He watched the men leave the brightness of the sunlit street to be swallowed so completely by the building's dark shadow that only a careful watcher could see them enter the discreet doorway. He watched as the same men emerged some time later, and couldn't stop his mind playing over what they must have done in the meantime.
Taking a swig of his wine, he felt the all too familiar uprush of arousal and fear. He had spent long enough watching; he had told himself that today was the day. Yet now it came to it, he was beginning to wonder if in fact tomorrow might not be a better day for it. He turned the cup round and round in his hands, trying to stop the trembling in his stomach.
"A word of advice, son."
He jumped so sharply that wine splashed onto his hand. Raising it to his mouth he licked it off, staring at the tavern-keeper who had paused in his task of collecting empty cups from the table next to his.
"If you're looking for work, don't go knocking on the door. I've seen them turn away prettier boys than you who've done that. If you're good enough, they'll come looking for you, ok?"
His face was scarlet, caught between horror at having been found watching the brothel and fury at the man's assumption.
"I'm not a whore!"
His emphatic statement carried further than he had intended, and he squirmed as he became the object of knowing grins from some of the other patrons. The tavern-keeper was chuckling. "Well, you seem pretty certain about that. So why the fascination? It must be way out of your price range."
Hercules stared at him. "How much does it - do they...?"
The man shrugged. "Hades knows. Certainly beyond my means. It's one of the best, but damned expensive. The boys are clean, mind you." His glance at Hercules was not unkind. "Word of advice, son; if you're looking to pay, do yourself a favour and go see Salmonides. You'll get three there for what one over the road would cost you."
He retreated, leaving Hercules seeking refuge in his drink. How expensive *was* expensive, for Hades' sake? The going price for a whore wasn't exactly the sort of thing that they taught you at Cheiron's academy, nor was it the sort of thing that he could ask Iolaus or Jason. If he were to even mention sex to them, it would be good for at least the next two days' worth of jokes.
He didn't want to go to Salmonides' place, though. It had been one of the many that he'd spent time watching recently, trying to get an idea of who went in there and how long they stayed. He remembered the place clearly: the door was constantly open because of the number of people that went in and out of it, and he'd seen inside, seen the customers going into curtained alcoves. Sometimes those curtains moved, and he'd caught glimpses of what was going on behind them. It had left him hard with excitement, but terrified. What if he went in there and that happened to him? What if the curtain moved and somebody saw him? Somebody he knew, even? He swallowed the last of his wine, trying to quell the fear in his stomach.
No, for this first time he had to go somewhere where he'd be private, so no one would ever know and laugh at him. It was all right for Iolaus and Jason, he concluded, staring despondently into his empty cup. They both seemed to have found girls. If only he wanted a girl in that way, he could probably find somebody himself. But the girls didn't interest him, and the only guys he knew well enough to wonder about doing it with were Iolaus and Jason, and all they talked about was girls. Even if they were interested, he'd have to know what he was doing first, otherwise he'd never hear the end of it from them.
Alcmene had always taught him that you should only do it with someone you love. The problem was that it wasn't so easy when your friends were off every night with girls and you went to sleep alone, waking up to find your sheets stiff with the results of your dreams. At least if he found out how to do it, he might be able to find somebody to do it with.
Suddenly decisive, he pushed back his seat and got to his feet. He'd decided that today was the day, and now he was damned well going to do it, even if Olympus fell. No more wondering what Iolaus and Jason were sniggering about, no more touching himself and wondering what it would be like. No, he was going to do it.
He crossed the street swiftly, before he had time to change his mind, and pushed open the dark wood door.
His imaginings of what lay behind the door had ranged from hushed rooms peopled by exotically beautiful young men to a dimly lit tavern where couples were doing it on the tables. He had certainly never expected his way in to be barred by a man as broad as he was tall.
Hercules swallowed. "How much do I - does it...?"
The guard's attitude changed as he saw Hercules reaching for his money pouch and he stepped aside.
"Depends what you want. Go and see Callias."
