The characters belong to Studios USA and Renaissance Pictures and were used without permission. No copyright infringement was intended and no money was made.
This story contains explicit descriptions of male/male sex.
This story takes place after the opening storyline arc of the Young Hercules series, especially after 'What a Crockery.'
You can find more stories by Kelly at The Joxerotica Archives, at Ksmithares, and at her own site Court of Slashqueen.
Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
True Love Conquers All
"Have you ever seen Hera angry? I mean, when laying waste to an entire city wouldn't BEGIN to satisfy her fury? She starts to glow, as if there were a cold fire burning inside her, the winds rise, the earth trembles, animals run in fear, and no force in existence, not even almighty Zeus dare cross her path! Oh, Strife... there is a truly sublime level of suffering waiting for whomever has the Chalice when my mother finds it."
"What's the story, Unc? How long ya got before Mommie dearest comes to stomp your hide into paste?" Strife paced worriedly up and down the temple's floor while Ares reclined against his chair. Two days had passed since Hercules and his friends had returned the Chalice to the Phoenix Cave, escaping Hera's vengeance. Two days since Hera's rage had shaken all of Olympus.
"Don't worry about it, Strife. Hera's just upset because Hercules didn't get zapped after his little stunt with her Chalice and she's taking it out on me." Two days, and Ares wasn't worried. He knew that he had enough followers to assure his survival.
"But what, Strife?"
"The Fates told you that the only thing that can save you from the wrath of Hera is the love of a mortal."
"So? I'm safe, Strife… I have thousands of mortals who love and adore me," he said echoing his earlier thought.
"You're not worried at all?"
Ares' leg crooked at the knee as it swung over the arm of his throne. "Not at all. Now, let the petitioners in." Ares made himself invisible, and sat back to watch the stream of offerings and prayers that came in to him. As each mortal lay his offering on the altar, he opened his thoughts to the god, and Ares looked deep inside.
The first man was Vacix. A warrior. He lay a bloody sword on the altar, and as he prayed to Ares for the strength to defeat his foes, the god saw only a lust for blood and vengeance, but no feeling at all for the god himself.
The second mortal was Barak. He shoved a bound woman forward onto her knees securing the rope that bound her to the altar. The salacious grin on Barak's face and the rips in the woman's gown confirmed what Ares read in the man's mind…. Desire for rape, blood, and to inflict pain. In the woman's mind… hate for him, and for Barak. Nowhere was there love for the god that made it possible.
Each time Ares looked into the thoughts of his petitioners, he saw nothing but hate, fear, loathing and cowardice. Where was your desire to defend those weaker than you? The courage to go up against insurmountable odds? The loyalty to follow a leader even into death? The way of the sword, the brotherhood of the warrior? This is what war is-- the blood and the killing are just a means to an end - a way of honing the best in a man. He leapt to his feet, making himself visible to the masses of people in his temple. He strode forth into their midst, shouting at them as he moved through them. "What are you? Cowards?" He turned and pointed out Vacix. "You, who kill unarmed men!" Then he spun on his heel and singled out Barak next. "And you, who rapes a helpless woman!" Then he swept his arm over the small knot of well-dressed men at the altar. "Or you petty lords that want to take your neighbor's lands and holdings, you're all disgraces to the name of War! The only thing you love is what I can provide for you! No more!"
As one, the men and warriors and women alike cowered in fear as the god's accusation rolled over them. All searched their hearts, and found only fear for the god they worshiped. Then I am doomed, Ares thought. Enraged, Ares threw a bolt over the heads of his worshippers, listening to their frightened and panicked cries as they raced for the nearest exits.
He reappeared outside the temple, standing alone in a small cloud of dust as it settled around him. Faithless heathen, Ares cursed to himself.
On the third day, Ares turned to another of his temples. He watched the offerings again, searching, hoping for a sign of love amidst all the tokens of hate and blood. There were none. Still nothing. Nothing for their god, nothing of the love I deserve. With each petitioner who came forward to the altar, Ares read his thoughts, and ignored each petition. I am not here to be used and then discarded when you are done with me! His anger shook the foundations of the temple, and as the earth quaked, small pieces of debris fell from the ceilings as the people inside scattered.
On the fourth and fifth days, Ares again went to his temples, searching for the one mortal who loved him. Still he found nothing, and the god's fury escalated, shaking one temple to pieces as people scattered unharmed, while exploding the altar of the other as his followers screamed in terror.
The sixth day, Ares was scared. He had found no one, and the panic clamored at him as he fought it off. He entered the threshold of his largest temple, and sat himself on the throne. He waited, invisible, for the people to come in, and when they did, he found the same as before. Nothing. At last, Ares appeared before his assembled worshippers. "Is there not one of you that loves me? Am I nothing more than a means to an end, a vessel for your blood and hate?"
The followers inside the temple shifted together, milling around, unwilling to answer the question. Then I am doomed, Ares thought. Enraged, Ares threw a bolt at the supporting column in the middle of the room, and as the ceiling began to collapse, he sealed the doors, listening to the sounds of the faithless followers as they were crushed beneath the fallen temple.
On the last day of the week, no temple to Ares remained standing. But for the love of one mortal… I would live. No god may kill another god, and yet Hera has had a curse laid on me… but for the love of one mortal, I die. Lost in his own thoughts, Ares didn't notice the pair of blue eyes watching him from behind the tree.
"They're all gone, Herc. Rubble. Nothing left in them but piles of dead bodies."
Leave it to Iolaus to bring back the bloody details, thought Hercules to himself. "Don't you let Cheiron hear you talking about that, you know that Ares' temple is forbidden to us!" Like you care… I don't understand, Iolaus… what is your fascination with my brother?
"I'm not worried about Cheiron, Herc! I'm worried about my future! Especially now that I am enrolled here at the Academy, I'm going to need all the help I can get to become a warrior! And that means I serve Ares!" Iolaus' blue eyes sparkled.
