My Last Day Without You
Epilogue: Overtime

by Quinn D.K.

The following is an unedited transcript of a phone interview conducted between a Marvel Comics representative and Ezra Grayson on March 15:

Marvel Comics: Hi, Mr. Grayson?

Ezra Grayson: Hi. Sorry, I just got your email this morning and I totally thought it was a prank. Are you really from Marvel?

MC: Er, yes. Is now a good time?

{Long pause}

MC: Mr. Grayson?

EG: A good time for what?

MC: To... speak. We received your portfolio...

EG: Oh. Oh! Right. Shit.

MC: ...despite being told numerous times that Marvel does not accept unsolicited submissions.

EG: Right.

MC: So, Mr. Quesada was a little put off by-

EG: Joe! Ah, I miss Joe. How is he?

MC: {Slight groaning noise} Our editor in chief is fine, thank you. He mentioned sitting next to a very enthusiastic young artist at a Portland Knights game a couple of weeks ago and-

EG: Okay, you know what I think? That last score was total bullshit. Tampa Bay was taking advantage of the fact that the refs weren't paying attention. Their forwards suck! Did Joe ever mention that?

MC: Mr. Quesada mentioned that at the protest of one goal, you stood up and knocked your drink into his lap.

EG: Ah, I...  forgot about that. See, it's because Nicky - Nicholas McCullough, that's the Knights' goalie, he likes when I call him Nicky - he totally intercepted that shot! Is that the right term? Intercept? Well he definitely blocked it. That's what it looked like to me. Anyway-

MC: {Rustling paper} Mr. Grayson, our editor in chief was a little uncomfortable with the fact that you proposed a portfolio review with him at a, um, a sporting event.

EG: He was?

MC: He used the term "aggressively obnoxious", if I recall.

EG: And he meant that in a bad way?

MC: Yes.

EG: I didn't mean to make him uncomfortable. I'm trying out this new thing where I take more risks and be more proactive. Sometimes it works, sometimes it falls flat. I mean, I'm sure you don't care- but a year ago I would have been terrified of even looking at Marvel's head honcho. And he was sitting right next to me! Shit. I really thought Joe and I had a good rapport going. I was talking his ear off about all my favorite Iron Fist storylines. Very underrated character, by the way. {Pause} Now that I think about it, he did excuse himself to go to the bathroom like seven times and he wasn't drinking anything.

{Another long pause}

EG: Did the call cut out? Stupid, fucking- sorry, I'm in the middle of packing. I'm moving out of my place tomorrow. Weird timing, huh?

MC: Mr. Grayson, we're calling because Mr. Quesada said that -although he wasn't a fan of the way the interaction was forced - he did manage to review your portfolio.

EG: He did?

MC: He said he had a long flight. He was bored.

EG: Did he-

MC: He thinks you have a lot of potential.

{Large crashing noise}

MC: Mr. Grayson? Are you okay?

EG: Yes! Hi, yes! Yeah, I just kinda walked into a stack of boxes. I mentioned that I was moving, right?

MC: You did.

EG: I'm moving back in with my parents, which I thought I would be sad about but I'm kinda zen about it now? I don't have a job at the moment and I just thought it would be smarter to save the money.

MC: That's-

EG: I actually applied to art school and now I'm just crossing my fingers- but I mean- living at home isn't even that big of a deal. And I've been at my boyfriend's a lot and he lives in Portland and- hey, can I ask you something?

MC: Um-

EG: If you've been seeing a guy for a month now, is it fair to call him your boyfriend? Is that too soon?

MC: I don't really-

EG: Like if I wanted to change my Facebook relationship status... oh, you know what? He doesn't even have Facebook. {Laughing} Doesn't that only work if you have both have Facebook?

MC: {Sudden, insistent throat clearing} To get back on track, we would really like to emphasize that official portfolio reviews are only held at conventions and only with representatives from our talent acquisition department. Not our editor in chief.

EG: Oh, okay. Right. I guess I just saw a chance and ran with it. I apologize.

MC: Nevertheless... Mr. Quesada was impressed with what he saw and wanted to know if you were interested in being interviewed for the April edition of Marvel's Upcoming Artist Spotlight.

{Another large crashing noise followed by the sounds of struggle and then a frantic, barking dog}

EC: Rhubarb! Chill!

MC: Mr. Grayson!

EG: I fell again. {Pause} I'd absolutely love to! Oh my god.

