Author: Aramis
Story Title: The Best Laid Schemes
Characters: Hercules/Iolaus
Rating: NC-17
Summary: It's Hercules' birthday, but it's Hercules who gives Iolaus the gift.
This rating if for explicit m/m sex.

The characters belong to MCA/Universal and were used without permission. No copyright infringement was intended and no money was made.

This story contains explicit male/male sex.

Dedicated to Joey Norbotten who kindly lent Talaus for the introductory letter.

You can find more stories by Aramis at Nephele's Herculean Slash page.


The Best Laid Schemes
By Aramis

As a new day dawned, Iolaus was standing at a small table hurriedly writing a note:

Dear Talaus,

Thank you for the invitation to attend the festival at Yithion with you, but I'm afraid I'd better decline in the interests of self-preservation.

I'm writing this standing up. Last night, Herc gave me such a spanking, followed by such a thorough fucking, that I don't think I'll ever be able to sit down again. It wasn't *all* my fault either although *he* said it was.

Anyway, he's calmed down now, but I don't think now is the time for me to do anything that is liable to get him riled up again.

I'll tell you all about it next time I see you. It was kind of funny and I think you'll enjoy the story. Perhaps if I hadn't giggled so much my backside wouldn't be in such bad shape today.

Anyway, I'd better finish this as the boy I've paid to deliver it is waiting and I don't want Herc to wake up and catch me writing to you. I'm not ready for another punishment session *yet*, which should tell you something about last night.



He quickly sealed the note and handed it over. Then he limped across the room and slid back into bed beside the slumbering demigod. He lay back reviewing the events of the previous day, unable to suppress a smile and fighting valiantly against giggles, when he imagined what the scene must have been like in their room in the early evening. 'Fancy missing that,' he thought. 'Still it was probably as well I did. I might have had my backside tanned in front of all those people with none of the dalliance to follow.'

'Funny how things worked out,' he mused. 'I'd started the day with such good intentions.' He thought back to how it all began.

It actually dated back a whole year. Hercules' family had gathered to celebrate his birthday at Iphicles' castle in Corinth. Things were considerably enlivened, if one can use that word under the circumstances, when Callisto attempted to kill everyone by poisoning the punch. All had suffered hallucinations until Hercules successfully located and administered an antidote. Iolaus still felt shivers run down his spine when he recalled the terror of his bid to escape from his aged and decaying self and also the murderous attack Jason made upon him.

All in all, it hadn't been much of a celebration and Iolaus had hoped to ensure this birthday would be a far more relaxing and enjoyable occasion for the demigod. His plan was a leisurely breakfast in bed followed by a lazy day of fishing and just lying in the sun, without cares or responsibilities intruding.

Accordingly, the previous day, he had approached the cook of the tavern, where they were staying, and had ordered a special breakfast of some of Hercules' favourite foods.

In the morning, he crept out of bed, without rousing the demigod, and went down to collect it.

The hunter struggled up the rickety stairs balancing a loaded tray with some difficulty. Ale was slopping out of the brimming tankard but, he hoped, not over the food.

He reached the door of the room he was sharing with Hercules. He had left it ajar, but now it was firmly closed. "Damn,' he muttered, raising one leg so he could rest the tray on it, thus freeing a hand for the door. He fumbled for the handle.

At that moment, the door opened wide as the demigod sought to locate the reason for the odd noises. Fortunately, he managed to grasp both the tray and the hunter as Iolaus lost his balance and fell into the room.

"What are you doing out of bed?" the blond demanded.

"It's morning. I usually get up about now … one way or the other and you'd abandoned me so today I had no choice."

"Hercules! *Please* don't start the day with some of your puns. Haven't you heard that some people say what you do on your birthday you repeat through the year?"

"All the more reason for you staying in bed, my love," Hercules replied, grinning as Iolaus' winced at yet another, albeit implied only, paronomasia. "Anyway, I thought you'd forgotten it was my birthday."

"What do you suppose all this is for? I was going to surprise you with breakfast in bed. Here, take it before I spill any more."

"Thank you. Just as well I'm up as, by the look of the tray it really would be breakfast *in* bed. I've heard of scrambled eggs, but scrambled breakfast …"

"It wasn't this bad until you pulled the door open."

