For Love of Steel

Part III


Usual folks - I don't own them, I just play with them. I make no money on this, just having fun.

And my usual heartfelt thanks to Euphonius for the editing help.

For three days they walked slowly. Iolaus was very quiet about what he had gone through, and Hercules, for once, didn't push him to talk about it. The demigod knew that when the hunter was ready, he would broach the subject. He gave his lover room.

Iolaus, on the other hand, was worried. Hercules had been extremely distant, barely touching him. Although he would hold him gently every night, the demigod never attempted to even kiss him. Was he still disgusted by what he had seen at Aquilla's?

Late one afternoon, as they were slowly making their way up a riverbank, Iolaus overextended himself and when he tried to push up with one leg, nearly screamed in pain. He was going over backwards and there was no way to stop it. It was about a thirty-foot drop and the hunter was futilely pinwheeling his arms trying to get his balance back.

Hercules turned and reacted instinctively. He got a purchase on Iolaus' vest and pulled his soulmate close to his chest, bringing his free arm around him to steady him.

Iolaus held on tightly for a moment. As soon as his balance returned and the pain subsided, he opened his eyes.

"Are you okay?" the demigod asked.

"Yeah. Thanks, buddy," Iolaus whispered, as they both looked back down at the river moving swiftly beneath them, rocks marking the edges of the its path. The hunter took a shaky breath, but didn't release his grip on the demigod's waist. He gently laid his head against the broad chest, finding comfort in the contact.

Iolaus looked back up and saw Hercules staring at him intently. The demigod had only fractionally loosened his grip on his hunter, and as he lowered his head, Iolaus welcomed his lips as they closed over his. He was soon lifted clear of the ground. He wrapped his legs around Herc's hips to take the pressure off his healing back.

However, Hercules put him down somewhat abruptly and propelled him up the slope, suggesting they start climbing again.

When they reached the road, Iolaus turned on his companion. "We have to talk about this. Can we stop early tonight?"

"Whenever you're ready."

They set camp early and as they sat across the fire from each other. Iolaus began, "Herc, I think you have the wrong idea. What Aquilla was doing in the end was not something I like. It didn't start that way."

"Why don't you tell me what happened," Hercules prompted. He knew Iolaus was going to have a hard time with this, especially with his fierce loyalty to the demigod. What could have pushed him into becoming a man's willing body slave?

"Uh, okay," Iolaus replied, realizing he had barely mentioned the subject.

Despite his shame over what had happened, he told his lover everything, the fight, being sold for damages, the beatings he had been subjected to, how Aquilla had manipulated him, his giving in to the landowner's demands he service him sexually, and finally he admitted to his eventual willingness in doing it.

"But then it changed," he went on "He started to -- to humiliate me, hurt me. Then when you showed up, well, this would have happened to me anyway. When you came, the timeline just got sped up. I hadn't realized Aquilla was so twisted. He kept that side hidden from me."

"Iolaus, first of all, I love you and I am glad you are back with me." He brushed his honey-hued hair back in an achingly familiar gesture, his eyes meeting the hunter's. "But -- I know you accuse me of only seeing black and white at times, so I think you need to explain the grey here, because -- I really don't understand."

"Can I come over there and tell you?"

Hercules nodded. In fact, he ached to hold his hunter, and to love him, but in consideration for what the blond hero had been through, he was doing his utmost not to push or frighten him.

Iolaus leaned against the other man, sighing as his lover wrapped him up in his arms. "Do you remember when we were kids and you and I would wrestle?"

"We still do that."

"Uh-huh. Ever notice I like it when you pin me?" There was a pause. "And have you noticed how I really like it when you get strong with me, and take control when we're having sex?"

"Like after a fight?"

The blond curls bobbed up and down.

"Yep," Iolaus confirmed. "I like it when you're strong with me. I like it when you take control."

"But he hurt you. I won't hurt you," Hercules said, filtering everything through what he had experienced in that town: the marks on Iolaus' body and how he had seen his best friend chained to a bed in Aquilla's room, being forced to beg for sexual release.

"I never said I wanted to be hurt," the hunter clarified. "That's the grey area. Hercules, I -- there's a difference between being strong and hurting someone. I like someone strong with me. Aquilla saw that, but he also likes hurting people." He turned to meet his lover's eyes. "Am I going to lose you over this? 'Cause if I am, I'll leave it alone right now."

Hercules stared into the hunter's worried eyes. He wrapped the small blond up tightly against him, and assured him,

"I won't walk out on you, I promise. I want to understand and I don't." At the hunter's doubt-filled gaze, the demigod continued, "Love, we have discussed everything from manure to the weather to how to fight and everything in between. Talk to me, tell me about it, because I don't know how much longer I can go on like this."

"I'm afraid, Herc. I'm as afraid as the night I told you I loved you. And I'm just as afraid you'll walk out," Iolaus whispered, staring into the darkness.

"Did I walk out that night?" The mop of blond hair shook back and forth. "Give me a little credit here."

"You said you didn't know if you could go on like this."

"I meant without sex. I've pretty much done without for a while here, buddy, and that kiss today almost did me in." Hercules chuckled. "Then having to watch your ass as you climbed that hill -- You're lucky your pants are still in one piece."

"If it were the way I wanted it, Herc, you would have gone on and taken me," Iolaus said very quietly, pulling his lover's arms around him.

"But you're still hurt."

"Ah, my back's sore and well, yeah, I'm a little hurt, but -- you haven't even kissed me."

"Then what was that on the hillside?"

"A pretty good start." Iolaus smiled a challenge at his lover. Hercules smiled down at him, but then stopped as he once more took in the bruising and whip marks on the hunter's golden body.

"Are you sure?"

"Oh yeah, please. I need to know you love me."

"C'mere, lover," came the growled response. Strangely enough, even though Hercules wanted to make this special, he sensed the hunter needed something from him and let the hunter take the lead. However, Iolaus' lead was to pleasure Hercules. He noticed a surrender in the hunter's kisses. He groaned, later when Iolaus took him in his mouth and tortured him.

"You want me to be strong?" Hercules asked, lifting the blue eyes of his lover to his.

"I want you tonight. I want you."

Hercules was as gentle with the hunter as he could be, especially when he began to enter him. He heard the gasp.

"Are you okay?" he asked, prepared to stop if he had to.

"I'm fine. Now would you please -- oh gods!" Iolaus cried, as the demigod slid deeply into him and that familiar hand took his cock and began to milk it, as only Hercules knew how. "More!" was all Iolaus could say as he and his lover joined in their ancient rhythm, knowing what the other needed without speaking.

Iolaus was soon writhing, meeting the demigod, bucking. His hand joined the one that was stroking him. "Hercules!" he cried, as he offered himself to his lover.

Hercules joined him in ecstasy only a moment later.

Afterwards, they lay curled up in each other's arms.

"Thank you," Iolaus whispered. "I needed that." He caressed the huge arms around him.

"Love, talk to me," was the coaxing response. "I'll try to understand."

"I have a better idea." Iolaus curled up on Herc's shoulder. "Tomorrow, I want you to think of us making love. A fantasy where you're strong with me. I'll do the same thing, and then we'll share them and you can see the difference in what you see and what I see."

"Excuse me?"

"Oh, come on. You think about us having sex when we're apart, don't you?"

"Well, yeah," the demigod admitted.

"I want you to come up with a scene where we're having sex."

"Like what Aquilla did to you?" He was still seeing things through the twisted filter of what the landowner.

