved ones at home?”

“No.” Kevin inwardly winced; it came out sounding far more snappish than he intended.

“Truly?” There was a note of surprise in that word. “No wife or children?”

Kevin snorted. “Times are different. Not everyone settles down to have a family even at my age.”

“No lover, then?”

“What is this, an interview?” Kevin raised his head and leveled a glare at Gilgamesh. “How is this any of your business, anyway?”

Gilgamesh blinked, his expression benign, almost to the point of innocence. “I am simply puzzled. You are a handsome man, with a respected place in your city and a good, kind heart. Surely you are not lacking in suitors.”

Yes, but very few are willing to stay when they realise that work will always come before them. “That is really, really none of your business,” Kevin said, trying to sound firm. He mostly succeeded.

It was very hard to appear stern when there was a steaming blush on his face, but hopefully Gilgamesh would interpret it as a sign of anger, instead of embarrassment from being called ‘handsome’. And he had turned back into a teenager without realising it, apparently. Great. He was forty-six and going gray at the temples and really too old to be so flustered by an offhand compliment, no matter how sincere it was.

Gilgamesh gave him a long, measuring look, which Kevin returned with a flat stare that, with luck, managed to hide just how unsettled he felt right at that moment. It took effort to not fidget under a gaze that made him feel like a slide being studied under a microscope.

A long, tense silence passed before Gilgamesh eventually shrugged and turned to look out the window. Kevin let out a breath he didn’t realise he had been holding, and slumped down in his chair, abruptly feeling even more exhausted than he was before. “Look, I have a lot of things that I need to deal with right now If you have nothing to do besides asking me stupid questions, I would appreciate it if you would kindly show yourself ou–”

“I came here to take you home.”

“Excuse me?”

“The deputy commissioner contacted me since no one was picking up the phone at your home and she said that you–”

Maddie contacted you?

“–are likely to be still at the police station, and that if you are then you are in no fit state to be driving home by yourself,” Gilgamesh continued, talking right over Kevin’s outraged shout. He turned his head slightly to look at him from the corner of his eye. “I am inclined to agree with her.”

It took longer than Kevin cared to admit to stop gaping at Gilgamesh. “I can take care of myself, thank you very much,” he bit out. Goddamn Maddie and her fussy mother-hen ways. “I’ve stayed at work longer than this before.”

The next thing he knew, Kevin found himself turned around with Gilgamesh leaning over him, his wrists pinned down on the arms of his chair by a pair of very large and very strong hands.

He reared back, startled, his head thumping against the back of the chair. Gilgamesh, damn the man, only leaned in closer, so unless he was willing to break a few bones struggling to get free, he was well and truly trapped.

His mouth went dry as he was suddenly aware of that only a few inches separated Gilgamesh’s face from his. That, if he wanted – dared – to, he could simply lean in and press their mouths together.

Oh God.

“You are a man of habit, Commissioner, and I know that barring urgent interruptions, you will wake up everyday at 6AM,” Gilgamesh said, his breath ghosting over Kevin’s lips, he was that close. “You spent a significant amount of time today dealing with the aftermath of the bombing with no real breaks, which means you have spent almost eighteen hours awake and under far more physical strain than the usual.” His eyes narrowed, and oh, hello, he had nice lashes, long and thick, which Kevin wouldn’t have noticed if Gilgamesh wasn’t within kissing distance. “And if what the deputy commissioner told me was correct, you will also be emotionally weary, seeing as the bombing was an act of revenge by the son of your predecessor. A man whose father was jailed for corruption because of you.”

I lost my dad because of you, Commissioner.

The memory of a pale, haunted face recorded by a blurry laptop webcam slammed into him, together with a voice that was distorted by the crackling of a cheap microphone, but carrying so much venom and malice that not even the noisy recording could muffle it.

My dad poured his heart and soul into keeping this city safe.

Now you’ll know how it feels when the city you love is taken away from you.

The guilt that had been brewing since he heard what was being said on the video threatened to overwhelm him, and he squeezed his eyes shut, but there was nothing he could do to keep it away.