The demigod sat down at the small table. "Where's yours?"

"I'm not hungry," he lied. His stomach gave an immediate growl of protest.

"Well, somebody sure is," Hercules commented, looking at the vocal piece of anatomy. He looked knowingly at the impecunious hunter. "This took all your money, didn't it?"



The blond flushed under his scrutiny. "I wanted to give you something, Herc," he said avoiding the question.

"It's not necessary, Iolaus."

"I know, but I still wanted to."

"Okay, well you can give me the pleasure of your company and help me eat this."

"But …"

"There's plenty here and it's not fair that I should have to eat alone on my birthday. If it makes you happier, you can eat the things soaked with ale."


Once the food was gone, Hercules walked across the room and began to rummage in his carry-bag. "Here!" Hercules said, thrusting a parcel at Iolaus. "I've bought you something for my birthday."

"Huh? Ah … um … Herc, I think, you've got things a bit confused. You're not supposed to give me presents on your birthday," said a bemused hunter.

"No, I know exactly what, or perhaps I should amend that to *who*, I'm doing, my love. Open it."

The blond unwrapped the parcel eagerly. It was very rare for him to get presents from anyone and so he felt quite excited. Inside was a garment made of azure silk. "I had it made especially to match your eyes," the demigod said, grinning lasciviously. "Put it on!"

The hunter obediently stripped off his vest and pulled the item over his head, enjoying the feel of the silk against his skin. It was a bit long for a shirt, but it felt lovely. Then he realized that Hercules was still looking at him with an air of expectation. "Thank you, Herc, it's very nice."

"I'm waiting."

"For what?"

"It's not a shirt you know. It's a chiton."

"What??? This short? It can't be!"

"It is!" His grin was wider than ever. "Get those leathers off! I think I got the length exactly right. Go on!" he urged when the hunter hesitated.

Somewhat reluctantly, the hunter kicked off his boots, undid his belts and codpiece, and peeled off his leather trousers. The so-called chiton barely reached below the cheeks of his arse.

"I'm tired of fumbling with those damned belts and codpiece," Hercules observed, "so I thought a more … accessible garment would be a nice birthday treat for me."

He walked around the hunter looking him over critically. "Very nice indeed. There's one problem though."


"You've still got your breech-clout on. You don't wear those with a chiton. It's a breach of etiquette." He smiled at his own pun.

"With *this* chiton I do!"

 "Nonsense, my love, take it off."

"No way."

"I guess I'll just have to remove it for you then."

"No!" Iolaus backed away from his friend raising his hands to fend him off.

"But yes, my love. Give in. You can't stop me you know *and* you don't really want to anyway."

Iolaus backed up until a wall prevented further retreat. Then he launched himself forward in an effort to evade the demigod, but to no avail. A large hand shot out to grasp him by the shoulder and pull him against the demigod. Iolaus struggled, but the demigod swept him into his arms and tossed him over one shoulder. He felt the chiton riding up to expose his arse and then the demigod's hand moving to cup him.

He was carried to the bed. The demigod sat down and then swung Iolaus to position him face down over his knee. He then swiftly removed the offending breechclout. "Now this is *much* better," he opined, leaning forward to kiss the creamy globes and to run a teasing finger between them. "I think I should dispose of those old leathers and keep you like this permanently."

"Don't you try it!" the hunter protested, only to receive a slap on the rear.

"You forget it's my birthday, my love, so I'm allowed special privileges. Anyway, you're too vulnerable like this to try to assert yourself. Now stand up."

The hunter did so blushing hotly as he realized just what was now exposed to Hercules lustful smile. "Now that's just what I hoped for," the latter said, stripping rapidly. He sat back on the bed again, his arousal clearly evident. "Come back and sit on my lap, my love."

"There's no room."

"I'm sure you'll find a way around that," the demigod sniggered.

"Your bloody puns are getting worse than ever."

"I know. Don't you just love them?"

"No! If I do what you want, will you promise me not to make any more today?"

"Sure, there's only one thing I'm going to make today … Oops, I didn't mean that one. It was a slip of the tongue, honest. Please, Iolaus, come here … No, I didn't mean that either! See how frustrated, I mean 'flustrated', no flustered you've got me."

