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More Than a Bird

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Patrick shoved aside the piece of wood he kept jammed in the frame of the sliding door to prevent any unwanted guests at night and yanked open said sliding door to shoo away whatever animal was making a racket out on his fire escape. All he wanted was to sleep through the night for once and he’d already taken one of the melatonin gummies his mother had sent him in her last care package. It had been a rough six months since he broke off his engagement to his fiancé, came out to his parents, and then immediately took a job in a totally different field in a totally different city. When his college roommate had messaged him asking if he was interested in writing a business column for the paper he worked for, Patrick had sent him a quick opinion piece on NFTs. Not even a day later, the chief editor of the Inquirer was on the phone offering him a job as a journalist.

When Patrick had moved to the big city for his new job, he’d quickly realized he would not only be writing about business topics but covering part of the sports column, which he was honestly a little excited about, and following around after the city’s resident vigilante, The Bolt. Even living in rural Ontario, Patrick had heard of him because everyone had. Supers were increasingly rare nowadays and seemed to gravitate toward only the biggest of cities. The Bolt had come on the scene the previous year, stopping a deadly shooting at a suburban mall like a savior dropped right from the heavens. Patrick had watched that video over and over again of the bullets pinging off the Bolt’s chest and falling to the ground like little useless pebbles. The Bolt, as the Inquirer had branded him, appeared to have limitless powers. In addition to being apparently bulletproof, he had super strength, he could fly, he had super enhanced reflexes and speed, and he could shoot inky black bolts of energy from his hands, hence the namesake. 

So when Patrick got a good look at the bleeding man in the very distinct and very familiar black and white spandex uniform lying prone on the rusty metal floor of his fire escape, sleep was the furthest thing from Patrick’s mind.

“Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit.” Patrick squeaked out in a panic. The figure groaned in annoyance.

“Could you save whatever this freak out is for after you get me a bandage to bleed into?” The man snapped, far too lucid for the amount of blood seeping across the bright white lightning bolt emblazoned on his chest. Patrick scurried off to dig his meager first aid kit out of the bathroom cabinet.

Patrick couldn’t believe the Bolt was here. Despite the obviously life threatening situation, Patrick was excited to be in close proximity to the hero. In his more private moments, he’d actually fantasized a lot about the man. His sharp jaw and perfect dark hair that never seemed to fall out of place even after a particularly hard landing and those eyes that always seemed kind but sad in every video Patrick had seen of him. Patrick hoped for all the good he put out into the world, that The Bolt was surrounded by people who loved him in his private life.

To say Patrick had conflicting feelings covering the good deeds of a hero he may or may not have jerked off to multiple times was being generous but by some good fortune, Patrick always seemed to be able to get an answer from the Bolt when he trailed after him along with the other reporters at the edge of each battle scene. At his last couple of incidents, the man had even called Patrick by name. It seemed the Bolt for whatever reason had taken to Patrick almost as strongly as Patrick had to him. It made Patrick feel warm inside for a reason he couldn’t quite put his finger on.

A loud groan and a “For fucks sake,” drew Patrick out of his thoughts and he snagged a clean towel from the hall closet before returning to the fire escape.

The Bolt had dragged himself closer to the doorway in the interim and Patrick was a little relieved for the first moment in their encounter to see there was not a pool of blood left where he’d originally been lying. Patrick was very grateful he’d kept up with his first-aid training since his days in the Boy Scouts as he began to unpack the kit in the space by the open doorway. The cool night air drifted into the apartment carrying in the smells of car exhaust mingled with fried onions from the late night pub down the block. 

The Bolt quietly watched Patrick’s hands work with narrowed eyes and Patrick couldn’t help but watch him back just a little. He hadn’t ever been this close to him, not even at a press conference, and Patrick was cataloging each little detail of what he looked like for future reports. His uniform was pretty standard, though he did have variations he rotated through: a black jumpsuit with shoulder pads full of silver white spikes that seemed almost iridescent under the soft lights of Patrick’s apartment. The pants of the jumpsuit were tucked into white, calf high boots with black laces and the tiny black lightning bolts etched into the soles of his boots matched the large distinctive white lighting bolt on his chest. The neckline was low enough to show off the dip of his collarbone and Patrick could see the barest bit of chest hair this close. His mask covered most of the top half of his face and Patrick noticed a mole on his chin that looked like it had been dabbed in concealer to make it less noticable. 

“Can you move?” Patrick asked when he realized he’d been caught staring. “I don’t think it’s safe for you to be outside like this.” 

“Well I suppose I could come in for just a bit.”

The Bolt tried for a sarcastic laugh that quickly devolved into a watery cough. He grabbed the towel Patrick had set out by his knees and pressed it to the wound on his chest as he shakily got to his feet. Patrick could begin to make out the edges of a long, nasty gash slicing through  that looked like an oversized cat scratch and if Patrick wasn't so utterly terrified of him bleeding to death through the towel he would’ve asked what the hell he ran into that could make a wound like that. The Bolt’s knees began to buckle and Patrick immediately stopped what he was doing to brace him under the arms to keep him from collapsing. This close, Patrick could make out the dark stubble beneath his mask and those slightly sad brown eyes blinked back at him in surprise at Patrick’s quick reflexes.

“Um, thanks.” He said and together they were able to get him just inside where he promptly dropped right onto the floor with a noise like he was hopping into a luxury hotel bed. Patrick was encouraged by the fact that the Bolt—

“I’m sorry but since you’re bleeding on my living room floor, anyway I can get a name?” The Bolt opened one eye and somehow managed to emote a level of sarcasm Patrick had previously thought impossible with that look alone. Yet another superpower. “Totally off the record, I promise.” A beat of silence.

“You can call me Da—na. Dana.” Patrick could hear the trip in his voice as he said it--clearly a lie--but it was better than a made up moniker.

“Fine. Dana it is. Now how did this—” Dana opened both eyes to glare at him and opened his mouth to probably drop more sarcastic repartee when he suddenly started to cough. Patrick sprinted to the sink for a glass of water and Dana took grateful gulps from the glass as soon as Patrick pressed it into his hands. Right. He should have maybe assessed the situation better. First things first, the wound needed to be cleaned and bandaged and pain meds given. “Can you—erm, is there a way to get just the top off so I can...” Without waiting for Patrick to finish his sentence, Dana dropped the towel and unzipped the top part of his uniform and peeled back the skin tight material. The wound somehow didn’t look as bad against bare skin and Patrick tried very hard to focus on cleaning it out without openly staring at the dark, manly thatch of chest hair around it and the toned pecs and biceps on full, glorious display. Dana watched him quietly as Patrick worked for several long minutes, telegraphing and confirming each step of the process with Dana as he made sure the wound was clean and properly dressed.

“I wasn’t sure where else to go tonight.” Dana said once Patrick had given him the okay to zip up the top of his uniform again. The bandage seemed to blend in with the white of the sliced uniform. “My usual cohorts were inexplicably unavailable.” Dana continued, his voice so soft Patrick almost thought he’d dreamt it. Now that he was sure he wasn’t going to explain away a mortally wounded Super to an EMT, it was harder to ignore how beautiful the man was. The fabric of his uniform stretched tightly over his legs in a way that hugged every curve. Patrick could now see the iridescent fabric that made up the jumpsuit was actually some kind of scale like armor. The white gloves he usually wore were hanging out of his utility belt. He occasionally wore other accessories, sometimes a cape, or a white utility belt draped across one shoulder, and once he’d worn enormous white oval sunglasses that almost looked comical even as he pulled the rest of that second grade class from that burning school bus. Patrick noticed now that four silver rings graced his bare hands and he was twisting them almost unconsciously. Perhaps a nervous tick?

“Don’t worry,” Patrick assured him, gingerly placing his hand on Dana’s shoulder. “You’re safe here. Make yourself comfortable and stay as long as you need.” Dana exhaled, his body relaxing a little further into the floor. He brought his own hand up to cover Patrick’s and Patrick was immediately taken by the warmth that seemed to radiate off his hand.

“Thank you, Patrick.” Patrick nearly gasped at the sound of his own name; It sounded so different now in the lowlights of his apartment, intimate in a way it never could when Patrick was out in the field covering The Bolt’s exploits for the paper. Even through the mask, Patrick could see the way Dana’s eyes crinkled as he smiled. Patrick was suddenly very sure Dana was the most beautiful man he'd ever seen without even needing to see his entire face. Dana released his hand after he seemed to realize they’d been essentially holding hands for a full minute. Patrick smiled and went to fetch a blanket to put on the couch so Dana could rest a little more comfortably but when he returned, Dana was gone. Patrick frowned at the spot on the floor where he had been, and the sound of a small cough made him turn to find Dana curled up in his bed.

Of all the scenarios Patrick had imagined getting the Bolt into his bed, this was not one of them. Dana had taken the throw blanket Patrick kept folded at the end of the bed and was wrapped up in it on top of the comforter. The blanket was a gaudy red with a giant white maple leaf on it. His father had sent it to him, mostly as a joke, but now looking at Dana’s peaceful smile as he snuggled into the warm blanket, it was quickly Patrick’s new favorite thing in his apartment. When Dana noticed Patrick staring, he stiffened.

“Sorry, I was just…” Dana moved to unwrap himself, but Patrick waved his hands at him, shaking his head wildly.

“No, please. I want you to be comfortable here. Are you hungry? I might have some pizza rolls in the freezer?” Patrick cursed the fact that his weekly grocery trip was tomorrow, and he didn’t have anything better to offer, but Dana lit right up at the mention of food.

“Are you sure? I eat…um, kind of a lot?” Patrick could see the faintest of blushes at the very edge of where the mask covered his cheek. It was adorable. Patrick pulled out his phone and was suddenly grateful to live in a city with twenty-four-hour pizza delivery.