The innocence of youth, thought Hercules. Then, who am I to talk? He's a couple of years older than me… we all have our naiveté… his is just more dangerous than anyone else's! "Iolaus… you can't. Ares is going to end up destroying your life and turning you into a hardened shell of a man."
"No he won't, Herc… he can't. What is it Alcmene used to say? To thine own self be true, for it then follows, as the night the day, thou can'st not then be false to any man. And she's right, Herc! As long as I'm true to myself, Ares can't do anything to me."
"Iolaus, he's my brother! He's tried to kill me, tried to kill all of us! Your devotion to him then didn't stop him from trying to vaporize you where you stood! And look what he tried to do to my mother!"
"BUT THAT WAS BEFORE I STARTED GOING TO HIS TEMPLE!" Iolaus lifted the hair off the back of his neck. "See, I'm marked. His mark, I'm one of his now, and he will help me and in return, I will love him and give him my devotion."
Hercules threw up his hands in despair. "Fine! Do what you want! Just remember what a snake Ares can be… and just how fast a snake can turn on you and strike."
"Fine!" Iolaus shouted back. He left the Academy dorm and went to the hills where Ares' temple stood. Arriving, Iolaus gazed raptly at the ruins again, and his eyes again turned to the god sitting on a stone not a cubit from him. "Ares?"
The speaking of his name broke the god's thoughts. "Ares?"
"What?" he snapped. He didn't even bother to look at the intruder.
"What happened here, my lord?"
"The temple was destroyed because there was no one who could show me the PROPER respect! The respect I should be afforded as the god who grants them all their prayers!" I was not given the love I deserve as their lord, their master, and their protector! His rage wanted to scream those words to the sky. "Get out of here, mortal, before I add you to the legions that I have killed this day." He half-heartedly shot a bolt at the intruder, who scurried away before the god shot at him again.
"Oh, smooth move, bro."
"Shut up, Aphrodite. If you're here to poke fun at me, go and do it somewhere else, I've not got the time for it."
Her bodiless voice huffed. "Fine then. If you don't want my help, I won't give it to you." There was an audible POP as she pulled her presence out and left Ares alone and sulking.
"APHRODITE!!!" The goddess didn't answer. In a snit again, sis? Ares thought, but Aphrodite didn't bother to answer that one, either. "Fine, damn you to Tartarus! I'm come to you but I'll be damned if I crawl!" Ares gripped the hilt of his sword in his fist as he teleported over to Aphrodite's temple.
"There you are, bro!" she said. She stood smirking into one of her mirrors, primping the whole while. "What do you think? White, or pink?" As she said each color, the diaphanous gown she was wearing changed to match.
"I don't really care."
"But you have to care about something, Ares, otherwise if you don't care, nobody else can care about you."
She plays the bubbleheaded blond so well, sometimes I forget she's not as dippy as she looks, Ares said to himself. "So why did you make me come here?"
"Make you? I didn't MAKE you do anything, big bro! You came here to me. Ask what you want to know, otherwise give me your opinion on the gown and leave." She stood, arms crossed over her chest as her little foot tapped on the floor.
"I don't give a damn about the gown, both of the colors make me sick!" Ares exploded. "I've got a little more on my mind right now that what color gown you don't wear!"
"And WHAT could be more important?"
"HERA!" Ares shouted. "That bitch is going to kill me! I almost had him, almost had his half-mortal neck in my hands, when his little friends put the Chalice back in the cave!" His voice rose at the end of the sentence. "And because I didn't get him killed before they did, she's out for my blood!"
"But, Air...no god can kill another one, right? So you're cool!"
"She's put a curse on me! She's not killing me, the curse is, and that's the out! She's cursed me that I will die if I don't find the love of a mortal! And I am running out of time!"
Whoa. Didn't know bro was so upset. Shouldn't have teased him like that… "C'mon, bro, cheer up. There's someone out there that loves ya… don't lose hope." She laid a delicate hand on his shoulder. "Ares, bro… look at your little sis. Have I ever let ya down before? And I'm not gonna let you down now," she said, in response to his silent headshake. "Come on, bro, open those big brown eyes."
Ares opened his eyes, and saw Aphrodite standing in front of an ornate silver mirror. "Come over here, bro… put your hand on the glass. You gotta help me here, this thing's gotta be tuned into ya." Ares walked over to the mirror and lay his hand palm-down against the flat cool glass. As he left his hand on the mirror, the glass began to warm and his reflection shimmered. Startled, the god began to pull his hand away, but Aphrodite stopped him. "Leave it, Air, don't break the connection now."
Ares left his hand on the mirror and his reflection began to steady into another reflection. Wavy blond curls appeared, then a pair of bright blue eyes…no other features but creamy skin were visible. Soon, though, as he coalesced, Ares hissed at the boy's reflection staring back at him. "What is this, Aphrodite? Your idea of a sick joke? I thought you were going to help me!"
"I did help, bro! You wanted to know what mortal loved you, and that's what this mirror does. Shows you who loves ya, baby. If you don't like who the mirror shows you, then that's not my problem, bro. I did what I could."
"That CANNOT be the only one who loves me!"
"The mirror knows, bro."
"Then I am doomed."
"Air, what's the deal? I thought you'd be happy? You found the mortal who loves you. Miss MooCow's curse can't touch you now, and all is right with the world."
Ares took his hand off the mirror, but the boy's reflection didn't fade. "Do you have ANY idea who that is? That's Iolaus! Hercules' little fuckbuddy! The one who caused this mess in the first place by putting the Chalice back in the Phoenix Cave before I could kill Hercules!!!"
Aphrodite sighed. "Air, look… you can't kill Herky because he's got daddy's special protection extended over him. That whole deal with the Chalice was just rude! Anyhow, since Iolaus is the one to cause it, who better than that cute little sweetcheeks to fix it up for ya? Look, Air, I know it's not the most ideal situation, but ya gotta make the best of it." She leaned forward and kissed Ares on the cheek. "Good luck, bro."
