Author: Cyrene
Story Title: Debts
Characters: Ares & f (Nika), Iolaus
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Nika's life is saved by a stranger, and Ares isn't happy when he finds out who it is. Sequel to The Path Not Taken and Rules.
This rating is for explicit m/f sex and attempted rape.

This story contains scenes of graphic sex between a man and a woman. If you are under 18 or if this is illegal where you live, please go away.

Ares and Iolaus belong to Universal Studios and Pacific Renaissance. No copyright infringement is intended. The author is just having fun.

This story follows Rules but can be read without it.

You can also find stories by Cyrene at Hercules After Dark


By Cyrene

Part 1

Nika whistled for Insolence, the black stallion that Ares left at the temple. Ares hadn't been around for a while. She thought he said he would be working on a war someplace north. She hated it when he was gone. Since none of the usual distractions were working anymore, she decided to ride some distance from the temple to explore and see if there were any early berries she could gather. The horse trotted up to her and she slipped a halter over his head and climbed on. She had a small water skin and a pouch across her shoulder with some lunch. She planned to be back by dinner. She heard someone coming and took off. She didn't need a lecture from Lekos, the old soldier who helped her at the temple. He was forever criticizing her. He'd insist she that she take some guards with her and she just wanted to be alone.

Lekos came round the temple in time to see someone ride away. "I hope that wasn't Nika," he grumbled to himself. "If anything happens to her, Ares will skin me alive. And that's just for starters!" Lekos hoped it was just someone dropping off an offering and hurried inside the temple to see if Nika was there.

Nika rode most of the morning, mostly across fields, when she came to some woods. The shadows looked cool and inviting, so she dismounted and took the halter off Insolence so he could graze. Then she entered the woods. She walked a little ways and was rewarded by a small clearing showing berry bushes. She congratulated herself on her find as she hurried forward. Nika was so busy eating and gathering, she jumped when she heard the voice.

"Well, what have we here? Looks like a little afternoon diversion!"

Nika spun around to see two men leering at her. She felt a cold wave of fear wash over her and she turned to run. There were two more behind her.

"What's your hurry? Don't you want to play?" one of them sniggered.

She turned again to try to run, but they were on her. One clasped a hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. "We'll have none of that!" One of them produced a strip of cloth and gagged her while another bound her wrists. Then they plopped her on the ground and one held her hands above her head. Two of them each grabbed a foot and pulled her legs apart while the last one knelt between them and pushed her skirt up around her waist. "Oooh, ve-ry nice! Open her wide, boys, I'm ready!"

Nika was desperately struggling. The fools never saw Ares' mark on her arm and she never had a chance to warn them off. She had no doubt they'd get theirs, but not until it was too late for her. Worst of all, even if they let her live, she was sure Ares wouldn't want her anymore. She couldn't stop the tears of desperation.

"Oh, can't you see? Here, now you can watch." The man holding her hands lifted her head and cradled it in his lap. "Look, Melkor, she's so eager for it she wants to watch!" They all laughed. Melkor just finished opening his pants when a fifth voice cut in.

"Having a party? Doesn't look like the lady is having a good time." They all turned to see a muscular looking man leaning on a staff. The sun shone on his golden curls.

"She will be. You're welcome to join us if you put the staff down, but you're last."

"Actually I think you should let her go."

The four rose as one, Melkor hurriedly fastening his pants, and advanced. Before long the four were running away as fast as they could. The stranger was a master with his staff and it had all happened too fast for Nika to comprehend. She was still sitting on the ground with her skirt up. When the stranger came toward her, she pulled herself from her stupor and struggled to her feet, pulling down her skirt. She backed away from him. He stopped and held out his hand. "I'm not going to hurt you. My name is Iolaus." He pulled a knife from his boot and she held her hands forward so he could cut the rope. Then he helped her remove the gag.

Nika took a good look at him. "You're hurt!" There was a trickle of blood down the side of his face and he was leaning on his staff favoring his left leg.

"They got in a few lucky punches. I better get you home before they decide to come back." Then suddenly he collapsed at her feet.

