By AramisThe characters belong to MCA/Universal. The writer is not making any money from this.
The two friends entered Iolaus' room somewhat unsteadily. Iolaus was mildly tipsy and, surprisingly, Hercules was very much so. The latter bumped into a chair and fell over, swearing. Iolaus laughed and stood looking down at him.
"Are you laughing at me?"
"As if I would."
"I'll give you something to laugh about." Hercules grasped Iolaus by the ankle and pulled him down. A brief wrestling bout ensued. That ended with Iolaus on his back and Hercules straddling his hips. Hercules had forced both of Iolaus' hands above his head and was pinning them there with his right hand. There was no way that Iolaus could break that grip. "Do you remember this position from when we were kids, Iolaus?" Hercules asked.
"NO! Herc, you wouldn't!"
"Yes, I would." He remembered the times when he had sat across the boy Iolaus like that and had taken retribution for whatever prank Iolaus had just pulled. Iolaus was deliciously ticklish and it was the work of moments to reduce him to an hysterical, giggling, pleading heap. Hercules had always continued the tickling longer than he thought he should have done as he'd always felt a mysterious twinge of excitement at the feel of Iolaus' body writhing beneath him and at the sight of his cheeky friend reduced to helpless, gasping pleading. As the memories flooded back, he ran the fingers of his left hand lightly across Iolaus' armpits.
"That's not fair, Herc! Let me up!" Iolaus tried to wriggle free and Hercules felt the old excitement in his loins as his friend's body moved between his legs. He lowered his hand and began to tickle Iolaus' ribs. To his excitement, he found the hunter to be as susceptible as ever. He had the urge to increase the punishment and realized that he needed two hands. He stopped he tickling and fumbled for his belt. Once he had it off, he used it to tie Iolaus' wrists to a leg of the bed.
Iolaus was now getting very concerned about what Hercules had in store for him. "What do you think you're doing, Herc? Come on, a joke is a joke, but let me up now please"
But Hercules was past listening. Having secured Iolaus' wrists, he settled down on top of him again. He began to rake Iolaus' ribs unmercifully. Iolaus laughed, writhed, twisted and pleaded, but Hercules would not or could not stop. He did realize that Iolaus was getting rather loud and so pulled the sash from Iolaus' waist and used it to gag him.
He then proceeded with the punishment. Iolaus was getting frantic and the more he struggled the more excited Hercules became. Finally he hesitated and heard himself ask, "Would you like me to stop?"
Iolaus nodded frantically.
"Will you do what I want if I stop?"
Iolaus looked questioningly at him and did not respond. Hercules began to tickle him again and then paused and repeated the question.
Hercules slid back onto Iolaus' thighs and, without conscious thought, began to undo his trousers. Iolaus began to struggle ineffectually again. Hercules pulled the hunter's leather trousers down to his knees. Then he turned and, still keeping his weight on Iolaus' legs, removed the latter's boots and trousers. That done he returned to his original position astride Iolaus' hips. Iolaus was looking at him with apprehension and was trying to object, but his voice was muffled by the gag.
"You need cheering up, my friend." A devil was in Hercules as he resumed his assault on Iolaus' ribs.
Then suddenly he stopped, shifted his weight onto his knees and flipped Iolaus onto his stomach. Iolaus began to struggle harder than ever. Hercules looked down at the slender hips and buttocks and a wave of lust such as he'd never known swept over him. He found himself virtually ripping open his own fly and then he plunged his member deeply into Iolaus' anus. Iolaus tried desperately to pull away as pain knifed through him. He felt as if his body was being split in half.
Hercules stopped thrusting and reached for Iolaus' waist again. Now the hunter's struggles had the effect of moving his body up and down Hercules' penis. The feeling from Hercules' viewpoint was exquisite. He'd never known such bliss.
Finally he could take no more of the tantalization and began to drive deeply into Iolaus. Each thrust was agonizing for Iolaus and incredibly exciting for Hercules. Faster and faster, harder and harder he thrust while Iolaus, with tears of pain and anguish pouring down his face, struggled feebly. Finally, Hercules climaxed and fell forward over Iolaus.