MC: Now, this isn't an offer of employment.

EG: Oh, no, I get that-

MC: Although historically speaking, many of our past Upcoming Artists have transitioned into freelance work for us. And many freelancers have transitioned into contract work or even permanent positions.

EG: That would be incredible!

MC: This isn't an offer of freelance work, either.

EG: I- right.

MC: Talent acquisition will be keeping tabs on your progress as an artist so please continue to update your social media accounts with your work.

EG: Wow, you guys are like the RCMP.

MC: The what?

EG: Sorry, Canadian. You guys are like the CIA.

MC: {Heavy sigh} before your spotlight interview, we ask that you submit three original pieces and three pieces based on Marvel properties. We'll be featuring them along side your interview.

EG: Wow. This is an amazing opportunity. Thank you.

MC: We won't take up any more of your time, Mr. Grayson. Just send those pieces to the email address we used to contact you this morning and-

EG: Can I ask you something else?

MC: {Slight groaning noise} Okay.

EG: Did Joe tell you which of my portfolio pieces he liked best? I'm just curious. There's a few drawings in there I've never shown to anyone before. Let alone the Marvel boss.

MC: Mr. Quesada said he was very enamored with... um... I believe it was a piece depicting an original superhero in viking battle armor? Wearing ice skates? I hope I'm describing that correctly.

{Muffled sound in the background}

EG: Yeah. {A quiet chuckle} That was my favorite, too.


Ezra looked up from his position on the floor of his mostly empty apartment, cross-legged and lost within a sea of bankers boxes stuffed with art supplies and videogames. The hand holding his phone fell limp while his mind swam delirious with hope.

That was goddamn Marvel on the phone. He used to think it would've been more likely to receive a call from a distant alien civilization. Now? Well... considering the month he just had, now anything was possible.

He stood and took in the surrounding space. Devoid of furniture, his apartment looked cavernous. The decision to move back in with his parents came naturally, much to his surprise. He didn't like the idea of jumping into another office job that would just make him miserable again. His application to the Ontario College of Art and Design was a total whim, too, but that cemented his decision to move. And it didn't hurt that his parents' house was right on the same bus line as OCAD.

Rhubarb panted lazily from his makeshift bed across the room. Ezra smiled at him and nudged open a random box to survey its contents. He was the sort of person who packed randomly and without strategy, which always drove his sister crazy. He rummaged through a package of dryer sheets, oven mitts, a few paperback novels - schmaltzy Harlequin romances, a secret pleasure - until he found his newly acquired Portland Knights jersey. Number 40, Henrik's number.

A smile came to his face as he recalled the chilly morning Henrik had given it to him. It was several hours before the Viking's first game post-suspension. Henrik had gotten the size completely wrong and it ended up looking like a maroon tent, which made Ezra cough up his coffee laughing. Henrik was mortified with himself and insisted on getting a smaller jersey, but Ezra wouldn't let him. He wore that jersey on nights they were away from each other; the material on his skin reminded him of Henrik's caressing touch.

The memory of that morning made Ezra's yearning bloom anew. Their time in Portland was an intimate whirlwind of hot, sweaty nights and cozy mornings full of long talks. (And some not-so-long talks.)

They hadn't seen each other in two weeks, which sucked, but it was necessary. Henrik needed to focus on the Knights' schedule and the looming specter of playoffs while Ezra got his affairs with the apartment in order. It didn't hurt that they had some time to breathe and recharge away from each other, too.

Still, he thought, touching the jersey to his chest and admiring the way it dangled to his thighs, It would be nice to celebrate the news with him.

His phone ringing was so sudden and in sync with his inner monologue that for a moment, he thought he was imagining it. Henrik's number flashed on screen.

"Viking," Ezra's voice raised with the beat of his heart after he swiped to answer.

"We really need to start thinking about your nickname," Henrik chuckled from the other end of the call.

"Hey, I'm low maintenance. I'd be fine with 'Hey You.'"

"That wouldn't be very sentimental of me, would it?"

Ezra smiled and leaned against a stack of boxes. He couldn't deny the obvious - underneath Henrik's big bruiser of an exterior was the core of a teddy bear. "I guess it wouldn't be fair to deny you the chance to be sentimental."

"So we'll work on your nickname?"

"We'll work on it. And not that I don't appreciate hearing your Swedish baritone this late in the evening, but shouldn't you be on the road?"

