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 descriptions of male/male sexual relations.
Time : Part one - early on. Parts two. three and four - some time later
Not really a disclaimer - every one of these characters (except Joxer and Xena) appears in Greek/ Roman myth or history - so I'm just reclaiming them, not stealing them.
pairings - you name them.
These stories are separate but linked - Iolaus, Aphrodite, Cupid, Hercules and Salmoneus appear in part one; Hercules, Autolycus and Hermes are in part two; Joxer, Iolaus, Autolycus, Hercules and Ares are featured in part three. I suppose if you have favourite characters you could miss the parts that don't contain them - just like the real thing.
Warning - don't expect historical accuracy. Oh, and there's quite a bit of whining. Other than that I suppose there is a bit of sex - not much - but enough.
Not to be taken too seriously.
There is a slight crossover element at one point but I'll leave that to be discovered. If you know you know - if you don't it doesn't matter.
Archive: As long as you let me know where and keep credit where it's due.
Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
Gods and other Monsters
Part One - Band of Gold
Iolaus sat on a rock and pondered.
After Deianeira's death, he had offered Hercules all the comfort he could muster but the demigod had refused his companionship and gone off without him. And it was so boring here in Thebes. The same old faces the same old fucks. He wasn't cut out for the quiet life. If Hercules had been here he could probably have managed it for the rest of his life - good old uncle Iolaus - but there seemed no point in sticking around without him.
Now the demigod had gone gods knows where to try and find some kind of inner peace. Iolaus hoped he'd find it quickly.
It was strange. When Deianeira had been alive he'd sometimes wished she wasn't there - but he'd never wanted it to end like this. This was too much.
Hercules had been gone for nearly six weeks and there had been no message from him. Iolaus made a decision. He was going - somewhere far away from here. Anywhere that didn't remind him of his best friend. The man he might never see again.
Hercules stared up at the tower. He thought back to the time when he and Deianeira met - it didn't give him any comfort.
Why had he gone off alone? Why didn't he just stay and grieve while his friends offered words of hope?
He knew the answer. If he'd stayed not only would he have had too many reminders of his dead wife and children, but he'd have been constantly afraid for his best friend. Everyone who loved him seemed to die - he couldn't keep dragging other people into his family troubles
Then again he also knew in a way he was being selfish. His mortal family had been Iolaus' family - he must have been grieving for Deianeira and the kids too.
He'd made a mistake leaving Iolaus behind. His friend had insisted on joining him and he'd said no. Now he had no one.
The inn was a dive. Its only saving grace was the price - he could probably make a dinar last a month in this town.
He was tired after his journey. He'd been walking all day and had come across bandits three times already. Now he just wanted to sleep.
He shuffled upstairs and drowsily took off his vest and leather pants, placing them in a neat pile on a foot stool in the corner. Then he hauled himself on to the bed.
Within seconds he was asleep. Within minutes he was awake again as the foot stool crashed onto the floor and the air around it split into silver curtains. A tall dark figure appeared and cursed his own clumsiness.
The figure walked towards Iolaus and the blond peered through the darkness.
"Ares!" He said as the figure drew closer.
"Oh, you recognize me this time then?" Ares replied with a grin.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Iolaus was confused, last time he'd seen Ares he was sort of bigger, more like a dragon than a man. Come to think of it he couldn't recall ever seeing Ares in human guise. How come he *did* recognize him?
"All the years we've known each other..." Ares trailed off.
"I'm sorry - I don't want to be rude to a god - but have we met somewhere?"
"You know my name. You know I'm a god - come on, think harder."
Iolaus pushed his hair back from his forehead and sighed. Suddenly a glimmer of a vision came to him - Ares, him...ah...oh gods.
Ares put his head to one side "Yes, it's all coming back to you now isn't it?"
Iolaus was a little shocked at what he remembered.
"As I recall," Ares said, as he placed himself on the bed, "We discovered quite a lot about each other the last time I, ahem, came."
Iolaus pulled the blanket over his chest and scrambled away from Ares. "Look, I'm not quite sure what you're getting at, but I really don't want to find out any more," his voice came out far too high-pitched and hysterical for his liking.
Ares reached out and stoked Iolaus' cheek. "I think you do."
The blond whimpered as Ares hot hand brushed his flesh. He could almost see sparks flying from the god's fingers.
"Look, you're not really my type," Iolaus said as he jumped off the bed. His voice was till tense, but he'd managed to get it down to a reasonably masculine level.
The dark god chuckled to himself. Iolaus stood defiantly, and nakedly, before the god. Ares was still sitting on the blanket the blond had used to cover his modesty when the god first arrived. And Iolaus' clothes lay scattered on the floor, where they'd fallen when Ares made his entrance.
"Ooh, dig that charm," Ares winked.
Iolaus paused for a second before looking downwards. He gulped and quickly lowered his hands towards his crotch.
"Will you relax, I'm not going to do anything you don't want me to do. I'm not my father, and frankly you wouldn't really be his type. You're no Leda, I'm definitely no swan," The god paused, "And anyway you're a little bit too craggy to appeal to Zeus," He added.
"There is no need to be insulting," Iolaus was beginning to flush *all* over, something that was not lost on the god.
"I like craggy," Ares stood up and gestured for Iolaus to return to the bed. "I'm not going to bite..." he said.
Iolaus felt a little calmer. For some reason he trusted Ares. He took a deep breath and sidled past the god, carefully trying not to brush against him.
"Good. Are you a little more comfortable now? Less jumpy?"
Iolaus nodded. "Why are you here?"
"Oh I don't know, just thought you might be getting lonely without my baby brother around. Thought maybe I'd pop in to offer a helping hand."
Iolaus' eyes widened ever so slightly.
"Say, have you and Herc ever got round to actually doing it?"
"No, I didn't think so. What's stopping you? After all it's just him and you now."
Iolaus said nothing. He gritted his teeth in annoyance. He'd never told anyone how he felt for his best friend, he wasn't going to let anything out now - even though it was obvious Ares knew everything. Every intimate secret.
"You know, it's not even as if Herc is a virgin in *that* way," Ares continued, "And he's had three weeks to grieve."
Iolaus could hold his tongue no longer.
"Of all the selfish, inconsiderate....I..."
Ares kneeled down by the blustering blond and put his hand over his mouth, holding him tightly towards him. Iolaus was shaking now, and had turned from his usual gold tan colour to a far less attractive beetroot red.
"Come to papa," Ares said as he squeezed Iolaus ever harder. The blond stopped struggling and passed out. Ares immediately loosened his grip and Iolaus flopped backwards.
Salmoneus had been following him around all day. He was really beginning to bug the demigod.
"You don't think enough about the money, if you had a dinar for every monster you've saved and every damsel you've destroyed imagine how rich you'd be right now."
Hercules stopped walking and swung around to face Sal. "I think you might have got that a bit backwards," He turned around and continued his long, quick gait as Salmoneus bounded behind trying to keep up. Well, at least he was an amusing diversion.
Salmoneus paused. He'd been trying to keep Hercules' mind off his problems since he caught up with him the day before. He realized that playing the fool was one of the things he did best - it always helped distract people. But maybe it was time to talk seriously for once.
"So, you feeling any better?" He ventured.
Hercules swung around. He looked down at Salmoneus with a slightly far away look. He thought about the question - was he feeling any better?
"I...yes...no.." Hercules sat on a rock and put his head in his hands.
"There there..." Salmoneus tried not to panic. He'd said the wrong thing again. Suddenly a light came on, "I know, maybe you should talk it through."
"Talk it through?" Hercules looked up, "You think that'll help?"
"Couldn't hurt...probably," Salmoneus shrugged and sat down on the ground near the huge hero.