This pushed Nika back to reality. She let out a piercing whistle and soon Insolence came trotting into the clearing. How was she going to get Iolaus onto the horse? Suddenly she had an idea. Hopefully Insolence would cooperate. There was a little drop where the clearing ended and the woods began again. She haltered Insolence and led him into the woods by the ledge. "Now stay!" She hurried back and managed to drag Iolaus the short distance to the edge and let his arms hang over where she left the horse. She mounted up and maneuvered Insolence as close and she could and grasped Iolaus' arms. "I sure hope this works!" She pulled Iolaus over the edge and across Insolence. When she was sure he was balanced, she turned and headed back to the temple. She hoped Iolaus wasn't hurt too badly. She owed him more than her life. As it was, Ares was going to be furious with her if he found out what had almost happened. Nika was afraid to go too fast, she didn't want to bounce Iolaus anymore than necessary.

It was starting to get dark and they were almost to the temple, when she heard him groan. She stopped and slipped off Insolence. Stooping down to his face she asked, "Iolaus, can you hear me?" She wet the edge of her skirt and gently wiped his face. He groaned again. Nika pulled the skirt higher to wipe his neck, when Iolaus opened his eyes to a delightful view of what Nika kept hidden under her skirt. He groaned again, but this time it wasn't from pain. When she heard him Nika bent back down. "How are you feeling?"

"Not too good upside down."

"If you can turn yourself, you can rest your head on his neck. I don't think you should sit up yet. If you fall off here, there's no way for me to get you back up." Together they rearranged him.

"Where are you taking me?"

"To the temple I serve in. I would like you to be a guest and accept the hospitality of the temple. Until you feel better, of course."

"Sure." Maybe he'd get to see more of her.

"My name is Nika. We'll be there within the hour." She took the reins and led Insolence the rest of the way.

Ares was standing in the throne room his face dark with anger. Lekos was quaking on his knees. "I started burning offerings as soon as I was sure she was gone! No one knew anything and I had questioned nearly everyone before I found one who knew. She said she would be back by late afternoon!" Ares' scowl deepened. He had been busy with his generals for quite some time when he became aware of the incessant murmuring in the back of his mind. He brought it forward to see who was being so insistent, and came immediately when he realized it concerned Nika. He was idly wondering how he would kill Lekos, when they heard someone in the courtyard.

"It's Nika. Bring her to me."

Nika left a temple guard to help Iolaus inside while she went ahead. Lekos almost collided with Nika entering the outer room. He gave Nika a frightened look and whispered, "He's furious." He followed her back inside the throne room.

"Where have you been?" Ares' voice was icy. When he saw her appearance, he added, "And what have you been doing?"

The guard had Iolaus just outside the throne room when Iolaus noticed the weapons hanging on the walls. Then he heard the all too familiar voice. He realized who's temple he was in just as the guard pulled him into Ares' presence.

Ares' eyes widened at the sight of Iolaus. "What is he doing here?" His voice was heavy with menace. The air fairly crackled around them as Ares' fury enveloped them. The guard let go of Iolaus and backed out of the room with Lekos right after him. They wanted to be far away when Ares let loose. No sense being a dead bystander.

Iolaus was rooted to the spot by a horrible fascination as Ares slowly raised his arm to point at him. "Great! After all I've been through, this is how it ends. Toasted by Ares. I hope it doesn't hurt too much!" Suddenly Nika was standing in front of him blocking Ares.

"Ares, don't! Please listen to me!"

"Nika, get out of my way."

"But he saved my life! If it hadn't been for him…" she trailed off, suddenly overcome by the emotional turmoil of the day. She was fighting back her tears and her fright when suddenly a thought occurred to her. Calming herself, she drew herself up and stared at Ares. "Besides, you can't kill him. He's a guest of the temple. Under your protection. How's that going to look if word gets out that you killed your own guest?"

"He is not my guest!"

"Yes he is! I invited him and he accepted." She jutted her chin out.

Ares narrowed his eyes and demanded, "Un-in-vite him!"


"What did you say?" Ares voice was like a whiplash on the suddenly still air.