“Four pizzas enough? Any topping requests?” Patrick asked as he tapped through to the closest place on the app. Dana’s eyes went wide.

“Oh. Um. Whatever you like is fine. So long as it’s not like anchovy fillets and pineapple.” Patrick sighed.

“Well, drat.  That’s my go-to order. I guess we’ll just do a couple cheese and a couple pepperoni.” Patrick cast a sidelong look at Dana and was treated to the sight of his expression shifting from disgust to excitement and then back to a carefully neutral expression. How was it he was able to express so much even with half his face covered? Dana glanced up and Patrick had to steady himself for a moment as the full power of those beautiful brown eyes seemed to see right through him. Patrick was pretty sure X-ray vision wasn't one of the Bolt’s powers but Patrick felt seen nonetheless. Maybe it wasn’t a bad feeling.

“Could we add sausage too?” Dana asked with a hopeful lilt to his voice. “The protein helps with healing.”

Patrick grinned and added it to the order.

Twenty minutes later they were both seated cross legged on Patrick’s bed enjoying their pizza. Dana wasn’t kidding when he’d said he ate a lot. He’d finished off two pizzas by himself without even appearing to feel full.

“God, if I knew you had a pizza place like this right by your apartment, I might have dropped in sooner.” Dana said through a mouthful of gooey cheese and pepperoni. Patrick shifted a little, trying to make himself more comfortable. Though this was the first time they’d met outside of the odd interview question or two on a crime scene, it somehow felt like they’d done this before.

“I’m honestly surprised you even know my name let alone where I live.” Patrick found himself saying in response. Dana tilted his head to the side and a single strand of hair fell out of his swept up pompadour to land across his forehead at the movement. Patrick wanted to lean in and brush it off his face but he didn’t want to do anything that might spook his guest. Dana bit his lip.

“I like to…keep up with the people who write my performance reviews.” He said with a haughty little sniff. Patrick could see the mirth hiding in his eyes.

“Ah I see. Do you do this often then with all the other reporters that cover you?” Patrick teased. Dana’s smile dropped right off his face. He set his paper plate down on his lap and made sure when he looked up, he was looking right into Patrick’s eyes. Patrick felt that odd sensation of being seen from the inside out all over again.

“No. Only you. For some reason, I trust you.” Patrick was shocked at the honest reply. Before he could ask anything else, Dana was climbing off the bed and onto his feet. “It’s late. I should go.” Patrick nodded and Dana carried their plates over to the trash while Patrick consolidated the leftovers into one box. Patrick slid the box into the fridge and shut it with a soft click and turned to find Dana was already back at the door. Dana paused with his hand wrapped around the frame as he looked over his shoulder at Patrick. He looked so much better than he had even an hour ago and Patrick was grateful to have been able to help him.

“Thank you for everything. Can I tell you something else off the record?” Patrick blinked in shock, having completely forgotten his occupation in the span of the evening events, particularly stuck on the part about having the man of his daydreams in his bed in any capacity.

“Um sure. We’re off the record.” Patrick confirmed when the silence stretched almost long enough that Dana had stepped out onto the fire escape and looked like he was ready to flee.

“My real name’s David.” David winked at him and then with a whoop of joy, he shot up into the night sky like a shooting star. Patrick moved into the space where David had been and watched him fly off over the tall skyscrapers of the city skyline. It certainly wasn’t how Patrick had envisioned spending the early hours of a Thursday morning, but he figured meeting David was worth a sleepy morning in the office. His only regret was he’d likely never get to see him like this again.

David was a massive idiot. Perhaps the world’s biggest idiot who was no longer allowed within two hundred feet of any building storing explosives per the United States government’s orders. Not that David really felt a strong urge to listen to any government in particular when it comes to using his powers, but he did enjoy the form letter they’d sent to his PO Box. No, David’s idiocy had started by letting himself get cocky in a fight with Randall, the city’s resident sewer monster, which had resulted in a nasty flesh wound on the one night both Stevie and Alexis were out of town. Stevie was away on official Rosebud Motel Group business in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio and Alexis had a client dinner that he, absolutely under penalty of death, was not allowed to interrupt. Flying to see his parents in LA was out of the question because one) he would surely bleed out on the way there and two) his parents didn’t actually know about David’s powers.

David, like many super powered individuals (most of which were referred to colloquially as Supers), had come into his powers the old-fashioned way: radioactive waste had somehow wound up in the batch of kombucha he’d been test driving for his new store. David had gotten really sick after testing a few bottles and was forced to temporarily pause the planning and development of his general but very specific store. Although David tried not to think back too closely on the bedridden months that followed, having to eventually give up the lease for the store to a yarn shop that had since come and gone had been almost as hard as being chronically ill with no clue as to why. He’d mourned the loss of both his health and his fledgling store in the quiet dark of his motel room while everyone around him continued to grow. Stevie and his dad had started their motel group, his mother’s career faced a revitalization, and Alexis had successfully launched a career as a publicist seemingly overnight. Watching everyone succeed, he almost relegated himself to never getting back to some semblance of normal until he’d woken up one day with white hot glowing hands and had torn the door off their motel room when he’d reached to pull it open.

When David had told Stevie and Alexis about his strange new abilities, they'd both been surprisingly supportive. Alexis kept diligent notes on her phone each time a new power presented itself and was amazing at making up excuses when David had trouble concealing them from the residents of Schitt’s Creek. The first time David had taken to the sky, he’d been spotted by Roland and Alexis had somehow been able to convince him he’d had bad fish from the café that was making him see things. Stevie took on the role of trainer in a way that had surprised them both with how good she was at it, timing David’s flight speed and urging him on faster by heckling him which David both hated and reluctantly appreciated. On Friday nights, they’d get together in the field behind Mutt’s old barn and Stevie would drink and toss her empty bottles in the air for David to practice his energy blasts on. Alexis’s main “training” for David mostly involved asking David to deadlift her bed so she could look for lost cosmetics.

Just when David felt he was finally starting to make peace and be able to control his new abilities, it was time for them all to make their mass exodus from Schitt’s Creek. Moira and Johnny set up shop in LA while David, Stevie, and Alexis moved into a sunny co-op in the city. David was thrilled to have his own room again and he slowly began making contacts with new vendors in the city to finally make Rose Apothecary a reality.

For the first time in a long time, he felt like he was moving forward again with his sister and his best friend at his side until one night he was coming home from drinks with a potential vendor and he saw two young men being held up at gunpoint in a dark alleyway just outside the bar. It all happened so quickly, one moment David was yelling at the guy with the gun to drop it and the next he was looming over the unconscious would be criminal with his gun twisted into a knot like a pretzel and the two young men were tearfully hugging him and thanking him for saving their lives. 

David felt something fall into place that moment. Maybe whatever force of the universe that had given him powers had done it for a reason. He’d sketched his first uniform design that night when he’d gotten home and began to ramp up his daily training exercises from concealing his powers to unlocking the full potential of what he could do with them.

Again, Alexis and Stevie were supportive if not a little nervous for David’s idea.

“Don’t you think you’re being just a little dramatic, David?” Alexis asked, her nose wrinkling up as she pinched the fabric of the cape David had been sewing for the better part of the week between her fingers. One of his new potential vendors specialized in heavy duty fabrics and had been able to get him all the Kevlar he could possibly want for his new vigilante venture. Alexis’ peach-colored nails scratched lightly at the coating until David lightly swatted at her with a disapproving snort. “I mean this cape doesn’t even have any accents? Where are the jewels? Ooo or like a fur trim for the bottom for when it gets chilly!”

Stevie snorted from over on the couch where she was on her laptop researching the cost of a decent utility belt. Alexis picked up David’s favorite of the three mask prototypes and held it up to his face. “Hmmm. I think rather than tape, I can work on a cosmetic glue that will help it stick while not effing up your skin care routine. I can probably have a workable prototype by the end of the week.” Alexis set the mask down and tossed her ponytail over her shoulder with a proud little smile. David and Stevie met each other’s eyes in surprise. It was hard to keep track of when Alexis would switch from frivolity to being the most competent person in the room, but David was grateful to have her around either way. He nodded, biting his lip to curb the full strength of his smile.

“That’s good, Alexis. Thank you.” She smiled back at him and gently held the mask up to his face for him to try on before booping him on his newly mask covered nose.

“It’ll be my honor.” She moved back over to the couch, picking up her discarded glass of wine and she took a dainty sip of it as she dropped down next to Stevie.

“Okay so the earpieces and utility belt will be here on Friday and I’ll be able to have the med kit ready by then too.” Stevie said as she closed the laptop. David clipped the cape into place, sliding it down over the spikes on his shoulders. He glanced down at his completed suit and flexed, feeling the sturdy fabric move with him easily. The fit of the suit made him feel strong, which he imagined was a good thing given what he intended to do in it. He looked up and both Stevie and Alexis were staring at him with wide eyes.

“Woah…” Stevie breathed and Alexis threaded her arm through Stevie’s and tucked her chin into her shoulder with a soft smile. Neither of them commented further and David popped up to hover a few inches off the floor to make sure the cape wouldn’t drag. The movement caused a gasp of shock from his onlookers. David pulled his arms across his chest and glared at them.

“What? What’s wrong? What’s with the noises?” David waved his hand in their general direction with a scowl. Alexis shook her head.

“Nothing’s wrong, David, hush.” Stevie shifted a little on the couch and David could see the faint suggestion of a blush high on her cheeks.

“I think we just um, kind of forgot how big you’d gotten?” Stevie said faintly.