"Where should I start?" Hercules thought of all the bad things that had happened to him, all the deaths, some of them his fault, all the misery. But there was some joy, maybe if he focused on all the love. "She's happy, I'm sure they're all happy, they're in the Elysian fields for gods' sake," he said, "I guess I'm just lonely - and worried anyone else who loves me is going to go... my mother, Iolaus, Jason...you.."
"Me?" Salmoneus was delighted.
"I thought if I stayed with Iolaus he would be in danger. But the second I turned my back he got himself into trouble with that She-Demon... and I still didn't learn my lesson, I left him alone again. Who knows what could be happening now," Hercules sprang up as he realized how foolish he'd been. The only way to protect these people was to be with them - all the time... If he'd stayed with his wife and children they'd still be here. He couldn't believe he'd been so stupid.
"I've got to go back - Iolaus isn't safe on his own."
"Oh...Ok - I'll go with you."
Hercules thought for a second. Maybe if he left Salmoneus here on his own he'd be attacked by bandits, or a lion, or...
"Sure - but I don't want your death on my conscience, stay very close."
"No problem," Salmoneus' grin was the size of a slice of melon.
When Iolaus came to there was no-one in the room. At first he thought it had all been a dream. He tried to get up but it felt as though something was pinning him to the bed.
"I'm still here," A disembodied voice whispered in the prone blond's ear.
Ares reappeared, straddling Iolaus' chest.
"Why? What do you want?" Iolaus asked defiantly.
"Oh, I think you know."
"No, I really don't."
"This little boy lost act may work with my little brother but it's starting to really bug me," Ares disappeared. Moments later he was stood at the foot of the bed. "Would it help if I did this?"
Iolaus looked in amazement. Instead of Ares, Ania was in the room, looking sweet and lovely. Iolaus' dead wife of all people.
"Is it really you?"
From the soft lips came Ares' voice, "What do you think?"
Iolaus began to laugh hysterically. Ania/Ares looked quizzically at the writhing man.
"You want to tell me what's so funny?"
Iolaus tried to stop his hysteria. But it wasn't easy, "Oh, I'm sorry. it's just...you....looking so innocent and pure, sounding like that.. I mean, come on..."
"You're not attracted to me like this?"
Iolaus stopped himself laughing and looked up, "Well... I... I suppose you look quite inviting...A little disturbing...I mean..." He could feel the laughter bubbling under, "It's not every day you get to see your dead wife again," He couldn't stop himself, it was tragic, but it was so absurd.
"Oh, I amuse you, how lovely," Ares returned to his usual form and sat at the end of the bed, waiting for the laughing Iolaus to come to his senses.
"Hercules, slow down." Salmoneus had been trying to match his muscular companion's pace for the last few miles, but it was all too much. He stopped at the side of the road, clutching his knees.
The demigod was getting anxious. Something was wrong, he knew it.
"Salmoneus, do you ever get that feeling, sort of foreboding?"
"Like when you know you've done something stupid and it's all going to go horribly wrong?"
"Yes - that's exactly it. What do you do about it?"
"Well, nothing - to be perfectly honest it's how I feel most of the time."
Hercules sighed and sat at the side of the road. These last few days he'd been sitting and worrying more than he'd been travelling. He was troubled.
"This is one of the very few times I could actually do with some divine intervention."
He looked up and around - but no help appeared.
"I sometimes pray to Cupid," Salmoneus said, "I find him a comfort in times of stress."
"Of course we called him Eros back then. I used to be part of the Sacred Band - years and years ago when I was little more than a boy - a gilded youth," Salmoneus offered by way of explanation.
Hercules looked shocked. "You what?" He could hardly believe it - Salmoneus, of all people.
"Oh yes - we had some fun back in those days, it wasn't all war - there was plenty of love."
Hercules had heard about the Sacred Band of Thebes - obviously, who hadn't. A band of soldiers dedicated to the bravery, chivalry and, well, each other. They worshipped Aphrodite's son, and felt it was a sacrament to him to make love to each other whenever the opportunity arose. They were almost always beautiful youths - so Salmoneus? Hercules really could not imagine it.
"I was very good looking once you know. Time is sometimes very cruel."
"Salmoneus you shouldn't put yourself down. You're..." Hercules wanted to say something complimentary about the way Salmoneus looked, but it was a struggle, "you're, sort of.."
"No need to honey-coat it - I'm a mess." Salmoneus sighed deeply, "Oh for the old days, frolicking and fighting."
There really was nothing Hercules could say to that. The Sacred Band? Well you learn something every day. He let Salmoneus drone on as he stared into the distance.
"I still keep in touch with them. Sometimes attend the reunions. It's not the same though. To be honest most of them have lost it - it's been a long time. Last time I went was, oh, five years ago. Iolaus was there - you know him don't you - of course he was a member long after I left."
"What? Did you say Iolaus?"
"Yes, Iolaus of Thebes - you do know him then - lovely man. He's someone who's definitely still got it."
"Iolaus was a member of the Sacred Band?"
"Well, I just said he was. I thought he was your friend - surely he'd have told you something like that."
"Well, you would think so."
"You sound angry," Salmoneus prided himself on his perception, he was famous for it.
"No, I'm not angry - I'm just a bit disappointed."
"I'm surprised you never joined actually - after all your brother was a member wasn't he?"
This was getting worse. "Iphicles?"
"Well yes - I didn't mean Ares did I."
Hercules was beginning to feel distinctly left out. He decided to try some names.
"Yes - of course."
"Um.." Hercules could barely bring himself to ask, "Autolycus?"
"Well, I should say so. But he's a bit ashamed of his past - we always pretend not to have met before. I wouldn't mention it in front of him."
Hercules sighed - at least he wasn't the only person he knew not to have been included in the party.
"Although, there was that time..."
Hercules interrupted, he didn't want to know, "Enough."
"Happy days," Salmoneus sighed contentedly.
"So, how long are you going to resist me, Iolaus?"
Ares had been trying to tempt Iolaus with various forms for about an hour - he was making no headway.
"I told you before - you're really not my type. No matter what you look like you're still you inside."
"But why?" Ares whined. It had never taken him this long to woo a mortal - this was getting stupid.
Ares had a brain wave. In a flash of light he changed again.
"NO - absolutely not." Iolaus balked.
"But surely you like, Hercules?" Ares stood there, waves of soft coppery hair around his shoulders, strong muscular arms attached to a broad, slightly fuzzy chest... Iolaus scanned the body. His stomach started to jump.
"Ha - I'm getting somewhere," Ares smirked.
"You are not, Hercules."
"Oh, but you wish I was, don't you?"
Ares started to kiss Iolaus' naked chest. The blond was tied to the bed - his arms and feet bound by strips of soft leather. He started to struggle, but not all that hard.
"Just imagine it," Ares said between soft kisses, "What it would be like if this were really Hercules."
Iolaus moaned gently.
"No, don't," he said, not very convincingly. Ares loosened the bindings on Iolaus' limbs, but he didn't seem to notice.
Ares moved lower, past Iolaus belly, tracing the line between his navel and his cock. His tongue gently lapped upwards, before he took it in his mouth, gently grazing the tip with his teeth.
Iolaus flinched as Ares mouth devoured him.
"All right... I suppose yo...uhh... win," he said.
Hercules was sulking. He felt as though everything he'd taken for granted was being snatched away. After their discussion Hercules had decided to visit the nearest inn. He was on his twelfth tankard of ale and was planning to continue until everything felt better. Forty or fifty more cups should do it.
"So, Salmoneus," He almost spat the name out, "I suppose you all had lots of fun in your little band?
Salmoneus was drinking apple juice. He thought it was best to stay sober in the circumstances.
"Look, I'm sorry - I thought you would have known - pretend I never mentioned it."
"It's too late - everything's changed - it's all gone bad." Hercules rested his head on his arms.
"Oh, don't cry, you're Hercules - the strongest man in the world, what will people think?" Salmoneus looked around anxiously. People were already beginning to stare. "Maybe I should book a room for the night, you could sleep on this - it'll all be better in the morning."
