Author: Aramis
Story Title: Love's Brand
Characters: Hercules/Iolaus, Ares/Iolaus, (Iolaus & f)
Rating: R
Summary: It seems that Iolaus has a rather unusual tattoo...

The characters belong to Studios USA and Renaissance Pictures and were used without permission. No copyright infringement was intended and no money was made.

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


Love's Brand
by Aramis

Hercules and Iolaus were attending a festival at Isari. The event lasted for a full month and had now been underway for two weeks. The hunter was in his element. There were plenty of attractive women who were more than ready to flirt with the little blond and what with that, drinking heavily and fighting off jealous boyfriends, annoyed brothers and furious husbands, Iolaus was having the time of his life.

Hercules was not. He disapproved heartily of the hunter's activities, not least because he was, he finally admitted to himself, incredibly jealous. He did not want anyone else touching *his* hunter. But how could he prevent it? How to make it clear that Iolaus was not available when the object in question was unaware of the demigod's feelings and was encouraging all advances with wholehearted enthusiasm?

He was lying on the bed thinking about this problem when Iolaus staggered in. Bruised, dishevelled and more than a little drunk, he had a huge, and very annoying, grin plastered across his glowing face. "Wow, you should have seen the fight I just had, Herc," he enthused. "I was just ..."

"I *don't* want to hear about it, Iolaus," the demigod said firmly.

"But it was great. You see I was ..."

"No!" Hercules interrupted. "It was *not* great and you are going to stop this ridiculous behaviour as of now."

Iolaus blinked in surprise. He knew Hercules disapproved of his passion for fighting, but there was a threatening note in his voice that he had not heard before."

Incorrigible as ever, he rose to the challenge. "Am I now? And how do you propose to stop me may I ask?" He grinned provocatively.

*That* was the final straw. Hercules grabbed him, wrestled him to the floor and then sat astride his chest. Ignoring the blows Iolaus was raining on his back, he calmly undid the hunter's belts and codpiece. Then he twisted around, grabbed the blond's arms and forced him over onto his stomach.

He pulled Iolaus wrists behind him and up his back, holding them there with one large hand. He lowered Iolaus' trousers with his free hand. Then he picked up the hunter, carried him across the room to a chair, sat down with the blond across his knees and spanked him with one of his own belts.

Shocked at receiving an oft threatened, but never previously administered, punishment, Iolaus swore, complained and squirmed, but the demigod ignored him.

When he finally released his recalcitrant partner, the obstreperous little blond stood up, pulled his leathers up and said sarcastically, "And what was that supposed to prove apart from the fact that you're *totally* unreasonable and *slightly* stronger than I am?"

An exasperated Hercules had taken action without real thought, but now he said, "It was just a little taste of what I'm going to give you each time I catch you causing fights. And while we are dealing with that issue we might as well deal with the basic cause of a lot of your scraps. There will be no more flirting either."

Iolaus stared at him. He could not believe Hercules had the nerve to issue such an unreasonable command. There was no way he was going to accept that edict. Still his arse was stinging rather badly at the moment so he decided to take a less direct approach in his refusal to obey lest he find himself straight back over the demigod's knee. "Herc, how can I stop the ladies making up to me?" he asked innocently. "I can't help being irresistible you know," he added, his eyes gleaming with mischief as he wondered how Hercules would meet that challenge.

Goaded Hercules replied, "I've been considering that, Iolaus, and I think I've found a solution." In truth, until that moment he hadn't thought of anything, but in a sudden rush he had had an idea. "Come here!"

Instead of obeying, Iolaus started to back uneasily towards the door. He did not like the look in Hercules' eyes. Under normal circumstances his trust in the demigod was boundless, but the unexpected spanking had made him wary.

In a sudden move, the demigod leapt to his feet and lunged for his friend. Iolaus twisted aside and dived for the door handle, but as his fingers closed on it, unyielding hands closed on his shoulders and drew him effortlessly backwards in spite of his frantic efforts to pull free.