"Hercules! Shut up!" He moved over to his lover and swiftly impaled himself, wincing as he did so. "Ow! That hurts!"

"I didn't mean you to do it without lubrication."

"No, but I had to act fast to stop you babbling. I hope you're happy now."

" No, but I'm sure I'll be satisfied soon."

"Hercules! You promised!"

"Didn't I tell you that a different code of conduct applies on one's birthday."

"No, you didn't, but you can be certain I'll remember that on my next birthday, assuming I survive your one."

The demigod laughed and clutched the blond tightly. Then he began to stroke his hands down the silky garment, a sensual activity that both greatly enjoyed. Iolaus was all but purring.

Reaching the hem, Hercules pulled the chiton up so it bunched around his lover's waist. He then cupped the hunter's buttocks. The hunter happily raised his legs to entwine his lover's waist. Hercules managed to swing himself onto his back on the bed while staying inside the blond. Then he rolled carefully over so Iolaus was on his back.

The demigod ran his hands teasingly over the hunter. "This is definitely one of my better ideas," he opined, as he fondled Iolaus' nipples through the silk.

Hercules reached out and pulled the chiton back down, deliberately trying to smooth it flat where it tented over the hunter's erection. The blond writhed and tried to push his hands aside. The demigod seized his wrists and pressed them down against the sheets, catching the sides of the chiton in the same motion and stretching it out and down as well so it pulled taut over the hunter's erect penis. He then began to thrust into Iolaus, while pinning him in position.

The teasing friction of the garment was maddening. Iolaus tried desperately to free his wrists, but had no hope against the grinning demigod, who was thoroughly enjoying his frustrated struggles. By the time Hercules had relented and moved one of his hands to pleasure the hunter, the latter had decided he was going to get his own back.

Any second thoughts he might have had about this were definitely shoved firmly aside when Hercules finally stood up and announced he was ready to go fishing. Iolaus reached for his leathers only to have the demigod snatch them up. "I'll be very hurt if you don't wear my birthday gift, my love," he teased. "You don't need these old things any more, I'll dispose of them."

"Give those back!"

"Nope." He held them above his head.

The hunter launched himself after them and a mad tussle occurred that ended with the blond flat on his stomach and the demigod sitting astride his thighs. The creamy buttocks revealed to the demigod's lascivious gaze were too much temptation for him and he ended up taking Iolaus again right there on the floor, while commenting provokingly on his own cleverness in obtaining such a wonderfully accessible garment.

Then, even after all that, he insisted that the hunter ask nicely for his own clothes, giving him a couple of playful, but stinging, slaps on the arse when he considered the words Iolaus was using were unacceptable. "You're not supposed to swear at people on their birthdays, my love," he commented, reprovingly, "and what you're so rudely suggesting is probably anatomically impossible *even* for me."

*That* was it. Although the rest of the day was spent doing one of Iolaus' favourite activities, fishing, the blond was preoccupied with trying to plan a suitable revenge.

There were lots of things he could try but, given the demigod's far superior strength, most would be 'suicidal'. In the end, he final decided on a simple plan. It wasn't at all original, but there was poetic justice in it in that it involved making off with the demigod's clothes.

It had been a very hot day and, as evening fell, much of the heat remained. When Hercules finally suggested it was time to return to the tavern, Iolaus announced he was going swimming first. That seemed to be a good idea so the demigod agreed to join him.

Hercules headed out into the middle of the river, but Iolaus was stayed near the bank. Once the demigod was a reasonable distance away and had his back turned, the hunter scrambled out of the river, grabbed his own clothes, plus Hercules' shirt and trousers, and took off, kindly leaving his friend's breechclout and boots behind.

He disappeared into the thick woods and, once he felt he'd put a safe distance between himself and the bellowing demigod, stopped and dressed hurriedly, giggling to himself as he listened to the various threats his lover was issuing.

"Come on, Iolaus, this is *really* childish," Hercules finally shouted.

"I suppose your behaviour this morning was incredibly adult," the hunter responded, from the safety of the darkness.

He giggled again as he heard the demigod crashing towards him. Hercules would never be able to find him in the bush in daylight and the night was pitch black under the thick canopy of trees.