Iolaus rolled over and shook his head. "No." His voice was firm and strong. "I want you to think about how you would be strong with me, not what you saw, not what you heard, not what you think I want to hear. I want you, my lover, my best friend, to think about being strong with me." Hercules was getting that glazed look again. "Okay, I'll get it started. Remember when we took that vacation a while back and went up to that mountain valley?"

"Yeah, with the big lake."

Iolaus nodded. "Now, it's early evening and either I go swimming, or we both go swimming together. That's where I want you to start, then plan the rest of the day or evening."

"You're going to do this too?"


"And then we will compare stories?" Iolaus nodded. "Okay. But!" the demigod said, raising a finger. "There is something I want you to do for me."

"Which is?" Iolaus asked, with that challenging look on his face, like when he came up with a new fighting stance.

"You have to promise to quit getting up at night," Hercules said, stroking his lover's face. "Stop running when it hurts. I know you're having nightmares. I want to be there for you, and it hurts me when you won't let me help." He watched the hunter lower his head and try to mumble some excuse. "Iolaus, I am not stupid. You've barely slept since we got you out of Aquilla's."

"I didn't want to wake you up."

"I'd rather wake up with you in my arms, than with you sitting on the other side of the fire, hurting by yourself."

"Okay, I promise." He put his head back down on Hercules' shoulder.

"I'm sorry I left you there, with Aquilla, for so long. I should have walked you out," Hercules said quietly to his lover, feeling guilty over what he had left the hunter to face by himself. "Really, I should have killed him."

"We made it out together. That's all that matters."

They were quiet for a moment, listening to the sounds of the night. Then Hercules said uncertainly, "These - uh - stories we're going to make up? Am I supposed to include the sex in this? I mean, the actual sex?"

"That's kinda the point, Herc."


The next morning was beautiful. Athough they had awakened several times due to Iolaus' nightmares, the hunter had slept more that night than on the previous ones.

Hercules had woken up prior to Iolaus, but lay still, stroking his lover's hair, listening to his breathing and thinking about this strong thing.

He wasn't sure exactly what Iolaus wanted, but he thought back to their occasional wrestling matches, and the few times Iolaus had talked him into sex right after a fight. He'd always felt guilty about the bruises on the hunter's body afterwards, but Iolaus never seemed to mind them.

He tucked an arm under his head, continuing to stroke the golden strands. That was one of his biggest fears; hurting the hunter himself. Iolaus held his heart and his very life in his hands; it would kill Hercules to hurt him.

He thought again about their wrestling in the barn and blushed, remembering the look on Deianeira's face when she'd caught them at it. Sometimes he wondered if she had known even then that Hercules had loved the hunter. Or the times Iolaus had pushed him into a fight, and it had become sexual. His hunter did seem to enjoy that. In the valley, swimming with Iolaus, he could see that and he could see Iolaus getting playful.

They walked quietly that day. Iolaus just watched the demigod and said nothing.

"Are you ever going to start talking to me again?" Hercules called quietly. "Or walking beside me, instead of hiding behind me?"

"I'm not hiding."

"Yes, you are. Iolaus, I am not ashamed of you, I am not mad at you or anything else along those lines. However, " the demigod stressed the word. "I would like you next to me, so I can talk to you, see you and maybe even touch you. So get up here."

Iolaus caught up with him. Hercules put his hand on his friend's shoulder.

"Hey, Herc," the smaller man asked, "where are we going anyway?"

"Corinth. Iph invited us, so I thought the long walk would do us some good."

"Oh great, Iphicles. Just the person I want to face," Iolaus grumbled. "Do you realize what he's gonna be like? I mean, I know he's your brother, but sometimes he is one major --"

"Pain in the ass," Hercules finished for him. "I know, but don't worry about Iph. I'll deal with him."

They trudged on in silence.

"Your mom's cooking would be good," Iolaus offered.

Hercules started laughing. "At least she wouldn't cook rabbit every other night."

"Hey, I have an idea! Let's you, me, and Jason go boar hunting."

"You are not up to a boar hunt."

"I will be by the time we get to Corinth."

"We'll see," the demigod stated, noncommittally.

That evening as the sun started to pass below the tree line, the two heroes set camp. Iolaus dug around in his pack, pulling out a small flask of wine. He handed it to the demigod, who just looked at it with a question in his eyes. "Go ahead, take it. I talked Finias out of it before we left."

Hercules took a long pull at the skin of wine, feeling nervous about what they were about to discuss. "Are we going to --?"

"Yep," Iolaus confirmed. The hunter also took a long drink, but he more or less just wanted to relax a bit. He wanted Hercules to seriously unwind. "But there's no hurry. Whenever you're ready." He handed the flask back to his companion and turned the rabbit on the spit. He watched, amused, as Hercules took a long drink.

When the wine was done and the rabbit eaten, Iolaus settled back against Herc's shoulder.

"You first," he prompted. He felt Hercules take an uneasy breath.

"Well, I see us swimming, and you start goofing off, trying to dunk me under water, so I pick you up and kiss you, but instead of giving in, you wiggle out of my arms and take off for shore, daring me to catch you." Iolaus could easily imagine this happening. He always enjoyed it when he finally got Herc's ego involved in a fight. "I almost have you until you hit the shore and take off into the trees."

"You're in trouble now, big guy," Iolaus added.

"Yeah, but you really want to be caught, so it isn't too hard." Hercules chuckled. "I make a grab for you and we both go down. You're still trying to get away, but I have a hold of your ankle and I pull you back to me."

"Go on."

"Then I look down in your eyes and I see it, you want me, so I push you down and kiss you, and you're there. I mean, pushing at me, touching me. We go on and I take the top, and -- uh--"

"Do you like it when I touch you?"

"I love it. I love the feel of your hands on me." He kissed Iolaus' head. "Now, you tell me."

"Okay." The hunter took a deep breath. "I went at it a little different. I go swimming after dinner, and I know you're watching me. As I come out of the water, I see you staring at me. " He paused. "You do that a lot, you know. Why?"

"When you've been swimming?" Hercules felt the nod. "'Cause the water's dripping off your hair and body and you look like some sort of water nymph. You look sexier than I've ever seen you. Only time you're better is when you first wake up in the morning."

Iolaus filed those two bits of information away, and continued, "Anyway, as I come out, you're staring at me like I'm dinner. I walk into camp and you just keep staring at me. I spread out on the ground, using the excuse that I want to get dry before I get dressed, but really it's so you can stare at me, because -- because I like it when you look at me like that." He settled himself against Hercules again. "So, I'm lying there and I glance over and you're still staring at me and I start to get hard."

"I am," Hercules murmured.

"Me, too," Iolaus said, turning his head to the demigod and being kissed. "Let me finish, big guy." Hercules relaxed back against the tree he was leaning on. "Well, we both know what's going on, but you just keep staring at me, and then you whisper 'Go ahead' and I reach down and take myself in my hand and start to stroke myself. I know you're watching and it makes me even harder that I'm doing it for you." They both shift their positions. "Soon, I'm really hard and I'm starting to get close. You watch me as I put my feet down and start to pump. I can't help it, Herc, I've got to get myself off, 'cause you're hard and you want me and you're watching me." Iolaus knew they were both hard in their pants right now, as Hercules listened to his fantasy.