“Okay well that’s offensive.” David snapped. He glanced down at himself again, sucking in his stomach. One of his favorite things about his powers was the enhanced metabolism but maybe he’d been overdoing it at the bagel place across from the store? Maybe he shouldn’t be eating a baker’s dozen of everything bagels with lox and cream cheese on a daily basis if he was going to be chasing after the city's criminal class.

“No, you dummy. I mean you look strong, David.” Stevie corrected and David waited for the sarcastic quip but it never came. Both Alexis and Stevie were smiling openly now. “You look like…”

“A hero.” Alexis finished quietly. David sank back down to the floor, the steel toes of his boots scraping across the wood slightly as he landed with a little more force than he’d intended. Seeing Alexis and Stevie’s reaction made him feel empowered and as they both came over to give him a hug, David’s confidence soared.

“David, do you think…” Alexis started, tugging on his cape with a hopeful look in her eyes. David sighed.


“Please David! It’s a special night! You have your little suitie all ready to go catch some bad guys. At least let us take it for a spin.” Alexis pouted and David bowed his head in resignation.

“Do you want to come too?” David asked as he looked over at Stevie. Stevie held her hands up and took a step back.

“Don’t look at me. Flying with you always makes me feel sick. But I would like a double special from Greckie’s with a large papaya juice if you’re floating that way.” David rolled his eyes but nodded. Alexis returned with the pair of sweats and hoodie she reserved for late night flights around the city. She carefully stepped up onto the toes of David's boots and tucked herself under his arm with practiced ease. Flying Alexis around places was second nature to both of them by now. 

“Oh and maybe we can get some sushi from that cute little place downtown, David?” She asked as he floated them both over to the window.

“I’ll remind you both, my powers are not to be abused for takeout whenever you feel like it. Especially now when I’ve got important things to go do” David grumbled even as he took off in that direction.

“Yay, David!” Alexis yelled out into the night air as they flew off toward their takeout destination.


As it turned out, becoming a superhero was nearly as difficult as becoming a small business owner. It took him several weeks of listening to the police scanner Stevie had acquired from the backroom of one of the new motels she was overseeing in upstate New York and randomly flying around the city on patrol to get into a rhythm of finding and stopping crimes in progress. He’d stopped a dozen muggings, prevented a few car accidents, and saved several families from a fire before the local news media began to take notice. Soon enough, he’d be finishing up his report to the police only to be accosted by reporters from every local paper and television station in the tri-state area. 

Everyone was clamoring for personal information, as if rule number one of being a Super wasn’t your secret identity was your most valuable asset and the ring of trust had to be impenetrable as your bullet proof skin. David would offer them a few platitudes about how this was his city and he intended to keep it safe and how he was just like everyone else and wanted to live in a nice place. When he’d stopped a high profile robbery at the largest art museum in the city, it  garnered him national attention and he decided to give a single very brief interview to Oprah because how the fuck could he possible turn down Mama Oprah? She’d caught him off guard though and he ended up revealing the section of the city he lived in, so he ended up having to use the backroom of Rose Apothecary as a makeshift hideout for a few months until the crowds of reporters and crazed fans alike stopped looking to find him.

About a year into the gig, David was starting to recognize the major local reporters who showed up by name. There was Frank from the Globe, Lisa from the Sentinel, Harriet from the Times. All fine reporters who David felt comfortable giving a quote to from time to time. He’d blacklisted Terrance from the Inquirer from getting a quote ever since his ridiculous Bolt moniker had stuck. How no one in the city had realized the reflective lightning bolt on his chest was a Neil Barrett homage was beyond David. Terrance was pulled from covering the comings and goings of David’s heroic career and replaced by Patrick .

David wasn’t really one to believe in love at first sight but he’d never forget the day he first laid eyes on Patrick. He’d just foiled the plot of the newest evil scientist on the block. Why they always managed to plan their attacks during Drag Race was beyond David and he was covered head to toe in sewage and wanted nothing more than to fly home and take at least seven showers when an unfamiliar voice caught his attention.

“Excuse me! Patrick Brewer for the Inquirer. Do you anticipate this is the last pipe bomb Dr. Mara has stashed around the city?” David’s head turned almost instinctively in the direction of that warm rich voice and was met with honey colored eyes and a hopeful grin that instantly put David at ease. Patrick was holding a pen and a little blue spiral bound notebook, as though no one had told him serious journalists used the voice memo app on their phones to get quotes from interviews. He was dressed in a white button down which was covered up by a lurid fluorescent green Inquirer raincoat that David wanted to rip off for hiding the rest of what he was sure was a body just as gorgeous as Patrick’s handsome face. David realized a little too late that he’d been caught staring, but Patrick just cocked his head to the side and licked the tip of his pen to put it to paper. David followed the movement of his tongue greedily and then shook his head slightly to snap himself out of his staring.

“Well, Patrick .” David purred, hovering a little closer toward him so Patrick could hear him over the clamor of the other reporters vying for his attention. “Given the materials I just disposed of from her lab, I’d say her bomb assembly days are over.” Patrick jotted something down, his mouth turned down in a frown of deep concentration.

“Wait disposed? Isn’t this an active crime scene?” David recoiled as if he’d been slapped, shocked at Patrick’s sudden shift from sweet boy next door to hard hitting beat reporter on a mission. Patrick, knowing he had caught David off guard, continued. “What if those materials were hazardous? And do you know what kind of environmental impact that will have on the neighborhood?” David should have ignored him and taken someone else’s question but something about Patrick made David want to prove he was worthy of Patrick’s admiration.

“Actually the materials in question have been labeled and disposed of per city guidelines as I always adhere too. This isn’t my first time out after all, Mr. Brewer.” The crowd of reporters chuckled a little at David’s remark, but Patrick pressed in closer, looking even more determined.

“I’m not sure I would attribute the word always to your clean up duties, especially considering the waterfront is still recovering from last week’s oil spill. Do you plan to adhere to city guidelines with that as well?” David glared as best he could, but Patrick just continued to smile at him, still holding up his little notebook to jot down David’s answers.

“Um you’re either very impatient or extremely sure of yourself.” David eventually settled on and Patrick’s eyes seemed to sparkle.

“Threw you a bit of a change up there, huh?” Patrick shot back with a grin and oh God David should not find that confidence as sexy as he did. So, David did the only thing he could think to do and flew off before he embarrassed himself further. If he spent his weekend scooping up sludge and debris from the waterfront, that was not definitely not because Patrick had made him feel guilty about it. Though the fact that Patrick wrote up a glowing opinion piece about David’s good deed the following week made it worth the effort.

David quickly developed a rapport with Patrick unlike he ever had with another reporter. Patrick, though he always asked questions that made David feel like he was under a special Patrick sized microscope, wrote very complimentary pieces about David’s hero work. Patrick made David want to do more even though he knew he should really be spending a bit more time working his day job at the store. While Rose Apothecary looked exactly like the environment he always wanted it to be, he was having trouble pouring over tax codes and profit margins to try and understand them in a way a successful business person needed to in what little spare time he had. He knew that problem wasn’t going to be fixed with even less time spent at the store but the city had a lot of crime and the police and emergency services needed his help more than ever now that more crazy folks wanting to battle a real life Super were popping out of the woodworks.

“Here’s the address for Patrick Brewer.” Stevie said, snapping David from his thoughts. He was elbow deep in paperwork for the store’s quarterly profit overview. She handed him a scrap of paper with an address scrawled onto it in her chicken scratch handwriting. “Seems like a pretty eligible bachelor too. He lives alone.” She added and David made a face at her.

“None of that now. It’s just good business to know where people who are our allies operate.” David said. The words didn’t even sound convincing to his own ears and Stevie pushed herself up onto the table. David turned back to the numbers for the new skincare line he’d started selling around fashion week and waited for Stevie to continue to poke at the obvious sore spot.

“Is it good business that I know you already know the address and that you fly by his apartment every night like a big old creeper?” Stevie asked innocently. David could deny it, of course, but Stevie had installed a tracker in his suit just in case she had to come find him, so he knew there was no use.

“So I like to make sure he’s safe. I’d do that for anyone.” Stevie tucked her hands beneath her chin not unlike Alexis often did. David really needed to diversify the people he hung out with.

“Mmmhmm. Seems like a totally normal thing to do. Or, you know, you could run into him outside of the place he works and ask him out for coffee?” David poked her in the leg and she kicked his shin in defiance. “I’m just saying! He seems nice and he writes about you like he’s half in love with you already. I bet he’d say yes if you asked.” David huffed and stormed over to the mini fridge to distract himself with a juice he’d probably forget to damage out.

“He’s in love with ‘Bolt me’, not the real me and besides, I don’t even know his preferences.” David took a swig of his juice, trying to hide the flutter of nerves that always seemed to manifest whenever he thought too hard about what it would be like to spend time with Patrick out in the real world. What it would be like to hold his hand on a walk through the park or to talk about his day over Chinese takeout or to kiss that confident smile right off his face. Stevie gave him a look that told David his face was telegraphing every one of those thoughts. She slid off the table and deftly plucked the juice from his hand.

“Well you’re not going to find out his preferences buried in a pile of paperwork.” She sing-songed as she made her way out of the back room with his juice in hand. David stared down at the crumbled paper containing Patrick’s address on it and tucked it into the pocket of his jeans. Stevie could possibly have a point.

A few days later, when David was injured in a fight with Randall, the city’s resident sewer monster, he pulled Patrick’s address out of the pocket of his utility belt and decided to take a leap of faith.