A few minutes later, he felt excitement building again. "Ready for another bout, Iolaus?" he asked, reaching out and removing the gag.
"Please don't touch me again, Herc," Iolaus begged.
"I need to, Iolaus, and you agreed that I could do anything I wanted."
"Please just give me a few minutes," Iolaus pleaded. "It hurts so much."
Hercules hesitated, but could not wait and plunged in again. Iolaus cried out in agony and Hercules reached out and replaced the gag. He then went to work quickly and it was soon over. Iolaus lay still beneath him. The pain of the last few thrusts had been too much and he had fainted.
Hercules sat up and looked at the motionless form. He released Iolaus' wrists, vaguely noticing that they were bleeding from his struggles, and lifted him onto the bed. He then lay down beside the hunter and fell into a deep sleep, a proprietary arm flung across Iolaus' body.
When Iolaus regained consciousness all he could think of was removing himself from Hercules' presence. He eased out of the bed and dressed quickly. He was very sore and was bleeding from his anus. He limped downstairs and out into the cold night. He went to the stables, located Argo's stall, crawled into the hay and sobbed and shivered himself to sleep.
Early the next morning, he was awakened by a hand on his shoulder. He woke with a jolt and a fear that it would be Hercules. "It's okay, Iolaus, it's me, Xena. I came to check on Argo. What are you doing out here?"
What could he say? Xena knelt beside him waiting for a reply, observing his red eyes and tearstained face. His lips moved, but he couldn't speak. "What on earth has happened? What's wrong?"
"N-Nothing's wrong. I just...I just l-let Hercules have the room."
"Iolaus, I know you both had separate rooms."
"W-Well we...we gave up the other one to someone else."
"Iolaus, stop lying! What's wrong."
"Nothing. Just leave me alone!" But at that moment a tear betrayed him and once he'd started crying he could not stop. He buried his face in his hands.
"What is it, Iolaus? Is it Hercules?"
"Has something happened to him?"
The blond curls shook a denial and the sobs increased.
"Pull yourself together," Xena commanded sternly. "Tell me what the trouble is."
"Well I'd better go and ask Hercules then."
"I'll have to if you don't tell me."
"He f-forced..." His voice trailed off.
"What on earth are you on about?" Xena was getting very exasperated. She reached for his shoulders intending to give him a good shake. He raised his hands to stop her and she saw the bloody state of his wrists. She grasped his right arm. "How did this happen?"
"He t-tied me to the...to the bed."
"Tied you? Who?" A glimmer of understanding was starting.
"He was...He was d-drunk, but I don't...I don't know why because he didn't seem to be drinking more than usual."
"Iolaus, are you trying to tell me Hercules has...has..."
"Raped me." His voice was a whisper. He began to weep again.
Xena sat back on her haunches stunned. "Not Hercules!"
"I cou-couldn't believe he'd do it."
"Tell me about it."
With difficulty, Iolaus managed to recount events. He added, "I-I'm sure there's something wrong. Hercules would n-never act like that normally."
"Are you *still* defending him?"
"I always will."
There was no answer for that, so Xena changed tack. "Well we'd better get you inside and get you cleaned up a bit before there's too many people around. Come on." She offered him a hand and helped him rise. She observed his awkward gait. "Has he hurt you much?"
"I'm a bit sore and I've been bleeding a bit, that's all. I'm okay."
They went to Hercules' original room, assuming it to be unoccupied. To their surprise, there was a woman in the bed. The curtains were pulled across so the room was still dark. As they entered, the woman roused and, still half-asleep and having no idea that it was daybreak, said, "Hercules, you've come to me at last. I was beginning to think my little potion had failed."
Xena crossed the room and drew the curtains back. The woman recoiled in horror when she realized who were present. She tried to argue her way out, but she had already betrayed herself. Xena applied a little force and soon a full explanation tumbled out.