"Then just before I'm there, you tell me to stop. I don't want to, I want to cum, but I do as you say. Then you stretch your legs out, open your pants and call me over." He felt Hercules tighten below him. "Gods, Herc, I'm so hard. But I move over to you and you pull yourself out and say 'suck me' and I do. I do my best, biting and licking, just the way you like it. You sink your hand in my hair and start to push into my mouth, and my cock is so hard, because you're doing it, you're being strong with me and I love it." Iolaus turned and kissed Hercules and felt himself drawn farther up the demigod's chest. "I love the way you taste and feel," he mumbled as he and the demigod began to attack each other. "I'd want you inside me so bad, want to feel you sliding into me, but you aren't letting go of my hair and I keep taking you deep." Hercules' hand slid to the front of his pants and the hunter moaned. "I want you, Herc, I want to be yours." He kissed the demigod, pushing at the hand covering his pants.

Then Hercules pulled away. "Finish," he growled.

Iolaus took a moment to get his breath and to figure out where he was. "You come in my mouth, and I'm a little upset, because I'm still hard, but you pull me up to you, and roll me under you and start touching me. I'm so hard that I'm aching, but you won't touch my cock; anything and everything but that. Soon, you have me asking, begging, pleading. Then you roll me over and tell me to get on my hands and knees. I do it, I need it, and you love me when I need you."

"You're right, I do."

"Then so slowly, you slide a finger into me, holding my hips back against you so I can't move." Iolaus' breathing became faster than usual. "I can't move. You open me, holding me close, making me ready to take you inside me, because I can feel you getting hard again. And my cock is just hanging there, hard, weeping, and then, oh gods, Hercules, you start to push inside me, and I start bucking. I feel myself stretching around you and it burns, but you just keep pushing into me."

"Iolaus," came the whispered groan from the demigod.

"Then when you're deep, you use your knees and spead my legs that last bit and push deep, but you hold still, and you won't let me move. You lean over me, covering me with your body, and whisper in my ear, 'Do you want me, Iolaus?' real low and deep. And then you just put your hand around my cock, running your thumb over the crown and oh, yeah, I want you, I need you. 'Please Herc, take me,' I answer and you start pushing in and out of me, stroking that spot deep inside me, but you won't let me move. You start to stroke my cock, and --" Iolaus turned to Hercules and kissed him. "Take me, Herc. I need you to be strong with me."

With a growl, the demigod pushed Iolaus down and began to kiss and excite him. His huge hand covered the hunter's cock as it strained against his codpiece. Iolaus pushed into that hand, groaning.

"Please, Hercules."

"I'm here, lover."

Hercules pushed Iolaus' vest aside and latched onto one of the hunter's nipples, the sound of the other man's gasp hardening his own cock even further. The mental image of the hunter jerking himself off for Herc's enjoyment, begging him to take him, combined with his sexual denial, made the demigod frantic with need. He lifted the hunter's body to him, arching him like a bow, while his free hand worked the belts with practiced ease. Soon, he had the hunter's cock in his hand while he raped his mouth.

Then something went snap inside Hercules, and he got strong with his lover. He slowly rubbed his hand up and down Iolaus' erection. Forgetting his own need, he teased the hunter just like the blond loved to torture him. He let him feel the calluses on his hand as he aroused him to a fevered pitch. Then he laid the hunter down and slowly took him into his mouth. Hercules watched as Iolaus' finger bit into the dirt as he strained against the demigod.

"Is this what you want?" He asked as he paused in his ministrations.

"Yes, oh yes, Hercules, please! Fuck me!"

Hercules slid a finger into the hunter. He felt his lover groan, and push, and roughly opened him, still teasing him with his mouth.

"Herc, oh gods yes, take me, please!" The hunter's feet were flat on the ground as he pushed up into the other man's mouth again.

The demigod stopped abruptly. "Be still," he ordered.

As Iolaus struggled to obey, Hercules released his own belts and positioned himself to enter the hunter. With every movement slow and where Iolaus can see it, he got the oil and spread it over his own hard cock, slowly stroking it, shaking his hair back as the pleasure rushed through him.

"Oh, gods," Iolaus groaned, watching as his lover stroked himself.

Hercules gave him a stern glance and Iolaus fell silent, watching his own cock jumping as Hercules excited himself. Then the demigod lifted Iolaus' hips and, with a gentleness he had to concentrate on, he pushed himself into the hunter. He watched the blond's face as he writhed at his entrance to his body. He knew Iolaus well enough to realize how hard he was trying not to grab his own hardened manhood and stroke it.

Slowly, deliberately, Hercules buried himself in his partner. "Is this what you want, Iolaus?"

"Yes, fuck me, take me!" Iolaus' head twisted from side to side as the demigod impaled him on his cock.

Hercules watched his partner dig his fingers into the dirt, twist and lift himself to the invasion. Over and over, Hercules watched and realized he was enjoying the power he had over the hunter, to bring him pleasure, prolong it.

"Do you want me to beg you?!" Iolaus gasped.

"No." Visions of Aquilla rushed through the demigod's mind. Swiftly, he brought both himself and his golden lover to completion, stroking the cock between them until his hunter screamed out his name.

Later, as they lay curled up in each others arms, Hercules gently asked, "Did I hurt you?"

"No, you didn't hurt me love," Iolaus answered. "In fact, that was wonderful. Thank you."

The next day, as they slowly woke up, the two heroes moved silently around the camp.

"Is that what you want?" Hercules questioned.

Iolaus looked over at him and nodded. "Yeah, Herc. I love it when you're strong with me, and that's what you were last night." The blond came to stand in front of the other man. "Did you like it?"

There was silence for a moment.

"I'll have to watch my strength."

They walked in silence, Hercules carefully watching his lover for any signs of distress. Then he asked, "There's more, isn't there?" Iolaus nodded. "Tell me."

"You catch me flirting with a barmaid," Iolaus quietly began. "It makes you mad."

"That's not too farfetched," Hercules commented.

Iolaus smiled at him and lifted those eyebrows. "So, you walk up to us and I can see from your stride alone that you are angry, but you've been ignoring me all night, so --"

"You decide to be difficult," Hercules finished the sentence for him and was immediately rewarded with one of Iolaus' smiles.

"Just in my nature, Big Guy."

"Yeah, right."

"Anyway, so you put your hand on my shoulder and tell me it's time to go. But, like I said, you've been ignoring me and I just tell you to lay off. I turn back to the barmaid."

"I can see this real well."

"So you slide your hand around the back of my neck and tell me a little more firmly that it's time to go." Iolaus shrugged. "From there it can go two ways. I can do what you ask and leave with you, or --"

"You can ignore me."

"Which is what I do. Then you increase the pressure on the back of my neck, just enough to impress on me you aren't kidding, or you could force march me to our room, or --"

"I get the picture."

"Okay, so we go to the room, but by now, you are not only jealous, you're mad. I didn't do what you wanted. You give me a push into the room." Iolaus cast a measuring glance at his partner. "See Herc? There's more to this than just sex."


"Yeah, really. I know one of the reasons that you love me is that I know all about your strength and your reputation, and everything else, but I'll still laugh at you when you mess up. We both know you could break me in half without trying to, but I trust you with it. Same reason your strength excites me." Iolaus gave him that challenging look again.

"And here I thought you were different," Hercules said, laughing. "Another pretty face that just wants me for my strength."

"Oh yeah."

"What makes you so sure?"

"Last night, when you started using your strength and restraining me, you liked it," Iolaus said, staring levelly at his partner.

There was a long pause, while Hercules examined the scenery. "Yeah, okay, I did," he admitted. The hunter touched his arm and they faced each other.