Hercules flung him down on his back on the bed and dived on top of him, driving the air from his body. He grasped Iolaus' upper arms to prevent any resistance and then leant forward. Ignoring the hunter's protests and struggles, he proceeded to put two of the biggest love bites he had ever seen on Iolaus' neck.

He then sat back and said, "Now let's see how all the ladies you've promised to be faithful to like those. They'll see someone else has a prior claim on you."

Iolaus struggled, trying to sit up, but the demigod was too heavy. "Damn you, Hercules," he complained, "what did you do that for? What do you care how many women I flirt with?"

"I care only because it ends up in fights with their male relatives and boyfriends. You'll get yourself badly hurt some day and I'm sick of dragging you out of fights." Hercules was all too well aware that the first statement was not quite true. The little word "only" had made it into a lie.

"Leave me alone then! I don't need you to nursemaid me," Iolaus responded testily. "Now get off me, you're squashing me."

Hercules climbed off and an indignant Iolaus stalked out determined to create as much havoc amongst the ladies as he could.

Unbeknownst to the pair, a highly amused Cupid was watching proceedings. Hercules was into brands and ownership was he? Well, he should admit he wanted Iolaus to the hunter and should make sure he took proper possession of his property. Okay, he clearly wasn't going to do that without a push so Cupid decided to have a bit of fun. He waited in the inn's passage and reached out an invisible hand to caress the departing blond. Iolaus felt an odd sensation as if someone had lightly touched his still stinging buttocks, but dismissed it as imagination.

Hercules' little deterrent did prove quite effective with a number of the women, each of whom had somehow deluded herself into believing she was the hunter's real interest. Now there was apparently irrefutable evidence of the little blond's unfaithfulness. Iolaus found his list of willing women dwindling rapidly and some of them made some very unpleasant comments to him about his morals and his ancestry.

Finally one of them, Livilla, challenged him about the bites and, by then, he was mad enough with Hercules for spoiling his fun to say loudly, "Just ignore those. They're Hercules' idea of a joke."

"You mean Hercules did that to you?" Livilla asked aghast, while the other patrons of the inn listened with undisguised interest.

"Yeah, so just ignore them They don't mean anything. He was just kidding around and did it to annoy me."

Livilla smiled and put her arm through his. She did want to believe the little blond. He *was* so very attractive she did want to have her own chance at him. It was so convenient that her elderly husband was out of town for a few days and even more so that most of her female opposition seemed to have withdrawn.

Iolaus' face lit up in one of his devastating smiles. He knew the moralistic demigod particularly objected to him going with married women. This would serve him right.

As soon as the pair had left the tavern, the gossip broke out in earnest. There had been unfounded rumours about Hercules and his pretty, little friend for years and most were now only too ready to accept the veracity of the tales.

Iolaus and Livilla headed out of town to a secluded spot by the river, where the latter considered they would be free from interruption. Once there they virtually tore off each other's clothes and enjoyed themselves greatly.

Finally, the hunter stood up and announced that he was going to have a swim before returning to the village. As he turned his back on Livilla, he heard her gasp in horror.

He swung back to face her. Her face was ashen and she was trembling. "What's wrong?"

"Why didn't you warn me, Iolaus?" she asked fearfully. "I'd never have consented if you'd told me. Never! How could you lie about Hercules like that? You should have told me the truth!"

"Told you? Told you what?" questioned the mystified hunter.

"Nothing! Nothing! I'm going. I don't want to see you again."

"Livilla, what ..." Iolaus started, reaching for her.

"Don't touch me!" she shrieked, flinging his hand off and grabbing up her clothes. Then she turned and ran leaving a confused Iolaus staring after her.

Livilla's panic was clearly etched on her face as she entered the town. Some of her friends hastened up to her to find out the cause of her distress. She told them how she had had sex with Iolaus before making her devastating discovery and that she was now hastening to sacrifice at Ares' temple in the hope of propitiating the God of War.