The hands on his wrists tightened. Not painfully, but it reminded him that he wasn’t alone in this room. And that this wasn’t the best place or time to have an emotional meltdown. Fuck.

Maddie was right, as she tended to be. He really doubted he could summon the energy to drive all the way home.

He sucked in, and then let out a shuddery breath, before opening his eyes and meeting the concerned ones watching him. “Let me get my coat.”


Kevin had traveled by Air Gilgamesh only once before, and at that time he had been delirious from some exotic experimental-drug-turned-toxin, courtesy of a mad scientist who’d thought she could manufacture Gilgamesh’s abilities in convenient liquid form. Taking Kevin to some top-secret facility on an entirely different continent had been the only way to save him from his bones branching and literally tearing him to pieces from the inside, and Kevin couldn’t remember any of that trip.

Standing under the heavy spray of hot water raining over him, Kevin felt a twinge of regret that his mind was too fogged with guilt over the bombing to do more than vaguely appreciate that he had just spent a good couple of minutes plastered chest-to-chest with a well-built superhero as he was flown to and dropped off on the rooftop of his apartment complex.

The disturbing part was how comfortable he was. He had been held in place only by a pair of strong arms wrapped securely under his arms and around his waist, flying high up enough that he saw his breath waft out as a puff of condensation at one point, and yet he never felt more secure.

More cared for.

He sighed to himself as he viciously twisted the knob of his shower, abruptly cutting it off. Stupid. Pathetic and stupid, to lust over a man who was (to put it mildly) way out of his league and highly unlikely to return his feelings. If this was how a midlife crisis was supposed to be like, he understood why the girly magazines he knew Maddie liked to read often cautioned about how dangerous it could be.

A loud rapping sounded on the door. “Commissioner Yang? You’ve been there for far too long. Are you sure you’re all right?”

Oh, for the love of–

Snarling, Kevin stalked over to the door and yanked it open to glare at the arrogant, stubborn, spandex-clad idiot standing outside it. “Really? Really? It’s bad enough that you had to carry me home, and now you had to check in on me like I’m some kind of–”

…Gilgamesh wasn’t wearing his suit.

Kevin blinked. Stared.

Long-sleeved, dark blue shirt that looked like it was made of silk, just tight enough to show the broadness of Gilgamesh’s shoulders and the thickness of his arms without looking restrictive, buttoned only halfway up so a good deal of bare chest was on display. Black jeans that hugged the length of Gilgamesh’s legs as if they were sprayed on. No shoes, showing long narrow feet, the dark skin contrasting sharply with the faded, pale brown of the carpeting.

Kevin gulped.

A naked Gilgamesh, he could handle. Probably not very well, but he’d imagined it often enough that it wouldn’t seem so strange. But Gilgamesh in normal clothes… that wasn’t something he was prepared for.

Gilgamesh looked… approachable. Comfortable. Devastatingly attractive, even more than when he wore his hero suit, which Keven haven’t thought possible. And without the shoes, weirdly intimate.

“Yang?” A warm hand pressed its palm on his brow.

The touch burned, a searing jolt that pulled him back to reality, reminding him that Gilgamesh was in his bedroom, while Kevin was gaping and standing naked in front of a man who had been the main subject of his mastubatory fantasies for longer than he dared to admit.

He stepped back, away from that touch, and slammed the door in Gilgamesh’s face.

He gave himself a little breathing room while he dried his hair and willed away the burning flush on his face.

Well, it could be worse, he thought as he wrapped a towel around his hips. At least you are old enough that popping an instant boner isn’t exactly a problem anymore.

Schooling an appropriately irritated expression on his face, he opened the door and stepped out, pointedly ignoring Gilgamesh as he padded over to his bed. “Did Maddie tell you to do this too?” he asked as he picked up the sweatpants he’d dropped there earlier.