Hercules pouted. "Yes, all right," he got up, knocking over the stool he was sitting on. "Sorry everyone - I'll be fine - nothing to worry about - everything's great," The demigod started to giggle. Salmoneus started to push him towards the stairs, but the inn keeper blocked their path.
"Where are you going?"
"Oh - We need a room," Salmoneus explained, "My friend is a little worse for wear."
"Only one room and it's occupied - sorry."
"Can't we share?"
The inn keeper shrugged. "How much?"
Iolaus eyelids flickered as he lay on his side. He was dreaming about the old days back in Thebes. He didn't hear the door open, but he woke up when he heard his name.
Iolaus sat up suddenly, "Wha ...What?"
Hercules and Salmoneus stared at the sight in front of them. Sleeping on the bed next to Iolaus, naked and face down, was a very happy looking... Hercules?
The sleeping beauty opened his eyes, and blinked. He gently eased himself up and looked at the two intruders.
"Oops," Ares smiled a big lop-sided grin.
The real Hercules staggered forward a pace and pointed vaguely at his double, "What am I doing in bed with Iolaus?"
Iolaus jumped out of bed, before realizing he was completely naked and jumping back under the blanket.
"Hello, Herc, great to see you again," Iolaus said nonchalantly.
Ares started to laugh. Hercules looked confused. Salmoneus stared back and forth with his mouth agape.
After a pregnant pause Salmoneus spoke, "All right - which one of you is Hercules?"
"I am," both Hercules said in unison.
Iolaus rolled his eyes.
Hercules, the genuine one, looked at the blond questioningly, "Am I me? Or am I over there?"
"Is he drunk?"
Salmoneus nodded, "And I must be too."
Hercules sat down crossed legged on the floor and chewed his lip.
"Ares - this is your doing isn't it?"
The war god looked innocently back at Iolaus through Hercules' baby blue eyes.
A feminine giggle invaded the room and the air was split by a starry curtain of light as Aphrodite appeared in the corner of the room, closely followed by her son.
"Well boys - you've all got yourself into quite a mess haven't you?"
"'Dite - keep out of this," Ares glared at his sibling.
"My - Hercules you're twice the man you were."
Cupid smiled mischievously. And tried to hide behind his mother - a tactic that worked fine when he was only three-feet tall, but just looked silly now he was fully grown.
"I've brought him here to apologize," Aphrodite explained.
"Why?" Ares asked, "This was all my doing."
"Beg to differ Ar, if you look very closely you'll find a little prick."
"What?" Ares spluttered.
"From an arrow, Ares."
Salmoneus was overwhelmed. "Cupid, I've worshipped you all my life."
Cupid looked a little embarrassed and decided to ignore him. Salmoneus didn't notice.
Hercules was on the floor moaning.
Iolaus looked at him guiltily. "It's my fault," he said, "I should have been stronger."
"Oh, don't be silly hon," Aphrodite said, "It's very difficult to resist the god of war when he knows what he wants - especially as you've been love struck too."
"Why did he do it?" Ares asked angrily.
"He's been a little off ever since his little band thing, well, disbanded. I think he blames you, Ares."
"Well, partly because it's kind of...your fault."
"You can't have soldiers obsessed with love - it's not right. I just took back my own men," Ares stared at his sister and her son. The Sacred Band had fallen apart when Ares had sent Alexander of Macedonia's army in for the kill. Alexander was definitely one of Ares' own. Sexy, vicious and cruel.
"They were mine," Cupid folded his arms and opened his wings. Aphrodite could seeing he was beginning to turn green so she thought she'd better diffuse the situation. She turned Ares into a rabbit and Cupid into a tiny, fluffy duckling.
"There," she said, "That should hold for a couple of minutes. Now, Iolaus, sweety, what do you want me to do about Herc?"
"Do about him?"
Hercules had fallen asleep sometime during the last few minutes. Now he was curled up next to the door with his thumb in his mouth.
"There's a chance he won't remember any of this is the morning - but what are you going to do if he does? I could make him forget all this."
"No, don't do that - I think I owe him an explanation."
"Sure," Aphrodite looked at Salmoneus. "Hi hon, you're cute as a little baby bear aren't you."
"Me?" Salmoneus looked around.
"Yes you - wanna come for a ride?"
Salmoneus nodded enthusiastically.
"I'm having some friends around do you mind?" Aphrodite winked, "There'll be something for everyone."
Aphrodite disappeared, and with her went Salmoneus, the rabbit and the duckling.
Iolaus and Hercules were alone in the room. The blond hero looked over at the demigod, who had shifted position and was now lying across the door like a draft excluder.
"Hercules?" Iolaus kneeled over his friend and shook his shoulder. Hercules opened his eyes and looked up. "Morning Iolaus. I just had a really freaky dream."
"We'll talk in the morning all right?"
"Sure, whatever," Hercules stretched up and kissed Iolaus on the lips, "I'll just go back to sleep." He closed his eyes.
Iolaus went back to the bed and rolled over to one side. 'What just happened?', he thought.
After a few minutes he heard the floorboards creak as Hercules walked towards the bed. He looked up to see the demigod's face smiling goofily.
"Hey Iolaus - move over."
Hercules crawled into bed next to a stunned Iolaus.
"No more secrets, ok?"
"You mean you're all right with this?"
"Shh...don't speak." Iolaus didn't - it was difficult to speak when your best friend's tongue was half way down your throat. He pulled away.
"Not like this, Herc - it's a little awkward don't you think?"
"Why d'you never tell me about the band thing?"
"Oh that. How did you find out about that - it's supposed to be a semi-secret?"
"And now you're acting completely out of character - hey wait a minute - Ares?"
"No. Why would I be, Ares?"
"It's a long story."
"Iolaus - do you love me?"
"What? I think you should get some sleep."
"Only I've been doing some thinking lately and I've decided...we need each other."
Iolaus smiled. They could talk in the morning - for now, well the night was young.
Part Two - Autolycus the Hero
Autolycus was grinning in spite of himself. Sure he'd messed up the chance to steal the biggest ruby in the world, but he had stolen the key to the cell the big ape of a guard was dragging him to. He'd be out of this place in no time.
The guard threw him into the dimly lit room.
"And I'll have that key too," he said.
Autolycus silently cursed the gods who made him.
He was just settling into his cell in his usual fashion. The guard had been kind enough not to chain him to the wall, so he was using this time to pace, stroking his chin and considering his options, when a groan in the far corner alerted him to another prisoner's presence.
"Hello," Autolycus said as he walked to the figure, "I'm planning a daring escape- I can rescue you if you want."
Autolycus tried to see in the Stygian darkness. He moved his face closer to the chained prisoner, and jumped back as the man looked up.
"Hello Autolycus, nice to see you again - it's been a while."
"Hercules?" Autolycus was shocked - Hercules, the strongest man in the world, chained to a wall.
"Yep. You going to rescue me then, or am I going to have to stay here for all eternity?"
"Can't you just snap to metal?" Autolycus was a mite confused now.
"'Fraid not - I seem to have mislaid my strength," Hercules smiled wanly.
"You've lost your strength - how in Tartarus did that happen?"
Hercules explained briefly. A few days before Iolaus had got into his head that it would be really, fun, to join the army of Alexander of Macedonia.
"That guy who think he's great?" Autolycus interrupted. Hercules nodded slowly.
""I didn't want to join him - said it was a stupid idea - so Iolaus and I argued, we both said some things we shouldn't have, and he went his way, I went mine."
"That doesn't explain how you lost your strength," Autolycus was getting even more confused, "Or why you're here."
