A Thief's Confession
By AramisThe author does not own the characters from the series. They belong to MCA/Universal. We all know that. We're not making any money from this. We're just having fun. Okay?
A Sequel to The Centaurs
Walking away from Iolaus, after the centaur incident, was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. I knew he was in love with you, Hercules, and that that love was returned in full measure, but I still wanted him.
Wanted *him*! Me, the ultimate ladies' man! My friends would never have believed it. *I* could hardly credit it myself. I tried to tell myself it was a momentary aberration. That it would pass once I had removed myself from his presence. He was little and pretty and had been hurt and frightened. I'd been sorry for him. *That* was all. When I held him in my arms, I'd been comforting him. It *wasn't* sexual. Anyway with that mop of soft golden curls and satin skin, it had been like holding a woman. That must have been it! Okay, I thought, if I move away from him the strange tender sensations will soon go.
However, that comforting thought didn't last for long because distancing myself from him physically just made the situation worse. Everywhere I went I saw and heard things that recalled him vividly to mind. I've never been fond of children and have rarely noticed their existence, but suddenly the world seemed overrun with flaxen-haired boys and girls. When I overheard youths calling cheeky comments to blushing maidens, they spoke with his voice. When I looked at the sky, his beautiful azure eyes were before me. I couldn't escape him. I knew I'd finally gone over the top when the sight of pale melons reminded me of the creamy globes of his delectable arse, which I had cupped when carrying him, half-naked, from the centaurs' camp.
That was it! I had to see him again. I now felt that I'd initially made the wrong decision. Old cliches came to mind and I now appreciated the wisdom therein. 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder'. True! Well, perhaps 'Familiarity breeds contempt' would be my saviour. I resolved to seek him out.
For one of my undoubted skills, it was not hard to learn of his whereabouts. I arrived at Preveza late one evening, a scant six days after I had made my decision to locate him, knowing both of you were in the town. It was easy to locate the tavern in which you were lodged. Everyone is interested in a demigod and happy to talk of him.
I went to the inn anticipating that you would probably both be already abed and that I might not see Iolaus until the following day. There was no sign of either of you, so I booked a room and decided to have a quiet drink before retiring for the night. I could hear someone shouting upstairs and was aware that the others in the bar were straining their ears trying to hear what was being said, but I wasn't interested. I only hoped that the altercation would be over before I went to bed.
I had barely sat down, when Iolaus pushed blindly through the bar, his face awash with tears, his curls disheveled, and out into the night. The patrons all turned to watch his progress. I heard one man comment, "Looks like someone's given him a lesson he won't forget in a hurry."
"Yeah, " another laughed, "if that's what sex with a demigod does to you, remind me to keep my legs firmly together."
"You don't have to worry about that with an ugly mug like yours," a third jeered. "You need to be a pretty, little blond."
I heard all this in a kind of dream. The whole thing had been so unexpected. However, I now rose and made my way after Iolaus.
I didn't know what I was going to say or do. I knew it wasn't the safest thing to intervene in others' quarrels. I've always had a very well developed sense of self-preservation. I knew to take sides against a demigod would be the height of folly, but I couldn't leave Iolaus in that state. So I headed after him.
I should have listened to my instincts. He was nowhere in sight and after twenty minutes or so I was ready to give up. I knew that if he'd gone into the bush I'd never find him. However, I foolishly decided to try one last place. I slipped into the livery stable and there he was.
He was sitting on the floor, in a patch of moonlight that was shining through a high window, with his legs drawn up and his head leaning forward on his knees. I spoke his name and he started and began to rise as though ready to flee again. I moved hurriedly forward to forestall this. "Stay there, Iolaus. It's me, Autolycus."
He looked up and my heart contracted at the sight of his pale, tearstained face. I knelt down beside him and wrapped my arms around him holding him against me. I could feel his shoulders shaking and knew he was weeping again. I held him until he quietened and then asked, "What's wrong, Iolaus?"
"Come on, Iolaus, nobody would believe that."
"I can't ... I don't want to talk about it."