Patrick had just finished flossing when he heard a tapping sound coming from his fire escape. He padded back out into the living room and was surprised to see David hovering just outside his sliding door. It had been a quiet week for Bolt sightings so Patrick hadn’t seen or heard from the Super since his late night visit the previous week. He was holding a large bag Patrick recognized from the dim sum place down the street he’d been meaning to try. Patrick quickly unlocked the door and David floated on in like it was a very normal thing to show up unannounced at someone’s home with dim sum at 11:30 at night.

“Hope you like soup dumplings. This place has some of the best I’ve had outside of Shanghai.” David said in lieu of greeting. He was dressed in his more tight-fitting stealth uniform tonight, all black with interlocking plates across the chest that formed a loose pattern of a lighting bolt in dark grey and fingerless gloves with the palms cut out likely for firing energy blasts. Patrick wondered why wear the gloves at all at that rate but he knew for a fact David had a deep love of fashion. The only event he attended with any sort of regularity was the Met Gala and he always wore a decked out version of his costume. Last year, he’d worn a version of the stealth uniform with skirted pants and wild cutouts that showed off enough toned skin to garner the attention of every single male and female in the immediate vicinity. He had gotten called away to fly back to the city to stop a robbery and some teenager managed to catch his fight with the roided out robbers in that unbelievably sexy costume uniform. Patrick still watched sometimes when he wanted to, um, get things going in his private time.

Even now, Patrick couldn’t help but let his eyes wander a bit across David’s firm chest and biceps before he realized he should at least invite him in. David looked at him pointedly and if the mask wasn’t covering half his face, Patrick was sure he’d be getting some form of raised eyebrow right about now. “I figured this would be a nice way to say thank you for not letting me bleed to death last week?” David’s voice climbed up a little higher at the end and Patrick snapped himself out of his frozen state.

“Oh! Um thank you, I love soup dumplings.” David  set the bag down on the small table in Patrick’s eat-in kitchen. “I’ll just...get us some plates.” Patrick quickly pulled plates and cups from the cabinet while David pulled container after container of dumplings and a bottle of wine out of the paper bag. When Patrick returned with the cutlery, David ducked his head somewhat sheepishly.

“I might have saved the owner in an armed robbery a while back and when she found out I was meeting a friend, she threw in the bottle of wine. Felt rude to not accept it.” Patrick nodded and grabbed two wine glasses from the cabinet. Flustered was a different look than Patrick was used to seeing on David. It settled the nervous butterflies in his own stomach as he sat down across from David at the tiny table. David had taken off the gloves and used his chopsticks to plate up four different kinds of dumplings with speed that was still a little alarming to Patrick. His hands flew gracefully from container to container like a blur. He set a plate in front of Patrick with a wry, knowing half-smirk and Patrick finally decided to stop staring and open the wine. He poured them both generous glasses once he distributed them, he lifted his glass of wine in a toast. 

“To work friends who get to hang out off the record.” Patrick said and David gently touched his glass to Patrick’s before throwing back half the glass of wine in one mighty gulp. Patrick set his own glass down and started in on his food. David waved his hands at him before he could pick up one of the fragile little dumplings that was closest.

“Oh! Before you start, I recommend going counterclockwise for the best culinary experience.” Patrick blinked at him but did as he was told with a nod. He lifted up a small beige dumpling that was shaped like a drawstring bag. “That’s shrimp and chive. Very light and springy with a pleasant fresh aftertaste.” David advised. Patrick nodded and nipped at the corner of the dumpling to slurp up the briny soup inside. It did remind Patrick of spring for some reason, the fresh herbs hitting his tongue followed by the distinctive flavor of the shrimp. The dumpling itself was light and airy and it was easy to pop another in his mouth before David could correct him for eating them out of order. Patrick moved on to the next pile of dumplings, a chicken-based soup dumpling, before he broke the comfortable silence that had settled between them.

“So, David, do you, um, have any hobbies?” Patrick blushed before he could even get all the words out of his mouth. Of all the questions to ask, that’s what his brain had settled on? David’s eyes looked more intense tonight and Patrick realized he had put eye black on underneath his mask. It made his eyes pop in a way that made Patrick have to tell his dick to not embarrass them both as the sweatpants he was wearing were fairly thin. David hummed and took a sip of his wine.

“I keep a pretty tight schedule, but I do love a self-care moment. A nice face mask paired with a long hot bath does wonders for a weary spirit. Oh, and movie nights with my roommates. And sneaking into the museum of modern art after hours is always a fun time.” David clamped his mouth shut. “Um, I probably shouldn’t have said that last bit.” Patrick laughed and shook his head.

“Hey we’re off the record, remember? I’m mostly just impressed you manage to pull that off.” David pushed a dumpling around with his chopsticks and made a face when the broth inside began to leak out.

“I guess it’s not so much sneaking in as in I’m let in by Leo, one of the security guards. I made sure his mom got home okay after she’d been held up at gunpoint and now he lets me in when I want. It’s peaceful, being around all that art without other people around to distract from it’s quiet beauty.” David looked wistful, his smile so carefree and happy. Patrick was charmed by it and by the notion that David would want to walk around an empty art museum after a night of disarming gunmen and saving people.

“That sounds nice. Is your background in art?” David nodded.

“Yes, I actually used to own a gallery years ago. A whole lifetime and a half ago, really.” David’s voice grew quiet and he took another very long gulp from his wine glass. There was something still sore there in David’s past that he clearly wasn’t comfortable getting into. Best to change the subject then.

“You know my background isn’t actually in journalism?” Patrick offered. David had managed to stuff four dumplings in his mouth and he had to swallow hard around his mouthful to undoubtedly get out a snarky response. Patrick grinned as he waited for David to hit him with it.

“Really. That is shocking news especially from all the intentionally leading questions you ask.” David drawled and Patrick gently nudged his foot beneath the table before he realized how that wasn’t exactly friendly behavior. It was his turn to blush and David pounced all over it. “You mean to tell me the Patrick Brewer, Journalist of the Year, didn’t come out of some preppy high school on the upper east side with his lil notebook in hand ready to challenge everyone’s responses to everything?” Patrick laughed and shook his head.

“First off, it’s very sweet you know what awards I’ve won and second, I’m Canadian so that tosses that theory.” David took another large gulp of wine. Patrick was starting to notice that for each time Patrick teased him or asked a question that made him nervous, David took a drink. It was almost as if he was playing his own private game of ‘never have I ever’ and Patrick thought it was adorable.

“I’m from Canada too. A little town, you probably wouldn’t know it.” He said quietly and Patrick filed that information away for later. He really did mean everything David said was off the record but privately, Patrick wanted to know as much about David as he could.

“Fair enough.” Patrick said as he snatched the last potsticker from the container closest to him before David could devour them all. David pouted at him and stole one of the shrimp dumplings off Patrick’s plate with superhuman speed, the brat. “But you know I actually have a degree in business? My last semester of university I even got to help out a local store get their legs under them.” The stolen dumpling David had been lifting up to his mouth promptly fell back to his plate with a squish.

“Oh. That’s…” David started. “I, um, actually have a friend—a small business owner—who could use some help with hi--eeer business taxes and stuff like that?” Patrick nodded thoughtfully.

“Hmm it’s been a while but it would be nice to flex the old muscles. Is this business local?” David nodded, a small dimpled smile carved into the side of his mouth. Patrick wondered what that dimple would feel like under his lips when he realized David was still talking.

“—and the store is closed on Mondays but if you could come by say, Tuesday after lunch? I know she would really appreciate it.”

Patrick pulled out his phone to check his calendar and started to type in the information.

“Okay I’m putting it in my calendar now. What did you say the store’s name was again?” David beamed at him.

“Rose Apothecary.” He said with a happy little shoulder shimmy. “Best up-and-coming store in the whole city.” Patrick couldn’t help the laugh that bubble out of him at David’s antics.

“I like the name. It’s just pretentious enough.” David rolled his eyes and drained his wine glass.

“Would we call that pretentious or timeless?” Patrick laughed again and realized his plate and wine glass were also empty. Apparently David had been stealing more dumplings off his plate while Patrick had been fiddling with his phone but Patrick couldn’t bring himself to care. Even after these two short encounters with David, Patrick felt more settled in his skin than he had his entire life. Something about the easy give and take they seemed to have made Patrick feel brave enough to push David a little further without being worried he’d fly off.

“Now if I do you this favor, I expect something in return.” David’s eyes burned with something new and Patrick felt warm with the heat of his gaze.

“What would you like, Patrick?” David purred and oh shit abort, abort, Patrick was going to die of impure thoughts if they kept this up. Patrick swallowed down the lump in his suddenly very dry throat.

“Um more of those chicken soup dumplings?” Patrick asked weakly. David grinned at him and he stood up from his chair. Patrick glanced at the clock and it was well past two in the morning.

“How about next time I bring you some samosas? There’s a place downtown that serves them up with this mint chutney I would do unspeakable things for.”

“Not sure that’s something you should divulge so easily.” Patrick said with a laugh when David just shrugged. “I’d love that. I guess I’ll see you soon?” David winked at him as he stepped out onto the fire escape.

“Possibly. Good night, Patrick.”

David soared up into the sky before Patrick could respond. Even still, Patrick waved at his retreating back.

“Good night, David.”

“Stevie, please, I’m begging you.” David pleaded. He knew he’d rather quickly resorted to begging, but Patrick was too important for him to screw this up. “It’s one hour of your life and you still owe me from the Mayor’s Key Ceremony.” Stevie tossed one of her undershirts at him and he yelped and barely managed to avoid getting hit in the face. Stevie hated being reminded about drunkenly hitting on the deputy mayor at the after party when David had been given the ceremonial key to the city. David was pretty sure it was buried in his Alexis’ closet under a pile of summer dresses.