He shadowed the demigod for a while making occasional cheeky comments and enjoying the reaction he was getting. It *was* fun to bait Hercules from the safety of the bushes.

"I've got a lovely, new chiton you can borrow, if you want. You'd cause a sensat- I mean you'd look sensational in it," he called. 'Damn, I wish I'd brought it with me,' he thought, 'I could have left it for him to wrap around him instead of his breechclout.'

Finally, Hercules had had enough. He decided that with the protection of darkness he would be able to approach the inn and, hopefully, get in, via the back door, without being seen. "That's it, Iolaus, I'm heading back to the tavern and woe betide you when I get my hands on you," he shouted.

The hunter knew his lover's character. Hercules could take a joke up to a point and he was aware the demigod had reached it. He hurried after him, with the intention of intercepting him, to return his belongings, just before the outskirts of the town, just at the stage when the embarrassed demigod would be certain he wasn't going to do so.

However, his luck was out. Intent on overtaking the rapid strides of the annoyed demigod, he began to run, not something to be recommended when vision is near zero and obstacles abound. The last thing he remembered was stumbling over something, falling forward and feeling a smashing pain in his head as he hit a tree.

He didn't know how long he was unconscious for, but all sound of the demigod was gone. His head was throbbing and when he put up an inquiring hand he could feel the stickiness of blood in his curls. 'Damn, I've done it this time,' he thought. 'There'll be Tartarus to pay when I get back to the tavern.'

Reaching out, he located a tree trunk and used it to pull himself upright. He went to take a tentative step and the world tilted and he went back to his knees. A wave of nausea assailed him and he began to vomit.

After he had emptied his stomach, he felt somewhat better and was finally able to rise and slowly make his way back to the town.

There seemed to be an inordinate amount of noise coming from the inn, but he thought it might just seem that way because of his pounding head. However, when he went to enter, through the open front door, he realized the place was packed to the seams with party-goers. A large banner was hanging over the bar and, to his horror, he saw it wished the demigod "Happy Birthday".

He peered quickly around the room and spotted the tall figure of the demigod, clad in his spare shirt and borrowed, rather tight, trousers, and surrounded by attractive female well-wishers.

Deciding that now was not the best time to be seen, he started to back outside again, only to be hailed by his friend Jenisus. "Hey, Iolaus, where are you off to?" he called.

The hunter glanced towards Hercules, but there was no sign that the demigod had heard anything over the general noise of the revellers. He put his finger to his lips and then beckoned Jenisus to follow him outside.

"Boy, you're *really* in trouble this time, aren't you?" Jenisus said, in a tone compounded of sympathy for his friend's plight and admiration for anyone with the guts to pull such a trick on a demigod.

"Is Herc very mad?" Iolaus asked, in some trepidation.

"Well, he couldn't say much under the circumstances. He told us you'd taken off with his things as a joke and he smiled, but only with his lips and not his eyes. I'd say you're really for it."

"Wh-When was this party arranged? I d-didn't know anything about it."

"It was all planned after you ordered that special birthday breakfast. The tavern cook boasted to her friends that she was making it and word soon got around the town. People thought about all Hercules does for others and decided to do something for him in return."

"But nobody said *anything* to me," Iolaus complained.

"Nope. Those of us who know you are aware that you're a lousy liar. You'd probably have let something slip so we decided not to tell you a thing."

"So what happened?" He didn't think he really wanted to know, but he had to ask.

"We had people watching out for your return. We got a bit concerned when night fell and there was no sign of either of you, because we thought you might have been called away to some emergency, but we figured you'd come back for your gear eventually. Then a watcher alerted us to the fact that Hercules was approaching the tavern from the back and was clearly going to use that entrance rather than the front door, so several of us rushed up and hid in your room."

"Oh, gods," Iolaus groaned, anticipating what had happened next.

Jenisus grinned at his reaction and continued, "Well, in the event, I don't know who got the greatest surprise, him or us, because the watcher hadn't realized Hercules' state of undress in the dark. You should have seen Hercules' face. His blush would have been becoming to any maiden and it was quite 'interesting' just how far down his body it extended."

