Zagreus came home to the sound of rustling from the kitchen. Which was never a good sign.
“I’m home,” Zagreus warned.
“Ah!” something yelped from the kitchen and Zagreus didn’t recognize the voice. There was a bump. A clatter. A pause. Then more rummaging. Which was an even worse sign.
Zagreus carefully walked through his apartment, rolling his steps from inside to out to keep them as careful and as quiet as possible, despite having already announced himself. As if he were sneaking up on a skittish animal. He rounded the corner to peer into their shared kitchen to see what monstrosity could be waiting inside.
A man Zagreus had never seen before was crouched down at their bottom shelf pantry, pulling out bags of chips and boxes of cereal. Zagreus’ protein powder was knocked over onto its side and Thanatos’ questionable vegetarian boxes were neatly stacked into a pyramid. The freezer door was open, seeming frosted mist, and a carton of ice cream had been opened with a spoon sticking out.
The man on the floor was dressed in an oversized t-shirt and shorts. They could have been underwear or cloth shorts and Zagreus wasn’t sure he wanted to find out the answer to that particular distinction. He had long lanky limbs with bony wrists and ankles. Zagreus could see the bumps of his spine from his hunched over neck. A mop of messy white hair crowned his head, curly and sticking up at awkward angles.
At Zagreus’ entrance, the creature on the floor whirled in place. Sleepy golden eyes looked up at him.
“Hello,” the creature said, as if nothing were wrong.
Zagreus wasn’t sure what to say to that. He simply stood in the doorway, holding the frame, brows furrowed.
“. . .hey?” was all he could manage.
The creature stood up, scooping up an open jar of peanut butter. Zagreus recognized it as his brand because Thanatos would ‘never be caught dead eating non organic peanut butter.’ A spoon stuck out of it like a sail.
“You must be the roommate,” the creature said.
He scooped out a spoonful of peanut butter, put the whole thing in his mouth, and then put the spoon back in the jar. Zagreus’ wide eyes followed the spoon through the whole awful ordeal before looking back up at the odd man in his kitchen.
“Uh. . . yeah?” he said.
“You sure about that?” the creature asked mirthfully. “You seem unsure.”
He took another bite of peanut butter despite having not finished the first and was talking around the mouthful that stuck to his tongue.
“Are you breaking and entering? Do I need to call the cops?” asked the man who had clearly invaded his home.
“No, no I live here,” Zagreus said. He shook his head, finally getting over the shock. “Who are you?”
“Oh, Thanatos said it was okay for me to crash here,” the creature said. “I work nights and his apartment is closer to work than mine.”
That didn’t explain anything at all. The creature scooped up a large red comforter Zagreus had never seen before and draped it over his shoulders like a cape. He grabbed the sides and pulled it close, his arms crossed over his chest. He yawned loudly, a hand coming up over his mouth, and Zagreus was thankful he had swallowed the peanut butter.
“I fell asleep on the train ride home last week,” he said, rubbing his eye and sniffling loudly. “Ended up waking up an hour away from home. He said it was better if I just crash here if I need it.”
“O-okay?” Zagreus asked.
The creature smiled, wide and sleepy, dimples forming at the corners of his lips. He walked past Zagreus, practically floating dreamlike as he slumped out of the kitchen. He was taller than Zagreus, which wasn’t bizarre, Zagreus wasn’t exactly a giant, but something about the rail thinness of his limbs made the creature look stretched out.
He pat Zagreus’ shoulder on the way out.
“Thanks so much, this means a lot,” he said and beelined to the couch. “You’re out of milk by the way.”
He flopped over the arm, landing face first into the cushions, his foot dangling off the side. He rested the open jar of peanut butter onto the coffee table and it precariously wobbled on the edge. The dangling foot slithered into the couch, long body coiling up and disappearing under the fluffy red comforter. Within seconds, Zagreus could hear snoring.
Zagreus watched the steady rise and fall of the comforter before turning to clean up the hurricane like mess in his kitchen. As he bent over to pick up a box of cereal, he realized he still had no idea who was on his couch.
Zagreus spent his evening in his room on his computer playing video games. Every so often he would peek his head out to check on the lump, but it hadn’t moved. Sometime before sunset there was a quiet knock on his door and the creature had poked his mop like head past the frame.
“I’m leaving now,” he said.
“Oh. Uh. Bye,” Zagreus said with a wave.
The creature smiled again, dimples forming, and waved back. As he stepped away, Zagreus saw jeans. Which confirmed that yes the shorts from earlier were indeed underwear. Zagreus pressed his lips into a thin line and went back to his video games.
Sometimes past sunset, Thanatos came home.
“I’m here,” he called out.
“Hey!” Zagreus called back.
He got up from his computer, stretching his back out, and his stomach complained for dinner. He stepped out to see Thanatos neatly putting his jacket on the hook.
“You forgot to take your shoes off again.” Thanatos pointed to his feet.
Zagreus and Thanatos had been roommates since college. They were roomed together at random their first year and requested each other their second. By year three, they got an apartment just off campus and lived there until graduation. It only made sense to continue the tradition when they both found employment in the same city.
Thanatos was persnickety, to put it lightly, but not too demanding of Zagreus. He only requested Zagreus keep the common space clean and try to keep quiet when he was asleep. All in all, Thanatos was a pretty good roommate. Fun to hang out with and they got along great.
Since starting up his new career, however, Zagreus had been seeing less and less of him, having been kept so busy with his job. It meant Zagreus had a quiet apartment all to himself which should have been an upside to most people, but he liked the company.
“Oh yeah, sorry,” Zagreus said, taking off his shoes. He walked them to the door and left them in a heap in front of the shoe rack. Thanatos carefully lined them up and slotted them away in one of the shelves.
He went to put his satchel down at the kitchen table to continue his work as he always did, when he was distracted by the jar of peanut butter on the coffee table. He picked it up by the pads of his fingers, pinky out, as if afraid to touch it. Thanatos looked up to Zagreus.
“We had a guest,” Zagreus said, almost accusatorily. “He said you invited him to sleep here?”
“Ah. Hypnos,” Thanatos said and walked the peanut butter to the kitchen.
“Hypnos?” Zagreus asked.
“My brother,” Thanatos called from the kitchen. “Twin.”
“Oh, the other brother.”
Thanatos didn’t talk about his family much. Zagreus had met his mother, Nyx, who came to visit often and Zagreus considered her a second mother. He had once met the older brother, Charon, when they were in a financial bind. He was quiet and very helpful, but a strange imposing presence. Zagreus thought he was alright.