They were currently in the laundry room of the building and David was attempting for the third time to convince Stevie to pretend to be the owner of Rose Apothecary for his meeting with Patrick. He’d been so relieved to find help for the store, he hadn’t realized how dumb it would be if he showed up as himself. Patrick was no dummy and his secret identity would be blown to high hell. Part of him wanted Patrick to know but it was probably far too soon in their friendship to consider something like that

“I think it would be healthy for you to follow through on the plans you make, David. It’s what a good business person does.” Stevie said as she tipped a capful of detergent into the washing machine. David attempted to hop up on the dryer next to it, completely forgetting they were alone and he could hover up on top of it, and there was a metallic screech when the force of his jump put a handprint shaped dent in the lid.

“Fucking fuck!” David hissed and Stevie shook her head without even looking over his way. David did his best to undent the machine but it looked like Alexis would have to sweet talk the building maintenance personnel into looking the other way. Again.

“You seem more flustered than usual.” Stevie commented lightly as she tucked her empty laundry basket under her arm and began making her way out of the room and up the sixteen flights of stairs to their apartment. David trailed after her, crossing his arms in indignation at her suggestion but when she went silent, he sighed.

“He knows my real name, Stevie.” David half-whispered into the poorly lit stairwell. Stevie whirled around so quickly she nearly hit him with her laundry basket. He recognized the familiar look of fear on her face. Stevie was perhaps the most protective of David’s secret identity and they’d only had a handful of minor slip ups since David had taken on the mantle of hero. 

“What, since when?!” She snapped, bumping him with the basket with a bit more force than David had expected. David set his jaw. He didn’t like the accusation in her tone though he felt a bit of guilt mix in when she narrowed her eyes at him. To David, this was all the more reason for her to meet Patrick and realize he was different.

“I just…I felt I could trust him with it.” They stood there staring at each other in loaded silence before the fight left Stevie’s small body. Her expression shifted into something less hostile and more friendly.

“That’s big, David. Wow.”

They both stood quietly for a minute more before Stevie sighed and started back up the stairs.

“Fine. One hour at the store but I want to use an earpiece.”

David grinned and flew up behind her and sped them up the stairs and back into their apartment in less than twenty seconds. Stevie may have grumbled at him for a good half hour after that about feeling sick but David knew her heart wasn’t in it.


As it turned out, Stevie got her revenge in the form of the earpiece. David was watching the security camera feed on his phone with his headset to remove any lingering temptation to pretend to be his own long lost relative. He knew the mask covered a good bit of his face but once his identity was out there, he could never step back into the anonymity it afforded him. As much as he wanted to trust Patrick, he hadn’t told anyone his secret other than Stevie and Alexis. After a very frank conversation with Stevie about his encounters with Patrick, he felt he owed them some say in a major choice like allowing a fourth person into the circle of trust. 

David tucked his knees up under himself in the comfy armchair he’d found at a thrift store in midtown and took a small sip of his coffee while he waited for Patrick to arrive. He let out a noise of discontentment as he realised the coffee had cooled down considerably from all the cream he’d added, but that was nothing a good blast of warmth from his hands couldn’t fix. It was one of the first things he had perfected with Stevie. She thought having David practice his energy blasts on something he loved like coffee would be the perfect way to learn to control the intensity of the energy that emantented from his hands. He’d broken nearly thirty mugs before he was able to warm up the liquid inside the mug without shattering it. David closed his eyes and took a luxurious sip of his now piping hot coffee when the sound of the store bell chimed though his headset.

“That’s him.” David breathed, although Stevie was clearly going to ignore anything he said for the remainder of the hour. She’d already passive aggressively moved the toilet plungers out of the backroom despite David’s scathing commentary and had set up a gaudy pyramid out of them right at the front of the store. It was strange to see Patrick in normal clothes. David was used to the button ups and Inquirer branded jackets when he was at work or the threadbare sweatpants he’d worn the past two times he’d seen him in his home. Today, Patrick was wearing a navy blue v-neck sweater that looked absolutely devastating as it clung to his chest in all the right ways. David could maybe do without the Levis but Patrick made them look good. 

As Patrick turned to survey the tables of merchandise at the front of the store before Stevie looked up from her phone (she was totally just fucking with him at this point), David couldn’t help but admire the view of Patrick from the back. He felt just a little bit guilty doing it but he figured he’d do another loop around the children’s hospital the next time he did a fly by to make up for his impure thoughts about how well Patrick filled out a pair of jeans.

“Looking for something in particular?” Stevie called and Patrick set down the bottle of cologne he’d been weighing out in his hands and offered her a wave.

“Hi. Actually, I’m here because of a mutual friend of ours who said you might need a little help with your paperwork?” Patrick said as he walked over to the counter with his hand outstretched. “I’m Patrick Brewer.” Stevie shook his hand with a wry smile.

“Friend might be a little strong of a word for me at the moment but yes, he’d said you’d be by. Welcome, Patrick.” David growled into his headset, but Stevie ignored him.

“Mind if I have a look around before we dive into the paperwork? I like to get a feel for a business before I start up.” Stevie gestured grandly to the space.

“Look as long as you’d like. I have a mood board for winter candles to tweak or something equally obnoxious like that.” David flipped the tiny Stevie off on his phone and watched as Patrick moved around the space. He wished the video feed was just a little more high resolution so he could watch Patrick’s reaction to the products David had so carefully selected. That familiar blue notebook made an appearance and Patrick began writing down notes. He picked things up from time to time for further examination and David felt like he was holding his breath in anticipation. He realized just how important it was to him that Patrick liked his store. Patrick walked back up to the front and Stevie glanced up from her phone.

“Well? Is it hopeless? Do I need to sell the farm?” Stevie asked and David could almost see Patrick’s laugh before he could hear it.

“No, no. Not at all. On the contrary, I think what you have here is something special.” David’s heart did a somersault in his chest as he let Patrick’s words settle over him. “I love the branding and the hand lettered notecards with the vendor’s names and process make it really personal. Did you make those yourself?”

David nodded excitedly just as Stevie said, “No, I actually source those out to this moody artist type I know. He’s into that sort of thing.” Patrick nodded thoughtfully as he picked up the card in front of the lip balms by the cash register. “Well they do great work. All of this really just works together. I can’t believe Da—our mutual nocturnal friend thought you needed help. Everything I’m looking at seems like you’ve got it all figured out.” David couldn’t help but preen at the compliments as Stevie led Patrick back into the backroom. David suddenly realized he had no camera that pointed into the back and would only have Stevie’s earpiece to make sense of the conversation. Fuck.

A low whistle crackled over the headset.

“Oh. Well yeah I can see where you need the help.” Patrick’s said, his voice tinny over the speaker. “First things first, let’s start with this.”

David opened up his notes app and spent the next forty minutes frantically typing out everything Patrick said. Patrick’s voice was a soothing balm to his ear. David found himself nodding along and when he asked a question, Stevie actually asked it for him so he could get the answer. It seemed like she was impressed by Patrick too and Patrick was patient and thoughtful with his words as he answered her questions. To say David was happy would be an understatement and he was nearly ready to rush down to the store himself just to thank him for his help when Stevie went rouge. David had made her swear not to bring up any personal information but of course Stevie had her own way of getting around things. They’d been clearly wrapping up, making small talk while they shuffled paperwork back into the filecabinet David had bought and never used, when Stevie decided to ask Patrick if he was seeing anyone.

“No, I don’t think so but I did meet someone recently.”

Stevie made a noise of interest and David could almost see her motioning for him to go on.

“We’ve only met up a couple of times, nothing really planned, but I really like spending time with him.” David’s heart sank at the thought of someone else getting to spend time with Patrick, making him laugh, and getting to stare into that handsome face whenever they wanted. One thing that David absolutely hated about his life as a Super was dating was practically off limits unless someone really special came along. The more David allowed himself to indulge in the thought of how things were developing between Patrick and himself, he was beginning to feel things for Patrick he hadn’t felt for anyone before.

“Can you tell me more about him?”

Patrick laughed then.

“Well, he’s tall, dark, and handsome but I’ve never seen his whole face. Does that make it clearer?” Patrick teased and Stevie’s delighted laugh rang in David’s ears. Holy shit.

“I mean I figured as much, but it’s nice to have the confirmation all the same.” David could practically see her knowing grin and the resulting blush on Patrick’s face but he couldn’t care less. Patrick liked him!

The shuffling came to a stop and a polite exchange of goodbyes and then the sound of the bell once more.

“For the record, I’ll take my payment in the bottle of wine of my choosing for movie night next week.” Stevie informed him before the connection went dead.

David dropped a whole case of wine in Stevie’s room that afternoon.

Ever since Patrick had gone to Rose Apothecary, it’s been all he can think about. Well that, and David of course, but he’s doing the best he can not to dwell on that any longer than appropriate. Mostly. Stevie had been sarcastic but kind to him and he’d actually had a lot of fun sifting through the paperwork for the store. The business model was surprisingly stable for a small shop in a very big city and the love and care the store was built on shined through in every detail. When he’d gotten his business degree, he’d imagined owning a shop very similar to Rose Apothecary, a business that could engage with its community with both the consumer and vendors best interests in mind. For the first time in years, Patrick felt the familiar itch to get involved. As he ate through his lunch while he made edits to the latest Bolt article--a review of the Bolt’s top ten daring rescues he was sure he was going to get called into his bosses office for writing yet another fluff piece--he couldn’t help but feel his journalistic career was swiftly coming to its natural conclusion.

He wanted to be part of something he could watch grow. Writing articles and columns about sports or theater or even the Bolt had been a foot in the door to his new life, but now he felt like he could make a safe return to his business roots without upending all the work he’d done on himself.