"I was getting to that. About half a day after he left I stopped off at an inn to catch my breath. For some reason I'd been feeling strange all day, and I just couldn't carry on any longer. I was just sitting there, minding my own business, when these four ugly looking locals decided to pick a fight. I wasn't in the mood so I told them to leave me alone. They didn't want to. I was forced to fight. But I couldn't, I just didn't feel like it any more. Unfortunately one of the guys got carried away - he threw himself onto someone else's sword. As I wasn't local I got blamed for the whole thing - and here I am."
"Unfortunate," Autolycus raised his eyebrow, "I suppose it's up to me to use my superior intellect and ready wit to save us both then."
Autolycus fumbled with the chains and freed Hercules in a matter of seconds, "You can thank me later," he said smugly.
"We're still trapped in this prison," Hercules pointed out.
Autolycus looked around and spotted a small stick near where Hercules had been chained. He picked it up and carried it to the window of the cell.
"Watch and learn," he smiled.
Hercules couldn't see how he managed it, but in a matter of seconds the window was open. It was just about large enough for them to escape. A ledge outside was easily negotiated and the two men climbed to the roof - Hercules nearly slipped, but Autolycus managed to grab his arm - pulling him to safety.
Once in the forest surrounding the prison they ran until they reached a small clearing.
"I owe you one, Autolycus - thanks," Hercules rested his arms on his thighs as he bent over to catch his breath.
"So, Blondie left you?"
The demigod slowly raised himself to look at the King of Thieves.
"Well, I wouldn't have put it like that exactly but yes."
"Too bad. Have you thought about a replacement yet?"
"It's a bit premature, Iolaus only left yesterday..."
"Yes, and you're still getting over him, I understand."
Hercules stared at Autolycus.
"What exactly do you think was happening between me and Iolaus?"
Autolycus raised his eyebrows.
Not wanting to stand there taking the masterthief's insinuations Hercules began to stride away from the clearing, into the depths of the forest. He hadn't gone too far when a stitch in his side doubled him up. Autolycus, following close behind soon caught him up.
"Hey, hey, wait up big guy - I meant no harm - it's just..."
"Just what?" Hercules sat down on a mossy tree stump to catch his breath. The demigod's breathlessness did not go unnoticed by Autolycus.
"Are you all right - you seem a bit peaky?"
"I'll be fine, I'm just a little..."
"Love sick?" Chimed in Autolycus before he could stop himself.
Hercules was too exhausted to storm off again so he pretended he hadn't heard.
Autolycus sat beside the demigod and sighed. "You know," he said, "I sometimes get lonely too - you shouldn't let it get to you."
"Lonely? What makes you think I'm lonely?" Hercules scoffed.
Autolycus paused - this was a harder subject to broach than he'd thought. And they were still far too close to the prison, they should get moving soon - but Hercules seemed so weak and tired.
"We should keep going," Hercules said, as if he was reading the thief's mind.
Autolycus helped the demigod to his feet and Hercules continued to lean on his shoulder as they made their way through the undergrowth . After a while both men realized they were completely lost. It was getting dark, the end of the trees was nowhere in sight and there was no sign of a path. The scrub had opened out slightly and there was just enough ground to make a camp - but as neither of them had any equipment it was going to be a rough, cold night.
"It looks like we're going to have to snuggle together to keep warm," Autolycus ventured.
"I'm afraid you're right," Hercules said glumly.
Autolycus was hurt - most people would give their right arm for the privilege of sleeping so close to the King of Thieves.
The two found a fairly soft piece of ground and attempted to make a fire. It took about 20 minutes but they eventually managed to create a tiny flame.
They settled down next trying to keep warm.
"You know I never did apologize for that horse thing did I?" Many years ago Autolycus had sold a herd of horses to the demigod. Hercules had passed these on as a gift and had been shocked and dismayed to find that the horses had never belonged to Autolycus in the conventional sense. He had stolen them. The sequence of events following the incident had lead to a year of semi-slavery for Hercules.
"You're forgiven," Hercules said. He wouldn't have admitted it directly but he'd had fun as a slave.
"Wow - you let things go don't you...?" Autolycus bit his tongue when he thought of Iolaus and how it probably hadn't been that easy for the hero to let go of him.
"Hey," said Hercules, "We're family don't worry about it."
Autolycus was confused, "Family? That's very kind of you, but we've surely never been that close?"
"No - we're real family - after all my father is Zeus, yours is Hermes - obviously we're related."
"Hold up there big fella - my father is Hermes - god with the winged hat, nifty shoes?"
Hercules looked at Autolycus with bemusement, "You mean you didn't know?"
"I'm half god?" Autolycus was stunned.
"Well you are King of the Thieves - that sort of thing doesn't just happen."
The full implications dawned on the thief, "Wait a minute - you're my uncle? I'm lusting after my uncle...oops." Autolycus hadn't meant to say that last bit aloud.
"Lusting after me?" Hercules laughed nervously and stared at the fire, Autolycus joined in with the laughter. The two fell silent and tried to pretend no-one had said anything.
"So," Autolycus said after a while, "Son of a god?"
Hercules was relieved to get back to the original subject, "Yep you're the son of a god."
Autolycus fell silent again, considering the information. He decided to speak, he knew he'd probably regret this, but it was worth a try, "Hercules - gods have very different morals to humans don't they?"
Hercules nodded slowly, "I suppose you could say that."
"I mean Ares and Aphrodite are brother and sister but they've...you know.. I mean how else do you explain Cupid?"
"Autolycus, are you leading to something?" Hercules looked at Hermes' son with a wry smile.
"Yes," Autolycus said very definitely, "I'm saying as gods have different moral standards, and as we're both half-god - if I can believe what you've told me - then we sort of owe it to ourselves to... do the deed."
A short burst of laughter sprung from Hercules.
"Autolycus, I can't believe you just said that."
Autolycus was crestfallen, "Then the answer is no?" He said miserably.
"Did I say that?"
"What about Iolaus?"
Hercules looked a little bemused, "What do you mean 'What about Iolaus'?"
"You mean you two are not together?"
"Gods no - not like that. Does that surprise you?"
"Well yes - you're so weak without him by your side - naturally I assumed you were pining after him," Autolycus stopped for a second, a slow realization dawning, "Unless... you don't know you're in love with him."
"What? That's ridiculous - if I can quite happily go along with your little scheme to seduce me why would I deny myself to Iolaus if I had the slightest..."
"Aha - methinks you do protest too much."
"Methinks? Who talks like that?"
"Don't change the subject - you're hung up on him."
"Well, as much as I would love to get my hands on your quite...delicious body," Autolycus sighed deeply, "I am far too noble to stand in the way of true love."
"You've gone mad." Hercules poked at the fire again - the tiny flames were nearly extinguished by his ministrations.
"I have not gone mad - I am half god, I know everything," Autolycus lay back with his hands behind his head. Half-god - yes it made sense, explained so many things. Why he was so devilishly handsome, so totally irresistible for instance.
"You've accepted that information pretty quickly haven't you? And I see it hasn't gone to your head."
Autolycus looked at the demigod and sighed again. What was happening here? Hercules was right - in a matter of minutes he'd run the gamut of emotions from shock and surprise to lust, followed by self-sacrifice and noble acceptance and then rabid egomania. This was mighty strange.
A laugh echoed around the clearing. The two demigods looked around to find the cause. They didn't have to look for long. The air turned gold and a well-built, tanned figure appeared before them.
"Hermes?" Hercules recognized his sibling immediately.
"Dad?" Autolycus countered.
"Hey - you've grown," Hermes looked at Hercules, "I lose track of time - last time I saw this one he was... hey wait a minute I don't think I ever bothered looking in on him. What's his name?"
"Autolycus," Hercules offered. He shook his head, "I can't believe you never told him who his father is, Hermes."
Autolycus was staring at the god with awe. He was too stunned to speak. He was also hoping Hermes didn't remember him stealing his boots that time.
"Hey, little brother," Hermes glared at Hercules, "I've got things to do, messages to deliver, you can't expect me to contact every half-breed I make."