"And I loved it," Iolaus confirmed. "Being helpless in the face of all this power is awesome, and you want nothing more than to control me."

Hercules met the light blue eyes for a moment. Then he turned and started walking again. "So go on, tell me more. What happens when we get to the room?"

Iolaus realized his partner was going to be a hard sell on this point. He hurried to catch up with him. "Well, now we have another turning point here. You could just push me in the room, or," the hunter drew it out, "you could be really angry and push me on the bed and tie me up," he finished quickly, staring at the ground and hoping Hercules wouldn't object to this new element.

"Which is more fun?" the demigod asked airily.

Iolaus knew full well that he was more interested than he was letting on. "They're both fun," he responded carefully.

"Okay, for now, I just push you in the room."

"Okay." Iolaus thought for a minute. "You push me in and close the door, locking it. I'm standing by the fire, the only light in the room. You can see I'm angry, but you don't really care, because I brought it on myself. I turn around to face you and ask you why you did that. You start walking towards me, getting angrier that I'm still not doing what you want. You stand over me, expecting that to make a difference, but I'm still mad. Why did you embarrass me that way?"

"Because I'm tired of your flirting," the demigod responded, altogether too quickly.

Iolaus nodded slightly. "And I'm tired of you ignoring me in public, acting like we don't care about each other. Do you think the people downstairs don't know? I want to be able to touch you in public."

"We've discussed this," the demigod said, not entirely sure whether they were still in Iolaus' story or discussing it for real.

"No, we haven't," the hunter declared. "You said we wouldn't, so that's how it's gonna be! I'm just supposed to accept that?"

When Hercules didn't answer him, Iolaus backed off to the story. "I reach out to touch you, try to explain how much it upsets me, but you grab my arm and say, 'One of us has to have the final say.' I try to pull away from you, but you aren't letting go. You exert pressure, enough pressure that I know you are having to control yourself, but I'm really mad now, and hiss, 'And I'm just supposed to accept that? Accept that you want me now, so I need to drop everything else?' We stare at each other for minute. What do you say now? How do you respond to that?"

Hercules stopped and turned to the hunter, staring down into the light blue eyes.

"I say, 'Yes,' you are just supposed to accept that." He reached down and took Iolaus by the arms, meeting his eyes. "Because if people know, you become more of a target then you already are, and I won't lose you because I love you." He pulled the smaller man tightly up against him, but what Iolaus noticed most was that they were on a public road.

Abruptly, Hercules released him, moving to the far side of the road. "I don't understand why the idea of being physically strong with you gets me so excited."

"I do," Iolaus answered easily. "As I said, you like to be in control." He hesitated for a moment, then went over to lay a hand on the other man's shoulder. "And Herc, I love it when you're like that."

The silence stretched between them until Hercules finally said, "Find a camp."

Iolaus nodded, heading into the line of trees alongside the road.

Later, as they sat by the fire, Iolaus sensed that Herc wanted and needed to think, so he kept his mouth shut.

"So tell me more," the demigod finally suggested, from where he sat across the fire.

"Where were we?" Iolaus asked, knowing full well where the story had been left, but wanting to hear Hercules' version.

"We were arguing over public displays of affection and your inability to keep your hands off busty barmaids."

"Oh, yeah," Iolaus said quietly. "You were holding my wrist, telling me I was supposed to accept that you had the final word."


The hunter noticed that Hercules was staring into the fire, not at him.

"You start to squeeze my wrist and you see the pain flash in my eyes. You push me away and I stumble, and end up sitting on the bed. I hadn't even realized it was behind me," Iolaus continued speaking quietly into the darkness, also staring into the fire. "You come at me, and say if I have a problem with it, I can just live with it, because you aren't going to suddenly start fawning on me in public, it's too dangerous. There isn't enough room for me to stand up and so I look up at you, and ask if you have any idea how hard it is to watch woman after woman throw themselves at you and not be able to object. How they can touch you and I can't. That I touch you now less than I did before we were lovers, because I'm worried you'll get mad."

"And I tell you, it's no harder than watching you keep up your 'Let's bed every woman in Greece' reputation."

"I just want people to know I'm yours. I need that."

"What?! You want me to put a collar on you? Do to you what that maniac did?" Hercules cried, rising to his feet.

"No. I just want you to admit that you want me. That when I go over the line, you pull me back. That you care enough to say, 'Iolaus, stop.' That you are strong enough to --"

"Stop," Hercules said suddenly, turning away from Iolaus. "I don't think we should do this."

Iolaus moved over to the demigod, who was now facing out into the darkness. "Why not, Hercules?"

"Because --" his voice drops almost to a whisper, "I might hurt you."

"That's not the real reason, Herc." Iolaus now stood directly behind him. He touched the demigod's back. "We both know, you won't hurt me."

Silence. The only sound was crickets and the crackling of the fire.

"Come on, Herc. We promised to tell each other the truth."

"Do you know what you are asking me to do? That's the Sovereign, that's Zeus, that's Ares!"

"No, it isn't," Iolaus answered intensely. "I am asking that you admit to yourself and to me that you want to do this and all the excuses about you hurting me, it isn't you, that you don't find it interesting, are lies. Tell me when I do something foolish, like getting in bar fights, you want nothing more than to yank me back and say no. That when I do flirt with barmaids, even though you know I'll be up to our room later on, it makes you want to snatch me up and take me right there in front of them." Hercules started to walk away from their camp. "That you like it when I am totally helpless in your arms, knowing I am yours," Iolaus called after him. "That you want to, but you're afraid of what you think it says about you."

The big man stopped, "Yeah, it tells me that there's more Olympian blood in me than I want to admit, that I'm like Aquilla."

"No. Being strong, dominant, doesn't mean you're twisted, anymore than my desire to submit to you makes me weak." Iolaus sought desperately to find the words that would get through to the other man. "Am I weak, Herc?" he said at last.


"Then come back to the fire."

"Iolaus, it's strong!"

"I know," the hunter replied calmly. "I trust you with it."

"I could hurt you."

"Yes, you could, but you won't." He walked up to the demigod with a smile on his lips. Hercules looked at him for a moment, and then forcefully pulled him against his chest, kissing him hard, letting his hands roam all over his body, roughly. When Iolaus tried to touch him, his hands were quickly restrained behind his back. Hercules raised his other hand and captured the hunter's head, holding it while he plundered his mouth. The blond hero struggled momentarily, but was soon pressed tightly against the demigod, his movements forced into stillness. He answered Hercules invading tongue, sucking on it, groaning, rubbing himself against his lover's leg.

Then Hercules released him, stepping back and turning his back.

"One night, Hercules," Iolaus asked softly, trying to keep calm. "That's all I'm asking. Try it for one night, and if it isn't something you want or that I want, we won't do it ever again."

"You aren't my slave!" Hercules responded angrily.

"I don't want to be your slave. I want to be yours."

"What's the difference?"

"The big difference is -- there's love," Iolaus soothed. "There's trust, and this is part of both of us." He looked up into the demigod's face, seeing the anxiety and indecision. "And you don't ever have to worry about me buying you a whip for winter solstice." He smiled at his own joke, lifting his eyebrows, knowing Herc never could resist that smile.

"I still don't understand," the other man said in a lost tone. "Iolaus, I'm not mean, I don't want to hurt you. I am not Aquilla or Ares. I hate it when Ares does things like that to people."