Some of her listeners realized that they or other friends had also offended and either joined her or rushed to warn others. Soon some of the men-folk heard the rumours and those who had been involved in fights with the little blond or had just spoken of him in a derisory manner decided that they had better visit the temple as well. The dark god's temple had rarely been so patronized and certainly not by so many in a state of fear.

A bemused Iolaus returned to the town to find that he seemed to have contacted some kind of plague. People tried to avoid him completely or, if forced to stop and speak, made their excuses as soon as possible and hurried away.

Hercules was also confused. He had been aware that people were gossiping about him. That was not in itself unusual, but there had been a furtiveness about it that had worried him. Nobody had been game to repeat Iolaus' words to him so he was in the dark as to its cause.

Now he became even more puzzled as he watched people flocking to his half-brother's temple in a state of great agitation. Further, he heard his partner's name frequently mentioned in the jumble of conversation. Then he spotted Iolaus.

"What's going on?" the little blond asked.

"You tell me, Iolaus. Your name seems to be being bandied about a lot," the demigod replied, feeling certain that Iolaus' question was merely designed to allay his suspicions. "What have you been doing this time?"

Without thinking, Iolaus said, "Only Livilla ... oops ... I-I mean ... um ..."

"Iolaus, did you go out after a married woman after what I said to you?" the demigod demanded sternly.

"No! Well not ... not exactly." The problem was he was worried by Livilla's reaction and needed to talk about it with someone.

"I can't believe that you'd ..." Hercules started and then continued, 'Well, actually knowing you I can, but how could that lead to this?" He gestured towards the temple.

"I don't know. Something odd happened." He proceeded to tell Hercules about the woman's behaviour.

"Are you sure you've told me everything, Iolaus?"

"Apart from the specific details about what we did I ..."

Hercules interrupted quickly, "I don't want to hear those."

"Well, whatever's wrong it seems to have affected everybody. Some sort of mass hysteria," he suggested dismissively. "I didn't get my swim so I think I'll go back to our room and have a bath."

"Iolaus, don't you want to find out what's going on?"

Normally the little blond would have been unable to resist investigating, but he had become rather peeved by the women's reaction to him since the love-bites, so he said, "Nah, we'll hear sooner or later. I'm rapidly losing interest in this town." He headed back into the tavern, but the demigod elected to follow the crowd to seek elucidation of the odd behaviour.

Meanwhile it had come to the notice of the God of War that he had suddenly gained a large flock of fervent disciples, who apparently were seeking forgiveness for their transgressions. Since he had not been aware that the individuals concerned had committed any misdeeds, he immediately wondered whether his temple priests had been neglecting their duties and had failed to keep him conversant with developments that should have been brought to his attention. Accordingly, he decided an urgent visit to the temple in question was expedient.

Invisible to his eager worshippers, he listened to their pleas for forgiveness and became more mystified than ever. Person after person, pleaded with him to excuse their association with Iolaus, whether it had been amatory or aggressive, and sincerely promised never to touch, or even associate with, him ever again.

Now, the war god knew of only one Iolaus, a little mortal that tagged around after the god's annoying brother, Hercules, and who had caused Ares more than his share of trouble in the past. He also knew that the Isarians were in the middle of their annual festival and that the fun-loving hunter was very likely to be in attendance. So it was probably the same man, but why would anyone assume that the God of War would care who the blond fucked or fought?

He spotted the demigod also watching proceedings. From the look on his face, he was as much in the dark as the god was. 'Okay, I think I'll pay a little visit to the source of all the trouble. It's a good time to do so since Hercules won't be there to interrupt my interrogation of his pet mortal,' he decided.

Meanwhile, Iolaus had arranged his bath and was lying back in the large tub luxuriating. There was not as much water as he would have liked and it wasn't as warm as he preferred because a number of the tavern's servants had headed for the temple, but he loved baths at any time.