"Our bus stopped in Buffalo for the night."

"Ah, so close yet so far."

"Just wanted to check in. I wish I was there to help you move."

"Trust me, if you were here I'd be making you do all the work."

Henrik's deep, booming laugh made Ezra several degrees warmer. "Something tells me you're not joking."

"Nope. Deadly serious."

"I'd move anything you asked me to. Really. I don't like leaving you alone on your last night there."

Ezra's smile faltered. He was thankful they weren't FaceTiming - his change in expression would have only intensified Henrik's guilt. "I try not to get too attached to places, but yeah, it's been a little bittersweet. My mom's over the goddamn moon, though. She's already arranged my old room, which is a little We Need to Talk About Kevin of her..."

"I don't want you to be sad."

Ezra's smile returned, a soft and kind one that he wished Henrik could see. Maybe a FaceTime session wasn't a bad idea. "I know. I... I'm not. Not too much. I promise." His finger traced the outline of Spider-Man on the side of a box. "Hey, I've got some news for you."

"Good news?"


"Because I don't want to hear bad news..."

"It's good, I promise!"

Henrik paused, deep in thought. "Hold on, I have an idea. You watching the comet tonight? It should be in the sky pretty soon, actually."

"What comet?"

"It was on the news this morning. This super rare comet that wont pass over Earth for another one hundred years. I thought we could watch it with each other over the phone. Then you can tell me your big news."

Ezra's brow knitted. "You're being serious?"

"Come on, it'll be fun. You'll have to check it out from your courtyard, that's the only angle you'll see it from."

"Now I have to go outside? I look like a coal miner."

"It's 10 at night, no one's gonna care."

"It's supposed to rain here tonight. I don't think I'll be able to see anything."

"Please, just humor me. You're gonna miss it if you don't check it out now!"

"Okay, okay. For the record, I'm only doing this because you're hot."

Henrik laughed again. "Noted."

Ezra grabbed his keys and shot off toward the door, trying to ignore his exhausted, unwashed reflection in the foyer mirror. He'd been packing all day and certainly looked it. He jogged through the building corridor, down the stairs, then toward the courtyard entrance. His breath was getting away from him. "I want credit for this. It's an awful lot of effort for one chunk of space rock."

"I've got a feeling it'll be worth it," Henrik said. But his voice didn't sound like it was coming from the phone. It sounded... close.

Ezra entered the courtyard and found Henrik standing right there all tall and handsome with a single sunflower in hand. String lights decorated the bushes and trees, highlighting the romantic space like distant, serene stars.

Ezra couldn't find his voice for a moment. "What are you doing here?"

"Being sentimental."

Not wanting to waste a single second, Ezra ran into his arms and kissed his irresistible lips. It tickled - Henrik's beard was longer and wilder than he remembered. His playoff beard. Hockey players were so superstitious around the end of the season.

"You're supposed to be in Buffalo!"

"You should know by now that I have superpowers."

"Aha. Let me guess - the uncanny and totally unexpected ability to book a quick flight?"

Henrik kissed him again. "I wasn't kidding when I said I didn't want you spending your last night here alone."

Ezra's eyes danced with delight and mischief across his rugged face. "Anyone ever tell you that you might be a bit of a romantic?"


He pulled the hockey captain close and took in his freshly showered scent. There was always so much of Henrik and so little of Ezra, he almost felt stupid with greed for being able to consume so much of the man with a single embrace.

Henrik brought him to a candle-decorated table with a bottle of red waiting for them. Ezra went for his own chair but Henrik gently pulled him onto his lap first.

"How did you pull this off?"

"Your building manager is just as much of a softy as me, it turns out." Henrik uncorked the bottle with his arms around Ezra and poured two generous glasses.

"This is going to go straight to my head."

"I'm hoping it does," Henrik growled and nipped at his neck. They clinked glasses and took long sings of the smoothest, most delicious Merlot that Ezra ever had.

After a few more drinks, Ezra talked about the sudden phone call from Marvel. Being selected for their Upcoming Artist spotlight made him ecstatic, charged him with an excitement that ran like electricity through every nerve ending. Depending on how quickly the spotlight was published, Ezra could even use it as leverage for his application to OCAD. The most satisfying part was that it was an accomplishment based not on his pseudo-celebrity - something he'd done his best to ignore in the past month - but his own abilities as an artist.

Henrik was so happy for him that it made Ezra forget all about the fake comet he used to rouse him into the courtyard.