"I'm not asking you to be Ares. I'm only asking you to be Hercules." He led the confused demigod back to the fire. "Okay, come on. So there we are, I'm sitting on the bed mad, and you're standing over me. What do you think happens next?"

"Normally, I think I would apologize for being rough with you."

"Normally. But what is it that you really want to do?"

"I think I do this." He lifted Iolaus' face and kissed him deeply. Still holding the other man's chin, he whispered, "I have told you I don't like it when you flirt, and you know I am not going to touch you like that in public because I won't endanger your life. But here, now, you are mine, Iolaus, all mine."

"Yes, I'm yours," Iolaus responded eagerly, kissing him, pushing his chamois shirt off his wide shoulders and rubbing his hands over his lover's chest. "I am all yours. Make me yours, Hercules."

The demigod lowered him to their bedrolls, undressing him with the ease of long practice.

Iolaus knew his lover was fighting with thinking about what he was doing, just like he had had to do. He offered enough resistance to make him concentrate, but not enough to make him angry or falter. There wasn't anything he could do to stop it, and he didn't want to stop it. He moaned as Hercules opened him and then pushed himself into the hunter in one long slow stroke. He felt so full. He tried to rise to his hands and knees, but Herc's hand in the middle of his back held his chest to the ground. While he was pinned there, Hercules again forced his way into him, harder. Iolaus couldn't suppress the gasp as the demigod's cock put pressure on his prostate.

"More," Iolaus whispered, struggling briefly against the restraint. The pressure on his back only increased, and the demigod pushed into him again. He couldn't stop now if he wanted to. He tried to meet the strokes, rise up, get to his own aching cock, but his arms were pinned to the ground under his chest.

"You want more, you got it," Hercules growled, pushing harder, deeper, every stroke wringing a gasp or moan from the hunter. He knew Iolaus was hard and he wanted him that way. Again and again, he rode his lover hard.

"Touch me."

The hunter's plea barely made sense to his lust-clouded brain, but he leaned fully on the other man and then reached for his cock, beginning to milk it.

Iolaus lay there helpless, needing the demigod to get him off. Hercules came hard, even before his partner reached completion. The sounds of the hunter's cries of fulfilmment, even as he filled him with his essence, caused Hercules to drive himself even more deeply into his lover.

When Hercules finallly regained control of his senses, he was horrifed at the amount of strength he was using to keep Iolaus pinned to the ground. He quickly released the other man, gathering him into his arms and laying them both down.

"You didn't hurt me, Herc," Iolaus whispered, identifying the panicked motions of his lover. "You were just strong. You took me."

"Iolaus, you've got to stop pushing me this way. I didn't even know what I was doing."

"You're doing what feels right," Iolaus answered quietly. "I'll let you know if you go too far."

"You should have saved the wine for tonight," the demigod said, changing the subject because he was just too upset with his own actions to continue to discuss them.

Iolaus smiled that superior smile. Snagging his pack, he produced another flask of wine. "Smarter than you think, Big Guy!"

Hercules grabbed it from the hunter and downed a good portion. Iolaus took a sip and then kissed the demigod, allowing the wine to drain back into Hercules' mouth.

"Stop it, Iolaus, please."

"Alright, I'll leave you alone."

They lay there quietly after that. Hercules covered them with the blanket, trying to sort out the emotions he felt. He was so wrapped up in his own thoughts, he didn't realize that Iolaus barely drank any wine, but kept handing it back to him.

For his part, Iolaus felt almost guilty. Almost. He knew he was manipulating his beloved partner to some degree and that hurt his heart. However, he also knew if he didn't push past the demigod's fear of his own strength, this could well end right here. He didn't want that to happen, since Herc was so close to seeing the truth.

"Aren't you afraid of this?" Hercules finally asked.

"No, not really. You see, I know things you don't, buddy."

"Like what?"

"Do you remember when we were fighting in the barn and I was winning?"

"Oh, you mean the very beginning of the fight?" Hercules teased.

"Uh, yeah," Iolaus responded. "You were embarrassed and angry, but even then, you didn't hurt me. Tried to stuff me in a water barrel maybe, but you didn't hurt me. Then there was that time when Fortune messed with my memory; I tried to kill you and all you did was stand there. Why?"

"I knew you wouldn't --" There was a pause. The demigod looked over Iolaus' shoulder and met his eyes.

Iolaus nodded. "That's why I'm not afraid. You knew I wouldn't kill you and I know you won't hurt me."

Hercules lay flat on his back and stared up at the night sky. "I wish I were so sure."

Iolaus just let his lover think until they both fell asleep.

The hunter awoke to a strange sensation, but one that was strangely familiar.

"What?!" he cried as he tried to pull his hands down.

"Easy, buddy." Hercules smiled. "Remember, you're the one who claimed this was fun." The demigod's finger stroked down Iolaus' face.

"This you need to warn me about, Hercules!" the hunter cried, pulling at his hands which were tied to a log over his head. "Aquilla did this to me a lot," he explained, trying to still the pounding of his heart. It was okay. This was Hercules.

"You said do what feels right, and I want to explore."

"Fine, but next time, please don't wake me up this way".

"Okay, but you looked so tempting. You are so sexy when you're asleep," the demigod purred in his ear. "Want to know why I don't drink much, Iolaus? Hmm?" he asked, rolling the hunter onto his back. "Because that's when I've come the closest to raping that beautiful ass of yours." Slowly, he removed the blanket that covered the other man, as he added, "Closest to doing exactly what you asked. But at the time, I didn't know you wanted it so much."

Iolaus watched as Hercules took in his naked form. Although somewhat embarrassed at being displayed like this, he also found it extremely exciting.

"Oh, yeah," the demigod commented. "Yeah, that's it right there. I like that."

"Uh, Hercules?" Iolaus said, clearing his throat.

Hercules brought the flask of wine to his lips, almost draining it. Then he glanced at Iolaus.

"Open," he said and he poured the rest of the wine down the hunter's throat.

Iolaus was about to say something, when he felt his lover's hand cover his swelling cock.

"You said do what feels right," Hercules said. "This, my love, feels very right." He proceeded to explore every part of the hunter's anatomy, sometimes gently, sometimes not so gently. His teeth grazing Iolaus' face, avoiding his mouth, he bit and sucked on the other man's neck until the hunter was writhing against the bonds that held him.

"My sweet Iolaus, you're right. I do like you helpless," the demigod murmured, before moving father down the hunter's body. He suckled at Iolaus' nipples until they stood in hard nubs. Then he began to bite and rake his teeth over them.

"Be careful what you ask for, buddy. You just might get it," he whispered to his captive lover.

Iolaus couldn't help himself; he giggled. "I was just thinking the same thing." But his reply ended in a groan as Hercules wrapped his hand loosely around Iolaus' cock.

"That's it. That's what I want," Hercules murmured. "That look on your face when I'm giving you pleasure like no one else does. I like it when you're hot for me." Then his mouth enveloped the hunter's cock in one quick motion, causing Iolaus to jerk.

"Don't make me beg, Herc, not tonight," Iolaus cried, seeing visions of Aquilla in his mind.

As Hercules' hair brushed against his belly, with his arms restrained above his head, Iolaus realized several things. One, he did want this from his lover; two, he was almost helpless and he liked it, and three, you should not turn a very strong, somewhat denied lover onto domination and then hand him a flask of wine. Hercules was torturing him.

Hercules rolled him over onto his belly and lifted him to his knees, his hand once more seeking his partner's erection, continuing the slow torture. "You do like this, don't you?"