Thanatos had mentioned his twin from time to time and it was always in the context of being a bit of a fuck up. After having met the man. . . Zagreus could see it. He felt bad, but he had met him with his pants off in his kitchen.
“Yeah he. . .” Thanatos stopped at the pyramid of boxes in the kitchen. Zagreus hadn’t wanted to put it away. The structure was the result of thought and he found it cute, despite the circumstances. Thanatos sighed, clicked his tongue, and went to cleaning that up too. “He fell asleep on a train.”
“Yeah he told me.” Zagreus leaned against the kitchen door frame.
“I just don’t want him to get into trouble,” Thanatos said. “Again.”
“You’re being a good big brother, I get it,” Zagreus said.
Thanatos looked over his shoulder.
“Technically I’m younger,” he said. “By 3 seconds. Hypnos likes pointing that out.”
Thanatos looked at his watch.
“Hey, don’t you have that thing with Meg?” he asked.
Zagreus jolted in place, all humor and blood draining from his face.
“Oh shit!” he said, snapping into action. “Oh shit, she's going to kill me.”
“Yes she will,” Thanatos chuckled.
Zagreus made a mad dash to change his shirt, put on deodorant, and straighten out his hair (as much as his hair would allow). He scooped up his sneakers from the neat little spot Thanatos hid them in and went for his hoodie on the coat rack.
His hand grabbed air.
Zagreus stared at the empty coat hook where his cold weather hoodie normally waited, frowning at its lack of presence. It wasn’t particularly fashionable, a dark red plain hoodie with three dog skulls rounding around the shoulder and a little twisting symbol over the heart. It was cozy and good for the fall when it was too warm for a winter coat, but too cold to go without anything.
Zagreus always left it on the hook.
“Hey, have you seen my hoodie?”
The next time Zagreus saw Hypnos, he literally walked into the string bean of a man. He was headed back from the gym and Hypnos was coming out of Zagreus’ apartment building, bundled up in an oversized puffy coat. Zagreus was a stout kind of person, more of a brick wall than anything, and Hypnos lost that fight. He staggered backwards, but at least managed not to fall.
Zagreus still reached out and caught him by the arm.
“Woah,” Hypnos said, voice flat and unphased, as if he wasn’t about to eat dirt. He blinked his eyes lazily, one at a time, until he focused on Zagreus again. That wide smile grew across his face. “I must not be awake yet.”
Zagreus smiled back, he couldn’t help it, and let go.
“Just woke up?” he asked.
“Something like that,” Hypnos yawned. He smacked his lips a bit, a sleepy pleased expression aimed just for Zagreus.
“Zagreus,” Zagreus said, holding out his hand. “We didn’t officially meet last time.”
“Hypnos.” Hypnos rested his hand on top of Zagreus’, fingers curling around Zagreus’ own stiff ones, as if to be kissed. His fingers were ice cold and Zagreus wondered if it was from the chill outside or if he had poor circulation like his brother. Hypnos shook Zagreus’ hand like that.
“Yeah,” Zagreus laughed. “Thanatos told me about you. So you’re his twin, huh?”
“Yeah, can’t you see the resemblance?” Hypnos unfurled long fingered hands to frame his face.
It was given as a joke, the two of them clearly fraternal, but Zagreus could see it. In the height, the complexion, the eyes. But where Thanatos was a classic kind of beauty, Hypnos was . . .
Unconventional and unkempt, clearly not the ‘my body is a temple’ type that his brother was, but adorable all the same.
He looked like he would give good hugs.
Zagreus laughed at the joke, beaming at Hypnos, and Hypnos’ dimples deepened. His hands slowly lowered to his sides, disappearing into his sleeves. His eyes were drooped heavily, still not awake. He was half nestled into his jacket, like it was another blanket, the hood from his sweater underneath straining to poke out the back.
“So what do you do that keeps you up so late at night?” Zagreus asked.
“I’m in hospitality,” Hypnos said.
Zagreus snorted. He couldn’t help it. Picturing Hypnos in any form human facing customer service seemed laughable. He folded his lips in to keep back anymore laughter.
“Sorry,” he said.
Hypnos’ smile widened, showing teeth, in on the joke. He threw a thumb over his shoulder.
“I work concierge at the House Omni downtown,” he said.
“Oh shit,” Zagreus said, all jokes gone. “Thats a really nice hotel.”
“Mmhmm,” Hypnos slid his hand back into his pocket. “They’re short staffed right now so they have me working the night shift along with the day shift. Apparently I’m a ‘ray of sunshine.’”
At Hypnos’ air quotes, Zagreus allowed himself to laugh out loud. From the way Hypnos’ eyes lit up, he was pleased with the reaction.
“Sorry they’re working you so hard,” Zagreus said. “But it must mean you’re a good worker.”
Hypnos shrugged. Zagreus could barely tell in his oversized coat.
“Its more like they’re low on options,” he said. “Beggars can’t be choosers and all that.”
“I’m sure you’re great.”
Hypnos’ brows rose into his shaggy bangs and his smile wavered. He laughed, high and whining behind closed lips, and tucked his chin into his jacket.
Zagreus bent to the side to maintain eye contact and Hypnos nestled deeper into his collar. Hypnos blinked sleepily and reached out, plucking at Zagreus’ zip up.
“Fighting Centaurs?” he asked as he picked at the patch insignia.
“Yeah,” Zagreus said. He looked down at the toothpaste green hoodie. “I was on the wrestling team in high school.”
Two spears crossed over one another with the bold block letters encircling it. The color was not as brilliant as it had once been, having gone through the wash so many times, but it still held fond memories. Long practices with his coach, a man he had admired greatly. It was lightweight and easy to put on, good for running down to the gym and wicking away sweat on the way back.
“Looks comfy,” Hypnos said, picking at the G one more time before withdrawing his hand. He yawned deeply again and when he was done, he didn’t open his eyes. “Well. . . I better get home. Gotta shower and get changed before my next shift.”
Zagreus watched the bean pole sway in place, looking like he might fall asleep on his feet. Thanatos’ worries replayed in his mind. His brows pinched in worry and he smiled up at Hypnos in pity.
“Do you want to get a coffee?” he asked without thinking.
Hypnos opened his eyes slowly and aimed that lazy smile at Zagreus.
“Are you asking me out on a date?” he asked.
Zagreus held his hands up and waved in a panic. There was no way post gym, sweaty Zagreus would be going on any kind of romantic encounter, no matter how cute Hypnos was.