"You don't have to, but it might help and it wouldn't go any further."
"What? Trust you?" he retorted, with a flash of his usual spirit. I was all set to react when he muttered, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that."
"Look, Iolaus, you can't stay here. Come and have a drink with me and you'll feel better."
"I can't go back in there."
"There's plenty of other taverns. Come on, we can go to that one on the outskirts of town." As I spoke, I helped him to his feet and put an arm around him sheltering him with my cape, and he allowed me to lead him out.
We went to the tavern and had a drink and then another and another, until I'd kind of lost count. He was still down but, at least, he wasn't weeping and I had hopes he'd eventually tell me what had happened.
He got up and moved towards the bar to fetch another round. I sat watching him enjoying his beauty, but worrying about what could be wrong. Then I saw a large arm snake out and around his waist, trapping his right arm against his body. The next moment, a large, heavily muscled man had pulled him down onto his knee, to the amusement of the group at his table. "I told you Blondie wouldn't be able to resist me," he proclaimed in a loud, drunken voice, as he fumbled with Iolaus' codpiece.
Iolaus was struggling frantically. Somehow he managed to twist around and bring the elbow of his free arm up into the man's throat. The man gagged and loosened his hold. Iolaus fell onto the floor and went to scramble up, but a man at the neighbouring table planted a boot between his shoulder blades pushing him flat. "I've got him for you, Locris," he laughed. Locris reached down and grabbed Iolaus by the belt pulling him up. Iolaus swung around and punched him, only to have the man, who had intervened before, grab him in a bear hug.
I try to avoid physical violence whenever possible, but knew I wasn't going to be able to sit back and watch this. I rushed across the room and hit Number Two on the jaw. He never saw me and was totally unprepared for my attack. His jaw made a very satisfying cracking noise and he lost his grip on Iolaus and was out for the count.
A free-for-all developed as others joined in on both sides. It was a major brawl and tables and chairs were being reduced to firewood and bodies were scattered everywhere. Iolaus was fighting like a whirlwind. The blond curls and purple vest seemed to be everywhere. At first, I had hopes of getting to him and of us fighting our way outside, but it was hopeless. I got close at one stage and called out the suggestion to him, but he shouted, "No!" I realized his blood was up and he was taking out his earlier upset on anyone foolish enough to approach him. I gave up on trying to reach him and retreated back against a wall trying to avoid further part in the conflict.
Suddenly, the front and back doors burst open simultaneously and an authoritative voice called, "Stop!" Obviously the locals knew that voice as most of them immediately obeyed, but Iolaus ignored it. Soldiers began to push through the bar to bring the last fighting groups under control. Not all were prepared to meekly submit and there was fierce resistance from some, Iolaus standing out amongst the latter. Eventually all was quiet and Iolaus was being firmly restrained by three rather battered looking soldiers.
The captain, Penthides, turned to the barman and asked, "Did you see who caused this?"
"That little blond," the barman replied, indicating Iolaus. "My brother, Locris, was sitting having a quiet drink when he attacked him."
Penthides looked dubious. He turned to Locris, "Is that true?"
"Yes, Blondie was soliciting and slapped me when I turned him down."
"That's a bloody lie!" Iolaus shouted.
"Be quiet! I'm taking you with us anyway after what you've just done to my men. You can spend sometime in the castle prison and can argue your case before Lord Thanatus at next month's assizes."
Next month? I had to intervene. "That's not fair! That man Locris started the fight."
"Who are you?"
Some kind person called out, "He's Blondie's friend. They were sitting together. You should take him too."
"Yes," another added, "I saw him break poor Samus' jaw."
Well, that was that. Both of us were hauled unceremoniously to the castle prison and thrown into a cell.
As soon as the guard had left, I did a quick survey of our surroundings. The cell door lock was a simple affair and I knew I could have us out that way in no time at all. The cell window was small, but I knew that we could both get through it once I'd cut through the bars. We'd come up a couple of flights of stairs, but I had my spare rope sewn into the hem of my cape so I knew we could use that to lower ourselves if we chose that method of egress.