"Yes. Oh yes! Please, Herc, please," he panted. "I can't stand this." A rough hand carressed his ass while the other continued to tease his aching cock. "What do you want from me?" he cried in desperation.

"I want to hear you say it," the demigod growled.

Iolaus tried to think, but it was hard. "I'm yours, Hercules," he groaned. "All of me. I love you, Hercules." As the other man began to push into him, Iolaus pushed back against him, striving to ease his need. He heard a low chuckle.

"Did you ever say that for Aquilla?" A strange jealousy rose up in the demigod's mind.

"No, he never had my heart."

Pleased at the answer, he drove himself deeper, taking the hunter quickly. Iolaus came, groaning the demigod's name as his seed spilled on the ground. "I'm yours, Hercules."

The next morning, Iolaus couldn't help smiling at the way Hercules was acting like a virgin bride the morning after the wedding. He finally took his partner's hand and smiled at him. "It's still me, Herc. Still Iolaus, your little buddy, sidekick supreme."

Hercules nervously twitched his eyebrows and threw out a half-hearted smile.

"How's your head?" Iolaus asked.

"Uh - throbbing," Hercules admitted. "Do you want to stay here today or move on?"

"I'd like to open up a lot more distance between me and Aquilla," Iolaus said very honestly.

"Oh, hadn't thought about that. Okay, let's get moving then."

Iolaus was being so bad and he knew it. He hadn't made a single decision since they had left that town. He had left all the choices in Herc's lap, and the demigod was doing fine.

They hit the road together.

Later that afternoon, Hercules quietly asked, "Where did you find out about all this? I mean, if anyone had suggested this back at Chiron's Academy, you would have decked them."

Iolaus laughed at that picture. In fact, there were one or two bloody noses he'd never told Hercules about. "When I went to the east," he replied.

"You ever going to tell me about that?"

"Not much to tell. I left Greece. I went over the mountains into another land where my blond hair and blue eyes were as unusual as Hera being compassionate."

"Can we just keep certain Olympians out of this conversation? Unless you want them showing up."

"Nope, not particularly, Big Guy." Iolaus smiled, but glanced around nervously. The last thing he wanted was the gods on Olympus getting wind of this. "I met a group of men and got in a fight with one of them. I beat the first and second guy, but the third was much more skilled then I was. I ended up on my knees with my head being held down and I really thought he was going to cut my head off. But I said something, I don't even remember what, something like go ahead, it took three of you to beat me, and he started laughing." Iolaus looked up into the demigod's eyes. "He took me home and started training me. I learned the language and how they fought, and I lived there until the pain of Ania and all that faded. Then I came home."

Hercules nodded, reaching out and stroking the face of his beloved hunter, recalling how hard that year had been on him without his best friend around. "I missed you," he said softly.

"And I missed you too, Hercules," the hunter said, looking down. "But when Ania died, I felt like part of me had been ripped out. I needed the time."

"So go on," Hercules said, as they started walking again.

"Well, one night I was practicing. The swords they have -- you wouldn't believe them! I mean, sharp, and--"


Apparently, distraction was not going to be an option. "Okay, so I was practicing and the guy who had fought with me, well, he came in and beat me into the ground. I mean, wiped me out like my first day at Cheiron's." Iolaus smiled and shook his head at the memory. "Then he picked me up by my hair and began to point out each and every mistake I made, at the same time slapping me across the face with his fan. By the time he was finished, I was hard," Iolaus mumbled, staring off into the brush. He glanced up at Hercules and saw the surprised look on his face.

"He wasn't trying to hurt me, just impress on me that I still had a lot of room for improvement," Iolaus explained, nervously.

Hercules lifted that eyebrow.

"Okay," Iolaus continued, realizing this was going to be more difficult than he had thought. "So then he tells me to kneel, which isn't that unusual over there, a sign of respect." The blond warrior decided that watching the road right in front of his feet would be good. "So I did, and he just stood there for a moment and asked if it made me harder." Maybe the brush by the side of the road again.


"It did." No, the horizon was better. He would stare at the horizon. "So then he took my sword and faced me. We spent a good portion of the night discussing it." Nope, the brush on the side of the road was the best.

"And how did that conversation go?"

"A lot like ours last night. Just because I was submissive sexually didn't mean I was weak. In fact, he told me I was one of the best swordsman and hand to hand fighters he had," Iolaus said. "The next day he took me to one of the older men, Dijan. Dijan was a swordmaster. I mean this guy could take on 10 amazons and win, Herc. Anyway, he and I sat in his garden and we talked. I found out that Dijan was the same way. It was kinda nice. To know it wasn't like what my father said, that I wasn't just a pretty little boy who was weak." He took a deep breath and looked at his partner. "Then he took me to Cho."


"Master Cho and Dijan -- they taught me, showed me what I am." Iolaus lifted his eyebrows. "I think that's why Aquilla had such an easy time with me. You see, Cho never humiliated me." He sighed heavily. "Cho would never have sent me anywhere like Aquilla did, or displayed me like that, but I trusted myself to someone I didn't know. Cho understood the spirit, the heart and the balance. Aquilla knew how to destroy. If you had come after me while I was with Cho, he would have let me go, or invited you in and taught you."

"What would he have taught me, Iolaus?"

"Who and what you are," the blond warrior said quietly.

Hercules left him alone for a while.

They walked along in companionable silence, Hercules thinking over the last two nights, and Iolaus thinking of his time in the east, the way they had shown him it could be so --beautiful, that the giving of oneself was a great act of courage, trust and love. Then his thoughts plummeted to Aquiilla. His steps started to lag and a deep crease appeared between his eyebrows.

Hercules brought him back to the present by asking, "So, you still want to go on a boar hunt?"

The conversation flowed easily for the rest of the day.

That evening, as they stopped in at a town, they ate downstairs in the main room. A barmaid smiled at Iolaus and he instinctively smiled back. He caught Herc's stare, but it was too late. The barmaid became bolder in her advances.

Finally Hercules said to her, "I suggest you try your luck somewhere else."

"I don't remember having to ask your permission," the woman replied saucily.

"He's not interested."

"And he told you that?" she responded, hands on her hips, her voice getting loud.

Hercules saw Iolaus cringe as several people stared at them He held his silence until the others looked away and then he gently covered Iolaus' hand on the table. "Yes," he answered quietly.

"Is that the way it is, then?" she asked the hunter, who was desperately trying to keep from leaping to his feet and letting loose with a whoop of joy.

He nodded. She turned and left the table with an audible sigh of frustration.

When they got to their room, Hercules turned to the hunter with a very self-satisfied expression on his face.

"Happy now?" he asked.

Iolaus nodded.

"I considered trying to suck your tonsils out in front of her" the demigod added mischievously, "but I thought that might be a little much."

"Just a bit," Iolaus responded, with a smile growing across his face. He wrapped his arms around his lover and pressed his face against the broad chest, hiding the tears that had come to his eyes. "Thank you, I didn't mean to --"

"Iolaus, I fell prey to that smile of yours, so how can I blame others for the same thing?" Then he lifted the hunter's face. "But you are mine."

Iolaus nodded happily as Herc's lips claimed his and strong arms tightened around him.

"I mean it, love," the demigod added.

Iolaus gently answered, "I hope so."

Slowly they made their way to the bed, with Iolaus ultimately being lifted in Hercules' arms. "I love you, Herc. I trust you with this."

