Phantoms – a City of Heroes Story

This is a story about one of my City of Heroes characters, Zahir Rolando. It features some adult concepts, and as such is behind a cut. I do not think it could be defined as ‘explicit’ but better to be safe than sorry.

Stepping out of the elevator, Zahir Rolando took a few moments to tuck his blue silk tie into his pocket. During the interview it had felt like a noose around his neck, and he’d been grasping the folded item of clothing tightly in his hand all the way home after leaving the PPD headquarters.

The olive-skinned man was not expecting his front door to open as soon as he got within reach of the handle, and he certainly did not expect to be pulled inside, suitcase quickly removed from his hands as he was pressed up against the wall, window nearby overlooking People’s Park.

‘Congratulations, Zahir.’ Toshiro Harada said with a bright smile, before pressing himself up against his partner to deliver a passionate kiss that left Zahir gasping after their lips broke.

‘You don’t even know if I got it yet, Toshiro.’ Zahir laughed, hands working their way down to the small of his partner’s back, enjoying the feel of an expensive sweater’s softness on his fingers.

‘Oh, I know. It’s because I can read you like an open book, and your eyes are smiling.’ The reply came, even has he busied himself with unbuttoning Zahir’s crisp white shirt. ‘And the fact that the department’s R&D group wouldn’t be stupid enough to turn you down. You’re very… unturndownable.’ He added with a lick of his lips, before ducking his head in to start kissing down the smooth chest in front of him.

‘That’s… oooh,’ Zahir gasped, closing his eyes in an effort to maintain coherent conversation, “that is not a word, but yes, I got the job.’ A shiver ran through him as his partner’s nose traced down the middle of his chest, following the line of kisses left by his mouth.

‘Knew you would.’ The hot breath as he spoke spilled out across Zahir’s olive-brown stomach, drawing a whimper of pleasure from the man leaning against the wall for all the support he could muster. Toshiro’s fingers started on the well-practised task of removing belts, before starting on the button and zip of Zahir’s charcoal grey trousers.

Relaxing back against the wall, movement caught Zahir’s half-closed eyes. The door to the rest of the apartment proper had been nudged open, and peeking through the gap were a pair of cats. One with pure white fur, the other with pure black, and bright gold eyes each.

‘Love… your cats are watching.’ Zahir murmred, feeling a slight blush come to his cheeks as his boxer shorts were pulled down.

‘They’re just curious. That’s what cats do.’ Toshiro said with a throaty chuckle, before waving the cats away. ‘Yin, Yang, go nap. We’ll lavish you with attention later, promise.’

They peered at the pair for a few moments longer, before Yin slunk away, leaving only the white cat there. Yang resided for a few moments longer before meowing at the pair, only to then bound after the other.

‘Something weird about those cats of yours…’ Zahir signed, settling back against the wall.

‘They’re just smart, that’s all. Smart things survive longer, and I like smart things…’Toshiro grinned up at his lover. ‘As I can demonstrate.’ He added, before ducking his head forwards.

Sliding his fingers into Toshiro’s short crop of dark hair, Zahir’s hands moved in time with the bobbing of his partner’s head. Aside from the steadily rising rate of Zahir’s breathing, the hallway was silent. It did not take long for his breath to start coming in gasps.

‘Toshiro… ahh… you’re good at… aaah…’


‘AAAAAAAAH!’ Zahir cried out, before biting down hard on his hand. The scientist was laying in bed, his upper body clad in cold sweat. His olive skin had gone pale from the pain as he writhed in the bed, neural links attempting to reach their destination and misfiring. His lower half was sleek white and black metal, his cybernetic legs jerking with spasms as the control software tried to compensate for the confusion in the nervous system.

The sudden movements either side of him startled Zahir further, before he saw what it was and blinked. Yin had leapt onto the bed and then onto his torso, claws jabbing against his chest as she prowled up his body. His focus was all on the white cat. Even perched on his chest with claws out, she leaned in to lick at his chin, purring away.

Paws came down to rest on the top of his head as Yang joined the other cat, nestling up against him to join in with the purring. It did the trick. His attention diverted, his brain got the signals under control. Shaky hands came up to pet the two cats, drawing in shuddering breaths as he did so.

‘I hate that.’ He sighed softly to the pair. ‘Even when I dream of times like that with him, there’s pain.’ His eyes started to water, the words catching in the back of his throat as the injustice of everything struck him.

‘Mrrow.’ Came the sound from Yin, flopping off his chest and onto her back, presenting herself for a belly rub.

Carefully rolling onto his front, Zahir couldn’t help but chuckle as he started to fuss over the cat, carefully stroking away at her underbelly. ‘You must miss him too. Both of you.’ The question was answered by Yang padding over to drape himself over the back of Zahir’s neck. This had the additional effect of getting him to lay down again. Once in position, the black cat began to purr steadily, soft vibrations and warmth working away on their human. His hand slowly stopped stroking as his eyelids fell, sinking back into sleep.

In the dark of the bedroom two pairs of gold eyes regarded each other, before vanishing as the cats closed their eyes. Cats were hunters after all, and catching sad dreams was especially tiring.


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