Iolaus couldn't help himself. He began to giggle uncontrollably as he pictured the scene. "I'm dead," he gasped between giggles.

"I'm afraid you are," Jenisus sympathized, sniggering too and that made Iolaus laugh more than ever.

Unfortunately, his head didn't appreciate the mirth and a sudden jolt of pain saw him clutch the side of his head and sag against the building.

"Are you okay, Iolaus?" Jenisus asked, in concern, reaching out to support him.

"I-I had a bit of an accident on the way here."

"Here, lean on me. I'll take you along to my house. We don't want you collapsing here and spoiling the party."

"I'm *not* going to collapse. Well, not yet anyway. I'm afraid Herc might have other ideas though." That set them both off into another fit of ill-advised laughter, as they moved unsteadily along the street leaning against each other for support in their mirth.

Fortunately, Jenisus' home was nearby. Iolaus sank into a chair while his friend lit some candles. Then Jenisus turned back to Iolaus. "Okay, let's have a look at you. Gods, you're as white as a sheet. Where are you hurt?"

"I'm okay. I've just got a bit of a headache and I'm feeling a bit dizzy." He quickly explained about the accident.

Jenisus got water and salve and pulled his curls aside to treat the injury. There was quite a bump and the wound was still oozing blood, but it didn't warrant stitches. "How did you come to pull such a prank on Hercules anyway?" he asked, as he cleaned and treated the cut.

*That* stumped Iolaus. He didn't want to say anything about the chiton as his true relationship with Hercules was not widely known even among their friends. "Oh … um … he'd … I don't know. It just seemed like a good idea at the time," he finished lamely.

Not being able to give a proper explanation was awkward and was to have further consequences. Jenisus was a good friend to Iolaus and, had he realized that the latter had had justification for his practical joke, he would have been game to tell the demigod about the hunter's accident in mitigation of his 'crime'. However, knowing nothing of this, he decided to leave the blond to find his own way out of the difficulties he had created for himself.

He gave the hunter some wine and, half an hour or so later, Iolaus announced that he felt sufficiently recovered to join the celebration. He had decided a bold front might be his best bet and, since he would have to face Hercules sooner or later, it was probably best to do it in the comparative safety of a room full of people. 'After all,' he thought, 'he can't do much to me in public because he'd ruin his reputation of being kind, caring and considerate.'

He handed Hercules' clothes to Jenisus and asked him to take them up to their room.

A short time later, he sauntered nonchalantly into the tavern. He moved across the room with his usual easy grace, casually greeting friends and acquaintances. Of course, by this stage, all knew about his trick and so most were amazed at his apparent ease in the face of all-too-likely semi-divine retribution. They were not to know that his stomach was churning and he was thankful for the involuntary emptying it had undergone at the time of his accident. 'I've faced a hydra. I've even faced Echidna. I can do this,' he told himself, while offering a carelessly smiling face to the world.

Someone pointed him out to the demigod, who turned towards him and said, in a chillingly sweet voice, "Ah, there you are, Iolaus. I wondered where you had got to. Do come and join me."

Iolaus plucked up his courage and walked towards Hercules. Unfortunately, as the hunter looked apprehensively at him, a vision of Hercules, clad only in breechclout and boots, entering their room popped into his mind and he felt himself starting to shake with laughter. He swallowed hard but, try as he might, he couldn't stop a somewhat nervous giggle bursting forth.

Those around him, who knew him well, realized the cause of the mirth and his giggle set them off as well and their laughter, in turn, made him worse than ever. He squeezed his hands into tight fists, digging his nails into the palms in the hopes that the pain might help him regain control. 'Gods,' he thought, 'I'm sealing my own death warrant.'

Somehow, he forced his hilarity down and walked up to Hercules, fully aware, as was the demigod, that the telltale gleam of laughter was dancing in his eyes.

Hercules' wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "This has certainly been some day," he remarked to those around him. "Nobody else has a friend like Iolaus."

His second sentence was like a double-edged sword, but only Iolaus took it at more than its face value. Those around relaxed at this further evidence of the demigod's good nature and willingness to take a joke. Only Iolaus felt the steely grip on his shoulder and knew there would be bruises there in the morning. 'And I'll be lucky if that's the only place,' the hapless hunter considered.