"I can't do that. He saved my life and I owe him a debt. I invited him to stay until he can travel." Nika was afraid to move away from Iolaus. "Please, Ares. He saved my life. I thought you would be pleased." Her voice was pleading now and she couldn't hold back the tears anymore.

Ares looked at Nika again taking in her disheveled appearance and the dried blood on Iolaus. That seemed to mollify him a bit, but he was still scowling. "I want to know what happened." His eyes drilled into Nika, who blushed and looked down. She couldn't meet his eyes.

"I, uh, went out for a ride, but…" She was having trouble finding the words.

Ares looked at Iolaus and raised his eyebrows. Iolaus really didn't want to get in the middle of this, but he didn't see any way out. "I found her just as she was about to be raped by a group of men. After they took off, I guess I passed out. I didn't come to until we were almost here." He shrugged. Suddenly Iolaus could feel the air crackling again.

"Who were they?" Ares hissed. His eyes were almost glowing.

"I never saw them before."

"Where did you find her?"

When Iolaus told him, Ares waved his hand and a picture of the field shimmered on the air. Nika stifled a sob when she saw the field. Ares closed his eyes and concentrated, then the picture blurred. When it focused again they could see a campsite. "Are these the ones?" His voice was edged with danger.

"Only four attacked her. I don't know who those others are." Iolaus offered. When Ares turned his piercing eyes to Iolaus, he quickly pointed out the four.

"Nika?" It was a command as well as a question. Nika looked at the four faces he showed her and she quickly looked down again nodding. Ares drew his sword and disappeared.

"Nika, I never intended to cause trouble for you. If I knew you served in Ares' temple, I wouldn't have come here. I'm sorry." Iolaus turned to Lekos, who was hovering by the door. "Are you the priest here? Maybe you can explain to Ares that she did nothing wrong."

Lekos snorted. "She's the priestess here. She can explain to him! I'm not going anywhere near him, not in this mood!"

Iolaus gaped at her. "You're the priestess?"

Iolaus felt weak when she nodded. "It's a good thing I was unconscious most of the way. If I had had a chance to hit up on her, Ares would be cutting off my body parts right now!" He shuddered. Suddenly Ares was back, bloody sword in hand. He gave Iolaus an appraising look. Iolaus felt like a bug about to be stepped on when suddenly Ares smiled and sheathe his sword. It was a cold smile, but still a smile. "Um, you know, I really don't have to stay here. I can leave and I'll, uh, find a room somewhere or something." Iolaus started to edge towards the door.

"No, Iolaus. You'll stay here as my guest."

Iolaus shivered in spite of his relief. Ares sounded too silky, too civilized. "Thank you. I'll leave as soon as I rest my leg."

"Oh, take all the time you need. I insist." Ares smiled again, then went to his throne and sat. Lekos, see to our guest." Lekos motioned for Iolaus to follow him. Ares turned his gaze to Nika. "Go clean yourself up and come to me."

Ares leaned his head back and smiled again. While he had been dealing with Nika's would-be rapists, he'd thought of something that Iolaus would know if he had been up on temple protocol. But all in good time.

Part 2

It was so still as she entered the outer room of Ares' quarters, for a moment she thought he had left, but he was reclining on a lounge toying with a whip. She hesitated a moment eyeing the whip, then walked over to kneel at his feet.

"You displeased me, Nika. First, you needlessly put your life in danger, then you defied me in front of my enemy." He was pulling the length of the whip through his fingers. His low calm voice was more frightening than his previous anger.

"I did not wish to defy you, but I had to do it! I owe Iolaus my life. Please don't be angry with me!"

Ares just stared at her.

"Ares, please! I only wish to serve you. I belong to you."

"Yesss, you do." He stood up. "Come into my bedroom."

Nika scrambled to her feet and followed him. She had a cold knot of fear in her stomach. Ares was already standing by the bed when she entered. She stopped several feet away and waited.

"Take off your clothes."

The low seductive voice sent shivers through her. Nika fumbled with the straps of her tunic. She finally managed to slide them off her shoulders and let the tunic slip to the floor. If only he weren't angry! Then they would be shivers of delight and anticipation instead of fear.