Unseen, the god entered the room and stood looking down at Iolaus. Apart from noticing the tangled mop of golden curls and the small stature, Ares had never paid much attention to the little mortal before. After all, anyone silly enough to chum up with his super-moralistic and boring half-brother was beneath the notice of the God of War. However, now he realized that he might have made a major error of judgement.

For one thing, from what he had heard from the near-hysterical villagers, the little dynamo seemed to have had most of the women, both single and married, in the village lusting after him. Further, he had clearly been active enough to antagonize a large number of fathers, husbands and boyfriends.

And now, looking down at the glorious, naked beauty, innocently displayed before him, he could well understand how all this could have happened. The only thing he couldn't understand was why he had been too blind previously to appreciate the delights before him.

No, that wasn't the *only* thing. Why were all those people so certain he had some sort of claim on the little mortal?

At that moment, Iolaus decided the water was getting too cold and slowly stood up. He climbed out and bent over to pick up a towel that he had discarded on the floor.

Ares's eyes were riveted on the delicious arse displayed so tantalizingly before him. Then he saw it and did a double take. There, apparently tattooed on one creamy buttock, was the warning "Property of Ares".

For a moment he thought he was seeing things. He blinked, but the writing remained unchanged.

Although he could not begin to fathom why Iolaus should have chosen to brand himself in that manner, the war god was never one to lose an opportunity and he immediately materialized.

Iolaus was suddenly aware that he was not alone in the room. However, he did not turn around. He merely stood up and began to draw the towel backwards and forwards across his shoulders. "Did you find out what all the fuss was about, Herc?" he asked.

He jumped with surprise as a strong hand gently but firmly settled on his neck preventing him from turning, while another snaked its way down to his hips "What are you doing, Herc?" he asked, wondering at the unexpected, though in truth not unwelcome, touch. "You're not thinking of spanking me again, are you?" he added with a touch of apprehension.

Spanking? His goodie-goodie brother spanking someone and a male at that? Ares was finding this day full of surprises. "Perhaps, if you're very good," he purred.

The deep velvety tones alerted Iolaus to the fact that, whoever was caressing him, and there was now no doubt it was a caress, it was not the demigod.

"Who ..." he started, as he tried to pull free.

The hand on his hips moved to encircle his waist and hold him steady. Although the hold on his neck prevented him from looking back, he could now see the black leather wrist-guards on his captor's muscular forearms.

"It's your owner, my pet," the velvety voice whispered in his ear.

"What in Tartarus are you on about?" Iolaus demanded.

"I read your sign and decided to lay claim to my property." The exploring hand moved lower brushing teasingly across Iolaus' groin.

"Don't! Let me go!" Iolaus insisted, uncomfortably aware that his treacherous body was starting to respond to the stroking. To his surprise the grip slackened, but only to allow Ares to swing the blond to face him. "Ares!" Iolaus gasped in horror.

"Who else did you expect?"

"N-Nobody. Why are you here?"

"I told you, my pet."

"I don't understand. You were on about property and ownership and you certainly *don't* own me," he stated defiantly.

"Well your label suggests otherwise and I *am* certainly going to possess you now I've surveyed your assets."

"Not if I've got anything to say about it you're not," Iolaus retorted with a show of bravado that belied the fear growing within him.

"But you haven't got any say, Iolaus, and you can't stop me so you might as well submit with a good grace. You should have thought about the consequences of getting a tattoo like that."

"What tattoo? I haven't got any tattoos." He wished he knew what in hell the god was talking about.

"Adding lying to your numerous sins, are you? I can't believe my brother having a rat-bag like you for a friend. However, I suppose it provides him with plenty of excuses for indulging his little fetish."


"The spanking you mentioned, my pet. Would you like another? I'm sure I could oblige."