Hercules kept him very close for the rest of the evening. Whenever the hunter tried to sidle away, the demigod would take his arm and literally draw him back into the conversation in an excessively friendly manner that warmed the hearts of onlookers and chilled the hunter to the bone.

Finally, the demigod stifled a yawn and made a small speech thanking everybody for the party. Some had actually drifted off home by that time and the speech was the cue, that all, but the hardened drinkers, were waiting for to head for home.

"Come along, Iolaus," Hercules said.

"Ah … um … I'll be up soon, Herc. I thought I'd just have another drink."

"I think you've had enough already. Come on."

The fingers were clutching his right forearm and to try to pull away would just be to cause a fruitless and embarrassing scene, so the blond allowed Hercules to lead him from the room. As the door to the public room closed behind them, Iolaus found himself being frog-marched upstairs.

He managed to stop his involuntary progress at the open bedroom door. "I'm not going in there."

Hercules smiled so good-naturedly at him that, had the demigod been anyone else, he would have been well and truly disarmed. "No?" was all he said, as he pushed Iolaus ahead of him.
"Why do I have to?" the hunter asked, attempting to delay proceedings.

"Because you do, that's why."

The iron grip Hercules had on his arms allowed no more protest than a wince of sheer pain as the demigod propelled him into the room.

"Herc, please listen to me, I …" the hunter started, anxious to get his explanation out.

"Be quiet!" As he spoke, Hercules gave Iolaus the sort of smile one usually sees over a yard of steel. "Not another word!" he ordered, sharply. Then his voice changed. "Take your clothes off." His tone was now dangerously soft and Iolaus felt a shiver run through him.

The blond started to remove his vest as though going to obey, but suddenly twisted around and darted towards the door. Hercules' arm snaked out, efficiently and intractably wrapping about his waist, to halt his progress. He pulled the hunter to him and held him so tightly against him that Iolaus found it difficult to breathe. He leant down and whispered into Iolaus' ear, "Didn't you understand that was an order not a request, my love?"

Iolaus wondered how the words "my love" could sound so menacing. He tried again. "Please, Herc …"

"Be quiet!" He released his hold and moved between Iolaus and the door. "Clothes!"

Iolaus risked a glimpse at his face and was not reassured. The face was stern and his eyes were like slabs of ice. Reluctantly, Iolaus began to strip, while telling himself, 'It'll be okay. This is Hercules. He won't really hurt me.'

Once he was naked, he turned to the demigod awaiting further instructions.

"I couldn't believe you'd play a trick like that on me, Iolaus. Taking my clothes was okay, but letting me return here knowing all those people were waiting …"

"But, Herc, I didn't …"

But the demigod wasn't listening. He continued as if the hunter had not spoken, "You're not getting away with your usual lecture this time. It was a childish trick so you can take the appropriate consequences." With that, he moved forward and seized hold of the blond again, leading him to the bed. He then sat down and pulled Iolaus across his knees.

He then proceeded to give Iolaus the spanking of his life. Iolaus tried desperately to free himself from the demigod's relentless grip, but it was impossible. Soon the beautiful creamy buttocks had changed to an angry red and the hunter's eyes were watering from the stinging slaps.

Surprisingly, another part of his anatomy seemed to actually find some pleasure in the proceedings. The hunter did not welcome a spanking of such intensity, but he'd always been turned on when the normally gentle Hercules could be provoked into taking firm charge in the bedroom. He did enjoy the feeling of relative helplessness he had when those iron muscles were used to hold him firmly, moving his body to their will, and his treacherous penis seemed to feel this came into the same category even if his backside didn't.

The demigod was also aware of the stirring through the thin leather covering his thigh. He felt his own organ move in response. He suddenly stopped what he was doing and said, "You will *never* pull a trick like that again, Iolaus. Do you understand me?"

Iolaus wanted to protest that the demigod was wrong and to insist he listen to him. However, he knew this would avail him nothing at this time, because the demigod was clearly not interested in listening to what he saw as excuses, and therefore protests might even earn him more slaps, so he muttered, "Yes, I'm sorry."