She vanished, leaving Ares alone, gazing into the mirror at the young Iolaus' reflection. "Why you?" Ares hissed aloud at the reflection. "Why you? Out of all the mortals in the world, why are you the one? After everything, after all the grief, the hatred, why you?" The smiling blond didn't answer. "It is you I blame the most for this. And yet you are the only one who can save me from this." His hand reached out, his fingertips tracing the contours of Iolaus' face in the smooth glass.
Straightening, he re-belted his sword around his waist and adjusted his gauntlets. His necklace glittered in the candlelight of Aphrodite's temple. His boots echoed hollowly with each hard step he took. He held out his hand, and once he got outside, a small bright ball of light appeared in his hand, and an image of Iolaus appeared inside it. "Where are you, little mortal?" Ares whispered. "Where are you now?" The image expanded, and it showed Iolaus' surroundings… alone, practicing swordplay against an imaginary foe in the empty courtyard of Cheiron's Academy. "There you are… all alone and ready for me." Ares closed his eyes, visualizing his surroundings. In a flash, he appeared in the courtyard behind Iolaus. "Boo," Ares said, wrapping his arms tightly around the boy's body as they both vanished together. Iolaus' sword lay abandoned on the green turf.
Iolaus fought against the hands and arms restraining him until he recognized the voice behind him. "Be still, little boy."
"I'm not a boy," Iolaus said indignantly, stilling as the god ordered. "I'm a man."
"You're a boy! You're barely out of your childhood!"
Iolaus flipped the hair off the back of his neck, showing the brand there. "Your priests didn't think so, Ares. They thought that I was man enough to become one of yours. They marked me, branded me… made me yours and now you are stuck with me! You can't kill me, Ares… you can't kill one of your own."
Ares shook Iolaus somewhat roughly in his hands as he snorted at the boy's misplaced confidence. "I have before."
"Then why am I still standing here?" Iolaus asked.
Ares snarled in frustration, and drew his sword, swinging it in a tight arc, pulling it at the last moment to land lightly on Iolaus' hair, parting it slightly as the edge of the blade rested against his scalp. Iolaus didn't flinch. The kid has guts. I'm impressed, Ares thought, in spite of himself. Maybe…. After all. "You didn't flinch."
"I knew you wouldn't do it."
"You wouldn't have brought me all this way just to kill me. Torment me, yes. As bait to catch Herc, yes. But just to kill me? Not you. Not your style. You're way too flamboyant for that, Ares… if you wanted to kill me, you'd have fried me on the practice field and left me there for Hercules to find." Iolaus rested his hands on his hips. "So I knew, you weren't out to kill me, and you wouldn't. I had no reason to flinch."
Ares threw his sword to the side. I can't ask him. His confession has to be his… I can't make him. "You're right. I didn't bring you here to kill you. You're here for an entirely different purpose."
Ares thought fast. "You wanted to serve me, Iolaus? You're going to find out what it's like to serve a god of your choosing, in every way. Get on your knees."
Iolaus' eyes widened as he fell to his knees before Ares, and his throat closed. I've never done this before, dammit… only with Herc! Iolaus closed his eyes as he felt Ares' hand fist in his hair.
"Swear, Iolaus. Swear that you will always serve me, in whatever way I require, swear that you are mine." Ares tightened his grip in Iolaus' hair as he waited.
Iolaus remembered the searing pain of the brand as it burnt itself into his skin as he listened to Ares' words. "All right! I swear to you, Ares, that I will always serve you, in whatever thing you might require of me, as long as I don't have to harm Hercules! I swear to you, that I am yours!"
Always my damned half brother! But that doesn't matter for now. Ares let Iolaus go and he fell forward, catching himself on his hands before his face hit the floor. "Very good, Iolaus. Now go to my bedroom, familiarize yourself with my things. You will begin to serve me as valet… and then we shall see." I've got to keep you close… find some way to make you speak the words that will save my life! Already Ares felt the cold hand clutching again at his heart as he thought of Hera's curse.
Well, that's another fine mess you've gotten yourself into, Iolaus! His inner voice berated him all the way down the hallway… funny how sometimes his inner voice sounded like Herc! Personal valet and more than likely the new sex toy of the god of war! Hope your ass is in good shape, because it's going to get a workout from Ares! His inner voice was getting snider and snider. Poor Iolaus. Thought he was going to be a warrior, and he's nothing but a glorified houseboy! Iolaus growled at his inner voice. "Shut up."
Ares swiveled his head around. "What did you say to me, little boy?"
"I didn't say anything!" Iolaus' voice cracked a little. "I was just talking to myself, honest."
Ares turned back forward. "Fine. Then don't let me hear your voice again." Way to go, scare the kid half out of his wits. Smooooth. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Iolaus shaking his head, and he listened into the thoughts of the teen. And almost laughed out loud. Iolaus was berating himself for ever getting himself into this mess. Then Ares caught the thought about his ass, and his thoughts turned into a whole new direction.
Iolaus stood in the doorway of Ares' bedroom. He breathed a small sigh of awe at the rich tapestry hangings covering the cold black marble walls; the red hangings dripping like blood down the walls not covered by tapestry. The huge bed dominated the room, and four lance-like posts thrust upward, seeming to pierce the hard black ceiling and the red enamel dripped down the posts. "Bit overdone, isn't it?" Dammit, Iolaus, when will you learn to keep your mouth shut?????
Ares laughed aloud. "Not overdone at all. I think it's rather comforting, don't you?"
"Oh, absolutely, if you're into the blood and guts motif."
"I like you, Iolaus," Ares said, clapping the teenager on the back and sending him sprawling. "You're not afraid of me. Good! Make yourself at home."
"But… the Academy! Cheiron!" Iolaus caught himself mid-stumble and turned back to face the god.