Hercules began to move in the direction which the jerk of the man's head had indicated, but paused, suddenly unsure as the door to the street closed behind him. The sounds of the town were banished together with the sunlight and the familiar smells, and nervousness stirred again in his stomach. Soft lamps lit the room, with heavy hangings over the windows keeping the harsh sunlight at bay, while the air was laden with a scent he recognised but could not name. Rich rugs cushioned the stone floor, and the chairs were strewn with dark red and purple cushions. Everything was soft and luxurious, and as far from Hercules' daily existence as he could imagine.
Eager suddenly for what he had come here for, he moved towards the only person he could see in the room. The plump, richly-dressed man was smiling at him with his mouth only.
"Welcome, friend. Demetrios, bring wine for our visitor."
The man's mouth widened further, and he waved Hercules towards the seat beside him. Perched on the edge of his seat, trying to appear relaxed, Hercules was grateful for the offer of wine. It might help him get through this next bit. Despite hours of agonising he still hadn't been able to come up with a way to ask for what he wanted, nor any idea of what it would cost.
He was offered a full cup by a blond young man dressed in a short white chiton of fine silk which clung to every line of his body. His mouth suddenly dry as he took the cup from the youth's hands, Hercules took a gulp of the wine and almost choked; it was much stronger than he was used to.
Fumbling for his money pouch again, he looked at the young man. "How much?"
His response was a smile and a swift shake of the head. He stared after the gracefully retreating figure, still struck by the impression of beauty he had received from the ready smile, blue eyes, blond curls, and high cheekbones.
"It's on the house, my friend."
He tore his eyes from where the tanned thighs disappeared beneath the chiton. The plump man was leaning towards him.
Hercules' surprise at his statement obviously showed, because Callias lowered his voice confidentially and explained further. "I offer an all-inclusive quality package here. Good wine, and good fucking."
Hercules' face flushed at the crudity, but excitement knotted his stomach. Light-headed, he took another swig of the dusky wine. When he lowered the cup he noticed for the first time the design on it, showing in mesmerising detail men engaged in sex. As he turned the cup in his hands, staring in fascination at the positions depicted, the scent in the room seemed to grow, and he became increasingly aware of the warm leather of his pants and the coarseness of the linen shirt against his skin. He hadn't worn his usual soft undervest, not wanting the embarrassment of taking too long to get undressed, and he could feel the material catching against his nipples each time he breathed. Slowing his breathing didn't seem to help; the scent was drawn deeper into his lungs and his cock began to respond.
"But of course you know that or you wouldn't be here, yes?"
Nodding, Hercules met his eyes.
"Yes." It came out huskily, and he cleared his throat.
"Yes." It came out too loudly this time, and he sank a little lower in his seat.
Callias' smile grew. "So what is your pleasure, my friend?"
He swiftly gulped at the wine, hoping against hope that he wouldn't have to answer. The silence grew until it became more embarrassing not to say something.
"How much - uh, I mean, how do you charge?"
"Flat rate for a time period. There's a timer in each room. If you want longer, or anything more than the basic, we negotiate."
This was easy now he had the right words. "Well, I'd just like the basic, please." And then Alcmene's son blushed bright pink as he realised what he was doing.
To his infinite relief the price named was within his ability to meet, and he passed the carefully hoarded coins over to Callias.
He swallowed the rest of the wine determinedly as Callias summoned Demetrios again. Shifting slightly in his seat to ease his suddenly tight pants as he imagined touching Demetrios, feeling the smooth skin which the silk now caressed, Hercules was disappointed to hear Callias' quiet query about who was available. Demetrios responded that number eight was currently free, seeming not to notice the way Callias' fleshy hand wandered slowly up his thigh. Hercules averted his gaze, heat in his cheeks again, and glanced around the room. It didn't help him; the paintings that covered the walls were more explicit and more exciting than anything he had ever seen.
Tearing his eyes away reluctantly, he found Demetrios standing next to him.
"Demetrios will show you," Callias said, and then his attention was taken as the door to the street opened to admit somebody else.