“No! No no no not at all,” he said. “You just look like you’re going to fall asleep on your feet.”
Hypnos smiled softly. Zagreus couldn’t quite tell from the volume of his jacket, but it looked like his shoulders sagged a little.
“I’ll be fine,” he said. “They have good coffee at the House.”
“You sure?” Zagreus asked.
“Yeah. But thank you for your concern.”
Something about the way Hypnos said it sounded very much like a ‘customer service’ voice and in that moment he wasn’t the half naked man in his kitchen but the conceivable concierge who worked at a bougie hotel. It made Zagreus believe him and he let his hands fall down to his sides.
“Well, safe travels Hypnos,” he said.
“Yeah.” Hypnos walked past Zagreus and whirled around in place, walking backwards down the street. “It was nice meeting you, Zagreus the roommate!”
Zagreus held his apartment door open and waved goodbye. As Hypnos turned around, Zagreus could make out the detail of flames on the back of his hood. If he looked closely, he could see more flames on the sleeves that poked out from the sleeves of his coat.
They looked suspiciously like a hoodie Zagreus owned.
Zagreus reached into the dryer, hoping he had missed something. He reached his whole arm into the drum and smacked the metal sides. But nope, it was empty. Not even a sock.
Zagreus huffed and sat back on his heels, staring at the dryer in offense.
His Fighting Centaurs zip up was missing.
He was sure it had been in his dirty laundry for the past week, but now that he was emptying the dryer, it was nowhere to be found.
He breathed slowly and tried not to get offended. Someone probably just took it by accident. He’d have to put up a sign, see if anyone else in the complex took it. He’d put his feeble artistic skills to use and draw a crude representation of his zip up. He was sure Thanatos had a pale green highlighter he could borrow.
Zagreus sighed, stood up, and picked up his laundry. He took the elevator up from the basement, the janky old thing clunking as it passed each floor, doing more to signify where he was than the broken digital read out. Zagreus counted to 10 and the elevator thunked into place. He marched to his door and pulled out his keys and was about to turn the lock when he remembered.
Hypnos was asleep.
Zagreus carefully bit his lip, balanced his basket on his hip, and slowly turned the lock. He crept into the apartment, opening the door slowly and wincing at the slight squeak. He turned the handle so the latch didn’t click when he closed it shut. He kicked off his flip flops to avoid the slap slap slap across the floor.
The soft snoring from the couch told him of his success and he began his trek to his room.
Unfortunately, his laundry basket took that moment to break.
With a snap, the handle cracked, fell off, and Zagreus’ laundry basket tumbled to the ground. Shirts and jeans and socks spilled out over the floor.
“Shit,” Zagreus hissed.
Hypnos shot up like a rocket, his head popping up from the otherside of the couch. Strands of silvery white hair stuck up on end, coiling into the midday sun that seeped through the curtains. Two oversized big eyes stared down at Zagreus and he froze. Hypnos whipped his head back and forth, before slowly lifting his face mask off with his thumb. His real eyes blinked blearily, acclimating to the waking world.
“Sorry,” Zagreus whispered, as if still trying to avoid waking Hypnos up. “Did I wake you?”
Hypnos breathed in deep and pushed his face mask further up his head. More curly strands of hair stuck up on end. He looked to his wrist, found no watch there, before digging his phone out of the mass of blankets on the couch. He pressed the power button, then again, and even from where Zagreus stood, he could see it hadn’t been plugged in and was dead.
“Eh, I probably have to be up now anyways,” he said, throwing his phone over his shoulder.
Hypnos stretched, his arms high over his head, and his body gave a little quiver as he hit the apex. A soft squeak came involuntary from beyond his lips. In moments like those, Zagreus could make out just how slim Hypnos’ frame was and watched how the oversized shirts he wore clung to his shoulders. When he was done, Hypnos collapsed onto the back of the couch, resting his chin on it, a now familiar smile pointed at Zagreus.
Zagreus stood there, hunched over his spilled laundry, returning it.
He realized he was staring and, with a start, gathered up his clothing and awkwardly carried his broken basket to his room. Hypnos’ pale eyes followed him as he went.
“Are you off work today?” he asked.
“Its Saturday,” Zagreus called back.
Zagreus poked his head back out to see Hypnos looking thoughtfully at the ceiling. He curled his hands into fists, stacked them one on top of each other, and propped his chin at the top.
“You didn’t know that?” Zagreus asked.
Hypnos closed his eyes and shrugged.
“The days bleed together.”
He didn’t open his eyes back up. Zagreus wondered if he did that on purpose, knowing that Zagreus would take pity on him. Zagreus would anyways.
He knew he should fold his laundry right away, but Zagreus stepped out of his bedroom and headed to the kitchen. On the way he pat Hypnos on the head.
“I’ll make you some coffee,” he said, ruffling his hair.
It was baby soft and Zagreus could have ran his fingers through it all day. It took great strength to remove his hand every time. Hypnos’ eyes blinked open and his gaze once again followed Zagreus to the kitchen.
They used to have a drip coffee maker, but the timer broke and Thanatos’ job got busier and busier, so they upgraded/downgraded to a single pod coffee maker. Some days, Zagreus missed waking up to a full pot.
He put in a vanilla flavored coffee into the machine. Neither Zagreus nor Thanatos particularly liked flavored coffees. But Hypnos did. Which was why Zagreus bought them.
They had developed a routine over the past couple of weeks. Zagreus made coffee for Hypnos. Hypnos cleaned up after himself and sometimes after Zagreus. Sometimes he would show up with a take out dinner for the three of them, only to fall asleep halfway through. Thanatos and Hypnos were growing closer, getting along. Zagreus bought a spare toothbrush for Hypnos that lived in their bathroom.
Zagreus brought the coffee over in a mug that read #1 DAD. It was intended for his father and he simply kept forgetting to give it to him. Hypnos took the mug, keeping his elbows close to his body, and held it like it was precious. He downed half of it in one go.
“Ah,” he winced, in pain. “Its hot.”
Zagreus leaned over the back of the couch and laughed, watching Hypnos go for another gulp.
“Hot hot hot,” he complained, shaking his head. “Ah, it burns.”
“If you drink slower, it won’t burn as much,” Zagreus commented.
“But if I drink faster it’ll kick in faster.” Hypnos said, eyes still squeezed and still in pain, one finger held up to make his point. “Thats just science.”
Zagreus laughed, knowing better than to attempt to stop Hypnos from doing anything. He was just going to do what he wanted and it was like trying to lift a limp cat to get him to do anything otherwise.