"It's strong, Iolaus. I want to throw you down and rape you sometimes."

"Do what feels right," Iolaus said, kissing the demigod, drawing his tongue into his mouth, biting on his lips.

Hercules pushed the hunter's vest off his shoulders and laid him on the bed. His big hands caressed the hunter's bare chest. He was glad to see that the bruises were almost gone.

"Sweet, Iolaus, so sweet," he whispered as he removed his own shirt and joined the hunter on the bed. They made slow love that night, the kind that left Iolaus breathless and covered in sweat as Hercules teased him and enjoyed him. They lay entwined in each others arms, neither rushing to finish, touching, stroking, teasing.

Then Hercules caught Iolaus' chin. "Anything I ask?"


"Take me," Hercules asked with a kiss.

Iolaus smiled and kissed him back, stroking the curve of his lover's face. "Roll over."

The next day as they walked along the road, they both heard the noises and smiled at each other. Six men jumped out of the woods and demanded their money. After sharing insults for a few minutes, the battle was on. Iolaus enjoyed it immensely, the first fight he had been in since that night with Cassius.

However, when he finished with the last one and they ran into the woods, Hercules grabbed his arm roughly. "Don't ever do that again!"

"What?" he asked. "I was fine, buddy."

"Your guard was open four times. Don't you dare endanger your life for roadside thugs! We face enough dangers without letting some trash like that kill you!"

"Okay, Big Guy, ease up. You're hurting me." Iolaus said.

Hercules minutely loosened his grip on Iolaus arm, and then kissed him, pulling him close. "I won't lose you that way, Iolaus."

"Okay, love. I'll be more careful," he responded, knowing Hercules was being honest about how he felt for once in his life.

However, Iolaus was taken by surprise when Hercules led him into the woods there and then and began to strip his clothes off.

"I thought you liked this?" Hercules asked, as his hands went to his belt.

"Huh?" Iolaus responded, just a bit dumbfounded.

Hercules smiled. Slipped his thumbs into his waistband, he strode towards the hunter.

"Come here, lover," he whispered in a very predatory tone.

Iolaus smiled his 'I'm in trouble' smile and looked left and right.

"Oh, no you don't." One big hand caught him behind the neck and pulled him close.

As Herc's tongue invaded his mouth, Iolaus realized there was nothing gentle about this. He felt the demigod roughly stroke the front of his pants, then his hands began to strip the belts off the blond, all the while holding the hunter's head in one hand.

Hercules shoved him against a tree and pushed his leg between Iolaus' thighs, firmly pressing against Iolaus' erection. The hunter groaned.

"Yeah, want me, buddy?" the demigod asked, pushing his own straining member against the smaller man's belly.

"You know I do."

Hercules swung him around to face the tree and he pushed against it as the other man skillfully and quickly removed both of their pants. Iolaus heard Hercules spit.

"Ready?" came the low growl.

"Yes." Iolaus couldn't suppress a groan as his partner pushed deeply into him. "Oh gods, Hercules!"

"You are so good, Iolaus."

"Fuck me, Herc. I need you!" Iolaus cried, as the demigod took his time stroking in and out of him. Then Hercules latched onto his neck as he continued his attack on the hunter.

"You need me, lover?"

"Yes, I can't move. I need you, Hercules, please." Iolaus felt safe enough to do this. "Please Herc, please I need you, fuck me, take me. I'm yours, whatever you want."

He heard Hercules growl and soon they were both panting, spent and satisfied.

The next morning, Iolaus awoke to blue eyes, and smiled up at his lover.

"Morning," he mumbled.

"Morning," Hercules replied, and then stared out across the camp. "I've decided what I'm going to do."

"What?" Iolaus asked, still more asleep than awake.

Hercules fought to keep a straight face, really hoping he didn't get hurt for this.

"I'm gonna ask Ares for lessons," he said, nodding sagely.

Iolaus was in front of him in a heartbeat.

"WHAT?!" he all but screamed. "The hell you are!" Then he saw the smile. "Oh gods, I'm gonna kill you, beat you up so bad that they never identify your body," Iolaus threatened as he collapsed against the chuckling demigod. "You are not even to think about this in Ares' presence, do you understand me!"

Hercules just laughed harder.

"Not funny, Herc. Do you have any idea what he could do to me, to us, with that knowledge?"

"I'm sorry, buddy. I just couldn't resist." Iolaus pulled away from him. "I was teasing, Iolaus. C'mere," Hercules said, gathering the hunter up in his arms and hugging him gently. "I promise I won't even tell Aphrodite," he teased once more.

Iolaus was not comforted by that comment. "Just for that, you can get breakfast," he said, pretending to be miffed.

"Fine, we'll have nuts, fruit --"

"Never mind, I'll catch fish." Iolaus stood up, then looked around in consternation. "What did you do with my pants?" Hercules gave him an evil smile. "Hercules!" Iolaus warned.

"Ask for 'em."

"You are going just a tad overboard with this," he replied sternly.

Hercules held out Iolaus' breechclout, with a positive gleam in his eyes. Iolaus gave him a look that should have caused several trees to burst into flame.

"Oh, but lover, you look good," Hercules responded with an innocent grin, as his eyes dropped to Iolaus' groin. He lifted his eyebrows and growled, "Real nice."

"I hate it when you wake up in a playful mood, Herc. Now give me my PANTS!"

"You did say 'anything', Iolaus."

"That was before you turned into a slightly twisted meglomaniac." He held out one hand. "My pants."

"Nope," Hercules said, standing up.

Iolaus recognized the predatory look come into the demigod's eyes. "Herc, if I have to run with no pants on, there will be no fun and games - period," Iolaus responded, edging towards the trees.

"Well, maybe not for you."

Iolaus never even cleared the tree line, before Hercules had him on the ground.

"Hercules!" Iolaus protested, just before he gave in to the demigod's demanding lips.

As Iolaus panted on his hands and knees, he asked, "Can I have my pants now?"

"Can't keep you naked, huh?" Hercules asked.

"Give me my damn pants!"

They appeared in front of the hunter.

All that day they walked, sharing in teasing conversation and laughing.

At one point, Iolaus sidled up next to Hercules and slid an arm around the demigod's waist. He got a quick squeeze and then a swat on his rear end.

"So, you calmer about this now, Herc?" he asked.

"In a way. I'm still worried I'm gonna hurt you sometimes." He looked at Iolaus. "What did Dijan and Cho do?"

Iolaus scratched his head. "Kinda hard to explain, Big Guy. Once I quit fighting with myself and with them, they helped me explore myself."


"Yeah. You try discovering you aren't the strong one sexually and see if you don't fight."

"Ah, but I am the strong one."

"I can hurt you, buddy."

The closer they came to Corinth, the better things got between them. Then they stopped in at the forge, in Thebes.

"Man, we need to do some work here," Hercules mumbled, as they walked into the house.

"Why don't we stay here tonight?" Iolaus suggested. "I'll run into town and get some supplies and we can stay here. I mean, I'm really kinda tired. Yeah, let's stay here."

Hercules leaned against the wall and crossed his arms.

"You're too tired to go on to Mother's, but not too tired to go into Thebes?"

"Uh, yeah," Iolaus responded with his back to the other man. That had been a flimsier excuse than he had thought.

"Uh-huh," the demigod said. "What are you up to?"

"A surprise," Iolaus replied, turning around. "Come on, Herc, please. Clean up a little around here. I'll get some food and stuff from town and we can spend the night here. Please." He flashed his best smile.