"Don't you worry about that. You're not going back there for a while. You're going to stay here with me and serve me… after all, that is what you wanted to do, that is what you are bred for, right? Skourous--your father-- was one of my best warriors."
Iolaus bristled at the mention of his father's name. "You knew my father?"
"Skourous was one of my best," Ares repeated. Sore spot, Iolaus?
"Skourous was a lousy husband and an even worse father." Iolaus stated coldly. "He rarely spared his family two thoughts, and when he did it was to find fault. Mother was a poor cook and lazy housewife, my sister wasn't pretty enough and I was too weak and stupid to ever make anything of myself." Iolaus drew a deep breath. "I am nothing like my father!"
Ares reached out, uncharacteristically touched by the steely pain in Iolaus' eyes, strangely in sympathy with it. "No, you're not," he said, touching the boy's shoulder with his heavy hand. Then he dropped his hand back by his side, and disappeared.
Iolaus wandered over to the oversized bed and sat down on it. Black satin draped over soft down pillows and royal purple bolsters decorated the bed. He leaned back into their softness, and sighed. As he breathed in, the scent of the wargod filled his nostrils, and he smiled. Don't know what it is, but damn it smells good! He let his eyes close as he savored the scent, and he soon fell asleep with the wargod's scent still in his nose.
Invisible, Ares stayed in the room, watching Iolaus as he crossed to the bed, watched as the boy ran his hand over the fine silks and satins, and smiled to see Iolaus lowering himself onto the pillows and cushions. His blond hair splayed out over the deep purple and black, starkly contrasting his coloring with the décor of the bedroom. Damn you, Iolaus! Since when did you have to become so…unhateable? Ares couldn't bring himself to say "likable."
No god has qualms about killing. It happens every day. So why am I so reluctant to kill this kid after he's served his purpose? He lifted the hair off Iolaus' neck with a surprisingly gentle hand, gazing at the brand. You surprised me… I didn't think you would go that far just to serve me, to get my attention… I knew you were branded the moment I smelled your burnt flesh. Especially… knowing that I would kill you given half the chance, you and all your little friends. Ares let the hair fall back down, covering the brand again. Only you can save my life, Iolaus… but are you going to damn me in the process?
"Where is he?" shouted Hercules. "He's been gone all night! Jason, you know Iolaus! There's no WAY he'd just skip out on the Academy, not after everything he went through to get in here!"
Cheiron shook his head, his front feet pawing the floor in an effort to quiet the demigod. "Are you trying to convince me of that, or yourself?" the centaur asked quietly. "Hercules, calm yourself. It wouldn't be the first time that one of my students has spent a night outside of the Academy against the rules. When Iolaus comes back, he will be punished, and that will be the end of it." Cheiron turned to Jason. "Go, help the others set a watch for Iolaus. I want to be sure to catch him when he slips back in." Hercules moved to follow Jason, but the centaur stopped him. "Stay where you are."
"No buts! I said, stay!" Cheiron waited until he and the young demigod were the only two left in the room, and then he turned. "Now, tell me why you think Iolaus would have deserted the Academy."
"Hercules, I have been a teacher long enough to have seen people protect lovers before. You would not have said ‘skip out on the Academy' unless you knew a reason why that might be a consideration for your young friend. I want you to tell me, Hercules, and I want you to tell me now."
Hercules took a deep breath. Iolaus… forgive me. "He's been going to Ares' temple, Cheiron, even after they were all destroyed. He's got Ares' mark on the back of his neck. I'm afraid… I think he might have gone to—"
Before he could answer, Lilith came flying into the room. "Master Cheiron, look!" She brandished Iolaus' sword in front of her. "It was laying on the ground, covered in dew! Out in the back practice field!"
Hercules reached out and took the sword from Lilith. "That's Iolaus'. I gave it to him on his last birthday."
Cheiron turned to Lilith. "Take us where you found it."
Hercules grabbed Jason on the way out, and the four of them went to the practice field. Cheiron turned to the teens. "Look where the grass was trampled down," he pointed out. "Tell me what you see there."
Hercules knelt down and examined the impressions in the grass and mud. "Cheiron, look! A heavy set of boot prints! And there's scuffing around Iolaus' prints and the other set!"
"But there are no more of the heavy prints around here," Jason said, kneeling beside Hercules and looking around. "Only the one set."
"Cheiron, how can that be?" asked Lilith. "There should even be footprints around Iolaus' from where the person came up to him at, but look, Jason's right, there ARE no other prints."
"So what did they do, fly in, land, and fly off with Iolaus?" scoffed Jason.
"No, there are no downbeats, no patterns in the mud from where the downdraft of wings would have been," Hercules said, looking around again. Cheiron was watching Hercules, waiting for the demigod to come to the same conclusion he had.
Hercules reached down and touched the one set of heavy footprints. "It means that someone just appeared, grabbed Iolaus, and disappeared from the same spot," he said quietly, and Cheiron nodded in approval. "It means a god."
"Strife!" shouted Jason.
"No. Ares," Hercules corrected, straightening. "Not Strife. Strife is after me, not Iolaus. Ares, on the other hand, I wouldn't put anything past him. But wait, before we go after him…there's something that you all need to know. I was getting ready to tell Cheiron before Lilith came in, but it's important, especially now."
"What is it, Herc?" asked Jason.
"Ares may not have taken Iolaus against his will."
"What?!" Two voices, Jason's and Lilith's, rose in disagreement.
"Ares may not have taken Iolaus against his will. Iolaus might have called him and gone with him willingly."
"What are you talking about!??"
"Iolaus has decided that he wants to serve Ares. He's been going to Ares' temple, he's been branded with the mark of Ares' warriors. I tried to warn him today but he got upset. So Iolaus might not be with him against his will... he might be there voluntarily."
"I don't believe it! Hercules, you know how Iolaus feels about Ares, especially after what his father did!"