Ares smiled. She was lovely standing there naked for his pleasure and her fear was exciting him. His erection was straining against the tight leather of his pants. "Did you know there's a fine art to whipping someone? I'm talking about a true master of the art, not like most clods who start out using all their strength. Most of their victims pass out before they're even halfway through. A true master can just flick the outer layer of skin off in the first pass. It's excruciating, but not enough to give the gift of unconsciousness." He smiled and lovingly drew the whip through his fingers again. "They can vary the depth of the lash, optimizing the pain and creating quite a work of permanent art on a person's back."

Nika was petrified. She didn't know how much longer her legs would hold her. At the same time, she could feel her wetness. His hardness was obvious and no matter how frightened she was, she couldn't help her reaction whenever she was near him. He had such a magnificent body and was very seductive even if he was holding a whip! And knowing that she was exciting him was a powerful aphrodisiac.

Ares saw her look changing from fear to lust as she stared at his erection. She wasn't even hearing him anymore. She was incorrigible!

His chuckle pulled her from her fantasy. Startled, she pulled her eyes back to his face. "Nika, do you want this?" He cupped his crotch in his hand. He chuckled again as she unconsciously licked her lips and nodded. "Come here and lick it."

Nika managed to walk on her unsteady legs and sink to her knees before him. She eagerly reached up to release him, but she couldn't resist first stroking his bulge through the leather before she freed him.

Ares hissed when she started rubbing him. It felt too good. "Take it out," he commanded. Nika complied and was soon licking the tip. Ares gasped with pleasure. "Suck on it now." He pushed his hips forward. Nika slid her lips over the head and took as much as she could into her mouth, then slowly slid her lips back to the tip. "Suck it harder," he growled. She obeyed and soon had him groaning. When he had enough teasing, he grasped her head so he could finish pleasuring himself at his own pace.

When Ares took her head into his hands, Nika could feel the end of the whip brushing against her back as he thrust into her. This sent a shiver of fear through her to mix with the jolts of pleasure she was feeling as her nipples brushed against his thighs. Then suddenly he was down her throat, feeding her his seed. When he let go of her, Nika sat back gasping. That was a bit deeper and more forceful than normal. When she caught her breath and looked up, he was once again toying with the whip.

Ares looked at Nika on the floor before him. Oh, he was going to fuck her good this time! But first, he wanted to see how much she really feared him. "So, Nika, shall we use my whip now?" he purred. He saw the look of fright on her face, but she knelt up straight and looked at him. "If it pleases you. I am here to serve you."

"Are you now?" He walked around behind her and cracked the whip in the air. Nika gave a slight jump, but held her place. He let it trail across her back in a perverse caress.


"You'll do anything for my pleasure?"


"So you want me to whip you?"

"I…" Nika hesitated. She was starting to shake a little. "I have no wish to be whipped, but if it will take away your anger with me, then it will be worth the pain."

"So after I whip you, you'll embrace me?" He circled around to the front of her.

"If it pleases you, though after you whip me I may not want to embrace you!"

Ares looked startled, then started laughing. He hadn't been sure exactly what she would say, but he definitely had not expected that! He let go of the whip and it vanished. Still chuckling, he grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her up to him for a kiss. He shoved his tongue into her mouth, claiming her. One hand held her head to him, while the other clasped her ass and pushed her pelvis against his hardness. Then his clothes were gone and they were lying on the bed, his full weight pinning her down. He left her mouth and licked a path to her breast. He tongued and licked the nipple until she cried for him to suck it. Instead he turned his attention to the other one while she squirmed and whimpered beneath him.

Nika was very happy he had discarded the whip. She would much rather be in his bed. She wondered if a person could die from too much pleasure. If so, she was certainly a candidate. Ares was lying next to her now, and his fingers were busy in her slit while he sucked her nipple. She tried to spread her legs wider. Oh, gods! She was so close now she was thrusting against his hand. Suddenly his hand was gone. Before she could feel frustrated, she felt his soft, warm tongue flicking over her clitoris. The pleasure was too much to contain and it burst over her in waves. She heard herself crying out as she came.