Hypnos opened his eyes slowly, nestling his cup between both hands, feeling the warmth on frigid fingers. His face took on that calm, sleepy, dreamy, serene look it got some times when he was still soft and waking up. Zagreus basked in it before he realized he was staring again.
He’d been doing that a lot lately.
He sucked in a breath quickly and rose to standing. He had laundry to do.
“How are you?”
Zagreus paused. He looked down at the lump on his couch. Hypnos took a long sip from his cup, completely with obnoxious slurp.
“What?” Zagreus asked.
“How. Are. You?” Hypnos asked again. “I figured I’d ask.”
“Oh, I’m good. Yeah good.”
Hypnos’ brows rose and with his hair pushed out of the way, Zagreus could see them at their full height. He took another long sip.
Zagreus sighed and flopped back onto the couch back, resting his chin in his palm and smooshing up his cheek.
“Exhausted,” Zagreus conceded. “Work has me run ragged.”
“You work for your dad right?” Hypnos asked. He’d never inquired about Zagreus’ life before and it was odd to hear he already knew so much.
“Yeah,” Zagreus said.
“Hey.” Zagreus sat upright. “He’s a hard ass. Its not like I was handed an easy job, making me run around looking for security holes. Its a pain.”
“Nepotism,” Hypnos sang.
Zagreus planted a hand on Hypnos' face and pushed his head back, feeling the way Hypnos laughed into his palm. He ran his hand up into Hypnos’ hair again. He couldn’t help it.
“How about you?” he asked, ruffling Hypnos’ hair. “How are you doing?”
Hypnos settled back down. He rested his head on the couch, tilting it to the side, and looking up at Zagreus around the mug.
“Better,” he said.
“Bad day?” Zagreus asked, taking his hand back before it was in Hypnos’ hair for too long.
“Double shift,” he said. “I ended up working 12 hours. And got yelled at by a Karen. Three of them in fact. But my boss said he liked the doodles in the margins of the intake book so not all bad.”
“Thats you,” Zagreus said. “Ever the optimist.”
Zagreus liked it when Hypnos’ smile widened so he could see those dimples. Before he could get caught in another stare, he plucked the empty mug from his hands.
“Come on,” he said. “Get up. Brush your teeth.”
Hypnos groaned and threw his head back.
“But I don’t wanna,” he whined. “Mint and coffee are horrible together.”
“And mouthwash too,” Zagreus called from the kitchen. “It’ll perk you up!”
Hypnos groaned again and Zagreus heard the whump as he rolled off the couch. He laughed to himself as he rinsed out the mug.
The booming bass could be heard from within the bar long before Zagreus opened the door. Some hipster song with a willowy singer in a trilling vibrato, but the levels distorted it so the song was no longer recognizable. It was a futile attempt to fight against the conversation within. The patrons would talk louder so the music would be turned up and then the drunks would be screaming at each other and on and on in a war of noise.
But still, despite the deafening roar, Zagreus could hear his name.
“Zagreus!” a little voice squeaked over the din.
A girl with twisted up dreads bounded through the crowd and all but tackled Zagreus.
“Hey Dusa,” he said, hugging her tight and practically lifting her off the ground. Had there been enough room, he would have done his usual and spun her around. Instead he planted the tiny woman back on the ground. “Its good to see you!”
“G-good to see you too!” she stuttered. Still nervous despite having, reportedly, gotten over her hero worship of Zagreus.
“Are you all moved in and everything?” he asked.
“Yeah, you missed the big move,” she laughed, almost nervously. “I know you said you wanted to help but. . .”
She was never going to take him up on that offer and they both knew it. Dusa always preferred to do things herself.
“Get out of the door,” came a stern voice from behind him and a large body pressed up against his back.
“Hey Meg!” Zagreus said, turning around and immediately wrapping his arms around his friend.
“Don’t–” Meg tried to say but it was too late. Zagreus squeezed nice and tight, but he’d never be strong enough to ever be crushing. Meg sighed in defeat and gave two solid pats to Zagreus’ back.
“Hey Dusa,” she said dully.
“H-h-h-hi Meg,” Dusa stuttered, one of her dreads dropping into her face.
It seemed the crush/hero worship that was once aimed at Zagreus had shifted targets.
“Oh look,” Meg said, monotone. “There’s Thanatos. Get off me, leech.”
They wove their way through the crowd, pushing through the bodies, to the silver haired man that found prime real estate at the bar side. Thanatos got a one armed bro-hug from Meg and Zagreus made a face behind her back. Dusa pressed close to his side in an effort to not get trampled and he decided he needed to find a way to lean her against Meg without having her freak out and run away. Maybe he could coordinate with Thanatos by goalie blocking her from leaving.
But first, drinks.
He pushed past Meg to the bar and paused at the body sitting at the counter side.
Hypnos was there, hands limply rested on the counter, wrapped around a tall glass filled with something neon orange. A plastic swirly straw had been jammed into the glass and Zagreus (accurately) guessed that Hypnos had brought it from home. His hair was as haphazard as it always was and Zagreus wondered if that's how he looked when he went to work.
He was dressed in a hoodie two sizes too big for him.
It was a full body leopard print with purple accents. Gaudy and ridiculous. It looked suspiciously similar to the hoodie Zagreus' cousin Dionysus had gifted him for his birthday. The hoodie that had gone missing a week ago. In fact it looked exactly like the hoodie that his cousin had gifted him. Almost identical. Right down to the fraying cuffs.
Zagreus’ eyes narrowed in suspicion.
The seat next to Hypnos opened up and before anyone else could think about it, Zagreus plopped down.
“Hey Hypnos,” he said, not even bothering to raise his voice.
Hypnos jolted in surprise, making a small choking noise in his straw. He turned his head slowly, eyes wide and catching the blue lights from the bar. His mouth was a long thin line, pressed together, and Zagreus couldn’t quite tell but he thought Hypnos might have been blushing.
“That sure is a nice sweater you got there,” Zagreus said.
“Yeah it is, isn’t it,” Hypnos said. His voice cracked.
Zagreus rested his elbow against the bar and leaned against his fist.
“Where’d you get it?” he asked.
“Oh you know,” Hypnos said, rolling his hand. “A place.”
“Uh huh,” Zagreus said.
Hypnos went for his straw, trying to grab it with his lips, without looking away from Zagreus. He missed the first three times, but got it on the fourth. He took a long sip and the neon orange drink spun up through the loop-di-loop. Zagreus signalled for the bartender.