Beyond his career crisis, there was the little not so little matter of his late night visits with one caped crusader that was making it very difficult to get anything done. What had begun as a random thing that happened when it happened was now quickly becoming a three or four nights a week sort of thing, so much so, that Patrick had developed a routine around it. He’d come home from work, eat a snack, and then take a long nap so he could be up and decent looking for David’s arrival. It seemed David had given up the pretense of thanking Patrick and moved on to educating Patrick on the vast variety of takeout in the city. 

David brought the promised samosas and big steaming containers of goat vindaloo, chicken tikka masala, and garlic naan so soft it felt like eating a cloud as they scooped up generous amounts of curry to stuff in their faces. Each night David came to visit him was like a culinary adventure. One night was Boursin, ham, and asparagus stuffed crepes with a box teeming full of delicate pastel macarons that tasted like flowers and citrus and joy. Two nights later, it was tacos el pastor and elote with a huge pitcher of margaritas from a taco street cart where David had whisked the owner off to the hospital just in time to save his life after he’d suffered a heart attack. Each place David went seemed to follow the theme of David saving either the business or the owner in some way and it was endearing to hear how much the people of the city adored their hero. David was constantly unpacking bags to find extra treats or alcohol thrown in he hadn’t paid for or, on one, memorable occasion a sweet card made by a child with a picture of the Bolt and the child holding hands on the front that David had teared up over before carefully tucking it into a pocket on his utility belt.

When they make it through most of David’s places in the city, David branches out to the suburbs. Patrick was still having fantasies about the insanely delicious barbecue ribs and potato salad David had brought from some tiny shack in one of the city’s surrounding suburbs while making Patrick swear he wouldn’t tell anyone how David looked while eating ribs. Surprisingly, David managed to tear through two full racks of ribs without completely ruining his mask that night. Patrick was grateful for David’s appetite because it helped to distract from how good David looked all the time. Patrick was sure if he ever saw David without the mask, he’d do something incredibly stupid like propose on the spot and while he was finally starting to feel at home in his own sexuality, he really ought to ask David out before he got to the proposal stage.

Spending more and more time together only made Patrick want more of David in his life. David was funny and sharp and had very specific opinions about things Patrick hadn’t even realized someone could have an opinion about. When David realized Patrick hadn’t seen practically any of the rom coms on David’s must-see list, he’d commandeered Patrick’s television and declared it was movie night. So far they’d only gotten through Sleepless in Seattle and Notting Hill but that was more because despite the nap, Patrick always seemed to doze off at the end. On nights when he fell asleep, he’d wake up the next morning in his own bed to a clean kitchen and, usually, some sort of breakfast David had likely gone out for right after Patrick had fallen asleep. It made him feel taken care of in a way Patrick wasn’t used to.

Patrick was jolted from his thoughts of David when his phone pinged next to his elbow on his work desk. He immediately grabbed for it and grinned like the love sick idiot he was quickly becoming when he saw who had interrupted his daydreaming.



How do you like your burgers? I’m dreaming about something covered in cheese and bacon tonight.

Patrick shook his head fondly as he stared down at the text. The texting was a relatively new development. David had left a phone number on one of the takeout bags the night after the margaritas, which sort of made Patrick wonder what exactly he’d said when David had ushered him off to bed after his third with a soft, knowing smile. Suddenly feeling bold, Patrick responded:



How do you like your burgers? I’m dreaming about something covered in cheese and bacon tonight.

Actually, how about I do one better. Can you take the night off?

Little dots immediately popped up on the screen and Patrick felt his heart pounding in his chest as he started to formulate a plan for if David agreed and an aloof response for if he said no.



How do you like your burgers? I’m dreaming about something covered in cheese and bacon tonight.

Actually, how about I do one better. Can you take the night off?

I suppose the city will stay intact one night. Did you have something in mind?

Patrick threw his fists up in victory and then remembered he was still at his cubicle in the office and was getting a whole range of interested faces at his behavior but Patrick didn’t care.



How do you like your burgers? I’m dreaming about something covered in cheese and bacon tonight.

Actually, how about I do one better. Can you take the night off?

I suppose the city will stay intact one night. Did you have something in mind?

I do. Come over around 8?

Dots again. Patrick's heart felt like it was about to beat out of his chest in anticipation of the evening to come. He was already formulating the perfect date night in his head.



I suppose the city will stay intact one night. Did you have something in mind?

I do. Come over around 8?

Wouldn’t miss it.

Of the five dishes or so Patrick actually knew how to cook, his mother’s lasagna was by far the most date worthy. With the motivation of cooking for David, he was able to finish his edits in record time and duck out of work early to go to the good Italian market a little off his usual route home to get the necessary ingredients. He’d ended up tossing a couple bottles of the fancy red he usually reserved for special occasions in the cart and a couple candles as well. He thought he might also pick up some flowers, but he didn’t want to seem too over eager, though that’s exactly how he felt. He knew there was something between them but they both seemed too nervous to make the first move. Patrick could be brave for David, the man who spent so much of his life saving strangers from perilous situations. The man who could eat three full portions of curry and then still have room for the half empty box of day old donuts Patrick had been meaning to throw out. David, who loved art and culture and who seemed to know all sorts of people far more interesting than Patrick, but yet he chose to spend his nights with Patrick. Patrick could be brave for the both of them and make the first move.

The process of cooking and cleaning his apartment up was a familiar pre-date ritual for Patrick. Granted he hadn’t exactly dated since he moved to the city and dates with Rachel were always accompanied by the nerves of how the date might end. He found a table cloth tucked away in an old picnic basket he’d completely forgotten he’d owned and set the table for two with the two candles gleaming off the silverware in the dusky evening light. With the table set and the lasagna in the oven, all that was left was to get dressed. 

Patrick thumbed through the shirts hanging in his closet, but nothing seemed quite right. Eventually he decided he couldn’t go wrong with a blazer and shrugged it on over a button down and some slacks. He made sure his hair was neat and dabbed on a little cologne, David seemed like the kind of person who could appreciate cologne, and then the timer for his lasagna went off. A tap came at the window a few minutes after eight and there was David, hovering slightly by the door like he needed to be invited in. Patrick waved him in and David ducked inside. He was a vision in a white version of his suit Patrick had never seen before. The black bolt on his chest seemed to gleam against the white and the white mask on his face seemed slightly smaller than his traditional black masks. Patrick could see the curve of his nose better and his thick eyebrows darted skyward as he took in Patrick’s own outfit.

“Wow you clean up well.” David blurted out before snapping his mouth shut. He darted past Patrick and floated nervously next to the table. “So does your apartment. Are you…did you cook?” David seemed surprised.

“Yes, believe it or not, David, but I do occasionally eat dinner at a reasonable time that’s not two in the morning.” David bit his lip on a smile. God, Patrick was so gone on him. “You’re just earlier than usual.” Patrick handed him the bottle of wine and a corkscrew. “You want to wrestle with that while I plate up the lasagna?” David’s eyes lit up at the mention of food as they always did.

“You made me a lasagna?” He asked wonderingly as Patrick made his way over to the oven to pull out the food he’d been keeping warm in there. David’s smile got wider and wider as Patrick pulled out pan after pan.

“I actually made you two lasagnas, mozzarella sticks, Caesar salad, and I bought an Italian rum cake for dessert.” The responding look of absolute glee on David’s face was worth having to almost fight a little old lady for the last rum cake in the case. David held up a finger and Patrick watched as a tiny white hot glow enveloped his finger tip before he sliced neatly through the top of the wine bottle, catching the severed cork and glass before it fell to the ground in one easy motion.

“Show-off.” Patrick intoned even as the smile threatened to overtake his face.

By the time their plates were piled high with food, something had shifted between them. David clearly hadn’t been expecting to walk into the date Patrick had planned, but he seemed to really be enjoying it. The teasing bite Patrick was used to hearing in David’s tone had softened and each time Patrick made a point to casually touch the small of his back to do something like point him in the direction of the silverware or patted his arm to tell him to take a seat, it was like David melted right into Patrick’s hands. It was intoxicating. When they were both seated, Patrick proposed a toast.

“To being off the record on a more permanent basis.” David shook his head and laughed but knocked his glass to Patrick’s.

“I’ll gladly drink to that. I can already tell you’re a much better cook than a reporter.”

They both fell into the comfortable pattern of eating together, chatting quietly about nothing important and just enjoying each other’s company. It would be so easy for Patrick to reach across the table and grab David’s hand. David polished off four helpings of the lasagna before Patrick had even finished his first. When they were both full but not quite ready for dessert, Patrick gathered up their dishes to deposit in the sink to soak while David stretched and glanced back at the sliding door.

“Feel free to tell me no but would you...would you maybe like to get out of here for a bit?” David asked. Patrick wiped his hands on a dishtowel as he thought about how it might look for him to be seen out in public with the Bolt. It could very well get him fired if anyone in his field recognized him and what a massive conflict of interest it was. But the look of hope on David’s face made Patrick decide it was well worth the risk. Patrick nodded and David held out his hand. Patrick stepped forward and placed his hand in David’s and was surprised by the level of heat seeping out of David’s hand into his own. Sometimes he forgot about specific David powers he didn’t see all the time. Maybe David was right about his skills as a reporter, given he should have known—he’d been writing about David’s abilities for months—but it was one thing to know them and another thing to be able to reach out and touch. 

David wrapped an arm around Patrick’s waist and suddenly they were out on the fire escape. Patrick felt a tugging sensation low in his body as he was lifted off his feet and into the air. They slowly began to rise up and Patrick yelped in surprise, his hands flailing before David tucked the arm holding Patrick in closer to his own body, pulling Patrick to his chest. Patrick threw his arms around David’s neck for balance and blinked up at him in shock as they hovered a good ten feet above the fire escape.