"I thought I did, Jase, but you didn't see the mark burned into his flesh. I did. We have to go find him, though... if he is with Ares, then he isn't thinking straight."
"Good morning, sunshine." Ares' voice was slightly lyrical as he shook Iolaus gently to wake him up.
"M'wake," Iolaus muttered, still half asleep. He rolled over, curling around Ares' warm body. "Five more minutes."
All the minutes in the world, Ares thought. All the minutes in the world. "C'mon, Iolaus... wake up."
Iolaus rolled over, and opened his eyes, feeling Ares' body laid across his, seeing the god's deep brown eyes staring into his sleep-laden blue ones. The heat of Ares' body laid across his woke him up. "I'm awake!!"
"Took you long enough. Next time I'll expect you to be awake and ready to serve me. This time, however, you're forgiven. Now get up and get ready."
Iolaus rolled out of bed, but as he did, his hip brushed against Ares'. Why isn't he… no wait, never mind, I don't want to know. You don't REALLY want to be raped, do you, Iolaus? If you do, I'm SURE he'd oblige.
Ares muffled a snicker when he heard that thought. No, Iolaus, I don't intend to rape you at all. Fuck your brains out, yes. Rape you? No. He shook his head in surprise. I never intended to like you. Damn you, Iolaus, what have you done to me?
Ares sat on the bed, his arms draped across his bent knee as he watched the blond scurry around his chamber, and he did something he rarely did... introspection. You and I have a lot in common, brat. Neither of us loved by our fathers....yours beat you, but at least he knew you were alive. Outsiders, both of us. Displaced by my goody goody half brother. You're always in his shadow... just like me. You're one of mine... you like to fight, and you're good at it. I like to fight... I'm good at it too. Maybe that's why I can't hate you... and maybe that's why you love me. You know, just like I do, that we are two of a kind. More than either of us wants to admit?
Iolaus stopped what he was doing when he felt Ares' regard. He propped his foot up on the foot of the bed and rested his elbow on his knee, resting his chin on his hand and staring at Ares in return. Wonder what he's thinking? What are you thinking, Ares?
God and mortal sat in mutual contemplation of each other for a long time, and then Iolaus spoke first, giving voice to his earlier thought. "What are you thinking, Ares?"
Truth or lie? Against every instinct he had... "About you."
"Me?" Iolaus was dumbfounded. "War, I expected. Death, blood, pain, maiming, and assorted bondage and discipline methods, okay. But me?"
Ares nodded, and a genuine smile spread across his face, curling his lips. "You. How much you and I are alike."
Ares nodded, and then jumped down off the bed. "It's time for you to learn what I expect of you. Follow me."
This is the damndest god I've ever served!! Not that I've served that many gods before... but dammit, first he hates me and now he's fascinated by me and says we're alike! If I didn't l-- Iolaus let THAT thought trail off before Ares caught wind of it. "Where are we going?"
"We're going to the armory. I'm going to show you how to care for my weapons, but you don't get to touch my Sword." He indicated the large sword hanging at his side. "My other weapons you will care for, make sure that they are in the best condition possible, hone the blades, polish them, whatever is needed to keep them in optimum shape."
"That doesn't sound too.... hard...." Iolaus' thought trailed off as he entered the huge armory. "Um."
Ares laughed, his laughter echoing off the walls as he looked at Iolaus. "You'll start here... and when you're done, I'll show you where the god of War relaxes." He turned on his heel and left, returning to his chambers. He sat down, and immediately waved his hand over one of the mirrors. The mirror clouded and then turned clear again, and he watched Iolaus moving about the chamber. He watched the blond open the cabinet against the wall, pulling out a whetstone, a polishing cloth, and blade oil. So he's not totally inept, Ares thought to himself.
Iolaus picked up a small dirk, weighted it in his palm, and shifted his grip slightly as he spat on the whetstone. He braced one finger against the blade, and he dragged it across the whetstone at just the right speed, honing the blade to original sharpness. When he was done sharpening the dirk, he tossed the whetstone down on the table, and tested the blade on his finger. He whistled as the sharp blade cut his flesh, and he sucked it clean of blood.
Ares laughed to himself. You idiot, you just sharpened it, of COURSE it's going to cut you! He kept watching as Iolaus took the polishing cloth and first wiped the blade clean of whetstone particles that might chip the blade and then poured some of the polishing oil on, shining the newly-sharpened blade until it glistened. He treated the leather-wrapped handle in the same way, carefully wiping it clean as well. You do know what you're doing, you've handled weapons before. At least I don't have to worry about you killing yourself with one of my swords! He left the mirror running as he turned about to do other things, to sort the petitions of those worshippers he hadn't killed, to check on the progress of his wars, to see if he could start skirmishes elsewhere.
Frequently he checked the mirror, and at some point in his task, Iolaus had stripped off his shirt and pants, working only in a loincloth as he sweated. Gazing into the weapons room, Ares could tell a marked difference in the weapons that Iolaus had cared for and those that he hadn't gotten to yet. And the ones he hadn't done was a far smaller pile than the god anticipated. You're not a shirker. You work hard... do you play hard, mortal? As Ares watched the bare-chested teen working, he noticed the sweat trickling down his chest and between his pectorals, and smiled. I suppose I could give you a break, considering you've gotten more done that I ever expected of you. He rolled his shoulders back and shook his head, relaxing. His vest fell open as he rolled his shoulders, and he left it that way. Fight fire with fire... or in this case, fight flesh with flesh.
The god appeared behind Iolaus, and the mortal's musky scent hit Ares like an aphrodisiac. He took a deep breath, and when he spoke to Iolaus, his voice was quiet and throaty. "Ready for a break, Iolaus?"
The mortal whirled around when Ares spoke to him. The voice jarred him out of his routine, and he almost dropped the blade he was polishing. The throatiness of Ares' voice unnerved him, as did the large expanse of bare chest between the lips of the vest. "Sure. Didn't realize how long I'd been in here."