Very attracted to the demigod, and aware from her earlier attempts at flirtation that he had no interest in her, she had put a strong, but tasteless aphrodisiac into what Hercules had proclaimed would be his last drink for the evening. She had then hurried to his room to wait for him. She commented that she supposed it had not worked because he was not a normal human and they didn't disillusion her. They ordered her to leave the inn and Xena warned her it would not be in her best interest to remain in the town. Xena turned to Iolaus, "Well that explains it. What now?"
"We'd better go and check that Hercules is okay. You never know how drugs will affect someone."
Even though now aware of Hercules' innocence, Xena could hardly believe his concern. "Are you going to say anything about it to him?"
"That will depend on what Hercules remembers once the drug has worn off. It wasn't his fault. If he doesn't remember, please don't tell him because he'd be so upset."
"If you're going to try to pretend that nothing has happened you'd better keep your wrists out of sight and give your eyes a good bathing."
That done, they entered Iolaus' room to find Hercules just stirring. He felt oddly light-headed. He was surprised to see the two of them together. From the way he greeted them, it was obvious that he remembered nothing. They said they were going to get breakfast and he said he would join them later.
Neither Iolaus nor Xena actually felt much like eating so, instead of going downstairs, they returned to Hercules' old room. Xena turned to the hunter, "Can I ask you a personal question?"
"Was what happened completely distasteful to you? If Hercules had asked you for sex, would you have rejected him?"
Iolaus hesitated and then said, "If he'd asked I would have said yes. I'd have been scared, but I'd do anything for him...I love him."
"And he's never hinted at it?"
"No, but others have said things. Some have suggested it could be the only reason for the son of Zeus to befriend someone like me."
"How did he react to that?"
"People don't usually say things like that in his hearing, only in mine."
"Now that its happened don't you think you should tell him."
"No! Please, Xena, try to forget what's happened for Hercules' sake...and mine."
Xena looked searchingly at the hunter. "You always make me feel so guilty, Iolaus, and now more than ever."
"What do you mean?"
"Every time I see you, I feel ashamed at how I tried to use you against Hercules now that I know you and what a good person you are. Also, now that I have Gabrielle, I can understand the feeling of wanting to look after someone and putting their needs before my own, but listening to your concern for Hercules and your capacity for self-sacrifice and love, all I can feel is amazement and my guilt is worse than ever."
"Xena, you know I've forgiven you for what you did. Please forgive yourself. A lot of what happened was my fault. I was lonely and not thinking clearly. I should have realized someone like you would never prefer me to Hercules." Xena went to interrupt, but he continued, "As for Hercules, perhaps...perhaps I should tell you a bit about myself to explain how I feel. My f-father never wanted me. I-I wasn't the sort...the sort of son he wanted. He was always c-cursing me, telling me I was weak and undersized and would never be a warrior like he was. He was so ashamed of me. He used to beat me at the slightest provocation...I think...I think he actually enjoyed doing so. My mother would never stand up to him. She...She seemed to think he could do what he liked because he was the head of the household. Fortunately he wasn't at home much. W-When I was ten years old, we moved to a new village. I went to school for the first time and because I was...I was small and new, a group of boys began to bully me after school. They had me down and were kicking me when I heard a voice cry out, "Leave him alone!" That was Hercules! Together we defeated the bullies and then he put his arm around my shoulders and hugged me and said, "We make a great team!" Nobody had...had ever h-hugged me before. I-I couldn't believe that...that someone would want to...We've been together now for over twenty-five years and I could never love anybody more."
Xena found her eyes stinging. She blinked back the tears that threatened. She had had a happy childhood and had never given a thought to Iolaus' background. I must have made him feel far worse than I ever imagined, she thought, when he found out I'd only been using him, that my show of affection was an act. I used him sexually for my own ends and I did it deliberately and he's forgiven me, so it's no wonder he's forgiven Hercules for what he could not help. She stepped towards him and held out her arms and he walked into them. They clung tightly to each other, each wrapped in his/her own thoughts. She looked at him and said, "It never happened."
"Thank you...We'd better go downstairs. If Herc gets there first he'll wonder what's happened to us."