"Okay, on to the bed." He swung the hunter to his feet and waited for him to comply. Then he removed his shirt and boots.

The hunter watched him silently.  Hercules looked down at him, seeing the apprehensive blue eyes, the beautiful pale face and the tangled curls in much need of a brush. 'He's lucky there wasn't one to hand a few minutes ago,' the demigod mused.

It took courage to lie there, unmoving, ready to yield to whatever the demigod might require and Hercules recognized this. '*My* hunter,' he thought, sighing inwardly with a mixture of love and exasperation, the latter sentiment being directed as much towards himself, in his besotted state, as towards his lover, 'willful, disobedient and troublesome, yet so *very* dear to me.'

He sat down on the bed and placed a hand under each of Iolaus' shoulders. He felt the blond tense, but Iolaus made no move to stop him, as he drew him into a sitting position. He then leant forward and captured Iolaus' lips in a kiss of such tenderness that the tears reflecting his emotional upset, which Iolaus had successfully suppressed during the spanking, flooded his azure eyes. The unexpected gentleness quite unmanned him.

 Hercules gradually deepened the kiss drinking in the sweetness that was Iolaus, while the hunter slipped his arms around his lover's broad back and clung tightly to him.

Without breaking the kiss, Hercules lowered Iolaus back to the bed, climbed between his spread thighs, and then began to kiss his way down Iolaus' body, making sure that all the particularly sensitive areas, except the one most needful, received additional attention. Iolaus writhed and tried to push against him. His aching head and stinging buttocks were forgotten as he concentrated on this delightfully delicate torture. Teasing fingers joined the mouth, dancing over ticklish ribs and down the tender inside of Iolaus' slender thighs, while carefully bypassing his straining organ.

When he tried to fend them off or preferably to redirect them, one large hand secured both his wrists and held them prisoner, while the other continued its maddening petting.

Unable to move away from the teasing mouth and hands, Iolaus thrashed his head on the pillow, unknowingly staining it with his blood as he reopened the cut.

"H-Herc!" the hunter managed to gasp desperately, after some long minutes of this tantalization.

"Yes, my love."


"What, my love?"

"Anything. Spank me again. *Anything*. Not more of this!" His breathing was ragged.

Hercules knew just how much his lover was suffering as his own organ strained against his tight leather trousers, but was pleased that he was being more successful than Iolaus' in hiding his desperation. Had the blond known of this thought, and been able to think coherently, he would have said the clothing had bestowed an unfair advantage in this respect.

Hercules' slowly began to fumble with his belt. "And what would you really like me to do, my love?" he asked, in a tone of maddening sweetness.

"Me! Hard! Please!"

Hercules laughed and gradually opened his trousers, prolonging the agony for them both. He then reached for a jar of oil, raised the hunter's legs and began a leisurely preparation of the blond's anus, while still keeping his hands pinned.

Iolaus was nearly hysterical with need.

After a seeming eternity, the demigod asked, "Are you sure you're ready, my love?" If Iolaus could have got his hands free he would have strangled him on the spot.

"Just bloody do it!" he appealed, tears running down his face.

The demigod drove into him, releasing his wrists simultaneously. Iolaus screamed and flung his arms above his head to grasp at the rails of the bed head. Hercules' long held control was gone and he was swept away on a wave of passion as he pounded into the hunter.

After it was over, he heard a stifled sob and opened his eyes when he realized the blond was weeping. "Gods, I'm sorry, Iolaus. I got a bit carried away."

"I-It's okay, Herc, the whole s-session was j-just a bit much. I'm feeling a bit … shattered, but I'm not really hurt." Seeing the guilty and self-condemning expression on his lover's face, he rallied and reached up an arm to draw Hercules' face down for a kiss, snuggling into him. They fell asleep wrapped in each other's arms.

When Iolaus finally awoke, he recalled the invitation he had received from Talaus a couple of days before. Talaus was lots of fun and Iolaus had been seriously considering risking his lover's wrath and sneaking off to join him at the festival. However, he now considered the time was not propitious for stirring up the demigod. Accordingly, he eased his way carefully out of bed, donned his trousers and limped somewhat painfully downstairs to ask one of the serving boys to deliver the note he was about to write.

