By Gwendolen

Taking up a soft cloth, Hephaestus, God of The Forge began to gently polish the sword in his lap. He took his time with his latest creation, checking for any possible flaws that he might have overlooked, using his powers to feel the form and flow of the metal and create perfectly balanced work of art, more than just a weapon.

His strokes were sure and strong, and he felt himself drifting.

It was the tingle of a familiar presence that drew him out of his meditative trance. Looking up, he wasn't overly surprised to see his younger brother.

Ares was one of his few regular visitors, always dropping in, demanding new weapons and armour. But something was different tonight, Hephaestus could feel it. This wasn't the volatile God of War, wanting a new toy from the God of Fire.

He watched silently while Ares wandered through the forge looking at some of his newest creations until he stopped in front of Hephaestus and noticed the sword. "May I?"

Hephaestus presented the weapon to his brother and settled back to observe Ares handling the sword. At first Ares only looked at the blade, studying it, feeling the balance before he tried a few simple moves to get a feeling for the weapon. Hephaestus smiled at the graceful, fascinating picture his brother presented. The sword was Ares' favourite weapon and it showed in the way he handled himself and the weapon in his hands.

Finally Ares stopped and turned towards him, a real smile brightening his face. As always  the transformation amazed Hephaestus. Smiling Ares looked much more approachable and less sombre. Hephaestus admitted to himself that he liked the change.

With a soft sigh, Ares returned the sword to him. "A wonderful weapon."

Hephaestus only smiled noncommittally and inclined his head in thanks. Silence reigned and Ares began to fidget.

"Are they fighting again?" Hephaestus finally asked when Ares remained silent. One look at his brother's shuttered face was all the answer he needed. Right on the first guess.

As a child Hephaestus had envied his brother. Ares was everything he wasn't: beautiful, undamaged, powerful, charming, seductive. The focus of their parent's attention.

It had taken him a long time to realise that he - ignored by their father, scorned by their mother - was better off. Ares was the one who was regularly caught between them, especially when they were fighting. Unlike Hephaestus and the girls, he was the one forced to choose between father and mother.

Usually he managed to avoid being dragged into their fights or just survived them, somehow, but there were times when it became too much, even for someone as strong and resilient as Ares. And then the war god ran and hid with his brother, just like he had done as a child, first in his older brother's room and later here in his forge and the surrounding caves. It was as if he considered Hephaestus his sanctuary, as if he felt safe with him. In some ways he was right. Who would suspect the God of War here, in the Firegod's forge? Unless it was for business? Most of the gods rarely ventured down here, unless of course they wanted something. And they wouldn't suspect Ares of coming here for any other reason. No one, with the sole exception of Aphrodite, knew about their actual relationship. And Ares made sure that it stayed that way.

It saddened Hephaestus that Ares considered this distance between them necessary and that they couldn't act like the brothers they were but he accepted it, glad for those times Ares came to him.

He carefully put the new sword away before he turned his attention back to his younger brother. Ares was by now prowling through his workshop; studying some of his newest works, touching his tools, stopping in front of the forge's fire. He stared momentarily into the flames before shaking himself out of his reverie to continue his restless prowl through the huge cavern.

Hephaestus watched him silently, noting the dark scowl, the tight line of his jaw and wondered what his younger brother was thinking. With Ares it was hard to tell: for someone usually so emotional and quick to anger he was awfully good at hiding his feelings.

He took his time to study his brother more closely, noting the lines of exhaustion in the otherwise smooth and beautiful face. The last few months and especially the whole debacle with Dahak had taken its toll on Ares. He had been the one in the first fighting line, the only one - next to several mortals - and he had been the one to pay the highest price.

Finally Hephaestus had enough and reached out, closing his hand around his brother's wrist, stopping him and drawing him closer. "Ares!"

His brother stared at the hand wrapped around his wrist before looking up. His dark eyes were burning and a nasty smile twisted the handsome features. Hephaestus felt frozen when his brother stepped closer until their lips touched. The kiss was wild, violent and demanding. It left Hephaestus flushed, aroused and hungry for more.

This was wrong...But it was hard to think with Ares demanding more kisses and tugging at his clothes. He felt helpless with his beautiful brother in his arms and wasn't sure what he should do. One part of him wanted to go along with the sex, knowing that it would be good: hot and wild. But another part of him was worried: this wildness, this demanding aggression, wasn't exactly typical, at least not typical for the Ares he knew, and it worried him.

"Heph, sweet Heph." The seductive purr of Ares' voice wrapped around him "My brother. My wonderful, sweet brother."

Hephaestus had never really been able to resist Ares, no matter what it was: weapons, comfort or sex.

Wrapping his good hand in the black curls, he pulled Ares close, staring into the huge dark eyes, wondering what Ares was up to and if he should go along with it. He wanted so much to lose himself in his brother's embrace but hesitated. Another hard, demanding kiss let him forget all his worries and forced him to concentrate on the wild god in his arms. He returned the kiss with equal passion, plundering that tempting mouth. Gently he untangled his hand from the glossy hair and let it slide down his brother's nape to the broad shoulders, feeling Ares shiver and moan when his fingertips stroked the sensitive skin of his neck. He smiled with delight when he discovered that he now held a nude god in his arms. He allowed his hands to roam over the broad expanse of Ares' back, enjoying the play of firm muscles under his hands. His hands wandered down, until he was able to cup the muscular buttocks and could pull Ares even closer against his still clothed form, kissing him again before tracing the outer rim of his ear and gently biting a handy earlobe.

Ares arched against him. "Yesssss," he hissed. "Heph!"