As the day progressed, the hunter endeavored to act as normally as possible. He had genuinely forgiven his friend or, more to the point, felt there was nothing to forgive since what had happened had not been the fault of the demigod, and he did not fear a repetition of the attack. Fortunately his wrist-guards concealed the thin bandages around his painfully skinned wrists, although they meant he suffered more discomfort than he would have done had he been able to bandage them properly. He was still sore from the assault as well, but forced himself to walk and sit normally.
However he was aware that Hercules' eyes were upon him and he wondered why he was drawing the attention. In truth, Hercules was having flashbacks. Parts of what had happened kept returning. Unaware that this was recall, he was wondering why he had suddenly started having lustful thoughts about the hunter. What on earth was wrong with him and, worse, what would Iolaus think if he could read the demigod's confused and guilty mind. This made him rather withdrawn and touchy, especially with his friend. Iolaus was hurt by this, but said nothing about it.
The day drew on and Hercules elected to retire to bed early as he needed time alone to think. Iolaus observed his departure with concern. He was worried that his friend might be feeling ill as a side-effect of the potion. Accordingly, he gave Hercules about quarter of an hour to get settled and then followed him. He tapped lightly on Hercules' door and then, receiving no reply, entered. Hercules was in bed, but had not extinguished the lamp. "What is it now, Iolaus?" he demanded harshly. The hunter was the last person that he wanted to see.
Taken aback by his reception, Iolaus asked, "Are you feeling all right, Herc?"
"Of course I'm all right! Why shouldn't I be?"
"Well it's much earlier than you usually go to bed and..."
Hercules interrupted, snapping, "Surely I can go to bed early without an inquisition. If that's all you want go away and leave me in peace."
The hunter paled and a look of hurt passed over his normally sunny features. "Okay, I know when I'm not wanted." He turned on his heel and groped blindly for the door, his eyes clouded with tears. After the trauma of the previous night and the tensions of the day, it was too much for him.
Hercules watched him go, his emotions in turmoil. Iolaus' parting comment had been singularly inappropriate. The trouble was Hercules seemed to want him too much and in a way that he feared would horrify the hunter.
Iolaus went to his room, flung himself facedown on the bed and began to weep, hugging the pillow tightly. It was some hours before he drifted off into an uneasy sleep, hours spent worrying about Hercules and the effect the potion seemed to be having on him.
Hercules also passed a rough night. He felt regret for his words and guilt at his thoughts, but sandwiched between these emotions was a stronger one, lust. Lascivious images kept popping into his mind no matter how he tried to suppress them. He could see himself astride Iolaus' writhing body. He watched himself tying the hunter down. He heard his friend pleading with him to stop, to let him up. And then...And then he saw...NO!! He mustn't think such things! But the images came strong and clear. What could he do to stop them?
The new day dawned and Hercules was pleased to quit his bed and go down for breakfast. He was relieved to find the hunter absent. Indeed, no other of the tavern's guests were present. A few minutes later, Xena appeared. "Good morning, you're up early," he greeted.
"Didn't you remember I'm leaving today to meet up with Gabrielle? Here I was thinking you'd got up early just to see me off."
"Sorry, no, but I'm glad I'm up to say farewell to you."
"Where's Iolaus?" It was a reasonable question as the hunter was usually up at the crack of dawn, unless he was nursing a hangover or had attractive company. He always seemed full of twice as much energy as the average mortal and lying in bed wasn't for him.
"I haven't seen him." Hadn't seen him! His whole night had been filled with images of the golden hunter.
There was something odd about Hercules' tone of voice. Xena noted it and asked, "Is everything okay between the two of you?"
"Yes, of course!" he answered, rather too quickly and emphatically. "Why shouldn't it be?"
But the Warrior Princess was not one for idle small talk and Hercules was immediately suspicious. "What did Iolaus say about last night?" he demanded, imagining that an annoyed hunter had gone downstairs after he'd told him to go and had told people how Hercules had treated him. The fact that Iolaus had never done such a thing in his life didn't come into it. A tense and confused Hercules was no longer reasoning coolly and clearly.
Xena started at the words "last night" and at the cold note in Hercules' voice. Hell! she thought, surely he hasn't had another go at Iolaus. She forced herself to reply calmly, "Nothing. I haven't seen him today and he went up to bed just after you last night." She paused and then added, "I thought he might have been going to see you."