"How many have you got?" Hercules was angered at Hermes' words - it stung to be reminded of his own position with Zeus.
"I can't keep track of trivial things like that," Hermes hazarded a guess based on the number of mortal women he'd seduced, "One - I think the others were by nymphs and things."
"And you can't keep track of them?"
"This one's Autolycus you say?"
"Hermes..." Hercules was getting exasperated.
"Hang on," Hermes interrupted, "it's all coming back - Chione, about 37 years ago? She was great - daughter of the north wind."
Autolycus had snapped out of his stupor, "My mother was the daughter of the *north wind*? Don't you think I'd remember that?"
"I've got a few more kids somewhere - hang on - a poet guy... Daphnis - his mother was a nymph from Sicily. Lovely mover. Then, who else...um.. Myrtilus I think - that was with a mortal. Oh and one other - with Aphrodite."
"That's the one - cool kid."
"So you only have four children you know about and you've never bothered to contact Autolycus?" Hercules was upset on the thief's behalf.
"Well I'm here now aren't I? And I gave him the gift of invisibility."
"What?" Autolycus and Hercules both said in unison.
"What gift of invisibility?" Autolycus added.
Hermes acknowledged his new-found son, "Oh, didn't your mother tell you about that?"
"I never knew my mother."
Hermes had the decency to look guilty, "Oh I'm sorry. What happened to her?"
"I don't know - I was brought up on the streets, I never knew my parents - I'm an orphan..." Autolycus paused, realizing this was no longer true.
"Oh. Chione must have dumped you - tough luck." Hermes couldn't keep the guilt thing up much longer so he went back to his original train of thought, "Anyway you can make yourself invisible whenever you want. I've got to go now..." Hermes disappeared in a streak of light.
Autolycus and Hercules sat in stunned silence for a long time after the god's departure.
Eventually Autolycus said, "funny I feel mortal - but I suppose all this means I'm not even half mortal."
"Grandson of the north wind? Ha - I always knew you were full of hot air Autolycus - now I know why," Hercules started giggling.
"Oh, think it's funny do you?"
Hercules was laughing too much to answer.
That night the two curled up close together to keep warm. In the middle of the night Autolycus was woken by a sound in the depths of the forest. He jumped up to find the cause.
"Hercules?" He whispered. The demigod rolled over, but stayed asleep. Autolycus decided to try his newly discovered power. But he didn't really know what to do to make it work.
"Ala kazam," he said lamely. Nothing happened.
"Open sesame," again he stayed 100 per cent visible.
"Um," he was beginning to feel stupid, "I am invisible - I am invisible - I am..." He looked down. He was invisible.
"Wow, it works."
Autolycus walked into the forest to try and find the noise. He got less than three feet in when he found the cause - a baby satyr had his hoof caught in a trap.
"Aw - you poor thing." The invisible Autolycus leaned down and freed the confused creature, who was so shocked at his freedom that he ran away yelling.
Autolycus returned to the clearing. Hercules looked so adorable asleep. A mischievous thought overtook the King of Thieves. He leaned down and stroked the demigod's face. Hercules opened his eyes and Autolycus drew back.
"Autolycus, where have you gone?" Hercules jumped up.
"You were supposed to stay asleep while I caressed your prone body," said the invisible semi-demigod, "You've ruined it now."
"Make yourself visible again," Hercules demanded.
Autolycus realized the flaw in his new power, "I....I, don't know how."
Autolycus sat on the ground to ponder. Hercules immediately fell over him, sprawling awkwardly.
"Where are you now, Autolycus?" Hercules felt around to try and locate the sullen thief. His hands rested on a sensitive part of Autolycus' anatomy. Autolycus gasped and Hercules sprang back.
"No, don't move," Autolycus said, disappointed. To his great surprise Hercules reached out once more.
"Am I getting warm?" He said.
"Down a bit," Autolycus was getting impatient. He grabbed Hercules' arm and guided the demigod towards him. Invisible arms tackled Hercules' belt and pulled at his leather pants.
Hercules looked down as his cock hardened. His hands reached down and he felt the soft hair at the back of Autolycus' head. He felt the thief's tongue caressing and his hot mouth close around Hercules' penis. The demigod threw his body back as invisible hands pulled at his hips.
Autolycus moved upwards, teasingly, kissing Hercules' navel, biting at his nipples, eventually reaching his mouth he kissed Hercules long and hard. Hercules opened his eyes and immediately closed then again when met with nothing. It was dark, but not dark enough to disguise Autolycus' state of nothingness. At least with his eyes closed he could imagine. Autolycus pulled away.
"No, open your eyes," the thief said, "I want you to see me - please see me..."
Hercules obeyed. He reached out to Autolycus, "Guide me, show me what you want," he said gently, "But don't handle me too roughly, I'm kind of weak myself at the moment."
Autolycus pulled the demigod down, he leaned into Hercules' ear, "Fuck me, Hercules," he whispered.
By touch alone they manoeuvred into place.
Gently, slowly, Hercules brought Autolycus to a climax. As they each groaned and writhed with the pleasure and pain Autolycus started to take shape.
Autolycus kneaded at Hercules' arms breathing rhythmically, pushing his body towards the demigod.
"Hercules, am I here, can you see me yet?"
"Yes, I can.. I can see you..." Hercules said.
They came together, the now visible Autolycus felt the sensation through the whole of his body - never before had he felt like this.
Hercules collapsed into him, exhausted. The two lay entwined together for what seemed like hours.
A rustle in the bushes shocked them out of their reverie. They both looked up and were shocked to see half-a-dozen faces grinning and peering at them through the undergrowth. The baby satyr had obviously alerted his friends and relatives to the presence of strangers and Autolycus and Hercules were now surrounded by the grinning creatures.
Hercules felt compelled to speak, "We're not going to hurt you, don't be afraid," he said.
One of the satyrs stepped through the bushes into the clearing. He inspected Hercules with a mischievous smile, "We know you won't hurt us - we just wanted to take a look at one of the greatest legends the world has ever known."
Hercules ran his hand through his hair and grinned, "Well I'm flattered..."
"Not you, him," The satyr pointed at Autolycus and looked at Hercules with something approaching disgust, "Why would we be interested in you?"
Autolycus jumped up, "Wait a minute - you think I'm the stuff of legends?"
"Of course you are - look at you, how could you not be," The satyr looked Autolycus up and down, "You are It."
"The bomb," The satyr nodded his head.
"I suppose we'd better leave you to it," The satyr looked lasciviously at Autolycus, "don't do anything I wouldn't do," The satyr grinned and disappeared back into the darkness of the forest, leaving a stunned Autolycus and an even more stunned Hercules.
"What was he talking about?" Hercules looked at Autolycus with a frown.
"Beats me." Autolycus smiled despite himself. He was a legend. How about that? Of course he'd always known he was something special but wow. He decided not to let it go to his head - he'd act like an ordinary person - how noble was that? Sometimes he stunned himself at how great he was. Hercules' voice brought him out of his reverie.
"Autolycus, it's nearly dawn - maybe we should think of getting out of this forest."
Autolycus smiled at the demigod. A sudden urge overtook him and he reached over to kiss Hercules on the nose.
"My friend - I think you're right."
The night had been eventful. They might do this again - then again maybe not. Autolycus couldn't help feeling he'd been right all along - no matter what he and Hercules got up to the hunky hero would always belong to, and with, that little blond.
Still it was nice to have options.
Part Three - The King and Iolaus
Iolaus had gone to join Alexander's army, but it wasn't to have 'fun'.
Despite all the tales of noble deeds that seemed to come up whenever the general was mentioned, Iolaus knew him to be nothing but a thug, a tyrant and a systematic destroyer of all the blond held dear.
A month ago King Alexander had visited Thebes to quell a revolt. He'd massacred thousands.