I was aware that Iolaus had not shown any interest in my investigations so I turned to him to check that he was all right. He was sitting on the narrow bench, looking thoroughly dejected. "What's wrong, Iolaus?" I asked, sitting down beside him and wrapping an arm around his shoulders. "Are you hurt?"
"No! I'm fine!" he said hastily, quickly withdrawing a hand from inside his vest.
"You don't look it." In truth, he did not. His lip was split. He had a cut on one cheek and his right eye was obviously going to be black. I reached out and opened his vest and noticed his ribs were extensively bruised. I couldn't believe the fact that the bruises had come out so fast and commented to that effect.
"I already had these," he muttered, hanging his head.
"Iolaus, what's going on?"
A dreadful thought struck me. "Did this have anything to do with your upset earlier?"
"Iolaus, tell me!"
To avoid my question, he asked, "What are you doing in this town?"
I was tempted to lie. In my profession telling creative falsehoods becomes almost second nature, but I found myself saying, "All I've thought about for weeks is you. I had to see you again. I hoped that, when I did, I'd find you weren't as desirable as I'd remembered and I'd be able to get on with my life."
"Am I?" His voice was unbelievably diffident.
How could he even wonder? "Yes, you bloody well are!" I exclaimed and pulled him into my arms, clutching him tightly against me and kissing him hard.
I expected him to pull away, perhaps making one of his comments about my moustache, but he didn't. He tensed slightly, but then opened to my probing tongue. Gods his mouth was sweet. I'd never tasted anything like it.
Emboldened, I began to investigate other areas, nibbling my way around his strong throat to a sensitive earlobe. As he writhed in response to my attentions, I gently eased his vest off his shoulders and then ran my hands lightly down his ribs. That was a mistake. I hadn't anticipated that he'd be so deliciously ticklish. He tried to pull away and so I had to swiftly move my hands to his back and hug him to me.
I realized the narrow bench was going to make things awkward and so flicked my cape off my shoulders to the floor and drew him gently down onto it. I still couldn't believe he was letting me do this. I thought perhaps the amount of alcohol he had consumed was playing a major part in his compliance but, whatever was the cause, I wasn't going to complain. I've always been one to seize the opportunity offered.
I kissed my way down that beautiful satin chest, sucking on the tiny brown nipples until he arched against me.
Finally, I reached his trousers. Did I dare to try my luck further? 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained.' Gods I was becoming addicted to those old saws.
I unbuckled his belts, opened his codpiece and eased his trousers off his hips. I could hardly believe the sight that met my eyes. I have never believed myself to be under-endowed, and certainly the ladies have never complained, but he was magnificent. And the soft, golden curls that surrounded his erection were incredible. I'd never seen curls so blond in such a situation. I reached for his penis and began to stroke it teasingly. He gasped and tried to push against me.
Greatly daring, because after all I'd never had a male lover, I leaned over and nuzzled his straining organ. At the same time I reached around him and cupped those delicious creamy globes that I had longed to touch again.
I felt him undoing my fly and releasing my burgeoning erection. Then his hot mouth engulfed me. The sensation was unbelievable, but it wasn't to last. He suddenly pulled away. "I'm sorry, I can't do this," he whispered, his voice distraught.
I wasn't best pleased I can tell you and I was ready to tell him so in no uncertain terms, when he rolled onto his stomach. "Take me if you want to," he muttered, presenting me with that glorious arse.
*If* I wanted to? I wanted nothing more, but *not* like that.
I clambered up and pulled him onto the bench beside me. The night was chilly and I could feel him shaking so I reached for my cape and wrapped it around us both. "Iolaus, you're going to tell me exactly what's going on and you're going to do it *now*," I ordered.
He kept his head down, but I put my hand under his chin and raised it. "Look at me," I insisted. "Now tell me. After what you've just done I've got a right to know."
"That's not good enough, Iolaus," I said, sternly, steeling myself to ignore the tears trickling down his face.
He hesitated and then said, "I've ... I've left Hercules."
I was stunned. I knew how much you love each other. "Why?"