Xena bristled. She resented the interrogation and would have said so had she not been aware that something was definitely wrong for Hercules to act so out of character. "You know how he worries about you - almost as much as you worry about him." The small joke went down like a lead balloon. She hurried on, "I think he thought you were unwell. You weren't exactly a bundle of laughs yesterday you know, and then with you going to bed early..." She trailed off at the look on Hercules' face.
A wave of jealousy had suddenly washed over Hercules. He was aware that he was jealous of Xena being with Iolaus, not vice versa as might once have been the case. He lashed out verbally, "How come you're putting his case anyway? Why are you two suddenly so chummy? Surely you're not back together again. After the way you used him last..."
"Stop it, Hercules," Xena interrupted, "you're talking a load of rubbish and you know it."
"No, I'm not! And I'll say what I damn well like!" Hercules retorted, rising to his feet. Xena jumped up as well.
The innkeeper, who had been on the point of entering the room, beat a strategic retreat. If the son of Zeus and the Warrior Princess came to blows there wouldn't be much left of the room. Iolaus! That's who was needed. The little blond was obviously a friend of both. If anyone could prevent the conflict he could. The innkeeper hurried upstairs.
He bust into the hunter's room to find him lying asleep, on top of the bed, fully clothed. Normally, Iolaus would have been fully alert at he sound of the approaching footsteps, let alone the sound of the door, but he was exhausted after the emotional stress and a night of tossing and turning, and had only just fallen into a deep sleep. The innkeeper grasped Iolaus' shoulder and shook him violently in his agitation. Iolaus sat up hurriedly, groping for his sword, only to sink back down as his blurry eyes identified his assailant.
"Please get up! Hercules and Xena are arguing and it looks like they are going to come to blows. My inn will be wrecked."
Hercules and Xena? Fighting? The hunter rose quickly. The room seemed to swim around him. He staggered and put out a hand to steady himself against the wall. He shook his head and rubbed his eyes. He felt like death warmed up. However, he hastened downstairs and burst into the room.
The two were still arguing and Xena's hand was resting on her sword hilt, but he was in time. He pushed his way between them. "What have you two managed to find to argue about this early in the morning?" he asked, trying to smile at them to lighten the situation.
The demigod shot out a hand and grasped the hunter's right arm in a grip of iron. "What have you been saying to Xena about me?" he demanded.
Gods! Surely she hadn't broken her promise not to tell Hercules. He glanced swiftly at her and she gave a brief shake of her head. The interchange was not lost on Hercules, who tightened his grip.
"Answer me! What have you been saying?" Hercules demanded, shaking the hunter's arm viciously.
"What do you mean?" Iolaus winced and tried to pull free as he spoke, but to no avail. Hercules squeezed harder. It was like having his arm caught in a vice.
"Just what I said!"
Trying to ignore the crushing pain, Iolaus said, "Look, Herc, I don't know what you're talking about, but how about we talk about it in private. This is a very public place for a discussion."
"Great idea!" Hercules turned and strode out of the room dragging the hapless hunter after him. He stormed upstairs, flung open the door to his room, pulled Iolaus in after him and slammed the door.
Xena was in a quandary. She didn't know whether to follow or not. Normally she would have left them to it if they'd had a real quarrel (a rare thing with them anyway) knowing that Hercules would never hurt the hunter, but now? In the end, she compromised, heading for Iolaus' room so that she would be near at hand if she needed to intervene. However, she knew she and Iolaus would have no chance against Hercules, in the confined space of a room, if he asserted his full powers.
Hercules yanked the hunter brutally across the room and flung him down on the bed. As soon as he hit the bed, Iolaus tried to struggle up. Hercules straight-armed him, knocking him back violently. "Stay right where you are, Iolaus," he commanded.
The trouble was right where he was was the last place Iolaus wanted to be after his experience of two nights past. He tried to rise again. "IOLAUS!" The threat in the voice was unmistakable, especially when accompanied by a large hand thrusting him back. He lay still, clutching his aching arm, watching Hercules apprehensively. "Right, now that we've got that settled, I want you to tell me what's going on."