Gilgamesh was silent as he struggled to put the pants on while the towel was still wrapped around him. It wasn’t a particularly difficult maneuver, but his awareness of a good-looking demigod standing just a few feet away made his fingers clumsy when they tried to tie the drawstrings. Especially when he was very well aware that Gilgamesh had been staring at him. Was still staring at him, apparently, as he turned around and found himself looking right back at Gilgamesh’s eyes.

The patrician face was blank, though, neutrally devoid of expression, and Kevin couldn’t even begin to guess at what was going through Gilgamesh’s head.

“You haven’t answered my question,” Kevin said, as the silence stretched and grew more awkward.

Gilgamesh frowned, his eyes drifting over to look around the room, breaking the staring contest. “Madeline told me to take care of you.”

Kevin inwardly groaned. One of these days, Maddie, you and I are going to sit down, and we are going to have a little talk about the difference between being a caring partner and being an interfering busybody. He spread his arms, palms facing out. “Well, I am home now, safe and sound. I’d say your work is done here.”

“Safe, yes, but sound, that I am not so sure of.” Gilgamesh waved his hand at one of the bedroom walls. “Your ‘home’ is bare. Empty. Not literally,” he said, as Kevin opened his mouth to argue. “I meant that it is devoid of life. As sterile as a hospital room, with no comfort to be found. I find it hard to imagine that you could find this place even remotely restful.”

Kevin crossed his arms over his chest. “Since when did you care what my home looks like?”

“Since I am a friend and I actually do care for you, without needing your deputy’s prompting,” Gilgamesh snapped, eyes briefly flashing white, and oh, wow, that was probably the angriest Kevin had ever seen him in a long while. “Although you make it very, very hard for anyone to care for you, and I am starting to think that you are deliberately doing that.”

The accusation stung like a slap, and before Kevin became aware of it he had crossed to room and had pulled his fist back to throw a punch. A stupid act, in hindsight, given that Gilgamesh was invulnerable enough to survive being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade without showing a scratch, and throwing a punch would basically mean a broken hand for Kevin. But before the punch landed a hand had wrapped around his wrist and firmly, if gently, pushed him away.

Kevin stumbled back a few steps before he found and regained his footing – and his anger. “Okay, first of all, you are not a friend, just a superpowered freak who decided to make this city your playground, therefore making you another complication when it comes to keeping this city safe. Secondly, it doesn’t matter whether or not I make it hard for people to ‘care for me’, as you put it, because it is none of your fucking business.

Gilgamesh snarled. Actually snarled. Bared teeth and all. “You claimed you can take care of yourself, but you constantly run yourself ragged and put yourself in harm’s way, even when it is unnecessary. That is not the act of a man who takes care of himself.”

“I have a responsibility and that is to keep this city safe! I will do what is necessary, whatever it takes, so I do not fail like I–” Kevin heard his voice turn ragged, choked, and he stopped, not sure if he could finish the sentence, not when his eyes started to sting. He pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes and just… breathed. Swallowed, felt the salty tang of unshed tears trickle down the back of his throat.

Barefoot, Gilgamesh was as silent as a cat – Kevin didn’t even realise that the other man had moved until he felt his hands’ being gently pulled down, and then a pair of arms snaked around him and dragged him into a tight hug.

“It wasn’t your fault,” Gilgamesh murmured in his ear. “You couldn’t have known that the boy would do what he did.”

“I took his father away from him,” Kevin muttered into Gilgamesh’s shoulder.

“Because his father was working with the criminals of this city and therefore a danger hiding in plain sight. A man who truly cared for his city would not have broken the laws that he was supposed to enforce. That is not the act of a man who wanted to keep his city safe.”

“I’m not so sure.” Kevin laughed, a harsh and mirthless bark. “When I made him confess to what he had been doing without letting him know he was being aired live, I knew I was upsetting a decades-old power balance. The gangs might not have decided to openly take over the city if I haven’t pulled that public stunt.”

“But you shut down those gangs, correct?”

“… Eventually.” At the cost of so many lives: cops who had died in the line of duty and the civilians caught in the crossfire.