Two years ago- just after the Ares incident - Alexander had destroyed the Sacred Band of Thebes.
Years before Iolaus had been a member of the band of warriors - briefly, but it was long enough to instill into him the qualities of brotherhood and friendship. Sure there was the sex too - but over riding all that was the loyalty and commitment to those you fought with.
He'd let the destruction pass - bottling up the rage. But now the King had gone too far, the whole of Thebes had been crushed. And Hercules didn't seem to care.
Iolaus had a plan - a fuzzy half-formed plan, but still possibly effective. Iolaus was going to join the army, infiltrate it, and turn Alexander's men against him.
A lot of the soldiers would join him - he was sure.
Until he met Alexander.
The man was so young, and barely the same height as Iolaus, but he seemed to tower above his men. The blond looked around at the awestruck faces of the soldiers as they stood enthralled at his command.
This was not going to be such an easy task.
Alexander had been proclaimed a son of Zeus by two separate oracles - so it seemed he was another one of Hercules' brothers. Ares had sided with the Macedonian in a way he never had with Hercules, so that was another difficulty to overcome.
Now he was here. Iolaus' hatred of Alexander had begun to dissipate. He'd expended so much energy in getting here - and he had fought with Hercules.
He hadn't told his friend all the reasons for his determination to to join the army.
Two years ago it had looked like something was finally going to happen between him and the demigod. Ares had seduced Hercules in the guise of Hercules and Hercules had learned some things about Iolaus' past. Iolaus was sure the incidents had been a breakthrough. But it was as though Hercules was encased in some impermeable substance. Every time Iolaus thought he chipped away the layer, reached the real Hercules inside, the layer seemed to thicken. Maybe it was a half god thing - Iolaus sometimes wondered if Hercules was on a completely different plane - as if he'd only open up to another god or half god or legendary creature. Deianeira had been mortal - look what happened to her. Hercules had let Serena in and even her status as last of the hinds hadn't protected her. Xena - well she was quite obviously part god in some way - and Hercules certainly responded to that.
Iolaus - well what did he have to offer? Not half-god, not even quarter god.
Nothing more had happened after that one night. When Hercules had woken in the morning he remembered nothing. He didn't even know how he'd got into bed with Iolaus, he had no idea why he was even there.
Iolaus had wanted to explain everything, but he realized Hercules had been drunk. A sober Hercules would never have done all the things he'd done that night - and boy the things he did.
In fact, Hercules had known exactly what he was doing, but Iolaus' refusal to talk about it the next day had driven him away. From that day they'd maintained a stony silence about the incident. Both wanting to reach out to the other, both prevented by a mixture of pride and fear about what the other might do.
But Hercules hadn't understood why Iolaus had to come here - if nothing else to try to exorcise the past.
Alexander stood before his vast army. All his soldiers were important to him - without their blind loyalty it would have been difficult for him to achieve his goals. But not impossible. Not when everyone believed him to be of the gods.
His eye rested on an angry looking, slightly bedraggled figure in the crowd. He made a mental note to seek out the soldier once he had a spare moment. An interesting looking fellow.
At the same time Alexander saw Iolaus the blond himself spotted a familiar face. A tall, gangly young man towards the front of the army was fidgeting and looking around. Joxer.
//What's that idiot doing here - he'll get himself killed// Iolaus admired the man for his pluck, but he was never going to be a warrior. Iolaus wondered how Joxer had avoided Xena's protective wrath to get this far. The warrior princess treated Joxer like a naughty puppy - surely she wouldn't have let Joxer do anything as foolish as joining an army. She obviously didn't know about it.
Joxer himself was wondering how he'd let himself get talked into this. To be honest he'd started to cool on the idea of being a warrior. Lately he'd been more drawn to carpentry, or farming - even tailoring. Anything but fighting. But something happened the day he visited Ares temple to give one last prayer - before turning to another more sensible god, like Aphrodite. Or Dionysus even, at least you get to drink wine and get completely out of it as a Bacchae.
In all the years he'd prayed to Ares he'd had no sign of acknowledgement. Not one. But the second he decided to withdraw his worship the bearded god suddenly decided to take an interest.
He'd actually appeared before Joxer. It was extraordinary. And for some reason he wanted Joxer to join the great general Alexander in his campaign to slaughter and conquer.
And you don't refuse when a god asks you something personally - at least not if you're sensible.
So Joxer acceded to Ares' demands and joined the army. Only now he was wondering what exactly was in it for him.
Iolaus approached Joxer and laid a firm hand on his shoulder. Joxer swung around spasmodically, almost catching Iolaus with his impracticably heavy sword.
"Easy," Iolaus said as he waited for Joxer to gain some sort of composure.
"Iolaus, what are you doing here? Where's Hercules?" Joxer looked around expectantly and excitedly.
"He and I have had a little..um...disagreement." Iolaus rubbed his chin.
Joxer looked disappointed. Crestfallen even. Iolaus wondered briefly if the pseudo warrior had a little bit of a crush on the demigod, but he immediately pushed the thought to the back of his mind.
"Joxer what are you doing here - don't you think it's a little dangerous?"
"I can take care of myself. Besides I'm under divine protection - Ares himself sent me."
"Yeah, sure he did," Iolaus smiled. Well if nothing else Joxer still had the unfailing ability to amuse.
"He did." Joxer demanded.
Iolaus could see from the hurt look that Joxer really believed what he was saying.
"Ares sent you - all right. I believe you. Why?"
"Why did he send me?" Joxer was stumped by that.
Iolaus had a suspicion that whatever Ares was up to it wasn't pleasant. He'd learned from bitter experience that the god would stop at nothing to indulge in his whims. Joxer was obviously the pawn in one of his games.
"Joxer. Maybe you should go find Xena and Gabrielle - they'll look after you. It's not safe here."
"I'm not a child - and I'm not an idiot - I told you I can take care of myself." Joxer turned away from Iolaus.
"All right - but stay close to me. If anything happens to you there'll be Tartarus to pay when Xena catches up with me."
"Hey - I'd like to see that. She sure gets angry easily - and she's really quite creative in her methods of torture."
The boy was developing quite a grim sense of humour, Iolaus noted. He looked Joxer up and down //Hmm - maybe not such a boy// he thought as his eyes rested on the Joxer's crotch.
Joxer noticed Iolaus' attention and smiled slowly to himself.
He'd had a crush on Gabrielle for as long as he'd known her, but he knew deep down it was the similarity in build, colouring and temperament to Iolaus that he was really attracted to. If he was realistic, he realized he was unlikely to get either - but at least he could voice his love if he substituted Gabrielle's name for Iolaus in everyday conversation. Xena was scary - but he really didn't want to get on the wrong side of Hercules.
But now it looked as though Hercules was out of the picture. And it also looked as though Iolaus might be more interested in him than he'd realized.
"Iolaus - never mind what I'm doing here. Why are you here?"
"Personal reasons." Iolaus said gravely.
"This wouldn't be anything to do with Thebes would it?" Although Joxer was never a member of the Sacred Band he had known quite a few warriors who were.
Iolaus nodded. "I came here without a real plan. Now I'm here I'm even less certain what to do."
"If it's any comfort I've got no idea why I'm here either."
"Yeah - you already said," Iolaus laughed in spite of himself.
Ares watched from a distance. After his attempt at seducing Iolaus went... a little awry... he'd kept a watchful eye on the little blond. Whatever Aphrodite said about Cupid's role in the whole debacle, the god of war had a feeling he was more in control of his emotions than any of them realized. Since that night - years ago now - he'd barely touched another mortal. In fact there were less than half-a-dozen mortals that he had any interest in at all. Two of them were engaged in conversation at that moment.
He'd been mad at Cupid after the Iolaus incident. It had taken a while to get revenge - but persuading Alexander to completely destroy his son's stupid little cult had been inspired. Especially as, under different circumstances, Alexander himself might have been tempted to join the Sacred Band.