“I thought you said you weren’t coming?” Hypnos asked, straw still in his mouth.
“I managed to sneak away,” Zagreus said. “I wanted to see Dusa. Although it is pretty fun to see you out in the wild.”
Hypnos took another long suck from his straw and the line in his drink dove down quickly.
“Careful with that,” Zagreus laughed. “Won’t alcohol knock you out?”
“Its mostly sugar anyways,” Hypnos said. “Although if I do put my head down, make sure to wake me back up. I don’t want them kicking me out for thinking I’m too drunk.”
“What if you are too drunk?”
“Then let them kick me out.”
“I’ll make sure you get home safe. Cheers.” He nodded to the bartender as he handed him a beer.
Hypnos’ fingers poked out from the hoodie sleeves and danced on the glass. They drummed a little tune and Hypnos turtled his head deeper into the collar. He wasn’t drinking anymore but still had the straw clamped between his teeth. He moved his lips up and down and it rapped against the side of the glass.
“How are you?” Hypnos asked. It was strained around the straw and quiet, but Zagreus could still hear it, even under the beat of the music.
Zagreus was mid swig, turned in his seat in an effort to at least pretend to listen to the rest of his friends. He paused.
More and more Hypnos had been asking the question. At first in an attempt at trying to be human and polite. But more and more, he seemed genuinely interested in the answer. And not in his 'concierge voice' either.
He had insisted that Zagreus not say ‘good.’ That ‘good’ was the answer people gave because it was the next step in the conversation. It was what people wanted to hear. It wasn’t a ‘real answer’ according to Hypnos.
“Very good,” he said.
Hypnos kicked the side of his foot.
“What? Its true,” Zagreus laughed. “I had a good day, I’m happy to be here and see. . .”
He paused, knowing who he was going to say next. For good measure, he swerved.
“Dusa. . .” He tipped his beer to the poor girl who was sandwiched next to Meg. “I’m having a very good time.”
“One day, short cuts are going to bite you in the ass,” Hypnos said.
“How about you?” Zagreus asked.
“. . . better.”
The beer was cool, but Zagreus' chest warmed.
The night went by as nights out often did. Far too quick and only quicker as it went on and the drinks kept coming. Zagreus did well keeping conversation between his friends and the lump next to him. A few times he had to probe Hypnos back awake and Thanatos shot him thankful glances whenever he did. Zagreus was happy to do it.
Dusa insisted they clink and she had to stand on tiptoe to reach everyone else's. Zagreus pulled Hypnos up by the wrist to join them. At one point, Zagreus tried whatever monstrosity it was that Hypnos was drinking. He was right. It was more sugar than anything else.
Zagreus managed to share conversations with his friends. Dusa's new business. Meg's new MMA hobby. Zagreus was glad to see Hypnos and Thanatos locked in conversation, even if it did dip from amicable to argumentative from time to time. More like Hypnos would drop something that annoyed Thanatos, inadvertently or not. It was nice to see them talking than the not at all from before.
The bar crowded more and more and Zagreus scooched his chair over for space. He ignored the fact that he sat shoulder to shoulder with Hypnos.
Meg offered to walk a slightly tipsy Dusa home, but the girl ran away long before she could.
True to form, Hypnos fell asleep at the bar. Zagreus meant to make good on his offer, but protective younger brother Thanatos was quicker on the draw. He all but hefted Hypnos’ dead weight off the bar stool and said he’d be late getting back home.
On the way out, Hypnos managed to open one eye and look over his shoulder. He waved a lazy hand back at Zagreus, his fingers dancing in the air. Zagreus wasn’t sure he saw the wave back.
Hypnos hitched Zagreus’ hoodie tighter around his shoulders.
Thanatos grumbled from the living room, frustration evident from his growl. A minute passed then another came. Zagreus poked his head out from his room.
“Whats wrong?” he asked, half hiding behind his door to stay out of the line of fire.
Thanatos was on his hands and knees, looking under the couch. He sat up and huffed, slapping his hands to his sides.
“Nothing,” he barked.
Zagreus looked back into his room, almost ready to take Thanatos up on his lie just to get out of it. But Zagreus was a perpetual meddler and liked to help.
“It sure doesn’t seem like nothing,” he said.
Thanatos sighed, the ire deflating from his body.
“Its just.” He pushed a hand up into his hair, running it irritated through the strands. “I’m meeting up with mother this evening but I’ve got to go to work and theres this thing that I need to give to her for cleaning and I can’t find it.”
Zagreus stepped out of his room, but still held the door frame, in case he needed to dive back inside.
“Its weird that you call her mother,” he said.
Thanatos shot him a look.
“Not now Zagreus,” he said.
“Right okay, sorry.” Zagreus dropped his hand to his side. “So what are you looking for?”
Thanatos screwed up his face in consternation. He held up his hands, as if holding a small oblong object. For a second, Zagreus thought it might have been a rugby ball.
“Its this. . .” He huffed, frustration evident, sprinkled with a small amount of patented Thanatos embarrassment. “Egg.”
The moment of silence after that single word was palpable. Zagreus broke it first.
“A what?” he asked.
“An egg,” Thanatos said, easier now than before.
“Like. . . a faberge egg?”
“Kind of?” Thanatos said, his face pulling up in a wince. “Sort of? No, no not really. Look, its just a weird egg. My grandparent gave it to mother when she was little and she gave it to me. . . well technically me and my brothers, but I’m pretty much the caretaker of it. Its an heirloom.”
“An egg. . . is an heirloom,” Zagreus said slowly.
“Yes, try to keep up Zag.”
“Right yeah okay, heirloom egg.”
Thanatos slumped, hands dropping to his sides. Sitting there on the floor, back on his heels, looking off in the distance, dressed for work complete with tucked in button up and perfectly tied tie, he looked strange. So very un-Thanatos. He ran his tongue over his teeth in thought.
“Mother does this cleaning of all her jewelry once a year and she wants to get the egg cleaned up as well,” Thanatos said.
“And you can’t find it?” Zagreus tried.
“If its not here that means–”
“Hypnos has it,” Zagreus said, catching up.
Thanatos pointed at Zagreus as a non-verbal ’yup you got it.’
“And he’s not picking up his phone,” Thanatos said.
“Which means he’s asleep.”
“Yeah.” Thanatos drew the word out slowly. “I don’t have time for this. I have to get to work and I’m meeting up with mother right afterwards and I just do not have the time to go all the way across town just because Hypnos–”
“I can do it.”