“So you proved that there wasn’t a need to keep the gangs pacified. That they could in fact be removed, and there was no true need in letting them freely run the city as they wished.” Kevin felt lips press against his temple, and he felt his stomach flip over once he realised what that sensation was. “The boy idolised his father to the point of madness. You may have been the one that took his father away, but it was his own sick mind that drove him to justify his actions today as suitable ‘payback’. It isn’t your fault. It never was.” There was a beat of silence. “Unless you have some strange ability to drive people criminally insane, in which case I will be obligated to subdue you.”

This time the laugh that burst out of Kevin’s throat was of genuine amusement. “No, I do not have that sort of ability, thank God.” He raised his head and leaned back slightly, so he could properly look at Gilgamesh in the eye. “You know, I am starting to think that Maddie actually had nothing to do with you picking me up from my office.”

Gilgamesh raised his eyebrows. “Oh?”

Kevin smirked. Aha. “I am a damn good detective, Gilgamesh, and I also happen to know Maddie quite well, given that I have worked with her since we both graduated from the academy. I had been doing some thinking during my shower, and I just remembered that Maddie wouldn’t have contacted you, not willingly, given that she is terrified of you. Which means that while she may have actually called my house phone to check on whether I had arrived home, it was because you asked her where I was. Since I accidentally dropped and broke my cell during the cleanup, I couldn’t be contacted directly, and my home was the next best bet at that time.”

Gilgamesh didn’t say a word, but the silence alone was answer enough.

“Why did you look for me, Gilgamesh?” Kevin asked. Blunt. To the point. And he made sure that he gave Gilgamesh a look that told, without words, that he expected an honest answer.

Gilgamesh tilted his head to one side, his expression thoughtful. Cautious.

Just when Kevin think that he would be getting a non-answer, Gilgamesh sighed, muttered a phrase in a language that had been extinct for a very long time, bent his head, and set his lips to Kevin’s in a delicate kiss.

Kevin’s mind went blank.

Shock reverberated through him, and he felt every single muscle in his body freeze with it.

He wasn’t sure, but he thought the pressure on his lips wavered for the briefest of instances, before it firmed, pushed on.

Then the shock passed, and Kevin closed his eyes, raised a hand to cup Gilgamesh’s nape, fingers shifting through thick, snow-white curls, and kissed back; parted his lips and flicked his tongue against the lush, sensual mouth that he had dreamed of exploring for months.

He felt the powerful body shudder against his, felt a startled gasp against his mouth, and then it was no longer a kiss.

A large hand speared through his hair, cradling the back of his head – holding him captive – before Gilgamesh tilted their heads, angled their mouths better, and devoured him. Mouth opening over his, tongue thrusting in to explore, to caress and tangle with his.

Kevin mentally laughed, feeling weirdly giddy, and gave back as good as he got.

It’d been so long – too long – since he had ever let anyone this close, or sought anyone for sex, and Kevin realised that he had missed that, the physical closeness, more than he cared to admit. To feel another body pressed against his, a long line of heat over the front of his body as the arms that had been encircled around his waist tightened, drew them closer, surrounding him with a blatant strength that thrilled and fascinated him.

One of Kevin’s hands had fallen to grip Gilgamesh’s upper arm, and Kevin could feel the steely tension of the muscles beneath the silk, the escalating need in the subtle shifting of the hips pressed against his.

Kevin tightened his fingers in Gilgamesh’s hair and tugged, firmly pulling their mouths apart, so he could see Gilgamesh’s face, but mostly so he could speak.

“I need to tell you something,” Kevin breathed, biting back a groan as Gilgamesh, undeterred by the broken kiss, pressed his mouth to Kevin’s chin and starting nibbling along the line of his jaw. “If this is meant to be just a pity fuck, I will do my very best to throw you out the window, so help me God.”

“I have desired you since you drew your gun on me and demanded my name and origin,” Gilgamesh murmured against his skin, and Kevin felt the smile that accompanied those words. “And I was not lying when I said I cared for you.” Gilgamesh lifted his head, and there was a look of such greedy hunger on his face that Kevin felt his dick twitch at the sight of it. “Rest assured that if I have my way, this will only be the first of the many, many times I will enjoy myself with you.”