Iolaus gulped. He had thought he was in enough trouble already without having damaged Hercules' reputation into the bargain. He knew for certain that the war god would have great relish in spreading that story. "I-I just ... I just m-made that up," he stammered.

"Another lie? I think punishment is definitely called for," Ares said, lowering his head to nibble at the side of Iolaus' neck, while his hands moved to cup the hunter's buttocks.

Iolaus pushed against the god's chest, but it was like trying to move a wall.

Then the god pushed a finger into him and he cried out. The pain was slight, but the fear was not. He was scared of the war god, but even more afraid of the emotions swirling through him. He wanted this so much, but *not* from Ares. If only his assailant was ...


The hunter nearly collapsed in relief. Hercules had entered the outer room. Then, the worry immediately returned as he wondered how the hell he could explain his latest predicament.

The door swung open and the demigod started to enter, only to freeze at the tableau that met his eyes. "What in ..."

"Can't you see you're interrupting us?" Ares demanded, calmly withdrawing the offending digit. "We'd like a little privacy here if you don't mind."

To Iolaus' horror, the speechless demigod blushed and actually started to back up.

"No, *we* don't! Herc, stop him!" he appealed.

"What do you think you're playing at, Iolaus?" Ares demanded. "You can't start pretending this wasn't your idea just because you've been caught out."

"My idea?" the blond protested. "Herc, he's lying."

"Lying am I? Look at this then, brother." In one swift move, he swung Iolaus around and bent him over the nearby table, holding him in position with one large hand on the nape of his neck, while gesturing at the tattoo with the other.

"So it *is* true," Hercules exclaimed. "A couple of villagers just told me about it. I thought it was just a silly rumour."

"What's true? Herc, what's going on? Let me go!" Iolaus cried, desperately trying to pry the hand off his neck.

"Let him up please, Ares."

The war god complied, releasing the hunter and swinging him to face the demigod.

"What in Tartarus possessed you to do such a ridiculous thing?" the demigod demanded. "A joke is one thing, but getting a tattoo like that .... marking yourself for life ... I just can't understand ..."

"Not another one!" Iolaus interrupted. "Everybody's going mad in this village. I have *not* got a tattoo."

"Iolaus, we can both see it. Lying is absolutely pointless," the demigod exclaimed in exasperation.

"I'm *not* lying!"

"Perhaps you should give him *another* spanking," the war god suggested, grinning at the expression of consternation on his brother's face. "Oh, yes, he told me all about your ... um ... your little ...ah ... *hobby*. I must say I *was* somewhat surprised to learn about your predilection and I'll bet that Strife and the others back on Olympus will ..."

"Iolaus!" the demigod exploded. "What have you been saying?" He reached out and grabbed the hunter by one creamy shoulder and shook him. "Tell me!"

"Herc, I didn't ..."

"Yes, you did, Iolaus. That was one of the first things you told me when I arrived. Don't you remember?" Ares prompted sweetly.

"No, I didn't! ... Well, I-I did, but I d-didn't know it was you."

"Who did you think you were telling then?" Hercules demanded.

"I thought he was you."

"Yes, we're so much alike I can understand that. Just like you thought you didn't have a tattoo, I suppose," Hercules responded sarcastically.

"For the last time, I haven't ..."

"Yes, you have!" the two sons of Zeus exclaimed and then both looked at each other, both amazed to find themselves in agreement for once.

"Get a mirror please, Ares," Hercules said.

One immediately appeared in the God of War's hand. He held it behind Iolaus. The hunter craned his neck back and, even in reversed writing, could easily read the legend, "Property of Ares".

He paled and looked back at the demigod. "Well?" the latter demanded.

"I didn't put it there."

"I didn't think *you* did. You're not that much of a contortionist. The question is why you were stupid enough to get someone else to do it."

"I didn't! I didn't even know it was there."

"Oh, yeah. Everyday people get tattoos without being aware of it. That aside, why that particular message?" Hercules snapped.