Thanatos looked up at Zagreus with wide eyes, that shocked expression he got whenever Zagreus surprised him with kindness. Zagreus thought he would have been used to it by then, but apparently not. Zagreus gave Thanatos the same pitying smile he would give his brother.
“Really?” Thanatos asked.
“Yeah,” Zagreus said. “I’ll go pick it up and bring it to your work.”
“Won’t you be late?”
“Let the old man be angry.” Zagreus waved him off. “I’ll just work a little later. Its not like I’m working with a team. I’m just testing and breaking the system over and over again.”
“You’re sure?” Thanatos rose to his feet.
“Yeah yeah, I’m sure.”
With a grateful smile, Thanatos fished his keys out of his pocket and took one off the ring. It was attached to a keychain with a sleeping lamb and a star charm attached.
“Thank you for this,” Thanatos said. “Seriously. Thank you Zag.”
If Zagreus was being honest with himself, he was curious to see Hypnos’ apartment. The sleeping man had a tendency to spread his nest out over their couch almost every afternoon and Zagreus was sure that was his natural state of living. He was interested to see how it would look over a 200 to 500 square foot space.
The train ride across town was across town. Thanatos hadn’t been kidding. It was more than an hour long ride with two transfers. On that particular commute, Zagreus could understand why Hypnos napped at their apartment, only a few blocks away from the House Omni.
The neighborhood Zagreus got off at was quiet. A little sleepy. Close knit houses and apartment buildings that were butted up against each other. Quaint little shops and basement restaurants with walk downs from the street. Hypnos’ building was above a corner store with no less than three sleeping cats in the window.
It was kismet. It suited Hypnos.
Hypnos’ elevator was no better than Zagreus’ and the hallway was dim and tight. Zagreus knocked on the door, just to be polite, but even from the hallway he could hear the familiar snores. Smiling, he let himself inside.
Zagreus had no expectations, but the little apartment met every single one of them. From his vantage point in the door he could see at least two bean bag chairs, maybe three, and a plush worn-in recliner. There was a small stack of socks of varying colors and patterns. A small army of slippers stood at attention by the door, lined up in the exact same manner Thanatos had his shining work shoes. There was a bookshelf that did not hold books but rather a small collection of rocks, some plain, some shining. One of them looked like an animal skull, but Zagreus couldn’t tell. A hammock of stuffed animals hung from the ceiling, including a sheep identical to the keychain.
And draped over the back of the recliner was a toothpaste green zip up sweater.
Zagreus stood in the open door and even from there he could make out the twin spears on the patch.
For weeks he had the niggling sense that he knew exactly where his precious zip up had gone, but getting the confirmation stoked a sense of betrayal. His mouth hung open in shock and as it slowly settled in just how sticky Hypnos’ fingers were, his jaw closed and ground into a frown.
He marched across the room and snatched up his sweater. Whirling around, he saw the leopard print one that was very much from Dionysus, Zagreus had no doubts of that. He scooped that one up as well. Following the sound of soft snores, he continued his war path to the open area tucked around the corner and found his flame laden hoodie sprawled out on the floor. He growled and grabbed it, shoving it under his arm.
“Hypnos,” he snarled under his breath, sounding very much like Thanatos.
Ready to give the creature a piece of his mind, he found a lofted bed, crudely constructed to lift its sleeper close to the ceiling. A soft lump rose and fell with each quiet snore. Zagreus harshly planted one foot on the second rung of the ladder and shot up to look over the ledge, an argument fresh on his lips.
And he stopped.
He found his dog skull sweater.
Hypnos lay curled up on his bed, scrunched in the fetal position, as small as his lanky body would allow, which was shockingly tiny. He was in his shorts again, revealing long skinny legs. A loose blanket wrapped around his ankles, one foot folded over the other.
He wore Zagreus’ hoodie.
It was large on him. Extra large on him. Despite being almost a full head taller than Zagreus, he drowned in the hoodie. His whole form had been transformed in a shapeless mass. The sleeves were long enough that they swallowed up his hands and only the tips of his fingers poked out. The hood was up and his face was half covered, his mop of hair curling out from underneath the hem.
Zagreus was halted dead in his tracks, a lump in his throat cutting off his air and a twist in his chest stuttering his heartbeat.
There was a something that he had been carefully ignoring. A thing that he had been disregarding. Setting it aside to deal with it later only to procrastinate on it further.
Because once he acknowledged it, that meant he would have to do something about it.
It that moment, that horrid little thing came crashing down on Zagreus.
In that moment, Zagreus had no choice but to acknowledge it.
Hypnos snorted softly and shifted in his bed. He twisted, turning his face further into his plush pillow, and curling up tighter, if that was possible. The hood slumped, falling more over his face, a lock of hair drooping over his brow. Pink lips open and breathing soft.
Zagreus didn’t know what to do with the information that now seeped from the quiet little box that he had stuffed it in. Feelings that he didn’t know how to act on. It was a foreign feeling, hesitating. Zagreus was always the type to act first, ask questions later, but these . . . feelings required a little more questioning.
Hypnos required questioning.
But for that moment, for just a second, Zagreus indulged in them.
His hand was steady as he reached out, which was a surprise to him. He slipped his fingers into the soft hair he so loved to touch, entwining through the curled strands. Like petting through a cloud. In the world’s slowest motion, he rotated his fingers, digging the pads into Hypnos’ scalp.
Hypnos cooed in his sleep. A smile twitched at the corners of his lips, starting the beginnings of the dimples that Zagreus knew he had very specific feelings for.
He ran his thumb over Hypnos’ cheek, finding the skin equally as soft. Hypnos laughed in his sleep, a halfway mumble that was almost words, and buried his face deeper into his pillow.
There was the shake in Zagreus’ hand. He jerked it back with a shaking breath. That was enough indulgence for one day.
He stepped down from the ladder and gently placed the flame hoodie back down the floor. The leopard print went back onto a bean bag. As much as Zagreus missed his precious Fighting Centaurs zip up, he knew where it was, and he knew it was safe. It smelled like fresh laundry. It was well taken care of. Zagreus tried to drape it just how he found it.
The egg was simple enough to find. A blue purple affair the size of a rugby ball, covered in a smattering of gems and golds that shone in the light, nestled among the collection of rocks like a crowning jewel. Zagreus felt underdressed picking it up. He should have been wearing a formal suit and special gloves to handle it.
He left a note for Hypnos explaining that he was there and he took the egg back to Thanatos and Nyx for cleaning.
He almost signed the note with a heart. He almost didn’t.
