Better Late Than Never

“I don’t care!” Karl sighed and broke off, rubbing his temple. “I am apologize for snapping at you. It’s been a long day, but that’s not your fault.”

“Not at all, sir,” the woman on the phone said, and he envied her that patience. He had possessed it once, but over the past two wretched weeks it had vanished like so many other parts of him. “We actually have a tech in the area, he should be in there in about twenty minutes.”

“Thank you,” Karl said, and hung up. Opening his drawer, he pulled out his bottle of aspirin and downed three with the last of his soda. Throwing the bottle back in the drawer, he looked helplessly at what else was still in the drawer.

A watch—a stupid, fucking, over-priced watch he never should have bought because it was stupid to fall in love with a villain—a villain for crying out loud—when they’d said from the start that it was only for fun, and no one gave fuckbuddies very expensive watches.

He didn’t know why he had expected Trick of the Light to be pleased by the watch. He might be funny and clever and considerate and amazing in bed, but he was still a villain and a mystery, and never had any intention of changing either of those two things.

Not that Karl had ever wanted him to stop being a villain. Personally, he thought heroes were all a little too smug and goodie goodie, and the black and white of heroes and villains grew increasingly gray. No, all he had wanted was a little less mystery. He wanted to see Trick of the Light every day, go to dinner, go to the park—all that stupid dating, mooshy lovers nonsense he had never wanted to do before.

He wanted Trick of the Light to be more than a good time. Why had he ruined what he had? He would do anything to back to how things had been, Trick of the Light finding him at odd times, never seeing him but knowing him by touch so damned well. To being casual, some-time lovers.

But no, he’d had to push things, had to give the watch, had to lose his temper and admit he was in love and–

And now all he had was a watch and the inarguable knowledge that Trick of the Light really had only ever seen him as a good time.

He wanted it to stop hurting, wanted to be as unfeeling as the bastard who had left him and was probably moving on–

Snarling, Karl snatched up the watch, still in its stupid, fancy box, and hurtled it across the room—to nearly slam into the man that stepped through the door. “Jesus!” Karl burst out, shooting to his feet. “I’m so sorry! That was stupid of me! Are you all right?” He jumped over his desk, ignoring the shit he knocked over, and crossed the small space of his office. “I’m really, really sorry about that.”

“It’s okay,” the man replied, and smiled at him—it was a heart-skip-a-beat kind of smile, mild though it was. Karl ignored it. “Everyone has bad days, and it’s a nice sort of change to have things thrown at me by accident. You’d be surprised how livid people get when you have to tell them, no, you really can’t unfry their hard drive or restore their eighty gigs of porn.”

“Eighty gigs?” Karl, impressed despite himself. “Still, I shouldn’t throw things at the door. Are you my tech?”

“Matthew Pearson, at your service,” he replied, and held out a hand to shake Karl’s.

Once upon a time, Karl would have tried flirting with him—would have flirted like hell, and quite shamelessly. The man was tall, lanky, but moved with grace. His jeans hugged a very fine ass, and his black polo hugged a very fine chest and showed off arms that, while skinny, did not lack for muscle. He had messy brown hair and clear hazel eyes, and that killer smile. He was hot, and friendly–

But he wasn’t Trick of the Light. He didn’t have the right voice or laugh or scent or feel. “Computer is there on the desk, I’ll be eternally grateful if you’d make it useful again, instead of just an eight hundred dollar paperweight.”

Matthew laughed. “I can do that; from what the operator told me it should be fixable.” He bent and retrieved the watch, “It’s a handsome watch.”

“I thought so,” Karl said bitterly, remembering the silence after he had given it to Trick of the Light. He’d thought, at first, that Trick of the Light was too surprised to say anything. And he had been, but not in the good way.

Why had he ever thought a villain, and one so powerful and notorious, would settle down seriously with an insurance salesman?

He forced a smile when he realized Matthew was watching and waiting. “The recipient didn’t agree, unfortunately. Guess I should have saved up for a Rolex. But you’re here to fix my computer, not my issues. Would you like something to drink? I have water, coffee, soda…”

“Soda sounds good, actually,” Matthew said brightly. “I’ll get started.”

“Cool,” Karl said, and set the watch on his desk before vanishing into the back room to grab a couple of cans of soda.

He caught the mirror he kept in the back as he walked by it, and stopped in front of it before he could tell himself not. He wasn’t a supermodel, or even remarkable. He was an ordinary guy in an ordinary suit working an ordinary job. He never should have come across Trick of the Light that night nine months ago. It should have been someone interesting, exotic, special. Someone like that would have kept Trick of the Light’s interest, would have become more than a fuckbuddy.

Ordinary Joes did not get superheroes or supervillains, and he knew that—should have remembered it.

Karl set the sodas down to adjust his tie, a blue and green number he’d bought because his best friend said it made his eyes wow. Trick of the Light had claimed to like his eyes.

He just hadn’t liked them enough.

Picking up the sodas, Karl turned away from the mirror and returned to the front office. He froze as he realized Matthew wasn’t working on his computer—but instead, had taken the watch out of the box and was examining it. “What are you doing?”