Strictly speaking the band had been more the property of Eros - Cupid's predecessor. Ares remembered the days long ago when Eros, Ares and sister Eris shared stuff like that. They took in turns - love and war and discord - always together, triplets joined at the hip. But then Eros wanted to be 'cute'. He decided to be reborn as the son of Aphrodite and Ares. Of course he didn't tell Ares his plan.
So now Ares was his own brother's son. And as for Discord - after Eros went she became almost impossible to handle.
When Joxer and his brothers - Jett and Jace - were born, their father gave them to Ares, Eris and Eros. - triplets to triplets. He was of the old school - still worshipping the old gods in the old way. Only he never really specified which brother should go to which deity and the brothers had grown up a little mixed-up. And since Eros was now Cupid, and a lot different, Ares wasn't sure he should get one of them anyway.
There'd been a lot of fighting about that over the years. Petty, silly fighting. At first Discord had wanted all three - but then she saw them and decided to pass. Cupid had argued for Joxer and Jace and said Ares could have Jett. But Ares thought he should have at least two - if not all three. In the end they'd decided on a compromise. During their childhood the three brothers were on a revolving schedule - when Cupid was looking after Jace and Jett, Ares could have Joxer and vice versa. After a while, and when it became obvious Jett was more like Ares and Jace was one of Cupid's the gods decided to have one each and share Joxer.
Ares was not going to let Cupid win this one. The fact that Joxer was always going to belong to Discord didn't matter to the war god. She didn't want him and Cupid did.
And now Alexander's army was becoming huge - much more impressive than Cupid's effort - but his soldiers had started to worship Alexander. Not Ares.
The King of Macedonia was asking for it. A living god indeed? He needed to be taught a lesson - soon.
Alexander hated his father - his mortal father - Philip and had managed to have him killed only last month.
It had been fun.
Now he was the king of Macedonia. Soon he'd be king of the world. Maybe even king of the gods. But at the moment he just needed something to take his mind off his godhead. He sent his chief eunuch, Arnorimma, to find the little blond man he'd seen earlier.
Iolaus was still talking to Joxer when Arnorimma found him.
"You have to come with me - the king wants you." The chief eunuch was proud of his office. He'd served Alexander's family faithfully since he was a child and had risen the ranks swiftly by boot licking, arse licking and other sexual favours.
Iolaus looked at the eunuch with distaste. "I'm busy - go away." He turned back to Joxer.
"He can come too - you can carry on the discussion in the king's tent. It's an order." Arnorimma said.
Iolaus sighed and followed the eunuch. Joxer clattered behind them.
Alexander was waiting. When Iolaus entered the tent he smiled. The smile quickly turned to a frown at the sight of the young man following close behind.
A strange figure wearing what looked like the lid of a small cauldron where a breastplate should be. His hair sticking up in all directions and eyes that were obviously created just so the the expression "gimlet stare" could be used. He looked almost oriental - like one of the warriors from the great eastern plains. Perhaps he was related to a great warlord.
Alexander recovered himself. The smile returned, bigger and more welcoming. Yes an extra pair of hands could come in useful - especially for what Alexander had in mind over the next few hours.
Alexander was fascinated with the east, he tried a few words of the language of the Mongols to try and make the interesting young man feel more at home. Joxer stared uncomprehending.
"Uh?" He replied.
Alexander dismissed his eunuch. He'd need him later for oiling and bathing duties - but for now he was just going to try and get to know the two men in his tent on a less... intimate level. He liked to know a bit about his conquests.
Iolaus was starting to get uncomfortable. For some strange reason the man he was trying to kill had taken an interest in him. Maybe he'd discovered the plan. But that didn't make sense - surely a man like Alexander would protect himself with bodyguards if he thought there was any danger of death. And there were no bodyguards - except perhaps for the eunuch that had brought them here. And he didn't exactly look dangerous.
And close up Alexander was even more strikingly charismatic.
"Nice tent." Iolaus said, just for something to say. Alexander looked down at his burgeoning erection as Iolaus spoke. He smiled at the blond.
"Would you like to sit down?" the king gestured to the cushions scattered on the floor.
Iolaus and Joxer lowered themselves to the floor. Alexander was already sprawled across a pile of cushions. He took a drag on a hookah pipe and offered it to them. They accepted out of politeness. Joxer coughed as the rich smoke filled his lungs.
"It's a habit I picked up on my travels," Alexander said," I like to try the best of everywhere I visit? Where are you two from by the way?"
"I'm from Thebes," Iolaus said firmly - not in the mood for deception. If he was going to kill this man he may as well know why.
Alexander's face lit up at Iolaus words. "Thebes. Well, well, I 've just been to Thebes - didn't get much chance to collect any souvenirs though - maybe you can be my trophy."
"Are you here for revenge?" Alexander continued.
"I was." Iolaus stared at the Macedonian.
"If it's any comfort I really didn't like slaughtering all those innocent women and children - much." Alexander smiled coquettishly.
Iolaus suddenly realized something. This man really didn't care - and he really believed himself to be a god. Maybe he was.
"Were you ever a member of the Sacred Band?" Alexander said with a fascinated tone of voice. "I always wanted to join them - but they said I couldn't. It was because of where I'm from." Alexander said bitterly. "They called me a stupid little shepherd boy. Me - son of Zeus. I showed them."
"Are you going to kill me too?" Iolaus asked.
"What?" Alexander said distractedly, "Oh - no - I don't think so - that's all in the past I have better things to do now."
Joxer had been sitting there, quietly fascinated by the interchange. "Hey - they wouldn't let me join either." He said suddenly.
"Yes, but you didn't react quite as violently did you?" Iolaus said quietly.
"I'm bored - let's just get on with it. I want you - both. And I'm a king - and a god - why do I have to keep reminding people?" Alexander lay back melodramatically - his arm across his head.
Joxer and Iolaus looked at each other. This man was obviously mad. But was it a good idea to get on the wrong side of a mad man?
"Do you always get what you want?" Joxer asked.
"No - I don't. That's why I have to make people give it to me." Alexander said petulantly.
Iolaus shook his head. Why was he wasting time hating a spoilt little boy? He got up to leave.
"Where are you going?" Alexander whined.
"You're not a god - you're not even a man. It's too much trouble to destroy you." Iolaus said.
Joxer got up too.
"No. Not you too? I demand you stay."
"Oh - Ok." Joxer said. A soldier always followed orders.
Iolaus returned. He was wrong about the guards - Alexander had posted half-a-dozen at the lip of the tent. Too many for Iolaus to consider fighting without Hercules' help. Although he would have tried if it were not for for the strange fogginess that had suddenly invaded his mind.
He looked at the hookah pipe - and passed out. Joxer looked at Iolaus, then back to Alexander - before falling to the ground in a crumpled heap.
Autolycus and Hercules had had a long talk after the events in the forest. They'd both decided to find Iolaus before he did something stupid. Hercules' strength still hadn't completely returned - although he was less weak than he'd been in the prison. And after some experimentation Autolycus had finally got to grips with the invisibility. Now he could control it with hardly any sexual stimulation.
They'd been on the road for two days and were almost all the way to Alexander's camp.
"I still don't know why he wanted to join the army of a tyrant." Hercules said.
Sometimes Hercules was such a knucklehead. Autolycus sighed. "Did you ever think he might have been doing this to punish you?"
"Why would he do that?" Hercules stared dumbly.
"Have you ever considered why he stayed with you all this time? I don't think he was in it just to help people."
"Iolaus liked helping people."
"Hercules - think - everyone else could see the way he felt about you. The flirting, the looks when he gave you when he thought no-one else was watching. Did you never think he was in love with you?"
"Don't be ridiculous."
"And you are - despite all your protestations - completely useless without him."
"I resent that."
"Face it big guy - you need each other. Stop arguing."