With a thought Heph finally transported them out of the huge forge into the cavern that served as his bedroom. He dropped Ares on the bed and stepped back to take in the sight of his dark brother against the white linen. Ares stretched slightly with a feral smile, displaying himself; a hand wandering over his chest, rubbing his nipples, first one then the other before he moved lower, slowly circling his navel with his middle finger. Hephaestus stopped him before he reached his erection.

All it took was a thought and he was undressed and able to join his beautiful brother on the bed. Ares opened is arms in welcome and drew him closer. They kissed again.

It was so easy to lose himself in those kisses; Ares tasted of Ambrosia, wine and grapes. Such an addictive taste. How were mortals able to withstand those kisses?

Hephaestus pushed his brother back against the pillows, holding him down to thoroughly explore his mouth. Ares bucked against him, trying to reverse their position. Hephaestus had to use all his strength to hold him down until Ares suddenly stopped and all the fight went out of him. A lazy smile graced his lips. "Come on, Heph. I know what you want. Take it." His smile broadened. "Take me."

Was it possible to become even more aroused? Those words said in that low, husky voice, seemed to have that effect.

Hephaestus settled between his brother's spread legs and stared at the feast laid out before him. Where to start? He noticed Ares twitching with impatience and smiled slightly. He grasped a thigh directly behind the knee, lifted it and dropped a kiss on the kneecap. Then he kissed the inside of the knee before slowly moving upwards, placing kisses on the soft skin of Ares' inner thigh. His brother trembled under his hands and his breathing had turned to harsh panting. "Fuck, Heph. Don't tease." His voice no more than a hoarse whisper.

Hephaestus looked up into eyes dilated with passion. With his lower lip caught between strong white teeth, his face flushed and the curls a dark tangle, Ares was just too gorgeous. So incredibly beautiful. Ares could have anyone but he was here, in his bed. It was almost unbelievable. He couldn't deny the truth under his hands, the obvious arousal and need.

He licked along Ares' erection, tracing the prominent vein before taking the head into his mouth. Ares moaned harshly and bucked, wanting more contact, but Hephaestus refused to be hurried.

He spread his hands along Ares' hipbones, holding him down and in place while he gradually took more and more of his cock into his mouth, sucking, licking.

A strained whimper made him stop. Hephaestus looked up and became caught in the look of desperate pleasure on Ares' face. He shifted to possess that lush mouth again. Ares' lips opened under his, welcoming him. It was so easy to get lost in this.

He felt Ares' hands on his shoulder, caressing him while holding on to him as well. And then Ares' legs wrapped around his hips, forcing their bodies even closer together. He moaned softly when he felt his brother's hard cock rubbing against his own.

Hephaestus buried his hands in Ares' dark hair, devouring his mouth before he drew away slightly to drop little kisses on his nose, eyes, cheeks and chin. He licked droplets of sweat from Ares' temple before kissing him again.

He tried to shift away but was imprisoned in the embrace of Ares' arms and legs. He reached down and slapped one muscular thigh. "Let go, Ares."

A groaned protest was his answer. "No. Finish it, Heph."

He slapped him again, harder this time. "Let go."

With reluctance the legs relaxed and set him free. Hephaestus shifted back and stared at the incredible sight of his gorgeous, aroused brother. "Turn over," he said finally.

Ares' eyes widened before they almost closed and he moved over on his hands and knees. The sight was almost too much for Hephaestus and he forced himself to calm down and stay in control of his own demanding body. His own self-control had been learned the hard way, the pain of his injuries giving him no other choice.

He stroked down the long line of Ares' spine all the way down till he reached the tight muscular buttocks. Being a god definitely had its advantages, Hephaestus thought while he prepared his brother with well-oiled fingers. The gentlest brush with a fingertip against that tight opening had Ares moaning with pleasure. His thighs spread even wider while he lifted himself in offering. Hephaestus bit his lip at the sight, unable to resist; but he still refused to be hurried and drew the preparations out.

"Heph, please," Ares finally begged, his voice hoarse with lust. "Now, please. Fuck me."

Taking pity on his clearly desperate brother, Hephaestus finally began to penetrate, moving slowly at first, barely able to control himself when Ares suddenly pushed back, completing their joining. Tight, hot and welcoming. Nothing felt this good.

He wrapped his arms around his brother's upper body, pressing his lips against Ares' nape while he tried to regain some of his equilibrium. It was hard with Ares writhing and bucking under him. In the end Hephaestus gave in and gave Ares what he wanted, pulling almost all the way out before thrusting back in, hard, forcefully. Taking his brother the way he wanted to be taken. Long, powerful thrusts at first before his own self-control began to desert him and the thrusts became harder and quicker.

So close to the brink, it took all his strength to pull out and flip Ares on his back. His brother screamed in protest but the scream turned into a groan when Hephaestus pushed back into that tight heat, needing to see his brother's face when he finally allowed him to come.

The intense pleasure on Ares' face was almost painful to watch but it was enough to force Hephaestus over the edge as well.

They collapsed into each other's arms, both drenched in sweat and panting harshly.

After a while Hephaestus rolled onto his back, taking Ares with him, still holding him tight, afraid that Ares would leave now. But his brother only snuggled closer, murmuring softly something Hephaestus didn't quite catch before his breathing began to even out, indicating that he was asleep.

Holding his sleeping brother tight, Hephaestus listened to his brother's quiet even breathing. Now, with Ares safe in his arms and deeply asleep that nagging voice of worry had returned and he couldn't help but wonder what brought his brother here.