“Wondering why you would spend hundreds of dollars that you don’t have to spare to buy a fancy watch for a selfish jerk who doesn’t deserve it,” Matthew replied—and the timbre of his voice was different, made Karl’s eyes pop open wide, made him drop the sodas on the carpet. “Wondering why the hell you ever had anything to do with me, to begin with.”

Karl stared, blinked hard, stared some more. “You—you can’t be—what in the hell—“

Matthew smiled crookedly, then looked back down ,at the watch. “I only meant to come and see you, assure myself that I was right to leave you, that shacking up with an ordinary citizen was definitely too dangerous and risky, too difficult to manage.” He rubbed his thumb over the watch face, and added softly, “I told myself a hundred times that’s the only reason I was coming here—but really I just came to see if you’d be stupid enough to take me back.”

“You—you said you weren’t interested, that you couldn’t do it, that it was too risky–”

“I said a lot of dumb shit,” Matthew replied, and reached out, yanking Karl down to sprawl across his lap.

So close, in so familiar a position (though with decidedly more clothes involved), Karl did not know how he’d missed it—Matthew smelled right, felt right, and Karl just wanted to hold him tight and never let Trick of the Light slip away again. “I can’t believe it’s you. I thought–”

“You’d better have been thinking that I’m a dumb ass for letting you go,” Matthew replied, nuzzling the side of his neck. “You’re far too good for me.”

Karl didn’t reply, still not entirely certain he wasn’t dreaming. “I was thinking I’d really like to make you choke on the watch, amongst other things.”

Matthew laughed. “Well, you did almost give me a concussion.” He turned Karl’s head and kissed him, in that deep, exploring, thoughtful way that he first had, that always made Karl shiver and ache for more. He clung tightly, terrified Trick of the Light would run away again.

“You really are here,” he said quietly when the kiss finally broke. “What changed your mind?”

“Last night, when I broke into your office to break your computer, and made certain I would be the tech sent to fix it, just so I could see you without being Trick of the Light. I shouldn’t have come to see you at all, but—“ He broke off and just kissed Karl hard, arm sliding around him, holding him as close as he could in their awkward positioning.

“But what?” Karl eventually asked.

Matthew made a face. “But you’re my weakness.”

Karl opened his mouth, then closed it again, stunned. No hero or villain could say ‘I love you’ any plainer. “You’re an idiot,” he said. “I—I figured I just wasn’t—enough for a supervillain. Trick of the Light could do better than an insurance—“

He was cut off by a kiss, one of the hungry ones that promised they would soon be without clothes. “You’re perfect,” Matthew said. “That’s why I panicked. I wasn’t supposed to get involved at all. I should never have gotten attached. Lovers are liabilities. If anyone ever found out about you…”

“They won’t, and I don’t care if they do—I know what you are, I never had an issue with it. If Sunrise or any of the others try to fuck with me, fuck them up and save me.” He kissed Matthew hard, matching the heat and promise of Matthew’s earlier kiss, shivering as fingers pushed beneath his shirt and spread across his skin. “Trick—“

“Matt—do you know how many times I wanted to tell you to call me that?” Matthew replied.

Karl smiled. “Matt. You’re pretty hot. I was thinking that if I wasn’t so hung up on you, I’d be hitting on you in a minute.”

Matthew laughed, and kissed him again, then abruptly stood up and dropped Karl in the chair instead. Before Karl could ask what was up, Matthew dropped to his knees, unfastened Karl’s pants, and pulled out his cock. “Do you know how many times I passed by your office as Trick of the Light, and fantasized about coming in here and doing a very long list of filthy things to you?”

Cheeks going hot, Karl replied, “Pervert. Not fair you’ve been watching me and I’m just now figuring out what you look like.”

“You can do all the looking you want now, though it was also insanely hot you got off on never seeing me at all,” Matthew said. “You might be a bigger pervert.”

Karl laughed—but it turned into a shout as Matthew’s mouth dropped over his cock and began to suck him off quick and dirty. He gasped Matthew’s name as he came, one hand fisted in hair that he had felt a million times, but never actually seen.

Before he could get his breath back, Matthew rose up and kissed him. “You’re lucky no customers have come by he said,” licking the taste of them off his lip.

“I flipped the sign to closed while you were getting the drinks.”

Karl laughed. “I really should have noticed that. Do you want me to suck you off, or do you want to fuck me.”

Matthew kissed him, soft and sweet, then drew back. “Could I persuade you to close up early and come back to my place?”

“Your place?” Karl asked, surprised. “Really?”

“There’s no secret lair or anything, it’s just a studio uptown–”

Karl kissed him. “Yes! To hell with work, I made enough earlier this week to close early today.”

Matthew grinned, and fixed his clothes for him, stroking his cock teasingly before tucking it away. Then he stood up, dragged Karl with him. “Come on, then.”

“Wait,” Karl said, and turned back to the desk, snatching up the forgotten watch. “Did you really like it?”

“I love it,” Matthew said softly. “Even more than my other one. You didn’t have to waste your money—”

“It was only a waste when I thought you’d dumped me,” Karl said, cutting him off. He put it on Matthew’s wrist, and did up the clasp.

Matthew glanced at it, then smirked. “Time to get naked. Let’s go.” Karl rolled his eyes, but didn’t resist when Matthew pulled him close.