Hercules stared at him for a moment and then nodded. "Okay, fine. It would be nice not having to sleep on the ground for a change, or wonder what our neighbors were thinking."

"Great! Make sure the tub is fixed," Iolaus called, as he shot out the door.

Hercules shook his head, but started straightening out the house.

Iolaus shopped with due haste and a light heart. He picked up several very special items.

He was very secretive when he got back to the house and shooed Hercules outside.

"And what am I supposed to do out here?"

"I don't know, check the barn roof or something. Just don't come in until I call you."

When Iolaus did call him, Hercules climbed down. He had been coming up with more and more colorful epithets for the golden hunter. As he approached the house, he got a smile from Iolaus, who stood there stripped to the waist, his damp hair brushed and sparkling in the sun.

"I love a man at work," Iolaus quipped, swatting the demigod's butt as he walked past.

"Well, at least one of us had a chance to bathe," Hercules complained.

"Chill out, Big Guy. Come on, I got a surprise for you."

Hercules walked through the forge and stopped as they entered the house itself.

Iolaus smiled and lifted his eyebrows, gesturing grandly towards the kitchen area. "For you."

Hercules looked at dinner warming on the stove, with fresh bread, fruits, cheeses, ale and lamb. A bath steamed to one side, and a fresh scent assaulted his nose instead of the musty, dirty smell that had been there before. He felt Iolaus' hands on his back.

"Let me do this for you."

Hercules looked at him, amazed, confused, and hungry. "Do what?"

Iolaus handed him a cup of ale. "It's supposed to be tea, but hey - I try." Then he began to release Herc's belts. "Don't do anything until I tell you to." He knelt and untied Hercules boots, going on to undress him completely. When he was naked, Iolaus invited, "Go on, get in the tub. Watch out, it's almost hot."

The demigod slowly lowered himself into the tub, but was soon relaxed against the side, stretched out, sweating, enjoying himself immensely. He felt Iolaus take his cup and refill it, and then begin to wash him.

"Iolaus," he protested.

"Let me do this for you," the hunter whispered, as he continued to run the wet cloth over the other man. It was almost impersonal, thorough but impersonal. When he had finished, he stood up and refilled his lover's cup. When Hercules looked around, he saw Iolaus that was wearing nothing but a breechclout.

Iolaus helped him out of the tub and wrapped him in a warmed towel, sitting him by the fire. Then he began drying him off.

"You asked if I fought, Hercules," Iolaus began quietly. "Of course, Dijan was so patient with me, and so was Master Cho." Iolaus chuckled as he dried Hercules' legs. "They let me fight. One night, Dijan even let me take a dominant position with him, but I realized about five minutes into it that it wasn't right for me." He dried the demigod's midsection. "I stopped. Our eyes met, and I backed up. That's when I fought with myself the most. Dijan wasn't mad at me; he just knew, and so did I." Iolaus gently stroked Hercules' back. "Then I knelt and asked him to forgive me. He took me to Cho that night. You see, Cho hadn't touched me sexually up until then

Iolaus set the towel aside. "Lie down on the bed, Hercules." When the demigod was stretched out on his stomach, Iolaus poured a sandlewood oil into his hands and began to massage his lover. "And this is what they did to me, but it isn't the same for you as it was for me. They bathed me, massaged me and, well, we'll get to that. But that was the night Cho took me for the first time. I can't fully explain what he did to me, because it's more than I can ever put into words. He showed me the pleasure of giving myself to someone. Completely, fully and wholly." Iolaus moved down to the demigod's legs, continuing with his massage. "And that's what I'm going to do, Herc. I'm giving myself to you tonight. Oh, I'll still be Iolaus, still get in trouble, but from this night forward, I'm yours. Roll over, Big Guy."

By the time Iolaus finished rubbing the oil into the front of Hercules' body, he noticed his partner was asleep, and gently woke him with a kiss. The demigod's eyes came open.

Iolaus smiled at him, stroking his hair back. "How're you feeling?" he asked.

"Like I'm floating on a cloud."

"Good." Iolaus moved between his lover's knees and began to service him. "Keep your hands to yourself," Iolaus instructed, just before he took the other man in his mouth. The blond warrior seemed very in tune with any noise or move Hercules' made. Soon the demigod was on the edge, probably harder than he had ever been.

"Iolaus," he groaned. When he felt the hunter's lips cover his, there was such a sweet surrender in those lips that Hercules thought he might cry. He gently stroked his lover's face, kissing him, returning the love. Then he began to kiss the hunter more demandingly, and the more he demanded, the more he got, until Iolaus was on the bed and Hercules was on top. His hand began to stroke the golden body beneath him. He covered his lover, wanting to absorb him into his body. He wanted to keep him safe in his arms forever, to take away the hurt, the pain, to make him his.

They began to push at each other, Iolaus' hands coming to his body and his to Iolaus'. Hercules removed his lover's abbreviated clothing, then reached down and stroked his cock. Iolaus arched into it, setting his feet on the bed. Hercules watched his face, and listened to him as he explored the hunter's body, carressing the sack beneath his straining erection, rubbing the palm of his hand into his lower belly, until Iolaus' cock was weeping and his breathing was hoarse.

"I need you, Hercules," the golden hunter whispered. The blue eyes met and Hercules reached to the side table, retrieving the vial of oil he had seen. He took Iolaus' hand and poured some into it. Then he guided the hand to Iolaus' cock and the hunter began to stroke himself. The demigod groaned with pleasure as he watched his best friend excite himself for his sake. Then he bent the hunter at the knees and moved between them. He oiled himself, and for some reason they watched each other excite themselves and it was more erotic than either of them had ever imagined.

Hercules leaned over and kissed the hunter deeply and, as he kissed him, they began to move against each other. Finally, Hercules could stand it no more. He slowly began to push into Iolaus.

He captured each cry and gasp, as he did it, each one making him that much harder. He felt the hunter begin to pull harder on his straining cock and his free hand sank into Hercules hair. He sucked on Herc's tongue as the slow invasion continued. To Hercules' surprise and joy, the hunter cried out and came.

"I'm yours Hercules," the hunter whispered, as his climax subsided.

"I know," was the confident reply. He again began to push into the hunter, pleased at the moans and groans emanating from the other man. For once, there seemed to be no great hurry, as Hercules slowly began to arouse his lover again. He used long slow strokes, burying himself time and again.

"Feel what you do to me," Iolaus cried, bringing Hercules' hand to his once again swollen member.

"I want you like this forever. Here, safe, mine." The demigod began to thrust deeper and harder. The body beneath him arched up, and Hercules put the hunter's legs over his shoulders.

"Oh gods, Hercules, please!" He reached for himself, but found Hercules' hand there first. His hands became fists on the bed.

"Want me, lover?"


"Need me?"

"Gods, yes!"

"Ask me."

"Please, take me, make me yours," the hunter cried as he tottered on the brink of release, completely helpless in his lover's arms.

With a growl, Hercules drove into him once again and they both came.

As they made their way through Thebes the following day, Hercules stopped into a shop and picked something up, not letting Iolaus come in with him to see what it was. When they were out on the road between Thebes and Corinth, Hercules stopped the hunter and gently placed a small gold earring in his ear.

Iolaus touched it and then looked at Hercules. "Do you know what this means?" he asked.

The demigod nodded, putting an arm around the other man's shoulders.

"It means you are mine, Iolaus. All mine."


The End

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