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to hold a bull by the horns

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She’s tiny.

“Why do you guys have a human? Why is there a human in front of me? Guys?” Steve says, quickly and hushed and running straight into a full blown panic. 

He ushers the nerdy group of troublesome godlings—and their itty bitty human child—into his chambers, hoping no one, especially not his parents, saw them and it.

The explanation is cut off as they look at each other, red handed. Guilt radiating off of each of their small faces. Dustin to Will to Lucas, all of them finally coming to land on Mike and the human clutching at each other hand to hand.

Sparks shoot off of Steve as alarm and irritation fill him up, both equal in how awful they are.

Big eyed and pleading, only just seeming to realize the very deep amount of shit they’ve found themselves in by smuggling a human into the Heavens, Dustin breaks the silence and drags Steve down into the pits with them.

“We really, super really, need your help.” Dustin says, dooming Steve.



The story is the small girl El just appeared. 

No break in.

No magic. 

No fated prophecy to explain it.

She wasn’t there and then she was and now Steve is screwed.

He lingers only for a minute on the why before he forces himself passed it, over it—it doesn’t matter or exist. He’s not the smartest or the most powerful god, still young, still with only one war under his belt—it’s none of Steve’s business why this happened and there’s no sense in wasting time figuring out how a human can do what only a god can.

The whole catastrophe is confusing and weird. 

The human is—strange.

Dustin’s plan is worse.

Three heads taller than Steve. Barrel-chested. Steel-forged muscles flexing under shimmering golden skin. Curled mane overflowing between two giant lethal horns. Dressed in soft silks and sheer, draped in jewels with his hand steadying a mighty axe as tall as him at his side.

One stomp of his foot could crack through the Heavens all the way to Hades.

Blue eyes that can spot every atom approaching the gate.

The minotaur guarding the entrance to the mortal realm.

Billy the Bull.

Steve’s ex.

“This is actually insane. Everything about this is nuts.” Steve hisses, crouched behind a fallen moss covered pillar with the godlings and mortal girl that’s ruining his life. The grass beneath his feet scorched black from his stomach churning.

Dustin cheers Steve on, the doubt blatant in his eyes.

“C’mon, we know you can do it. You’re Steve! You’re the best!”

“And we know you two had a thing anyways. So, like, it won’t be hard for you to, you know.” Mike pipes in, waving his hand around to show what he thinks he and Billy were up to together, only a vague idea of the kind of hellfire they created on collusion. 

Steve grits his teeth. Refrains from giving the snot a jolt. He’d rather avoid dealing with the scorn from Mike’s mother or from his ex-girlfriend again.

Billy won’t want to see him. 

It’s been so long he’s probably moved on with someone else. That’s what Billy does best. Fights and fucks and it doesn’t really matter who it is—least of all if it’s Steve.

Steve the nothing.

Steve the can zap a few things and get a guy off and that’s about all he’s good for.

Steve turns to El. 

“So—so? How did you get here if you didn’t come through the gate?”

The human shakes her head. I don’t know, she thinks at him.

Humans aren’t supposed to do that, he’s fairly certain. He hasn’t been downstairs in a few hundred years thanks to his decision of sassing at his dad.

“We found her in mom’s garden.” Will whispers so lightly it’s hard to catch. 

Lucas says, “Just—go over and say hi and do that thing with your hair.”

Steve touches his hair. “Thing?

“Yeah,” Dustin demonstrates with his own bouncing curls by winding a strand between his fingers. “Like that.”

“I don’t do that. I’ve never in my entire life been that obvious.”

“You totally do and you really are. Like, you’re especially obnoxious around Billy.” Max says. 

To his left, she sprouts from a nearby bushel of red poppies. A petal falls out of her hair and sinks into the rosy skin on her arm.

Lucas immediately cozies up to her.

Cupping her hands, she grows a lily. She places it in Steve’s hair.

“That’ll get him going for sure.” She tells him with that annoying cheeky grin.

Billy had admitted he liked lilies once. More times and more sweet than anything he’d said to Steve—back then.

Steve resolutely does not care. 


“You don’t—that’s not true. You’re all fucking with me. This is a trap, isn’t it? Did Billy set this up?”

He would. Get someone to manifest a human child to send Steve into a fit. Rope the kids in by promising to make Steve look like the legendary idiot he’s already on his way to becoming.

Steve eyes El. She looks real. Real enough.

Dustin tugs at his arm, wrenching Steve out of his head. 