“I thought you meant we were going to take a walk or something.” Patrick squeaked out, his voice a little higher than he would’ve liked. David laughed, a low rumble Patrick could feel reverberate through his own body. He looked deeply amused and suddenly Patrick realized just how intimately close they were.

“I want to show you how I see the city. Do you trust me?” Patrick didn’t even have to pretend to think about his response.

“With my life.” David smiled wide and suddenly they were rising again at a much faster speed. Patrick let out a shout of surprise but David’s arm held him close and sure as they rocketed upwards thirty, forty, fifty feet above the apartment building. He buried his face briefly in David’s neck, eyes clamped shut as his heart raced, and David let out a surprised noise of his own before hugging Patrick even tighter. 

“I’ve got you, Patrick. Open your eyes.” David said softly, his lips so close to Patrick’s ear that Patrick felt the sensation of a kiss that probably was only in his imagination. Patrick opened his eyes slowly and gasped at the city laid out beneath them. They were about halfway up the side of one of the taller skyscrapers and the warm glow of the streetlights and buildings beneath them webbed out like a gleaming gold net. The waterfront was a blanket that tucked into the edges of the city and the moon reflected across its still waters making it shine silver. 

“It’s beautiful, David.” Patrick breathed eventually. 

“Yeah...beautiful.” David agreed but when Patrick chanced a look up, David was staring at him. Patrick barely had to lean in and suddenly David’s lips were pressed against his own in a tender kiss. Patrick felt they were moving forward, flying out over the city, but how could he be distracted with a little thing like flying for the first time when the far more important kissing David for the first time was happening? David kissed him like he’d been just as starved for it, reaching a hand up to cup Patrick’s face as he deepened the kiss, licking inside Patrick’s mouth with a happy moan. Patrick felt dizzy from the sensation of David everywhere, too much and yet not enough all at once, and when they finally broke for air, they both started at each other unblinking for a moment. David had sent them soaring out miles away from the city in the blink of an eye and he seemed just as surprised as Patrick to see the stars shining brightly above them in contrast to the thick expanse of pine trees beneath them.

“It would appear I got a little carried away there.” David said with a nervous laugh but all Patrick could do was hug him tightly, all the residual fear leaving his body as David flew them back toward the city. 

“Carried me right away with you too.” Patrick said and David’s laugh was high and bright and seemed to fill the entire sky. They circled the city for a little while, David quietly narrating their journey in Patrick’s ear until they were back on the solid ground of Patrick’s living room. 

Patrick uncurled himself from David’s body with a soft smile and went off to get dessert plated up. They settled on the couch and ate in silence, both of them nervous all over again as the need to talk presented itself without the distraction of flight.

“Patrick, this night was amazing.” David said quietly as he set down his place. “You didn’t have to go through all this for me.” There was something unsure in the way David said it. Patrick couldn’t bear to let David think Patrick was just doing this as a friend. He wanted to do so much more for this amazing man.

“I wanted to do this for you because you mean a lot to me. David, you have to know by now this is moving toward something.” Patrick said, hoping David could feel his sincerity. He shifted closer to him on the couch and when David smiled, he experimentally took David’s hands in his own. 

It felt like a victory when David didn’t pull away and instead moved in closer until their knees were touching. 

“I…” David started and then stopped, his mouth falling open as closed as he struggled to find the words. Patrick rubbed small circles around the knuckles of David’s hands while he waited. They seemed strong but surprisingly delicate beneath his touch and David closed his eyes briefly before meeting Patrick’s gaze. “I do know. And it scares the hell out of me, Patrick. There are so many reasons why this won’t work.”

He was staring openly at Patrick now, his face more open than Patrick had ever seen it.

“That’s true,” Patrick agreed. “But there are plenty of reasons why it can work too.” David ducked his head, his shoulders drooping as he pulled his hands away. Patrick’s stomach did an uneasy flip at the motion but David merely picked up his plate again and took another bite of cake. Patrick took David’s brief interlude as a chance to tell him his plan. “You know, I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and I think it’s time for me to move on from the Inquirer, really journalism all together. I just think it would be a big conflict of interest because I’m really falling for you, David.” Patrick admitted. 

David’s eyes went wide and there was the sound of shattering ceramic as the plate in his hands shattered. David sprang to his feet in shock and his hand was enveloped in a bright white glow for a moment and then there was a giant hole right through the center of Patrick’s IKEA coffee table. 

“Sorry that…um, happens sometimes when I get emotional.” David said, glancing down. Patrick scrubbed a hand over his face, trying very hard to not look too surprised when David looked so shaken.

“It’s okay, David. It’s not that big of a deal and I’m pretty emotional myself right now.” Patrick reached for David’s hand once more but David took a stuttering step back.

“The powers are harder to control when I lose control of my emotions.” David admitted, his voice tight. “That’s why I can’t do this.” Patrick’s stomach twisted. David looked like he was ready to flee at any moment and panic set in as Patrick was faced with the idea of losing David.

“What? That’s…David, please, let’s just talk about this? I think we can make this work!” Patrick pleaded but David shook his head.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…goodbye, Patrick.” David’s voice was thick with emotion and he was off like a shot, through the door and out of Patrick’s life in the blink of an eye.

David could clearly hear Alexis and Stevie whispering about him outside his door. He burrowed deeper into the sheets; maybe if he ignored them long enough, they would go away again. He was on day six of his self-imposed isolation and hadn’t left the safety of his own bedroom since his shower the other day while both Stevie and Alexis were out and unable to give him pitying looks. Eventually the city would start to notice their resident hero was missing, but David was still too miserable about the way he ended things with Patrick to get back out there. Could he even call it ending things when he’d barely allowed anything to happen?

Patrick was the first person in a long time who looked at David and saw through to what he hoped someone would see if they only took the time. He treated David like he was more than a stepping stone to something better. Even before he’d gotten the powers, people had used David for his money and influence and since he’d taken on life as a Super, he’d been so scared to let anyone in because it could jeopardize not only his safety but Alexis and Stevie’s safety as well. The last thing he wanted was whatever villain of the week showing up at his apartment with some high powered weapon to harm the people he cared about. David had been content to go it alone until Patrick Brewer had come along and blown a Patrick Brewer sized hole in his non-existent romantic plans. 

Even without doing his late night patrols, he still found himself slipping out the window to fly by Patrick’s apartment to make sure he was alright. The sliding door David used to get into Patrick’s apartment was now covered by blackout curtains and if that wasn’t a “Do Not Disturb” sign, David didn’t know what was. David would return home and lie awake for hours thinking about Patrick’s desperate plea for David to try and make it work. When sleep finally claimed him, nightmares of Patrick being kidnapped or hurt kept him in a disturbed slumber that left him feeling weak and exhausted when the early morning light finally trickled in the window.

“If we don’t do the grocery shopping, he’ll have to come out eventually. David’s never missed a meal even before the powers.” Alexis whispered loudly, clearly throwing her voice so David would hear it. Stevie hummed in response. David thought about flying to the grocery store just to spite them.

“You’re forgetting the whole flying thing again. He’s got a window in there. I say we just start posting memes to his carefully curated art Instagram until he caves.” Stevie said and David tossed a shoe at the closed door. It missed.

“I’m going to change my password!” David yelled in the direction of the door.

“David!” Alexis tapped on the door. “David, you can’t stay in there forever. We miss you!”

“Correction. Alexis misses you.” Stevie grumbled. “I just want to stop working at your store. I posted a help wanted sign yesterday because I already have a job and I’m tired of pretending I care about seaweed face masks.”

While David didn’t love the idea of Stevie outsourcing the one thing he’d asked her to do for him this past week, Patrick had found extra money through a grant to hire another employee. The thought of Patrick with his brilliant business acumen, his charming smile, and his bright, kind eyes had David burying his head under his pillow again.

“I’m staying in here where I’m safe from any interactions with the male species.” Alexis resumed her tapping on the door.

“David, c’mon! We can watch Legally Blonde and order from that pizza place that does the pizza with the ranch dressing and bacon on it!”

Damn Alexis for knowing all his weaknesses and using them against him. He should be grateful they were close and she didn’t have any villainous aspirations; David would be powerless to stop her from committing crimes if she left him alone with a large chicken bacon ranch pizza and a bottle of wine. David unlocked the door and Alexis and Stevie both scrambled away from where they’d been sitting against it to stand. Alexis covered her hand over her mouth.

“Oh David, no.” She said, her voice little more than a horrified squeak. Stevie moved toward the kitchen.

“I’ll go to the liquor store on my way to get the food. You can deal with that.” She called over her shoulder.


Alexis made him shower twice before he was allowed into the living room. She’d left his softest pajamas on the bathroom sink for him to change into and when he finally exited the bathroom in a cloud of steam, he had to admit he felt a lot more human. Alexis patted him on the cheek, darting easily out of his reach when he tried to swat at her.

“Much better, David. Now you get to have pizza.” She grinned as she handed him a plate with four slices stacked on it and Stevie was already waiting on the couch with a bottle of wine uncorked and ready to go. David felt the beginnings of a smile attempt to make its way across his lips. Stevie and Alexis always knew how to get him out of a funk.

David sat in between them on the couch and comfortably tucked away a modest two pizzas and three bottles of wine before he felt ready to talk. They had finished the first Legally Blonde and were half-watching the sequel while absently scrolling through their phones and the alcohol was finally starting to give him a comfortable buzz. He’d never been a lightweight and while his powers still allowed him to get drunk (as he’d found out the hard way the first New Year’s Eve after they’d moved to the city)  it took a lot more to get him there. And now that he was in that tipsy headspace, he was back to wallowing over Patrick again.