"What about me and you?" Hercules said - it was almost a whisper.
"That's different." Autolycus said, avoiding the question slightly.
The pair had come to the crest of a hill. Before them lay a wide plain filled with Alexander's army.
"Well, we're here," Autolycus said.
When Iolaus awoke he found himself in a steamy room. Arnorimma was anointing him with scented oil.
"What are you doing?" He tried to jump up, but he was still too disorientated to move with any co-ordination.
Arnorimma pushed him down. "The master wanted you a little more relaxed."
"More relaxed?" This was ridiculous - if completely passed out wasn't relaxed enough then what was?
A thought occurred to him. "What have you done with Joxer?" The poor boy must be scared out of his wits.
Joxer was in fact happy and comfortable. He hadn't had sex like that for - well he'd never had sex like that.
The Macedonian king was at that moment stroking the pseudo warrior's chest, a sated look on his face matching Joxer's goofy expression.
"Are you an eastern prince, sent to tempt me?" Alexander asked.
"Um... no.. I don't think so. And I don't think I've ever played that game - I usually prefer legionnaire and centurion. I tried to get Gabby to play that once or twice but it never worked..."
Alexander silenced Joxer with a kiss.
"Oh my," said Joxer as the king pulled away.
Just then Iolaus appeared.
"Joxer - what are you doing?"
"Oh, hi Iolaus," Joxer said as if nothing unusual was happening.
"Ah the main course," Alexander smiled.
"The main what?"
Alexander stood up and walked towards the blond. Iolaus' eyes were drawn towards the king's naked body. He looked away quickly.
"I came here to kill you." Iolaus said.
"Yes, I guessed. Do you still want to kill me?"
"Not really - it seems a bit pointless. Besides another tyrant would just rise to take your place."
"Yes, but not like me." Alexander pouted.
Iolaus laughed. This man was an enigma - how had someone so petulant, so young, persuaded thousands of men to follow him blindly?
Ares chose that moment to appear.
"It's because he's not who he appears to be - are you... Dionysus?"
"Damn - Ares, why do you have to ruin everything?" Dionysus/Alexander stamped his foot.
"Why are you trying to take all my followers - why can't you get some of your own?"
"I've got some - I don't want them. Bacchae are weird, they're too scary. And hardly any men join. It's not fair."
"You have millions of worshippers - more than me - you're just greedy." Ares was starting to get extremely frustrated with his wayward brother. He flung a ball of fire from his arm. Alexander let it hit him, absorbing the energy.
Iolaus and Joxer stared open mouthed at the spectacle.
"He's really a god?" Iolaus was stunned.
"Yes, he is."
Iolaus shook his head in disbelief.
"Come on Joxer - we're going." Ares said suddenly.
"Huh?" You go your whole life without seeing one god, and all of a sudden two turn up at once. What next? Zeus himself?
"What do you want Joxer for?" Iolaus was starting to get very confused.
"Joxer is my property, I don't want anyone else to have him."
"Your property?" A voice behind Ares intoned.
Ares and Iolaus turned around to see where the voice had come from. From where they were Joxer and Dionysus were already aware of its owner.
"Why are you fighting over this pathetic mortal? He belongs to me, and I don't want to do anything with him. Why are you so interested?" Discord stood with her hands on her hips and glared at Ares.
"I just am." Ares wasn't entirely sure himself - but it was a matter of honour.
"What is it with you and mortals anyway? You're obsessed Ares."
"You're not interested because you don't have any worshippers Discord - nobody loves you, nobody wants you. You're just jealous." Dionysus smiled at the goddess.
Discord shot a bolt of black light from her eyes. Dionysus just absorbed it. He had started to glow with energy.
"All right - maybe I do want him. Maybe I can think of plenty to do with him." Discord walked over to Joxer and fixed him with a predatory stare. Joxer gulped.
"You're not having him, Discord." Ares shot a bright silver light at Joxer, making him disappear.
"Hey - where'd he go?" Discord pouted.
"No fair Ares - I hadn't started on him." Discord said, disappearing in a steely shower.
"And I hadn't finished with him," Alexander/Dionysus added.
"Will someone please tell me what's going on?" Iolaus said.
"Oh, are you still here? Say, why are you here anyway - Jerkules finally decided he's had enough of you?"
"I was here for revenge - I'm obviously not going to get any."
Ares looked Iolaus up and down with a smile. "Oh, I'd say you definitely were going to get some." Ares flashed out of the tent. The smile still on his lips.
Hercules and Iolaus chose that moment to come bursting in.
"Ooh - more worshippers." Alexander said excitedly.
"Iolaus?" Hercules looked at the naked, oiled Iolaus with bemusement.
"Have we come at the wrong time?" Autolycus asked.
"No - you've come at a very good time - your mad relatives have been having some bizarre fight about who owns Joxer."
"Joxer? Who won?"
"Er, excuse me - has everyone forgotten I'm still here?" Alexander folded his arms.
"Who's the guy?" Autolycus asked.
"I'm not entirely sure," Iolaus said, "It's all a bit complicated. But I think he's Dionysus."
"Hey - another relative." Autolycus smiled and stepped forward, his hand outstretched to be shaken.
Dionysus looked at the thief warily and then to Hercules for an explanation.
"Um.. Dionysus...nice to meet you - I suppose you're my brother. And this is your nephew."
"Nephew?" Iolaus day was just getting stranger. "Is everyone part god now - did I miss something? Am I the only completely mortal person left?"
Dionysus giggled. They all stared at him.
"Oh I'm sorry. It's just refreshing to meet someone who isn't aware of his own divinity."
"Ha ha - very funny."
"No seriously - am I the only one here that knows?"
"Knows what, Dionysus? You're not making any sense." Hercules had a feeling nothing was going to make sense ever again.
"He's forgotten - I realized when he came here and didn't recognize me. I suppose it's not that surprising - it's quite traumatic when people don't worship you as much as they used to."
"What are you talking about?"
"Helios here - he's forgotten." Alexander said as though that would explain everything.
"His name is Iolaus."
"Well, yes, now it is - but it wasn't before when he knew he was a god, when the masses were wild for him. But it's all right - his time will come again - he'll remember."
Iolaus felt a shiver going through his body as he listened to this exchange. "Helios?" He said quietly.
"See - it's all coming back to him. Helios, god of the sun charioteer of the sky," Alexander intones with a singsong voice.
"Isn't that Apollo?" Autolycus said.
"Oh no - he's just doing the job while Helios has a bit of a rest."
"But I've known Iolaus for over twenty years - we would know if a god was in our midst - I've had a lot of experience with gods." Hercules said.
"Helios?" Iolaus repeated.
"I can see this is all a bit much - I'll let you get on with it," Alexander said with a dismissive gesture. "Go now," he demanded when the three made no move to leave.
The demigod, semi-demigod and god walked in silence along the track to Corinth. Joxer was forgotten - they were all too preoccupied. Iolaus was still a bit sceptical about the Helios thing - but then again he was finding it difficult to remember anything that happened in the deep distant past. And if his parents weren't really his parents he that couldn't be bad. His mother was a nice woman sure - but if Skouros wasn't his father he could feel so much less guilty about hating him.
"Are you all right?" Hercules had started to feel a lot better. It was as if he was feeding off Iolaus life energy. Still if Iolaus was in charge of the sun he had a lot of energy left to give.
"Uh...not really Herc. I mean, a god?"
"Iolaus, trust me, you're not a god."
Autolycus decided to add to the conversation: "I think he is. Much as I hate to admit it, he is sort of glowy."
"Glowy?" Iolaus smiled.
"Yeah, sure. And speaking as someone who is son of a god and grandson of the north wind, I think I know what I'm talking about?"
"You're what?"" Iolaus was confused.
Hercules explained: "It's true - he's Hermes' son."
Iolaus shook his head.