“Christ, don’t just say that,” Kevin gritted, dropping his hands down so he could wiggle them between their bodies and start undoing the buttons on that sinful silk shirt. “That is creepy and possessive and not sexy at all.”

“Oh, really?” Gilgamesh reached down and closed his hand around the outline of Kevin’s dick through his sweatpants at the same time he set his teeth to the side of Kevin’s neck and bit, making Kevin jerk and swear a blue streak. “This tells me that you think otherwise.”

“I claim temporary insanity,” Kevin panted, biting back a whimper as that hand started stroking up and down. “Had a long day and I am delirious, clearly, and oh, fuck it,” he snarled as the small buttons continued to elude his shaking fingers. Gripping dark blue silk in his hands, he yanked, heard the satisfactory pops as buttons were ripped off the shirt.

Gilgamesh laughed, and Kevin wasn’t really sure what happened, but he was suddenly flat on his back, his head spinning as he stared up at the ceiling, while he felt his pants being pulled down his legs. Super speed, right, he managed to think, right before a hot, wet, eager mouth sank right over his dick.

Kevin yelped. Gilgamesh hummed, and oh God he could feel that because the sneaky bastard had swallowed all of him. Kevin’s fingers were tangled in Gilgamesh’s hair tight enough to be painful to anyone not imbued with superpowers, his hips thrusting up and sliding his dick into Gilgamesh’s throat.

The best/worst part was that Gilgamesh was letting him fuck that throat and enjoying it, because Kevin could feel the vibrations of his moans and Gilgamesh was looking up at him with the kind of hazy determination that Kevin recognised as belonging to someone who really, really loved sucking cock. Very definitely not going to last, Kevin thought hazily as he felt his balls tightening, and then there was a thumb sliding up behind his balls to press against his perineum and that was it. Kevin was gone, coming hard enough that he swore he saw stars as he gasped and cursed and shuddered through it while Gilgamesh greedily swallowed almost every drop.

Fuck, fuck,” Kevin hissed as he watched his dick slipping out of Gilgamesh’s mouth. He yanked at Gilgamesh’s hair, pulling him up. “Come on, come on, get up here.” Gilgamesh crawled up and over him, which thank fuck for small mercies because Kevin’s muscles had turned to jelly and he didn’t think he had the strength to pull Gilgamesh up for a hungry kiss if he had not cooperated. Kevin chased after his own taste on Gilgamesh’s tongue, pulling back briefly to lap up the stray trail of come that was trickling out a corner of that evil mouth.

He could feel Gilgamesh panting, hot breaths brushing against his cheek, and he couldn’t help the smile as he lowered his hand to close it around a very well-proportioned cock, their fingers tangling together.

Kevin,” Gilgamesh said, and there was so much longing in that one word that Kevin had to kiss him again, and it only took a few pulls before Gilgamesh gave a muffled shout against his mouth and Kevin’s grip went slick and slippery.

As far as first times together went, that wasn’t bad at all, Kevin thought through the deeply sated fog that had started to drag him down to sleep, with Gilgamesh sprawled alongside him.


Kevin woke up to the sound of Gilgamesh speaking into his phone.

He cracked an eye open and saw Gilgamesh sitting at the foot of his bed, wearing only the black jeans and speaking into the cordless handset, his voice too low for Kevin to hear the words properly. His torso was faintly damp, as was his hair, which told Kevin that someone had just made use of his shower. The sunlight streaming in through the windows shone on the lingering drops of moisture on his skin and turned the white curls into a brilliant halo, so Gilgamesh looked like a bizarrely angelic statue cast in dark bronze.

I could get used to this, Kevin thought, closing his eye again and burrowing deeper into his pillow.

And then he realised what was wrong with that vision.

His eyes snapped open,

The room was brightly lit with sunlight.