Returning to their room, he quickly scribbled the note to Talaus.

Then, with a sense of relief at having saved himself from, at least, another lecture, and also a considerable feeling of virtue for having successfully managed to resist the temptation, which had beckoned him strongly in spite of the risk involved, he had rejoined the demigod. He had then proceeded with his mental review of the previous day's activities.

Little did he know that a curious demigod had been observing the whole procedure from under lowered lashes. Hercules had sighed inwardly from exasperation as he had watched his lover penning the missive. Would Iolaus *never* learn? After the previous night, he wouldn't have expected even the intrepid hunter to be so foolhardy as to immediately embark on yet more mischief. That it *was* mischief he had no doubt. The furtive nature of the correspondence was ample testimony to that. 'Okay,' he decided, 'I'd better nip this latest plot in the bud.'

He stirred as though waking up and wrapped his arms tightly round his lover, pulling the latter on top of him and hugging him as tightly as a child might a rag doll. He was planning to lull Iolaus into a false sense of security before springing a question about the nature of his correspondence upon him. He ran his hands up and down Iolaus' muscular back while the latter melted happily into his embrace, nuzzling and kissing his throat.

Then he pushed both hands into the soft mop of golden curls that he loved so much. Then his questing fingers, that knew every inch of the blond's body, encountered something new, a something that caused the blond to suck his breath in sharply. "What's this?" he asked.

"Nothing much. Just a bump."

"It doesn't feel like 'Nothing much'. Let me see it." As he spoke, he rolled over so that Iolaus was lying beneath him. As he looked down, he spotted the bloodstains on the pillow from the previous evening. Without more ado, he gently parted Iolaus' curls. "When did this happen?"

"The other day," Iolaus responded vaguely. He didn't really want to get back to the previous day's events. It was probably best to forget them since he still could not suppress his giggles when he thought of the embarrassed demigod's surprise encounter with his well-wishers.

"Yesterday? This is very recent by the looks of it," the demigod persisted.

"Um … Yeah. Boy, I'm getting hungry, it must be time …"

"When yesterday?" The demigod was nothing if not tenacious when he wanted answers. "We were together all day except …" He trailed off as he realized the only time when the accident could have happened without his knowledge.

The hunter gave in. 'Okay, I'll tell him and get him off the topic quickly,' he decided. "I tripped when I was running after you to return your things."

"You were going to give them back?"

"Yes, just before the village."

"So you weren't intending me to walk in on that group in our room."

"No! Look, Herc, the party was a surprise to me too … I didn't … I wouldn't … Oh, gods!" He broke off as his wicked sense of humour overtook him again. He spluttered and choked, but couldn't hold back, and started to giggle uncontrollably. Tears of mirth began to roll down his face and he clutched his stomach, while gasping, "I-I'm s-sorry, H-Herc, b-but the th-thought … the thought … of you … *This* is k-killing me … Y-You won't need to."

Hercules had realized that he had been unjust in his punishment of the hunter and so had started to feel pangs of remorse for his hasty actions, but this unseemly display of mirth went some way towards alleviating his feelings of guilt.

However, as usual that wicked giggle got to him. He always found it irresistible. He pulled Iolaus to him and stifled it with his kisses nearly asphyxiating the hunter in the process.

He then released his lover and said, "I have no intention of 'killing' you as you put it, my love, not over yesterday or today's mischief either."

"Today's?" queried the blond, nonplussed.

"Your rather furtive early morning correspondence, my love."

"Oh … that."

"Yes, *that*"

"I had an invitation to attend a festival with …someone and I'd forgotten to write to them to turn it down."

"Really? It couldn't be that you've only just decided to do that, could it?"

"No!" He could feel himself blushing and knew Hercules would know he was lying. " Well … um … yes, okay I *was* tempted, but I *did* say no."

"Well, my love, I have a feeling you've just avoided doing something that might well have caused some … difficulties between us and perhaps justly earned you what happened to you unjustly last night. I suggest we call things quits."

"Okay. Kiss and make up?" the hunter asked, teasingly, as he gave one of his irresistible, blazing smiles.

"I think we can do somewhat better than just a kiss, my love," the demigod replied, reaching eagerly for his entrancing lover.

The End

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