"All morning," replied Ares huskily. "Leave them," he said, as Iolaus reached for his clothes. "You'll be coming back to finish later." Mystified, Iolaus followed the Wargod out of the room, down so many twisting halls and corridors that his mind whirled. "Don't try coming this way alone, you'd be lost within moments," Ares cautioned. "If you want to come here, tell me and I will bring you. I am the only one who knows where this place is, except for the servants that live there."
"Where are we going?" Ares didn't answer him, only kept leading him deeper inside the palace, down towards the center. "Ares, where are we going?"
"I told you before Iolaus, this is where the God of War relaxes. Yes, I DO have to relax, just as the rest of the world does. I have my own problems, my own stresses... while they may seem petty to some, they do sometimes.... overwhelm me. This is where I escape."
Escape? Overwhelm? Where is this coming from? questioned Iolaus quietly. The God of War doesn't HAVE problems... but he does! What kind of problems could trouble the god of War so much so that he would have to seek a hiding place from them? Suddenly, Ares didn't seem like so much of an unreachable god to Iolaus. Instead... he seemed more... human.
Ares could almost feel the mortal's softening attitude towards him, and he smiled. But then his smile fell a little, because he knew Iolaus' attitude was only mirroring his own, however obliquely. The more I open, the closer he gets...but I can't let him in all the way. To do that is to destroy him forever. Destroy the goodness inside of him, for the rest of his existence. Destroy him for my sake, and I can't do that. His thoughts turned back to the time before Iolaus met Hercules, before the kid was overshadowed by Hercules. You have promise, Iolaus... you have the potential to change the world, in ways you can't even dream of yet. One day you're going to save the world. But I can't sacrifice you in the name of my desire. Damn, I hate this! I HATE caring, I hate giving a damn about anything! The Wargod doesn't CARE! He destroys! And yet... I can't destroy one single mortal.
Iolaus gasped in surprise as Ares opened the locked door with a wave of his hand. "it's beautiful," he whispered in awe. A brand new, pristine world lay before him.... lush green growth, blue sky. A bright yellow sun lit the area behind the door, and the walls of the palace-sized chamber were covered in clinging ivy. "a world within your palace?"
"This is the way the world looked like when we first created it. Only after we created mortals did your world change into what it is now... this is untouched, unspoiled... .and this is my place. I created it myself, I poured my strength and energies into it, and when I need to rest, this is where I come."
"This is wonderful... I didn't think..." Iolaus closed his mouth tightly.
"Didn't think that the Destroyer could create as well?" chided Ares gently. "For shame, Iolaus... I thought you more open minded than that."
"I just didn't think, considering your bedroom, that you would go for something like this, that's all... I never doubted that you could create, all the gods created the world and you are one of them.... I just didn't expect it." He reached out and touched one of the leaves near him, and he jerked his hands back. "It shocked me!"
"I told you, it had my energies in it."
Iolaus lay his hand against the leaf again, and felt a small part of the god's awesome power course through the fragile green leaf and into him. His tiredness vanished and he felt rejuvenated. He turned to find Ares sitting on the grass, leaning against the trunk of the tree. Iolaus silently moved beside him, lowering himself beside Ares and propping himself on the trunk. "Ares..."
"Don't speak. Close your eyes and feel it."
"Just do it."
Iolaus closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. He felt the energy of the grass under him, prickling his nearly naked body, felt the trunk rough against his bare back, and sighed. It made a constant weak current through his body, gave him an almost hyper-awareness of what was going through his body. He also felt the current jumping between him and Ares, and the hair on his arms prickled with it. His whole body was aware of the wargod's body lounging so casually beside his, and he tingled. Dear gods, I'm tingling! It's gotta be this place, can't be anything else! Iolaus shivered slightly, and he scooted up against the bark of the tree.
But as he did, he encountered Ares' outstretched arm and sprawled leg. I'm going to get fried for this... Iolaus slowly stretched himself out, almost but not quite touching the god as he lay out on the grass. His head lay near Ares' bent knee, and he barely breathed until Ares shifted a little and relaxed. Then Iolaus did as well, closing his eyes and breathing in the sweet air. He felt the warmth of the god's body close to his as he fell into a relaxed slumber.
In his dreams, Ares' mouth lowered to his, slanting across his lips and slowly sliding his tongue inside the boy's mouth, stroking and thrusting inside it as his strong hands found their way down Iolaus' bare chest and body. He moaned quietly in his sleep, and Ares looked down at the resting mortal and saw the hardening cock and quickening breath, and smiled. I know what you're dreaming, Iolaus... oh, to make those dreams come true. He touched Iolaus' forehead, sending the teen into a deeper sleep, and settled down himself.
Both woke some time later, closer than they'd been when they'd fallen asleep. Iolaus had scooted back, spooning himself against Ares and the god had wrapped his arm around Iolaus' slim waist, hugging him tightly to the hard curves and melding him to them. Iolaus woke with a start, and the god woke immediately after, feeling the body in his arms jolt. Taking advantage of the situation, he nuzzled the back of Iolaus' neck as the boy stretched, and then watched the curves of his body as he leapt to his feet. "How long have we been here?"
"Long enough," said Ares. "It's too late for you to go back to the armory. You'll finish there tomorrow, first thing. Now, it's time to clean you up, and then you eat." Ares clapped his hands, and a scantily clad female appeared, no older than Iolaus. "Take him to the bathing pool and then guide him back to my chamber."
"Yes, my lord Ares." She bowed her head and took Iolaus' hand, pulling him along behind her as she led him to the pool. Ares vanished, and reappeared in his room, checking the mirror that was tuned into Iolaus.
And stifled a laugh. Iolaus was clumsily trying to fight off the attentions of the young woman as she washed him, paying special attention to his genitals and backside. "Heyheyhey! I can take care of that myself!" Iolaus said, finally grabbing the cloth and pushing the slight woman back.