“She can’t stay here, dude.”

“What about Max? You’re family, you can distract him for a minute, can’t you?”

Max shakes her head. “Whenever I come over, he just threatens to spike me into Hades.” She wilts. “I think he might be serious, too.”

“That’s not possible. He has to be lying. Right?” Lucas says, though he glances to Steve.

 “You’re the only one who can distract him.” Dustin says in that calm, irritating voice that means Steve will have to go through with this. “Everyone knows it. You know it. Billy has a soft spot for you, and, like, that’s it. Come on. Please? You’re our only chance.”

Steve peeks over the pillar. 

Billy’s sharpening his left horn with a rock causing small sparks to fall into his hair like stars. 

Oh no, Steve thinks.



Adjusting his clothes so his red tunic dips just that much lower off his shoulder, he loses his sandals and gives his cheeks a bit of a shock to reach his own rosy glow. Though he doesn’t really need it with what already feels like a fire growing steadily more hazardous, nearing uncontrollable, under his skin.

Sprints back towards the hedgerow where Billy would expect him to walk through, uses his powers to boost his speed enough to not be noticed.

He takes just a moment to compose himself. 

Get it together, he thinks. It’s nothing he hasn’t done before. He’s done it a lot. He’s gotten in trouble for it. An old hat. 

Steve can do this.

He peers around the flowers and leaves to watch Billy. A creek nearby fills the air with lavender. Billy’s clothes and curls had been soaked in the scent.

He stands there. Massive shoulders squared. Back straight. Lush tail as golden as the rest of him fidgeting between his legs.

Billy was proud of his job. Had earned the duty after a battle with his father. The celebration lasted longer than two entire moon cycles.

Steve had never been more exhausted. Or happier.

But that was a long time ago.

Ancient History.

Billy’s an asshole and Steve is better than him. 

That’s that.

Heart hammering against any rational thought he has left, Steve makes his move. 

He clears his throat. 


Feels utterly lame and refuses to show it.

The little nerds have no idea what they’re asking of him.

“Hi?” Steve calls out using Lucas’ approach, smile turning into a wince at Billy’s baleful stare. Neither excited or surprised or particularly annoyed at the sight of him.

Billy spits on the grass.


“It’s been fifty years and all I get is hi?” Billy says drawing his words out.

Well. I was in the area and I thought I’d just check in with my favorite—bull.” 

“Got dumped again, didn’t ya?”


Billy snorts, golden nose-ring going foggy with his disbelief, his heavily jeweled necklace jingling. 

“Yeah, you did. Got that sad sack expression and everything. Who was it? Can’t have been another teeny mortal since daddy’s keeping you under lock and key.”

Steve squeezes his eyes shut to keep from glaring lightning at Billy and ruining the entire plan. 

“I didn’t get dumped by anyone.”

“It’s gotta sting. I feel ya.” Billy leans forward on the handle of his massive axe, whistling lowly. “Goddess of Love’s babygirl dropping your ass? Yikes, man. There’s a hundred metaphors in that one.”

Steve jabs his finger at Billy. A small bolt shooting from him.

“She didn’t leave me, she just had other feelings that weren’t for me and we mutually, as a couple, decided we’d be better as—as friends. Not that you’d know since you don’t have friends or feelings or anything except, fucking—“ Steve struggles, skittering around the expanse of Billy’s body to find something other than pure muscle. “—Fuck you. Okay? That work? You feel that?”

Steve can hear Dustin scolding him. 

The plan, the Dustin in his head reminds Steve, why are you messing with my perfectly planned out plan? It’s perfect! Stick to it!

Sometimes Steve’s mouth runs away from him and he’s left to struggle out of the debris he caused to crash down on top of himself. 

Billy closes the slight gap between them, swings his axe down beside Steve, burying its blade deep into the earth, cracking the mosaic tiles. 

The impact vibrates up Steve’s legs to ring in his ears.

He swallows. The hit goes straight to his head to try and turn him doe-eyed and flushed. 

Gods, does he hate himself for that.

Billy stands to his full height to tower over Steve, to puff hot air from his snout across Steve’s face. Forces Steve to crane his neck back to meet his electric eyes or else be confronted with the full weight of Billy’s bared chest in his reach after decades apart.

Potent. Monumental. Monstrous, even. Billy plays it up. Puts himself in the place where others will see him at his worst and most intimidating. To scare every god and mortal and demon into rolling over.

Steve knows better. They both do.