"What do you mean, Herc?"
"You know damn well!"
"No, I don't!"
"Iolaus, stop lying! You've never been any good at it. Now tell me!"
Hearing the catch in Iolaus' voice, Hercules looked at the hunter's pale face and brimming eyes and was suddenly stricken with remorse. He tried again in a much softer tone, "Please, Iolaus, we've always been honest with each other." Hearing the softer note, which was the tone Hercules had usually used towards him before the distressing events, Iolaus could hold back no longer and tears began to run down his face. Hercules was aghast. Surely the hunter wasn't afraid of him. "Please tell me the truth, Iolaus...I won't hurt you."
"But I...But I might hurt you. I don't want to...to hurt you, Herc."
"The truth doesn't hurt as much as lies, Iolaus."
"It m-might in this case."
"I'd still prefer it."
"All right. C-Can I sit up please?" The demigod nodded. He sat down in a chair beside the bed and Iolaus recounted events. He started by explaining what the woman had done as he thought recounting events in that order might make it easier on his friend. He stressed that what he was going to say would upset Hercules, but that he knew it wasn't his fault. He hesitated and then said, "Th-The woman d-didn't anticipate you'd come into m-my room..." He trailed off unable to continue.
Hercules looked at him in some confusion. "And?" he asked. Iolaus put his head down. All Hercules could see was mop of golden curls, but he was aware that his friend was shaking. He put out a gentle hand and raised his friend's face. It was awash with tears. Seeing Iolaus' anguish, Hercules began to grasp the truth. In a voice that was little more than a whisper, he said, "Iolaus, I didn't...I didn't...did I?"
Iolaus nodded and lowered his head again, covering his face with his left hand so that he would not have to see his friend's reaction. Hercules was in a state of shock. He realized he didn't need the hunter to provide more details as he could recall everything vividly. "Iolaus, I don't know..." He couldn't go on.
Hearing the note of despair in his friend's voice, Iolaus forced himself to explain how Xena came to know of events, adding, "I'm sorry, Herc, I d-didn't have any choice but to tell her because...because otherwise s-she would have gone to you. I-I d-didn't know about the drug then, but I knew there was something wrong and I wanted...to find out what. When we found out, she thought I should tell you, but...but I thought...I thought...I shouldn't...I didn't want to upset you. It wasn't your fault."
Hercules felt his eyes filling with tears as he listened to this. "I-I don't know what to say, Iolaus. I'm so sorry and I don't...don't know how I can..."
Iolaus interrupted. "Herc, you don't have to say anything, I know you couldn't help it." He slid off the bed and put his good arm around the demigod, hugging him against his chest. Then he stepped back and looked at his friend. "I don't...I don't know that I sh-should say this, Herc, but...but you said you wanted honesty and...and it might make you feel less guilty..." He hesitated, afraid to go on and afraid not to.
"What is it, Iolaus?"
"Herc, you...you must know I-I've always...loved you. If you'd asked me for sex I would...I would have said...I would have said...yes."
Hercules was speechless. He stared at the hunter. Iolaus felt a cold hand clutch his heart. I've really blown it now, he thought. "I'm sorry, Herc, I thought...it might help and I-I've made things worse." He started to move blindly towards the door.
His passage was suddenly arrested by a large hand that shot out and grasped his right arm. Pain shot through him, but a moment later was forgotten as the demigod pulled him into his arms. He gazed wonderingly into Hercules' eyes and to his joy could see nothing but love. He put out a tentative hand and stroked Hercules' face, feeling the wetness of tears. Then, without conscious thought his mouth was on Hercules', and both experienced the sweetest kiss they'd ever known. Naturally one thing led to another and they soon found themselves enjoying what was for both the most erotic experience they'd ever had.
They were both so engrossed that neither heard the door quietly open as the Warrior Princess gave in to a concern and curiosity that she could no longer resist. She smiled to herself as she closed it again, thinking, This is one story Gabrielle will never hear and one ending she'd never have anticipated.
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