"Herc's so mad with me. We had a huge argument."
"I shouldn't, but you're one of the few people that know we're lovers so I don't suppose it will matter. That's the base of the problem. Herc won't acknowledge me in public. It doesn't ... It doesn't fit his image. Trouble is then people don't know and they think I'm ... available and I can't explain.
"Ever since we arrived here this woman, Gallia, has been throwing herself at me. I haven't encouraged her. I *haven't*. But Herc doesn't believe this and he's been getting really touchy about it. Anyway, tonight I was very sleepy and I actually went up to bed before Herc did. I went into my room and went straight to bed. I fell asleep, but woke up when someone started stroking my thigh. I said, "I'm really tired, Herc." That's when I found out my mistake. It was Gallia and she took strong exception to my words. She gave a shriek and slapped me across the face. Then she was out of the bed and dressing as fast as she could. "Why the hell didn't you tell me you were his bloody catamite?" she demanded. "Everyone will be laughing at me for making up to you." I tried to explain, but she wouldn't listen and just stormed out. The timing couldn't have been worse because she met Hercules in the corridor and I heard her say, "That little, blond friend of yours is some lover." I was stunned. The bitch had really landed me in it.
"Herc came storming in to my room and went absolutely ballistic. He dragged me out of bed and started shaking me and yelling. He wouldn't listen to me and I couldn't stand it so ... so I ... hit him."
"*You* hit Hercules?"
"Yeah. Right on the chin. He didn't see it coming and it actually made him stagger. I paid for it though 'cause he hit me right back. You saw my ribs before. I went smashing into the wall and nearly blacked out. I was aware of Hercules stalking out of the room. I'm not sure how I did it, but I must have dressed and left the tavern because the next thing I knew I was in the livery stable and you were talking to me."
"Okay, well how does all this explain the little 'experience' we've just been through?"
"You've said that already. I want explanations not apologies."
"I don't know exactly. I still felt all shaken up. I just wanted to be held, but it didn't seem fair to ask because I knew you wanted me. Then I guess I kind of thought that if Herc thinks I sleep around, I might as well. But when ... when I started to ... I knew it wasn't right. I was just using you ... and betraying him."
"Iolaus, you need to go back to Hercules and tell him what really happened. He'll have calmed down by now and he'll listen to you."
"No, I can't do that. Not after some of the things he said to me. And not after hitting him. Anyway, he'll be madder than ever when he hears about tonight."
"I'm certainly not going to tell him!" I exclaimed. "I might be many things, but stupid isn't one of them."
"I didn't mean this. I meant the fight. He's been telling me that I cause too many fights and even threatening not to help me out of the next one. He'll think it was my fault. Everyone will say it was." He was getting himself worked up into a real stew.
"All right then, what *are* you going to do?"
"I don't know. Just leave, I suppose. Where are you going next? Would you mind if I went with you?"
Mind? Under other circumstances I would have been overjoyed, but I knew he was making a mistake. I'm sure he knew it too, but he insisted he *couldn't* stay.
He was so upset I decided it was better for him to be with me rather than wandering alone so I gave in.
I've never really seen prisons as my kind of place, so I was happy to leave there. I got out my special little saw that I keep in my boot and soon had the bars cut. Then I removed the rope from the lining of my cape and we used it to make our escape.
We traveled together for a couple of weeks, until we reached Trivanos. In all that time, I didn't even lay a hand on him, much as I was tempted, not even when he had one of his nightmares about Mandrocles. He wasn't a very entertaining companion I can tell you. All he did was mope and wonder where you were and worry about you, but he wouldn't go back. Then, out of the blue, he announced he'd decided to do some hunting. That's not my idea of entertainment. Give me taverns and city life anytime. So we split up.
That was the last time I saw him, Hercules, and it was more than a fortnight ago. I hope you're not too angry at what I've told you, but you *did* insist that I tell you *everything*. I hope you find him soon. He does love you, you know.
The end as far as this challenge is concerned. The story itself might be continued sometime in the future.
E-mail the author c/o Nephele at [email protected]
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