He scrambled to sit up, but a hand pressed against his chest and quite firmly pushed him down. He stared incredulously at that hand, before he raised narrowed eyes to Gilgamesh’s smirking face.

“He’s awake now,” Gilgamesh said to the phone, at a more normal tone. “Yes, he just realised how late it is, and yes, he’s glaring at me, so I believe I can say that he is indeed angry about it. Do you wish to speak with him?” Gilgamesh listened briefly to whatever the person on the other end had to say, and then laughed. “You are welcome to try.” He held the phone out to Kevin.

Kevin rolled his eyes and placed the phone against his ear. “Hello?”

Kevin,” Madeline – Maddie – breathed, her voice relieved. “Oh, thank God. Are you okay?”

“Morning to you, Maddie,” Kevin said drily. “Why do I get the feeling that you just threatened Silver Star?”

“Kevin, you are late to work, which is something you haven’t done since, oh, at least four years ago, and when I called you he was the one that picked up your phone. How was I supposed to react to that?”

“With a little less rashness, for starters. You do realise that he’s a demigod, right?”

“You are my boss and best friend,” Maddie retorted. “I figured it was worth the risk if he did something. But since you’re alive and… well, not dead or anything, I just want to let you know that if you decide not to check in today we can cover for you. And before you argue, sir,” she said when Kevin sucked in a breath to do precisely that, “I would like to remind you that you have a whole department working for you, all of them trained to your exacting standards. The world won’t end just because you decide to take a day off.”

Kevin chewed on his lip, debated going to work anyway, then remembered that Maddie, while a head-and-a-half shorter than he was, also happened to be one of the best hand-to-hand fighters he had ever had the honour of losing to, and if she really thought it was necessary she could and would knock him out and dump him back at the front door of his apartment.

“Fine,” he sighed. “One day. After that, I am heading back.”

“Why, thank you, sir,” she snarked. “I suppose miracles do happen.”

Kevin heard Gilgamesh chuckle, and suddenly he was there, mouth opening over his and dragging him into a messy, noisy kiss that ended before Kevin could think to respond to it. “I need to check on a few things,” Gilgamesh said as he straightened. “There’s a dragon corpse that needs to be disposed of, and I don’t think the UK government knows how to deal with it effectively. I’ll come by again after I deal with that.”

Kevin blinked. “Right. Take care then.”

Gilgamesh smiled, just a tiny self-satisfactory curve of his lips, as he floated out through a window and vanished from sight.

He left the shirt on Kevin’s bed.

Kevin was staring at it, vaguely annoyed that Gilgamesh would just leave it there, when he heard a throat-clearing sound from the phone.

“…Was that sound what I think it is?”

Shit. “None of your business, Maddie.”

“…Right.” Maddie said. “Well, I suppose… congrats? Can’t say I’m surprised, seeing as you two practically have eyesex each time you look at each other–”


“Oh, come on, you know it’s true. Though I really wasn’t expecting it to get resolved so quickly, given that giant stick up your ass when it comes to relationships. Although at least now it’s a different sort of stick–”

Kevin groaned. “I hate you.”

“No, you don’t,” Maddie said, sounding far too gleeful. “But at least now I know the real reason you were late today. See you later!”

Kevin pulled back to glare at his phone before he turned it off and dropped it beside the pillow, which he then flopped back on.

After a moment, he reluctantly reached out and pulled the shirt towards him so he could bury his nose in it and breathe in the lingering traces of sweat and musk.

There were some days where Kevin simply hated his job. The pay kind of sucked and the hours were terrible and there was too much responsibility and sometimes Kevin wondered if he actually ever managed to make a difference in the world. Tomorrow would likely bring more paperwork and there was still the aftermath of the bombing to deal with, and the days after that there would have more crimes to solve, more criminals to hunt down, and he had the unique ‘privilege’ of having to monitor a nigh-uncontrollable superhero while juggling all of the other aspects of his job.

…Well. At least he could live an interesting life before he died. He supposed that was reward enough.

Feeling the cool silk slide under his cheek, Kevin allowed himself a grin.

illustrated by DragonReine


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