Ares enjoyed hearing her cry out. Now it was his turn. He moved between her legs and plunged in while she was still shuddering. He started thrusting hard and fast, his own excitement considerable. His cock felt so good in her warm, tight tunnel. Nika had wrapped her arms and legs around him holding on for the wild ride. Soon he heard her cry out again and felt her muscles tighten around his shaft trying to milk it. A few more thrusts and he too felt a wave of pleasure crash over him.

Nika hugged him tightly when he came. She so enjoyed pleasing him. She kissed his face while he rested on her, feeling his heart slow. "Are you still very angry with me?" She was afraid of the answer, but had to know.

Ares considered her question. "You defied me, Nika. I am pleased he saved your life, but I'm not happy it turned out to be Iolaus of all people." Ares gave her a cunning look. "Didn't you like my whip?"

Nika squirmed uncomfortably. "I'm very relieved you decided not to use it."

"Well, then you better do something to keep my mind off it." He gave her a smug look.

She pushed against his chest. "Lay back," she ordered. When he was settled on the pillows to watch, she crawled between his legs and proceeded to nibble his staff. When she was satisfied with his new erection, she licked his balls and pushed his legs wider so she could continue down to his anus. Ares bent his knees and slid down a little to give her better access. Nika knew he really enjoyed this and lapped at his opening until he started to rock his hips. Spreading his cheeks as far as she could she stuck her tongue into the opening. She heard his gasp of pleasure and continued to lick and tongue until he grabbed her hair and gently pulled her up.

"Rub this oil on me. I want to fuck your ass." Nika took the vial he offered and poured some oil into her hands. She rubbed them together, then started stroking his cock. She did this until he was slick and more than ready.

"Bend over," he rasped.

Nika got into position with some apprehension. Ares always made this way mostly pleasurable, but there was always some pain too. She knew it was his way of reminding her of her place, that he gave her pleasure or pain at his whim. Ares knelt between her legs and spread her cheeks. Nika felt the tip against her, then he slowly pushed in. She gritted her teeth against the burning and stretching and concentrated on not pulling away. While he was slowly stroking himself inside her, she leaned forward and rested her chest on the bed giving him greater access.

Ares loved how tight she felt around him. He held her hips and slowly pumped in and out while considering how much to let her enjoy this, when she bent forward and opened herself wider to him. He decided to accept her show of subservience and reached around to finger her.

Nika was trying not to cry out as Ares started thrusting harder and faster and deeper, when she felt his oiled finger slide across her clitoris. She groaned and tried to push against his hand, but Ares had wrapped his other arm around her waist and held her in place. He was rubbing her in time to his well-paced thrusts to keep her hovering just on the brink of release. This was the ultimate pleasure and torture combined.

Nika's non-stop moaning eventually gave way to outright begging, which in turn stoked Ares excitement. He thrust and rubbed a bit faster. When he felt her shudder beneath him and cry out, he grasped her by the hips with both hands and pounded his way to completion. He collapsed on top of her pinning her to the bed his face next to hers. "Mmmm… Let's do that again." he purred into her ear.

Nika's bottom was hurting like Tartarus, but she knew better than to disagree. She would rather be punished like this than whipped. Ares moved off her back and knelt between her legs again. She got up on her knees and pointed her ass at him. He pushed his knees against her legs and she leaned forward again to spread herself as wide as she could. He was rubbing her ass when one of his hands slid between her legs and rubbed her center. She moaned into the bed and started rocking her hips to meet his finger. Then she felt his tongue licking her anus. As much as she was still hurting, she couldn't help rubbing against his face. When she was close, the pleasure suddenly stopped and he was again grasping her hips and pushing into her. Nika couldn't help crying out this time.

Ares leaned on Nika and wrapped his arms around her as he took his time sliding almost all the way out, then thrusting quickly in. He leaned his face right next to hers. "Are you going to behave yourself next time? Are you through taking foolish risks?" When Nika sobbed out a "yes," he once again slid his fingers along her slit. The pain faded some as the pleasure caught up and Nika was quickly swept away with Ares right behind.