“I miss him.” David admitted quietly. He could feel Stevie and Alexis share a look over his head.

“Do you…want to talk about what happened?” Stevie had clearly drawn the short straw to ask, but David recounted the story of his date he only sort of realized was a date at the last moment. They both listened quietly, only interjecting briefly with silly comments aimed at making him laugh and knocking the lump of emotion out of his throat when he got too caught up in the retelling.

“I haven’t lost control like that in a long time and that was just over him saying he had feelings for me. I can’t imagine what more could go wrong if we went any further.” David swiped at his eyes, annoyed to find the wetness there despite his best efforts.

“I think you’re being a little dramatic, David. It was just a little cracked plate and burnt table. It happens to the best of us!” Alexis said with a flick of her wrist.

“I mean that’s all it was this time. Who knows what might happen if he were ever threatened or worse…” David shuddered. “I can’t afford to keep him in my life. It’s too dangerous for both of us.”

Stevie paused the movie and gave him a good hard look.

“Why don’t you let him decide for himself? I get it, David. You don’t want anyone to get hurt but I’ve never seen you as happy as being around Patrick has made you. And Alexis is right, you don’t know getting close to him will cause any major issues with your powers.”

Alexis nodded affirmatively next to him.

“Fair point. But what if he decides he’s better off with me? It’s been a week and I haven’t heard from him.” Stevie fell silent and finished off her wine.

“If he decides that, I don’t think he’s the person you need to let in your life.” She said with a shrug. David nodded tightly, tears pricking at his eyes.

“How do I go back to how I was before?” David asked. He hated how weak his voice sounded but Alexis just wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly.

“We’ll help you, obviously.”

Stevie squeezed his shoulder comfortingly and David allowed himself to bask in the love of the two people who knew him best.

Patrick was a planner through and through so when his plans for the night had gone awry, he’d allowed himself time to mourn the loss of the budding thing between the two of them while he cleaned up the remnants of dinner. He filled the sink with hot, soapy water and scrubbed at the pots and pans until his hands stung just as badly as his eyes did. He wasn’t all that surprised David had, well, bolted given his line of work. It would have been a huge conflict of interest and against any sort of journalistic integrity Patrick held to become romantically involved with the subject of his writing but Patrick was willing to give it up for David, for the chance to move on to a career that made him feel like he was back in his wheelhouse. 

Beyond that, David also seemed absolutely terrified about letting personal information slip. He’d once mentioned he had a sister named Alexis and he nearly had a panic attack until Patrick told him every excruciating detail of the pranks he’d had to endure during the hazing period at baseball camp. Patrick understood David needed to keep the people in his inner circle safe but it still hurt like crazy the next day when he sent an innocent “Are you okay?” text David and it was marked as read with no response. 

Several more days passed and Patrick felt an itch underneath his skin each time he sat down at his desk. He couldn’t seem to find the energy to write anything, certainly nothing Bolt related, but even the business articles he’d been initially hired to write were impossible. He felt guilty for something he barely even did and all he could think about, when he wasn’t stuck on thoughts of David, was Rose Apothecary and what it would be like to work in an environment like that. To help a business thrive like he’d always dreamed of doing. When Patrick found the motivation to write, it ended with him setting a letter of resignation on his boss’s desk.

He’d been pounding the pavement the old-fashioned way a few days after his dramatic exit from the Inquier when he noticed he was in the same neighborhood as Rose Apothecary. It looked exactly as he remembered, all clean lines and bright, open space. The only thing that had changed was a bright red “Help Wanted” sign in the window and before he could stop himself, he walked in. There was a loud sound of air whooshing and Patrick could have sworn he caught something large and black rush past him, but maybe it was just the lack of sleep. He hadn’t been sleeping well lately, thinking of David flying listlessly around the city, alone and as miserable as Patrick felt.

Stevie walked out from the back room seconds later, looking rumpled and just a little more irritated than she had the first day. Her hair looked like she’d just come out of a wind tunnel, but she at least made an effort to crack a smile when she noticed Patrick standing there.

“Patrick, so nice to see you again.”

“Hey Stevie. I was in the neighborhood and I saw you’re looking for help. I’d like to drop off my resume.” Patrick plucked a hard copy of his resume from his bag and set it on the counter in front of Stevie. Stevie glanced down at it, looking shocked somehow to see a resume despite the fact that she was hiring.

“Um, so are you thinking of part-time work at a moderately unsuccessful store? They don’t pay you enough at the Inquirer to follow the Bolt around?” She raised an eyebrow at him. Patrick swallowed around the lump of emotion in his throat at the mention of David. He shook his head with a sad smile.

“Actually, I quit.” If Stevie was surprised, she did a good job of hiding it.

“Oh. Really.” She picked up his resume and held it up to the light, examining it. Patrick shifted from foot to foot, suddenly restless. He thought this was the right idea but maybe this store was too connected to David for him to get involved. He didn’t want to make David uncomfortable but he just felt drawn to the place for some reason.

“I just figured I needed a change and I really think you have something here, Stevie. You just need a little help.” Patrick offered. Stevie nodded, biting her lip on a smile and Patrick felt himself relax a little.

“Actually, he needs a lot of help.” She said without looking up. Patrick smiled until he processed the words.

“Sorry. He? I thought this was your store, Stevie.” Stevie at least had the decency to look guilty.

“I was actually just filling in for a friend? So I don’t think I can actually hire anyone?” Stevie said with a shrug.

Patrick didn’t know what to make of that response but embarrassment curled in his gut. He had no idea who was running the store, and at this point, it seemed like it was a waste of time for him to get involved. He held his hands out in front of him and backed up toward the door.

“You know what, it’s alright. Forget I came in.”

Patrick ducked out of the store despite Stevie’s protests and he let his feet carry him all the way to a coffee shop not far from his house to wallow in his own misery. He pulled his laptop from his messenger bag and went to a job board to start sending off his resume for positions that felt all wrong but if he didn’t find something fast, he’d be back to living with his parents in Ontario. He wasn’t ready to give up the kind of person he’d become in the city for fear that he’d never find him again.

He’d been so engrossed in his work, he didn’t notice he had company until he heard the sound of someone clearing their throat. Patrick looked up at the seat across from him to find it occupied by a man with familiar eyes. David was here. He was dressed in street clothes that looked more like they belonged on a runway, a sweater covered in flames and tight fitting leather pants that left little to the imagination. Without his mask on, Patrick cataloged the thick eyebrows that perfectly framed his eyes, just the right amount of stubble, and a strong jawline like something out of a fairytale. Patrick’s fairytale. Patrick opened his mouth to speak but David reached out a hand for a handshake.

“Hi. My name is David Rose. I’ve heard you’re interested in applying to become a partner in Rose Apothecary. I’d like to go over your qualifications.”

Patrick’s mind was racing. David was here and all Patrick could do in response was choke out a single, “David”

In the blink of an eye, David was kissing him from across the table and it was just as good if not better than the first time.

“I’m sorry, I know that’s not really professional of me, but I missed you like crazy and I’ve been thinking about kissing you again for a week.”

“I’ll allow it.” Patrick said as he leaned in for another kiss. They’d have all the time in the world to discuss their business partnership.



A cold gust of wind burst through the door of Rose Apothecary carrying Patrick’s boyfriend of four months, who was looking particularly peeved despite the fact that it was their anniversary.

“Do you have any idea what you’ve done?” David’s tone was accusatory, his face set in a deep pout but Patrick knew he secretly loved Patrick’s monthly anniversary gifts. Patrick had used a favor from one of his old coworkers and had arranged for a plane to fly near David’s morning patrol route with a banner that said “Happy Four Months, David!” Stevie managed to snag a picture of David midflight beneath it and Patrick planned to present him with a framed copy of the picture later that night at dinner. 

“What, I wanted to be sure you’d see it?” Patrick said after accepting a somewhat begrudging morning kiss from David. “We're still on for our date night?” David dropped his bag behind the counter and hummed his affirmative.

“Provided no one tries to throw poison in the water main…again. Of course” As if on cue, the sound of sirens close by echoed throughout the store. David cast a nervous glance over at Patrick, who just smiled and nodded toward the door.

“I think that’s your cue, honey. Be safe, I love you.” David closed his eyes and seemed to soak up Patrick’s words briefly. He blew Patrick a kiss and then was back out the door. Patrick watched him go with a smile. The ‘I love you’ was a relatively new addition to Patrick’s standard “go get ‘em” catch phrase and while David wasn’t quite ready to say it back yet, it made Patrick feel better that David knew exactly how much Patrick cared about him.

Patrick checked the group chat between Stevie and Alexis for an update on the situation, apparently a fire in an office building downtown—nothing David couldn’t easily handle and be back in time to help with the lunch break rush at the store—when David reappeared in front of him. He was dressed in his Bolt uniform, the same one he’d been in the night he first visited Patrick, but his mask was held loosely from his fingers. Before Patrick could ask him what he was doing back so soon, David pulled him in close and kissed Patrick with a kind of desperation that Patrick felt all the way down to his bones. Patrick hummed at the now familiar sensation of being lifted into the air and he wrapped his arms around David tightly to revel in the passionate kiss. When David pulled back, he was grinning from ear to ear.

“I love you.” David said. His voice was full of emotion and Patrick could see his eyes were a bit wet. Patrick tucked himself into David’s chest and hugged him as they swayed together in the air for a moment before Patrick remembered why David had left in the first place.

“David. The fire!” David’s eyes went wide, and he gently lowered them back down to the ground before bolting back out the door in the blink of an eye. Patrick felt a little silly grinning to himself alone in the middle of the store, but he didn’t care. Being loved by David felt even better than flying.