"It's obvious why, brother. Your little pal is finally developing some taste," Ares said smirking. "It's clear what he wants. It's right there in black and white or, I should say, purple and cream, which is an even more delicious combination."

As he spoke he ran a caressing hand across Iolaus' buttocks. The hunter shivered. He was starting to get quite cold. "There! See how he loves it!" the war god commented exultantly.

"I'm just cold!" Iolaus protested.

"Never mind, my pet. I'll soon warm you up once my brother's gone. You are going, aren't you, Hercules? It must be clear to you that he wants to be mine."

"I don't! I want ..."

"Be quiet, Iolaus!" the demigod ordered. He had had quite enough. "You've caused enough trouble for one day. Understand this, Ares, Iolaus belongs to *me*. Sometimes I wonder at my sanity in wanting such an obstreperous object, but he *is* mine and nothing either you or he can say is going to change that."

"Challenging me, are you, brother? I wouldn't advise that. Anyway, I think Iolaus should have some say in his fate and that tattoo says it all for him."

"Come here, Iolaus!" the demigod ordered, pulling at his arm.

"Stay right where you are, Blondie!" Ares commanded, pulling at the other.

"OW! Let go!" Iolaus protested, but it was unclear whether he meant one or both.

"Who?" they chorused.

"Both of you!" a musical voice commanded and Aphrodite shimmered into view in a flurry of diaphanous draperies. "You're hurting Sweet-cheeks!" she remonstrated.

"Aphrodite, you're the Goddess of Love, you tell our stupid brother that Blondie wants me," Ares said.

"No, he doesn't! I don't know why he got that stupid tattoo, but he is *mine* and he had better not forget it," Hercules warned.

"The tattoo? I think I have someone here who might have something to say about that," Aphrodite said. "Show yourself, Cupid."

The winged god reluctantly materialized. "Tell them," his mother commanded.

"Um ... er ... Well, ... er ... I actually put the tattoo on Iolaus," he confessed.

"You? Why?" the demigod demanded.

"You put the idea into my head, Hercules, with your love bites."

"I don't understand," the demigod said.

"I thought it was time you admitted the real reason why you were 'branding' poor Iolaus."

"The real reason? It was only ..." He broke off and blushed furiously. He put his head down and muttered. "Yes, you're right, Cupid. I hadn't ... I didn't realize ... No, that's *not* true! I didn't want to admit the real reason because I thought Iolaus wouldn't understand my feelings and would be horrified to think I wanted him myself."

"You really want me?" Iolaus ventured. He had heard the fierce possessiveness in Hercules' earlier outbursts, but had not dared to hope that the love behind it was not just that of a best friend.

"Sorry, Iolaus, but yes I do."

To his amazement, the little blond's face lit up and he exclaimed joyously, "I can't believe it! At last! After all these years!" and he flung his arms around the startled demigod.

Aphrodite smiled indulgently. "You did a good job after all, Cupid. I'm proud of you!"

He grinned back and both disappeared.

The God of War glowered at the scene before him. Hercules had now lifted the little mortal into his arms and was raining kisses on him. "This will do your goodie-good reputation no good at all, brother, I promise you that," he muttered, as he also departed, but the pair was oblivious to him.

Hercules placed the golden hunter on the bed and proceeded to kiss his way over the beautiful body. Finally, he reached the offending words. 'What the hell,' he thought, 'I wouldn't be here if not for them,' and placed his lips upon them. To his amazement, they faded and disappeared.

"You're mine now, Iolaus," he whispered.

Iolaus rolled over and looked up at him through eyes almost black with desire and murmured, "I've always been yours, Herc. I've just lived for you to claim me. Make me yours properly please, I can't wait any longer."

And the demigod proceeded to do just that.

The End

Return to Summaries by Pairing A - J Return to Summaries by Pairing K - Z

Return to Listings by Author Return to Listings by Title

Return to the Main Page