"But my lord, you cause me to fail my duty and displease my lord Ares."
"Hold it, sister! I heard him... he said to bring me here and then take me back, he didn't say ANYTHING about you touching me!!" Iolaus tried to shield himself.
"But I am a bathing maiden!" But before she could say more, an ominous rumble of thunder rolled across the blue sky, and she paled. "My lord Ares is angry with me, I must leave here now!" She gathered her scarves around her and ran, her bare feet slapping on the grass.
Iolaus sighed. About damn time. He was glad to have the woman out of the way! He liked women, but this one was just a little young and wanton for him. Let's get real here! said his inner voice. She just doesn't happen to be a six foot something tall MALE wargod who you just can't happen to get off your mind! Then he shook his head. Since when COULDN'T you get this guy off your mind, huh? What happened to loving Herc? This isn't right, blondie, and you know it.
He finished his bath, and donned a sky-blue robe that had been set to the side for him. He tied the sash about his waist, and approached the door. But before he could open it, he felt himself vanishing and reappearing in Ares' bedchamber. A large table had been set out with hot steaming poultry, fresh beef, sweet rolls, crisp vegetables, and a foaming pitcher of ale. "I am a little hungry."
"Eat all you can, there's more if you want it."
Iolaus fell hungrily onto the food, and he looked up at Ares. "I got to ask you something," he said, chewing around mouthfuls of food. "Why you being so mean to me one minute and then nice the next?"
"Godly prerogative. I can do anything I want." Ares laced his fingers behind his head and reclined back. He fixed Iolaus with an unblinking gaze.
"So why you want me?"
"I should ask you that. You're the one who wanted me."
"You stole me away."
"You came willingly without a fight." Ares countered each of Iolaus' points with one of his own. This was almost fun!
"You had your arms wrapped around me and told me to shut up."
"You could have gotten away from me, but you stood still and shut up. You didn't try to fight or scream."
Then Iolaus played a dangerous card. "Then let me go."
Ares' brow darkened. "You're not being held here, Iolaus. I brought you here because you said you wanted to serve me and I was giving you a chance to serve me. You can leave any damn time you want to." Ares shoved back from the table and vanished in a blinding pulse of light. To hell with you, you little brat! You and your damn games! I should kill you for this!
Iolaus looked at the empty space across the table where Ares had been sitting. Not a good move, Iolaus. He too shoved back from the table, no longer hungry. He looked out and saw that it was past sunset, and the candelabra in the bedroom was already lit. It cast a golden glow over everything as Iolaus stripped off the robe and climbed into the big bed. Well, I slept here last night... guess this is where I'm supposed to be. He pulled the blankets over his shoulders, and quickly fell asleep again, despite the earlier nap.
He woke sometime later in the night, with Ares kneeling over his hips. "You said to let you go and I will, but I promise you that after tonight, you will always know that you are mine above all others!" His mouth slammed onto Iolaus' and his tongue pushed roughly through to stroke inside the teen's mouth. Iolaus felt a brief moment of fear surge through him, but as Ares' kiss grew deeper, more intense, the fear melted into a throbbing need for the god.
Ares' callused hands raked roughly over the youth's bare body, and scraped against sensitive spots as Iolaus writhed beneath him. His tongue pushed deeper into Iolaus' mouth, and his hands came to rest on the boy's shoulders as he utterly possessed the mortal's mouth as he kissed him hard.
Iolaus moaned under Ares, twisting his body up to rub against the god. Oh yes, dear my god Ares, yes!! Iolaus wasn't aware of speaking those words aloud, but as Ares' lips burned down his throat, he heard them echoing in his ears. Ares' tongue found one of Iolaus' nipples, and his fingers crushed the other while his lips and teeth worried the one under his mouth. The boy cried out, over and over again as Ares' skillful mouth made its way to the other nipple, biting and sucking it hard and deep. Oh-gods-he's-better-than-herc-i-never-want-to-leave! He screamed out for Ares, over and over again, and the god answered with licks, kisses, bites or nips. His large hands embraced Iolaus' form roughly, skimming and rubbing sensitive flesh as he kissed him. The god's tongue slid down the center of Iolaus' chest as his fingers caressed Iolaus' throat, and the boy arched under him as Ares slid his mouth lower, his tongue teasing his bellybutton and his stomach. He stopped a moment, looked up at Iolaus as the mortal moved underneath him, and the teen's eyes opened. Dark with passion, his eyes met Ares' only seconds before the god lowered his head and took Iolaus' shaft into his mouth.
Iolaus' body bucked as Ares sucked him deeper, and he cried out his lover's name as he sunk his fingers into Ares' thick locks. Instinctively he thrust his hips up while pulling Ares' head lower, and the length of his cock slid into Ares' mouth. The god licked the hard shaft up and down, nipping the head, tugging the delicate underside flesh with his teeth. Each moan he wrung out of Iolaus made him harder, and more dedicated to making his lover's first orgasm memorable.
He braced his hands on Iolaus' stomach, holding him still as his hips wriggled, and he slid his mouth down again, sucking the entire length deep into his throat. The head rubbed against his throat as Ares' tongue played along the shaft itself, and Iolaus trembled. "Ares, please, let me cum, I need you, please, Ares," Iolaus begged between gasps. "Please"
Ares nodded, and tightened his throat around Iolaus' shaft, keeping his mouth and muscles tight as he slid to the head and deep-throated the youth's cock a final time, and then quickly swallowed the pulse after pulse of semen from Iolaus' shaft as he came. As the shaft became limp, Ares slid himself up Iolaus' body and held the shaking teen to him. He felt the pulse hammering in his chest as Iolaus fought to breathe. Ares stroked his hair, kissed his hair softly. "Iolaus."
"Ares..." Iolaus turned onto his back, laying against Ares' warm body. "Gods I love you, Ares."