Part 3

Iolaus was sitting outside the guest quarters the next morning when Nika walked up the path. "How are you feeling?"

"Like a million dinars!" He looked at her more closely. "Is everything okay with you?" She didn't seem to be walking quite right.

"Yes, of course."

Iolaus thought she said it a little too quickly, but when she blushed and looked elsewhere, he decided to drop it. "My leg is much better and I should be able to travel tomorrow. I'll walk a bit today to stretch it."

"Iolaus, before you leave, you have to make a thanksgiving offering to Ares." Nika thought it best to remind Iolaus of the temple custom especially since Ares had casually inquired what Nika thought he might offer.

"What do you mean I have to make an offering?"

"It's the custom in temples. When someone accepts the hospitality of a temple and its god, it's only right to make an offering of thanks. If you don't you'll be insulting Ares." When Iolaus snorted, Nika continued, "And you'll lose his protection. I will not be able to intercede for you. I will have no argument to help you. Do you understand what I am telling you?"

Iolaus could see she was suddenly frightened. For him.

"Iolaus, please!"

Then another thought struck him. Even if he didn't mind screaming his way to Tartarus, Ares might also punish Nika. "All right. I'll… I'll find… something. Can I hunt in the woods here?"

"Yes, that will be satisfactory. Ask Lekos for a weapon."

Ares smiled at the exchange. He was not visible to mortal eyes, but he was pleased. "Now for some fun."

Iolaus was following some tracks, when he heard something ahead. He silently crept closer working his way into some bushes. His eyes widened at the sight in front of him. There was a small pool of water where a stream filled in a depression. Sitting on a rock by the pool was a naked Ares with a naked Nika kneeling between his legs. Since Iolaus was off to the side, he had a perfect view of Nika's mouth sliding up and down Ares' erection. Iolaus felt his own cock stir as he tried to very quietly back out of his hiding place. "If Ares catches me here, I'm sure he's not going to be interested in any explanations! I wonder what the penalty is for watching a god being sucked by his priestess?" Suddenly, Iolaus was caught fast by some branches. "Great! Just great! If I make a sound, I'm dead. I'll have to wait until they've gone. Maybe if I don't watch, it doesn't count." That lasted about ten seconds until Nika's slurping noises forced his eyes back. Ares was holding her head as she sucked the last drops of his cum. Iolaus' eyes widened as he watch Ares' shaft harden again.

"Suck it again. I like to watch my cock sliding into your mouth." Nika complied. She moaned as she rubbed her nipples against his thighs. Ares chuckled, "You'll get your turn when I'm ready." He turned his head and looked towards the bushes where Iolaus was hiding.

Iolaus felt his heart skip when Ares looked his way, but then Nika did something to make him moan and he looked back at her. It took several minutes before Iolaus could breathe normally again.

"Suck it harder!" he commanded. Nika obeyed and soon he was once again pumping his seed down her throat. He slid off the rock and pulled Nika up against him for a probing kiss. His hands slid down over her ass and he rested them there possessively. Nika had her arms around his neck and was rubbing her body against his. Ares chuckled again, "All right, Nika. Now it's your turn." Ares laid Nika on the grass with her head towards the pool and her nether regions pointing right at Iolaus.

As soon as Ares laid her down, Nika spread her legs wide, giving Iolaus a perfect view. Iolaus was having trouble stifling his own groans. He was rock hard himself and his confining pants were starting to make it painful. He didn't dare try to release himself. He was afraid of making noise and plus he knew that if he did, he wouldn't be able to refrain from touching himself. The sights before him were just too arousing. Ares was kneeling beside her, kissing her, and pumping a finger into her while massaging her clitoris with his thumb. Nika was thrusting her hips towards him and rubbing her nipples. Iolaus bit his finger to stifle a groan. Now Ares was between her legs thrusting into her. By the time they had reached a noisy climax, Iolaus thought he was going to cum in his pants. After Ares and Nika rested a moment, Ares dressed them and told Nika he had things to do and sent her to the temple while he disappeared. As soon as Nika was gone, Iolaus pulled himself from the bushes and freed his erection. He sank down against a tree and stroked himself, seeing Nika and Ares again when he closed his eyes. It didn't take him long to explode and spray his seed on the ground.