Hercules got to his feet, his heart pounding. He followed the silent Demetrios, breathing unevenly. This was it. He was really going to do this.
Demetrios led him from the room and down a lamp-lit corridor, where rugs and tapestries covered both floor and walls, and incense burned at regular intervals. In the low light he saw that each door had a number written on it, and his breathing grew more uneven as they neared number eight, fear and arousal twisting in him.
Demetrios indicated the door to him, and then left him. Hercules turned to watch him walking away, suddenly afraid. If only he could have had Demetrios; he had spoken to him, he knew his name. What was he supposed to do when he got through the door? Should he speak to the whore, or was he supposed just to get on with it? Suddenly he wasn't at all sure that he wanted to do this.
He stood wavering, and then noises from behind another door floated into the corridor, the sound of rhythmic groans, and a voice rising in pitch with each cry. Panicking as his cock reacted to the sounds, Hercules pushed the door to the room open and stepped inside.
This room too was lamplit, with hangings and rugs softening its shape further, and he was aware of that smell again, the one which made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and his cock swell. In the middle of it all was a bed, covered in white linen sheets.
The whore lay on the bed, face down, naked. His head was on his folded arms, dark hair spilling over them, and his legs were sprawled apart in a pose so provocative that Hercules stood gasping. He was beautiful, more beautiful than he'd ever dared to believe he would be; his skin perfect, his body muscular, and his ass....
Hercules had to swallow several times before he could get any words out, and then he didn't know what to say. What did you say to a whore, especially one who wasn't looking at you?
"We are on a time limit here, you know." And with that, the golden body slowly turned over, every movement a sensual promise, until the whore was lying on his side, his head propped on his hand, looking at him.
"*Iphicles*?" It left Hercules' throat in a screech.
Iphicles' own reaction almost drowned him out. "What the fuck are *you* doing here?" He snarled it, swinging himself to sit up on the edge of the bed and glare at Hercules.
"How the fuck did you find me? What do you want?"
Hercules stood motionless under his brother's furious scowl, his mouth working soundlessly.
"What are you doing here?" he got out at last.
Iphicles gave him the withering look he seemed to reserve for mental defectives and his brother.
"I mean, *why*?" Hercules' face was burning.
Iphicles' face was shuttered. "Why not?"
"But - you're a *whore*!"
Moving very deliberately, Iphicles lay back down on the bed. "Thank you for clearing that up for me, Hercules. Now if you're finished, perhaps you'd like to tip me before you leave." His eyes suddenly narrowed on his brother's face. "You *did* pay Callias, didn't you, not storm in here throwing your demigodly weight around?"
"Of *course* I paid him!" Hercules defended angrily. "I wasn't to know that I'd find you - " He broke off, but not swiftly enough.
Iphicles sat up again, his gaze never leaving Hercules' face. "You mean you..." And then he started to laugh, a bitter undertone distorting the sound. "You mean you're lecturing me about the error of my ways when you were ready to pay someone to stick your cock up their ass."
"Iphicles, don't." Hercules was squirming.
But his brother was still laughing. "Oh, it's perfect. Absolutely fucking perfect. I take it Mom doesn't know about this little outing?"
"But why'd you have to pay for it? What about that little friend of yours? You're not telling me you've never slipped it to him, or him to you." Light suddenly dawned on Iphicles' face. "You're into games, aren't you, and he doesn't want to know? Don't tell me that the holier-than-shit Hercules is into getting tied and up spanked. Or do you dress up like a girl?" He leaned forward, chin propped on one hand, regarding his brother with exaggerated interest. "Tell me, Hercules, what gets you going?"
"Shut up!" He was trembling with rage and humiliation. "It's not like that!"
"It never is," Iphicles murmured softly.
"Well it *isn't*. He only likes girls. Jason too."
"He only likes girls and Jason?"
"I mean Jason and him only like girls!" He glared at his brother, reminded quite how annoying Iphicles could be when he set his mind to it. And then he remembered who was really in the wrong here. "At least I'm not working as a whore."
"Well there might be a slight problem with that seeing you haven't had your cherry popped yet." The words were lazily mocking but Iphicles' eyes were bright with anger.