At those words, the sky outside the palace darkened, and a woman's screaming echoed over the hills, rolling like thunder as Hera's curse on Ares shattered. Ares felt the curse lift from his shoulders, and he gathered Iolaus into his arms, pressing their bodies together, no space between them. He held Iolaus tightly only a moment, and then rolled him over onto his back as Ares slid his body between the youth's thighs. His mouth slid around the head of Iolaus' cock, sucking it and nipping it as he conjured oil and coated his fingers with it, one long finger sliding in and stroking hard as his mouth sucks Iolaus' hardness deeper into his mouth. His tongue worried the fleshy head and teased the connecting flesh, flicking around it as a second finger slid inside him, stroking and rubbing.
"ohpleaseohpleaseohplease," begged Iolaus. "I can't, Ares, please, no more, take me, love me, please."
Ares reared back, looking down at the wiggling body beneath him. He stopped for a moment, and he caressed Iolaus' body, softly stroking every inch, learning it. To send you back is going to kill me. To send you back to him is unthinkable. But at Iolaus' pleading, he pushed the thoughts of leaving out of his mind, and lowered himself down again. "This may hurt you... but it won't last long, I promise you." He oiled his cock with the conjured oil, and he once again gathered Iolaus to him and wrapped the boy's legs around his waist. He rested the head of his cock against the slightly stretched muscle, and then slid inside, holding Iolaus tightly to him and muffling the cries and shrieks of pain.
"Stop," Ares whispered, and the pain ceased. But he didn't release Iolaus, he kept the teen in his arms and snapped his hips, thrusting deeply in and out of the mortal as Iolaus lay in his embrace.
Faster and harder Ares began to thrust as Iolaus pushed back against him, begging for more. "You said I would be yours, make me yours, make me yours forever." Ares gripped Iolaus' body tighter, pounded harder and faster, possessing more of the body beneath him with each stroke. He buried himself to the hilt inside Iolaus, and stilled. Iolaus whimpered, small cries begging the god to start moving again.
Ares took Iolaus' head in his hands. "Look at me, lover." Iolaus' shining blue eyes fastened onto Ares'. "You have damned me forever," Ares whispered. "You have come into my world, taken it over, and when you leave, it will go with you. Nothing will seem the same as it was when you were here, and you will always be mine." He kissed Iolaus' lips softly, gently. "I love you... yes, even I can love, only once in a millennium perhaps but I can and do." With that, he started moving inside Iolaus again, jack-hammering strokes that rocked his lover's body.
Iolaus reached down, wrapped his hand around his cock as he wrapped his body around Ares. The god reached down and nudged Iolaus' hand out of the way, stroking and pumping Iolaus himself as he kept thrusting, pushing deep inside, pulling out almost completely and rocking back inside.
Iolaus locked his ankles around Ares' back, and he pushed himself hard down on Ares' cock, holding the huge organ inside as it pulsed and throbbed. The god grunted, then cried out Iolaus' name as his seed spilt inside Iolaus. As the heat from the semen spread through Iolaus' body, the boy's own orgasm rocked him, burying him again on Ares' cock, and he covered Ares' chest and stomach with his own cum. Regardless of the fluids, Ares held Iolaus close to him. "Just a little while."
Iolaus slept trustingly in the god's arms, one hand thrown possessively over Ares' hip as Ares twined tightly around Iolaus. They slept until first light.
At dawn, Ares woke first, and woke Iolaus. Both their bodies were sticky, but Ares sent Iolaus to wash alone. As the boy left, Ares lost himself in his thoughts again. I know I have to send you back. It is not good for you here... but to send you to HIM, that is... intolerable. To know that he'll always have what I want... you. Damn you, Hera... you cursed me after all. Living with the knowledge that the one I despise will have the man I love — you would have done better to have killed me outright. He buried his face in his hands... he would not let Iolaus see him weep. Damn you, Iolaus.
Iolaus returned quietly, saw Ares sitting on the side of the bed, staring out of the window into the empty garden. "Ares."
"Get dressed. It's time for you to go home." Ares rose and walked out onto the balcony over the garden. Iolaus followed.
"I don't want to go... I refuse."
Turning, Ares took Iolaus into his arms. "Iolaus, you have to go. Your place isn't here, I wish it were. It can never be here, never with me."
"But Ares, I love you." How easy it seems to say that now!
"And I you, Iolaus, forever. But I must do what is best for you, and what is best for you is to send you back to your life.... To.... him." His grip on Iolaus tightened, and then he let the boy go.
"If you love me, how can you send me away?"
"It is because I love you I send you away. Never fear, Iolaus. I will always be with you." Ares bent and kissed Iolaus soundly, and then wrapped his arms around the boy. "Hold tightly to me."
Iolaus wrapped his arms tightly around the god's waist, and they vanished from Ares' palace. They reappeared inside Cheiron's Academy, inside Iolaus' empty room. His other roommates were still out searching for him. "Ares, don't leave me, not yet."
"I can't be here, Iolaus, you know that. Any time you want me... come to me. Come to the ruins, and come alone... I will always watch for you."
"And if you want me?"
"Then you'll feel a pair of arms around you and a deep voice whispering in your ear to come away."
"It will never be the same, will it, Ares?"
Sadly, the god shook his head. "Neither of us ever will be ever again." Impulsively, Ares reached around his neck and took off his necklace, and dropped it into Iolaus' palm, closing his fingers around it. Iolaus opened his vest, and slid the necklace into the hidden breast pocket that rested near his heart. When he looked up from the task, Ares was gone, and a single thought echoed in his head. Goodbye, my love. He wasn't sure if Ares spoke them or if he did. He lay on the lonely bed, and the necklace in his pocket seemed to pulse with life of its own as it rested against him. The others would be back soon, they would have to stop for lunch and then would be the time for answers and truths. Until then... Iolaus closed his eyes, and in his dreams his lover returned to him, and never left him.