The plan wasn’t much of a plan to start with and in just a second it’s shredded to pieces.

Billy huffs smoke out of his nose. Lips pulled back in a snarl. 

“What do you want?”

“To talk.”


“Yeah.” A vein pulses in Steve’s forehead. “Am I not allowed over here? Do you own the gate all of the sudden? Are you Mister Boss of the Super Important Gate now?”

“Yeah, I kind of am, dumbass. I guard the fucking gate. It’s my goddamn thing.”

“I thought your thing was being a heartless prick.”

He flicks Billy’s nose ring. Not a hair on Billy moves. Steve’s made of bad decisions.

“If you’re looking for a rematch,” Billy’s voice is pitched so low only Cerberus would be able to hear him, “I’m not gonna hold back.”

“You wouldn’t need to.” 

“Of course not, you’re the golden god who can do no wrong.”

Steve sneers. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You broke my heart.”

“That’s super hilarious and cool and very true. Ha ha.”


“Can’t we just have some fun?”

Taken-aback, Billy lurches away from him. “Fuck you. I’m not just fun.”

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“So we’ll fuck and then you’ll ignore me for the next, what, century? Your ass isn’t worth decades of that shit, pretty boy.”

“It is—I am. And I only ignored you because you were ignoring me.” Steve snaps then sighs then throws his hands up, holds them there, inches from Billy as he shakes his head, catches the lavender sunk into Billy’s skin mixing with his sweat. 

He regroups.

Steve can’t think around Billy. There’s no middle ground. There’s sex and then there’s this.

And they can’t do this anymore.

“I’m sorry.” Steve’s face pinches and he thinks maybe he means it or he’s close to meaning it or he does full heartedly mean it and just doesn’t want to be in the wrong. “I hurt you. But, y’know, you weren’t exactly loving or anything close.”

Billy turns away. Golden bracers circling the base of his horns glinting. Shamed. Shy. Pissed off. Billy wears it all like it may crush him any moment.

Steve had liked that.


“I tried.” Billy says, growling.

They glare at each other. Billy’s head beginning to shake, horns lowering, pretty blue eyes zeroed in only on Steve, bruising the grip on his axe. Unable to flee. Wanting a fight. 

“Oh, you big lug.” Steve sighs. He stretches up and grabs hold of both of Billy’s horns, pulling Billy down to him.

“I can’t leave the gate.” He says.

“Just for a minute?”

“Not until my shift is done.” Billy says as curls drape across his thawing eyes. 

“I won’t take one step back until you let me have you.” Steve tells him. “What are we gonna do about that, silly bull?”



The small pieces of what’s left of the plan are going damn swell.

Steve kneels between Billy’s legs, hefts Billy’s large calf over his shoulder and pats himself on the back. Good job followed by gods, I really did miss this.

Billy strains Steve’s shoulder. Steve relishes under his hefty weight. He's sweet underneath him, thick fingers digging trenches into the earth as Steve tears away the flimsy ceremonial sheer hardly covering Billy’s titan-like body, freeing his large, thick twitching cock, his massive balls heavy, already pulled tight and close to the edge.

Billy shakes underneath him, ears flat on his head, his necklace tinging, prickling at Steve’s ears. He can’t control the small shocks from his fingertips. It’s been so long—his skin buzzes, the air around them turns static. He tweaks Billy’s nipple, nips and sucks at them. Runs lines of electricity down Billy’s sides, his jumping stomach, his sharp hips and shaking thighs. Billy’s curling tail wraps around Steve’s middle.

I miss him, Steve thinks, half-crazed, head gone foggy with a surge of power rushing through him. Steve bends Billy, his knee to his stomach, and kisses him. 

Billy holds the back of Steve’s head, careful of the lilies, tugs at his hair, drags a long scorching moan from Steve as Billy licks into his mouth, slick and heavy, tongue thicker and more than Steve’s own. Their teeth clink together. Steve traces Billy’s nose ring with the tip of his tongue.

The look on Billy’s face as Steve pulls away—

The bad things seem to melt on the quiet grass knoll they’ve hidden away on with something that might be tenderness just on the horizon. Uphill from the creek, Steve listens to nymphs singing in the distance.

Steve sweeps lower, traces his way down with lit-hands. Brushing lightly along the sides of Billy’s cock to travel further. He gently takes Billy by his balls, massages him in his palm. Dances his fingers back up the long, wide length of him to swipe at his pearly cum and run it back down to the darker heat between his thighs. 