In the end he did.
Thanatos’ phone vibrated for the third time. He grimaced at it.
“Thanatos,” Hypnos whined.
“Its my boss,” Thanatos said. “I can’t ignore it.”
“But you promised.”
“Yeah I know.” Thanatos was already standing up, staring down at the incoming phone call. The movie behind him blinking with the fight scene they were all ignoring. “I've got to take this. Next time, I promise.”
Hypnos looked like he had a rebuttal to that, but his unending trust in his brother’s promises, especially when it came to hanging out, won out.
“Okay,” he said.
Thanatos rounded the couch and answered the call.
“Ares,” he spoke into the phone and promptly closed his bedroom door behind him.
It was movie night, the first of what Zagreus had hoped would become an ongoing tradition. It was in honor of Thanatos and Zagreus buying a second couch, since Hypnos had so thoroughly dominated their first one. With so much seating room and plenty more on the floor, Zagreus had visions of expanding the little gathering. Inviting Meg and Dusa. Maybe even Charon and his talkative fiance.
But not even 15 minutes into a cheesy action flick and the population of their maiden voyage was down to two.
“He’ll stick around next time,” Zagreus reassured Hypnos. “I’ll make sure of it.”
“I know,” Hypnos said, completely believing Zagreus.
He pulled his feet up onto the couch and wrapped his arms around his legs, perching his chin on his knees. He shuddered. Despite having the heat on, Zagreus and Thanatos’ apartment was a little drafty up on the 10th floor, and Hypnos’ arms were bare.
“Where’s your blanket?” Zagreus asked.
“This is a social call,” Hypnos said, haughtily. “I am not here to sleep, I am here to watch movies.”
Zagreus snorted. He kept his eyes on Hypnos, ignoring the film and instead watching the lights flash across his face in the dark. Hypnos shivered again.
“Wait here,” Zagreus said and clambered over the back of the couch.
“Uh, okay,” Hypnos said. “I’ll be here, I guess.”
Zagreus skittered into his room and dropped to his knees in front of his closet. He had to go digging into the back of it, but he pulled out his last remaining hoodie. It had been a joke, having picked it up with his parents when they went to an amusement park and Zagreus had a particularly awful time on the ride. The attendant had been kind of a dick. He bought it to commemorate the occasion.
It was a pastel pink, covered in the horrid butterflies that adorned the ride from tail to tip. He never wore it, only keeping it around as a sick version of a trophy and a long lost memory.
But it was all he had left.
Feeling particularly proud of himself, Zagreus stepped back out to the room and hopped back over the back of the couch, plopping down closer to Hypnos than he had been seated before.
“Here,” he said, holding the hoodie out.
Hypnos looked from the hoodie, up to Zagreus, then back down at it. Waiting for the trick or the trap and wary of Zagreus’ intentions. Zagreus only held it out further, like giving feed to a nervous animal.
Hypnos tucked his chin lower, his smile secretive and hiding behind his hunched up arms.
“Thanks,” Hypnos said and tentatively took a handful of the hoodie.
It slid from Zagreus’ hand, slinking until it flopped to Hypnos’ side. He was slow to pull it on and once it was in place, he drowned in it again. Far too big for his slim frame. He pulled his knees up into the hoodie, stretching the fabric and slid his arms inside, leaving the sleeves empty. One mismatched socked foot folded over the other. He tucked his chin past the neck line, his face half buried into the pink. His mouth found the draw string and he chewed on the end.
Content with the turn of events, Zagreus settled back into his seat. He draped his arm across the back of the couch, fully intending to simply enjoy the stretch, not thinking about how it rested just behind Hypnos’ head. Hypnos glanced to the offending arm, a quick jerk of the head, but went back to the movie, pretending he hadn’t done a thing.
Somewhere before the third act, Hypnos’ head began to droop. It dropped heavy before he sucked in an air of breath, his head jerking back up and his eyes wide.
He was fading fast.
“Its okay,” Zagreus said. “You can go to sleep.”
“I’m not here to sleep,” Hypnos mumbled around the drawstring in his mouth.
Zagreus finally dropped his arm around Hypnos, forcing the egg shaped human to tilt. Hypnos flopped against Zagreus’ chest like a sack of potatoes.
“I said its okay,” he said softly.
Zagreus couldn’t see his reaction, hidden by a bubblegum pink hood, but it wasn’t long before Zagreus heard and felt the telltale heavy breaths as Hypnos descended into dreams.
Zagreus had acknowledged it. He had come to terms with it. And soon he would tell Hypnos exactly how he felt.
But that evening he leaned down and pressed a gentle kiss to the top of Hypnos’ head. He rested his cheek against Hypnos’ crown and closed his eyes.
He was asleep before the credits.
Zagreus came home to the sound of rustling from his bedroom. Which was never a good sign.
“Come on,” a quiet hiss came frustrated from his room. “Where is it? There's gotta be another! Come on!”
Zagreus closed the door as quietly as he could, not bothering to announce himself. He crept down the hall towards his half opened bedroom door. He made sure not to make a single sound as he peeked inside.
“This is so stupid, how could he not have another?”
Half of Zagreus’ shirts had been pulled from his closet and flung to the floor. One of his drawers was opened and jeans hung out of the side of it. He didn't want to even ponder what else had been ransacked.
“Just one more.”
Hypnos was bent over the side of Zagreus’ laundry basket, half buried in it, throwing socks and t-shirts over his shoulder. He stood upright, holding up one of Zagreus’ long sleeved shirts, inspected it, shook his head, and threw it to the mess on the floor.
“Come on,” he complained.
“You took all of them.”
Hypnos yelped and jumped around, immediately going stick straight and upright. He held a shirt up to his chest as if it might protect him.
Zagreus slowly opened his door all the way.
“T-took all of what?” Hypnos said, a shaky smile on his face. “I don’t know what you could possibly be talking about.”
Zagreus’ brows rose, unimpressed. He took a step into his room.
“What hoodies?” Hypnos said. “I didn’t take any hoodies. Maybe it was Thanatos.”
Zagreus stepped over a strewn pair of yoga pants.
“I mean, you could have just. . . lost. . . them.” Hypnos swallowed heavily and his smile dropped. “Not doing it for you, huh?”
“No,” Zagreus said with a shake of his head.
He stopped, just inside Hypnos’ personal space, close enough that Hypnos had to back up against Zagreus’ laundry basket. He glanced to the side, his fingers fidgeting around the shirt in his hand and twisting it around in circles.
“I can explain,” he said.