Iolaus continued to wander through the woods, trying to track something, anything, but had no luck. Finally, when his leg started to protest, he made his way back to the temple. He entered the throne room to return the weapon he had borrowed and was surprised to find Ares there. He almost slipped and said he thought Ares had things to do, but caught himself in time.

"Well, Iolaus, did you have a… stimulating hunt?" Ares smiled at him.

Iolaus just managed to stop his jaw from dropping. "So, Ares knew all along that I was there! He probably caused me to get stuck in the first place!" Iolaus felt like the village idiot, but was able to stammer, "I, uh, came back empty handed."

"Well, maybe you'll have better luck tomorrow."

"Yeah, I'm sure I will." Ares was grinning as Iolaus retreated back to his room.

Iolaus got an early start the next morning. He was just coming to the conclusion that the absence of game was no coincidence, when he saw Ares leaning against a tree.

"It doesn't seem your luck is any better this morning."

Iolaus let out a sigh and walked over to Ares. "You wouldn't happen to know why there aren't any animals around, would you?"

"I might." Ares just smiled at him.

"Look, Ares, I'm ready to make you an offering like you want, but how can I if you won't let me catch anything? Exactly what is it you want from me?"

"I might be willing to accept that knife you have in your boot."

"What? But, but that's the knife Hercules made for me!"

"Well, then you can keep hunting." Ares pushed himself from the tree. "I'll be at the temple with Nika. I like how she prays to me," he ended with a smirk. Then he was gone.

Iolaus stood staring at the tree Ares vacated. "Well, there it is. The price for my freedom. I may as well get it over with before he changes his mind." Iolaus headed back to the temple. "I guess I can take my time since Ares is romping with Nika." He felt a stirring as he recalled the scenes from the previous day. He wasn't far from the pool and decided to take a swim. As he shed his clothes, his erection waved in front of him like a flag. "Gods, I feel horny enough to hump that rock!" Realizing this wasn't going to resolve itself, Iolaus settled himself against a tree and once again stroked himself to completion. "Now I really need a swim." He took his time and when he was once again dressed, he headed back. It was nearly midday and he hoped Ares would be done sporting so he could make his offering and get out of there.

"You look good on your knees, Iolaus. You should worship me more often."

Ares' silky voice sent a shiver down Iolaus' back. Ares was like a cat playing with a mouse. You never knew when he would pounce. "I. Am. Not. Worshipping. You." Iolaus forced through his clenched teeth.

"Oh? You're kneeling before me making an offering to me. I'd say that's a big part of worshipping. The other part is praying. Pray to me, Iolaus. Beg me to accept your offering."

Iolaus knew Ares was enjoying every moment of this. Even though he knew it was best to just get it over with, his whole being wanted to rebel. He wanted to lash out. "Right, Iolaus. Without Herc here to help, Ares would send you to Tartarus so fast you wouldn't know what hit you." Iolaus glanced at Nika. She was the one really holding him in check. He didn't want her to suffer Ares' anger because of him. He took a deep breath and looked right at Ares. "Will you please accept my offering?" He held the dagger towards Ares.

Ares leaned his head back and appeared to consider the offering. "I'm enjoying this moment so much, I think I'll refuse this gift so you have to come back again." He couldn't keep the amusement out of his voice.

"Ares! You told me this was what you wanted!" exploded from Iolaus before he could stop himself.

Ares just raised his eyebrows at him. "Maybe if you beg a little harder." He smiled.

Iolaus just managed to swallow his retort. He stole a peek at Nika. She seemed frozen in place. She was trying to appear neutral, but he could tell she was terrified for him. Afraid he wouldn't do what was required and lose his protection. "Ares, I know it's not much, but it's my most prized possession. You would honor me by accepting it." He almost choked on those words, but managed to get them out in a reasonable tone of voice.