Billy grabs hold of Steve’s shoulder. His tunic. Rips it. Tears the cloth with ease. Lifts his other knee to spread himself wider, open himself more.

“Have you let anyone else?” Steve asks, rubbing kindly at his entrance, pushing two fingers inside of him to the knuckle.

Steve wants to shove himself inside and be that perfect distraction. Give the kids hours to open the damned door, days if Billy won’t mind a bit of trouble.

Billy’s head bows forward, tilting to the side, stretching his neck to show his tendons. He looks up from under his dark lashes and mussed curls with large blue eyes growing dewy.

“Don’t be nice.” He says, orders it instead of asking.

Steve grins. “Why not?”

“You don’t mean it.”

“Of course I do.”


“I can’t help it when you look at me like that. I just say what I feel.”

“Sweet-talker.” Billy snorts, shivers when Steve adds another finger and starts to flick up inside of him, gives him a low, gentle shock jolting his entire body.

Steve slows down. Says, “I missed you, even though—” 

“Even though.” Billy agrees, genuine in his sad, soft smile. “It couldn’t ever be just a minute with you, Steve. Not ever.”

Billy.” Steve moans, an unbearable weight he’d ignored for so long lifting from his shoulders. 

Steve flips him. Gets Billy on his knees, his horns scraping up the grass, back arching, ass tilted up to welcome Steve in. 

Steve holds Billy’s tail still to bite at the meat of Billy’s ass, to nuzzle at the soft hair on his thighs, press his nose to Billy’s taint and breathe him in all the while Billy curses at him, saying again and again 50 years, 50 damn years, you idiot, you absolute nitwit.

Face flushed, fisting his own drooling cock, Steve licks up Billy’s ass and mouths at his hole, thinks it wouldn’t be so bad if they did this again, twice a century would be all right, they could—

Billy’s gone.

Steve tumbles forward onto his hands. He wipes his mouth off on his arm, whips what’s left of his clothes back on and runs.

The godlings are struggling to open one of the gate’s doors. All four of them and the human clutch at the handle, heels digging into the tile, frozen stiff. Gawking up at Billy’s bulking frame. 

With one hand, Billy shuts the gate’s door tugging the children along with it.

He turns to Steve, hurt and betrayal at the forefront of his glare.

Steve gulps, he claps his hands together and accidentally creates a lightning bolt. He waves it around. “We kind of—“ He gestures at the kids. Himself. Billy. “We could super really use your help?”



Billy stands with his back firmly to the closed gate, clothes magically back in place, the godlings and El and Steve sitting on their knees, cowed by his lecture.

“You think she’ll just, what? Drop from the sky? Land exactly where she’s meant to? Is that it, lil fuckers? You gonna go down there for the first time and somehow help her? Do you have one thought in your head? Any of ya? You wanna open that door and let all kinds of shit in? Idiots. Morons. Fucking knuckleheaded fucks. All of you.”

Dustin stares solely at his hands folded on his knees, lips pursed, holding back an argument. Will turns green. Mike reddens. Max wilts while a small storm cloud gathers above Lucas’ head.

“Stupid.” Billy points to Dustin.

“Moron.” To Will.

“Dumbfuck.” To Lucas.

“Shittiest shitbird.” To Max.

“Tiny bitch.” Mikes puffs up and does nothing.

Billy jabs his finger at Steve, smoke rushes from his flared nostrils, though he doesn’t look nearly as mad as he should. Frazzled and flushed. He can hardly look Steve in the eye.

Billy’s blushing. 

“You.” He says to Steve. “I’d gut you down the middle if I wasn’t planning to eat you whole.”

A chorus of ews goes around the half-circle. 

Steve laughs, still warm from earlier and now planning all the things he’s going to do to Billy once the others are shooed away and the mortal’s home and safe. Hopefully soon.

Or maybe once Billy’s finished picking each one of them apart.

The human stares and stares and stares up at Billy, waiting for his declaration of what kind of idiot she is to end up in the Heavens.

Billy crouches to look at her as close as he can. 

“She smells weird.” Billy mutters.

“I think that’s just how humans smell.” Steve says idly, curling his hair around his fingers, dreaming of lavender.

Obvious.” Dustin whispers to him, nudging at his side.

“Your horns are…” The human says, talking slow and decisively. She pauses to think. Settles on, “…Very big.”

Pleased, Billy nods. He pats her shaven head. 

“This one—not a moron.”