“I’m sure you can,” Zagreus said.
Hypnos was going to worry a hole into Zagreus’ shirt. He couldn’t maintain eye contact, but by the time he forced himself to, his head was hung so low that he had to look up at Zagreus with big golden eyes, despite being taller.
“It was cold out, you see,” he said. “And I had forgotten my jacket. And I thought it was Thanatos’. So it made sense.”
“Uh huh,” Zagreus said. “And the next one?”
“It was comfy,” Hypnos said. “And I forgot I was wearing it.”
“And the third?” Zagreus shuffled closer still.
“. . . would it help if I said I was sorry?” Hypnos said feebly.
“Hypnos,” Zagreus sighed, almost like he was chastising him.
He raised a hand up and gently cupped Hypnos’ cheek, just as soft as he remembered it being. Hypnos jolted, his eyes going wide, an almost involuntarily little shock. Zagreus leaned in, close enough to breathe onto Hypnos’ lips.
“What are you. . .?” Hypnos asked, quick and quiet. “Zagreus?”
Zagreus wasn’t sure what would happen next and hoped he was reading the situation right. That Hypnos wouldn’t stiffen up, wouldn't reject him. But the second his lips pressed against Hypnos,’ he felt that soft press back, the sheer instinctual reaction to reciprocate. He felt Hypnos hold his breath and felt the way his body tensed, but he felt Hypnos kiss back.
It was short and sweet and soft and everything Zagreus had been daydreaming it might be. The same slow gentleness from every single one of Hypnos’ movements, the same squish from his cheek. Warm and inviting and Zagreus wanted more.
He pulled away and Hypnos let out a pathetic little whimper.
“Wuh. . .?” he asked intelligently.
Zagreus laughed, low and mirthful, and went in for seconds. He couldn’t deny himself. He moved his lips, encouraging Hypnos to join in the dance, and delighted when he did. The shirt in Hypnos’ hands dropped to the ground, his hands coiling up tighter to his chest as Zagreus moved closer still, trapped between them. He slipped a hand to Hypnos’ waist, tracing over a slim hip, let his touch trail down a long thin neck. Hypnos made a soft confused whine as Zagreus suckled on his lower lip.
“I don’t understand,” he whispered.
“What’s not to understand?” Zagreus asked, leaning back to look Hypnos in the eye.
“You’re not supposed to like me.”
The way Hypnos' brows pinched together, the deep upset frown, all of it was enough to break Zagreus’ heart.
Zagreus huffed out a laugh, not dismissive, but amused, and ran his thumb over Hypnos’ cheek, longing for dimples.
“Says who?” he asked.
“The universe,” Hypnos said, so very small. Curled in on himself, shoulders up to his ears. Hypnos had always been loose and freeform and to see him so coiled was unnatural. “You’re not supposed to like a . . . someone like me.”
Zagreus laughed again. He couldn’t help it. Not when he was so overjoyed to have Hypnos in his arms.
“Well the universe is just going to have to deal with it,” he said, leaning in for more. The hand on Hypnos’ back pulled him away from the laundry basket and against Zagreus' body. “And you are too.”
He paused and jerked his head back, apprehension suddenly shooting through him.
“Unless you don’t. . .”
Hypnos squeezed his eyes shut and, in one great rush, threw his arms around Zagreus’ shoulders. Zagreus rocked backwards, holding tight to Hypnos’ waist. Hypnos squeezed, a surprising amount of strength into those scrawny, clingy arms, but Zagreus didn’t mind.
He was right. Hypnos did give good hugs.
“I like you too,” Hypnos said, hushed. He paused, as if considering something, but his lack of filter gave out. “You smell nice.”
Zagreus laughed and twisted his head, raining kisses down Hypnos’ neck. Hypnos shivered and Zagreus knew it had nothing to do with the cold.
He settled into the hug, feeling Hypnos finally sag and return to his natural bonelessness. Zagreus nuzzled into the crook of his neck. Every feeling he could possibly have assaulted him, content and excited, thrumming with energy and ready to settle down in relief. He squeezed the man in his arms, trying to hold him as close as possible.
“. . . does this mean I can keep your sweaters?”
The second Zagreus was on the ground, a wrapped up package was in his lap. The wrapping job was lopsided and there was far too much scotch tape holding it together. The paper had a pattern that was better suited for a disco ball, covered in glitter that Zagreus knew he'd be finding for weeks to come.
“Open it,” Hypnos ordered, patting his lap excitedly.
“What is it?” Zagreus asked, holding the bulbous package up. It was soft and felt like it had been a pain to actually wrap. Still didn’t justify the abysmal job.
“If you open it you’ll find out!”
Hypnos slapped at his knees in an odd cadence, biting his lip with impatience. Zagreus turned the present over slowly, looking for what looked like a seam.
“Its not my birthday,” Zagreus said.
Hypnos’ eyes whipped back and forth between the present and Zagreus, trying to draw on some modicum of patience as Zagreus carried out his sloth like torture. Zagreus gave him some pity and slowly picked at one piece of tape. Carefully peeling it apart.
Hypnos threw back his head.
“Zagreus!” he whined.
“Okay okay,” Zagreus said and tore into the paper.
It ripped through the afternoon quiet of his room and Hypnos’ excited little smile was worth it. When all was said and done, debris of shining wrapping paper and scotch tape lay scattered across Zagreus’ room. Particles of glitter wafted slowly to the floor. Zagreus held his gift in the air.
It was a hoodie. A bright red hoodie with a quilted texture to it and fluffy white sherpa lining. It was plush and comfortable looking, like a hug he could wear. It was lined and looked like it might survive the on coming winter and the first snow of the year. A practical article of clothing.
Zagreus had gotten some of his hoodies back, at least his daily dog skull one and the Fighting Centaurs zip up. But still they would go missing from time to time. Hypnos insisted he needed them, saying something about them being good ‘boyfriend material,’ and would only return them for a ‘re-up’.
From the outside, a new hoodie might look like an olive branch.
Zagreus knew better.
He leaned to the side to look around the hoodie and give his boyfriend a look.
“Do you like it?” Hypnos asked expectantly.
“I love it,” Zagreus said. He folded the hoodie over one arm. “But why give me something if you’re just going to steal it later?”
“Not right away,” Hypnos insisted. “You need to break it in first.”
Zagreus grinned ruefully.
"All right you little shit," he said.
Zagreus tossed the well appreciated hoodie aside and all but tackled his boyfriend to the ground. Hypnos fell with a yelp, assaulted with a barrage of kisses.