"You're doing better. Keep going." Ares grinned. Iolaus looked like he was going to bust. Ares had been angry at first when Nika had brought Iolaus to his temple, but now he was thoroughly enjoying this.

Iolaus wasn't sure what else to say. He wasn't all that good at this groveling thing. "Ares, I am truly grateful to you for your hospitality." At least there was some truth to that. "I want to thank you for giving me food and shelter and most of all for your protection. You have been most generous. I know the value of this dagger doesn't come close to that, but it really is all I have. Since you've been so generous this far, please extend you generosity once more by accepting my humble gift." Iolaus took the dagger by the blade and held it out once more. "If he doesn't take it this time, I'll just have to go to Tartarus!"

Ares chuckled and slowly clapped his hands. "Very good, Iolaus. See? You can be humble when you want to be!" He reached forward and took the handle. He weighed it in his hand testing the balance. "My brother did a good job. What a surprise." Then he suddenly flipped it in his hand, and seizing the blade threw it into the wall. "There. Now I can see it whenever I'm here and reminisce about this moment. I can't wait 'til you explain to my brother what you did with his gift." He laughed.

"Uh, can I go now?" Iolaus was just thinking about the same thing. How was he going to explain this? "'Oh, Herc, you know that knife you put all that time and sweat into making for me? Well I decided to give it to Ares as an offering. You know, on my knees kind of offering.' That was going to go over well."

"You may leave my presence now." Ares' laughter followed him out of the temple. He hadn't gone far when he heard Nika.

"Iolaus, wait! I'll walk with you to the road." Nika was hurrying after him.

"Ares is actually letting you walk with me?"

"I have to hurry back, but I did want to say goodbye and thank you again for saving me. I'll always be grateful."

"Is he still angry with you?" Iolaus was still worried about what might happen to Nika.

"He was at first. Not because I invited a guest, but because the guest turned out to be you. Anyone else would have been okay."

"Well he got a good knife out of the deal."

"I know it was killing you, but you did very well. Thank you for not losing your temper."

"It wasn't easy," he admitted, "but I was afraid if I blew it, he'd take it out on you too."

"Well, take care of yourself, Iolaus. Maybe we'll meet again one day." Nika turned and hurried back up the path.

Iolaus watched her leave, allowing himself one last fantasy of her mouth swallowing him. Then he hurried on his way. Herc would probably be wondering about him by now.

Part 4

As Nika entered the temple, she wondered what Ares' mood would be now that Iolaus was gone. He was waiting for her holding a fighting staff. At her puzzled look, Ares explained, "You will learn how to use this and you will carry it with you. I cannot be worrying about your safety every time you leave my temple."

Nika's eyes lit with delight. She reverently reached for the staff and caressed it with her hands. When she saw Iolaus use his staff on her attackers, she knew she wanted to learn how to use one too. Here was a weapon that was effective but didn't have to be deadly. She had planned to ask Ares when Iolaus was gone and when he seemed in a receptive mood. She was glad Ares thought of it too.

Ares was pleased with Nika's reaction. He knew she didn't like bloodshed and violence, which was funny for a priestess of the God of War, but it was what had attracted him to her. He liked her naïve ways and innocence. He toyed with sending her to the Amazons to learn, but dismissed that idea. They would teach her too much independence and defiance. There were enough soldiers here that Lekos could assign to teach her. "So, do you like it?"

"Oh, yes! I've been wanting to ask you since I watched Iolaus, but I was afraid you would disapprove. Who will teach me?"

"Lekos can oversee the basics. When you're ready, I'll teach you the finer points. I expect you to give this your full attention until you have mastered it. Even then, I will expect you to have a regular practice regiment to follow." He had to smile at her look of rapt attention. He stepped closer to her and put her hand over his crotch. "At night you can practice with this staff."

Nika grinned at him. She couldn't be happier. She would learn how to defend herself and not be so dependent on others. And any night she got to spend with Ares was better than anything else she could imagine.

The End

Continue on to the sequel Bad Boy

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