Their lips met for another hot, wet kiss and Henrik's hand dipped below the inviting crease of Ezra's thighs. He groaned softly, enjoying the rapid thud of the hockey captain's heart against his chest, a thundering echo of his own pulse. Henrik's other hand traveled up his back to the nape of his neck.

"Lot of big changes coming up for you. Excited?"

"Excited. And scared."

"That's natural. It's a new stage of your life."

"I'm just glad I get to share it with someone." Ezra grinned. "Is that corny?"

"I like you being corny." Henrik nibbled his neck again until Ezra gently pushed his face away, laughing.

"That tickles, you know."

"Hey, sharing this moment means sharing the beard, too."

"Speaking of which, how long of a moment do we get this time?"

"Me and Xav need to hop a plane back to Buffalo tomorrow afternoon."

"Wait. Xavier came with you? Why would-"

Suddenly, it clicked. Violet mentioned that she had an early morning and thus couldn't help him pack tonight. When Ezra pressed her about it, she accused him of being the same nosy little turd who would photocopy pages of her diary and try to sell them on their front yard. From the knowing look in Henrik's eyes, it was clear that Ezra was the last person to figure it out.

"Okay, so I'm an idiot..."

Henrik laughed. "You've been busy."

"Wow. Good for them." Ezra meant that. He didn't know what Violet and Xavier's arrangements were, but he only hoped they were happy. He'd definitely coerce the details out of her later.

"Xav's been hinting that he wants a double date with us. You know, sometime after playoffs."

"Damn, I forgot. That's just around the corner, isn't it?"

Henrik nodded with a small frown. "I won't be able to make as many spontaneous trips when we're locked into the season ender schedule. Uh, I won't be able to make any, in fact."

"That's okay. I was expecting that."

"We'll be in practices every day and every night we're not playing."

"Henrik, it's fine." Ezra almost wanted to laugh, seeing the concern on the man's face. "I wont exactly be present in the next few weeks either. Interviews and portfolio reviews for OCAD are coming up, plus this new stuff for Marvel. I'll need to concentrate. You've got your stuff, I've got mine."

Henrik's hand squeezed the younger man's thigh, his lips curling into a playful grin. "So you'll be too busy to even think about me, huh?"

"That's exactly what I mean."

Their foreheads touched, the air between them close and warm. "I missed you, Ezra."

Ezra didn't say that he had been glued to TSN around the clock, or that he'd been reading all the hockey blogs obsessively and had actual conversations about player techniques and trade rumors with Internet strangers. It was Ezra's way of feeling closer to him, of being involved in Henrik's life even when they weren't together. He knew that Henrik was doing the same thing, having snuck a peek at his laptop during their last day in Portland to find that the man had bookmarked Ezra's art Tumblr account. He was even using one of Ezra's sketches as his laptop wallpaper.

"I missed you more."

In the movies, a moment like this would have been punctuated with the sweet serenade of a harp, or perhaps a tinkling piano.

Instead, there was a foreboding rumble of thunder.

"Oh, fuck." Henrik craned his neck to the sky.

"I told you it was going to rain in Toronto tonight."

A single raindrop extinguished a tabletop candle. A light pitter-patter in the distance warned them they wouldn't be dry for long.

"We should get inside." Henrik started to rise but Ezra didn't budge from his lap. "Not that I couldn't just carry you back, but..."

"Hey." Ezra's hand stroked his broad chest as another crash boomed in the heavens above. The table shook under the impact. "We don't need to rush."

Another raindrop fell on Ezra's forehead. Henrik watched it navigate down his face, passed his emerald green eyes, along his nose and around the bow of his inviting mouth. He stood again and this time Ezra let him, their movements slow and deliberate. After another angry boom of thunder, torrential rain finally unleashed from the sky. Henrik and Ezra were soaked instantly, the table and candles and wine ruined, but they didn't care. Wet lips slid into place and their tongues danced together, softly at first, and then firmer as the rain continued to lash and roar.

Ezra knew as Henrik's arms tightened around his soaking body that whatever the future held, he wouldn't have to be afraid.


Author's note: Writing "My Last Day Without You" has been an incredible journey. I can only hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed bringing Ezra and Henrik to life.

What do you think Ezra and Henrik got up to after the story? Would you read a sequel continuing their adventures? What would you like to see them do? Send me all your thoughts, comments, and feedback to or

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