"Don't." He hated it when his brother was crude. "I mean that I wouldn't do it anyway, and you shouldn't either. It's wrong."
"Bullshit. What you mean is I've found something that the mighty son of Zeus can't beat me at."
Iphicles lay back on the bed and stretched, displaying himself further for his brother's eyes while one hand traced over his chest, pausing at the ring that pierced his left nipple.
"You should see them, little brother, when I'm out there serving the wine. They can't take their eyes off me. All I need to do is lean a little closer when I'm handing them their drinks, or bend over a bit further when they pretend to drop something, and then smile at them. They're practically coming in their pants. Like you, right now."
His eyes drifted over Hercules' body while his hand idly tugged at the gold hoop.
"Palmerius runs this part of town, you know. Oh yeah, he seems like the respectable philanthropist the whole city knows and loves, but you don't cross him unless you want to wind up with a blade in your gut. You know something? He could have anyone he wanted, anyone at all, and he asks for me. Every time. He can't keep his hands off me. I stand next to him when I'm pouring the wine and he's feeling me up even when he's talking business. He's doing deals that are bigger than any money you've ever even heard of, and all the time he's got two fingers up my ass, stroking me." His lip curled as he looked at his brother's rigid figure. "I'm damn good at this, and that's what you can't handle, isn't it?"
Hercules shook his head. "No."
But before he could get anything more out, all the reasons why this was so wrong, why his brother shouldn't be selling himself in this way, Iphicles was getting up from the bed and moving towards him, supremely confident in his nakedness.
"If it's so wrong, brother, why do you want me?"
A hand trailed over the front of his pants where his traitorous cock still strained for release.
Hercules jerked away, but Iphicles was behind him now, hot breath against his ear. "If it's wrong, why do you want to fuck me?"
Shaking his head again, Hercules denied the charge. "I don't."
"So why's your cock trying to climb out of your pants and up my ass, then, Hercules?"
He screwed his eyes closed, trying to deny the rush of excitement caused by Iphicles' words.
"Do you want my ass, Hercules, to push in until you're all the way inside me, right up to your balls? Do you want to fuck me that way? Or do you want to see your cock stretching my lips apart as you fuck my face?"
Hands were opening his shirt, pulling it slowly off his shoulders and down his arms before casting it aside. Fingers were playing with his nipples and he was melting with sensation, his head rolling back against Iphicles' shoulder and then moving sideways to allow greater access as his brother's lips and tongue worked on his neck.
"How do you want me, Hercules?"
Hercules shivered at the feel of the cock pressed up against his ass. Unable to speak, he covered his brother's hands with his own and pulled them downwards, to the fastening of his pants.
"You want that, Hercules? You want me to touch your cock?"
The low whisper in his ear was followed by a probing tongue, hot, swift and devastating. His knees threatened to give way as he looked down and saw his brother's hands working at the lacing, slowly pulling the leather apart and down until his cock was freed. Light fingers traced a pattern over the damp head, again and again, and he was whimpering, leaning back against Iphicles for support.
"You want me to suck your cock?" Iphicles' hand closed around him as his voice whispered the obscene suggestion into his ear and Hercules was beyond speech. His body was shaking, and all he could do was nod.
The warmth at his back was gone suddenly and he watched in disbelief as his brother knelt before him, the muscular body submitting entirely to him. He reached out to Iphicles, to tell him to stop, but there was warm breath against his cock, the feel of a tongue running up the fullness, swirling over the head, and he cried out, his knees buckling.
Strong hands on his thighs steadied him, but to his dismay Iphicles now ignored his desperate cock. Instead, he rose to his feet, swiftly pulled Hercules' pants back up his thighs, and guided him the few steps to sit on the edge of the bed. He knelt before him once again, this time to remove his boots.
When he had done so, Iphicles looked up at him.
"Now these," he said, his hands resting on the soft leather of his brother's pants.
Obediently Hercules stood and allowed Iphicles to remove them. He sat down again and watched, suddenly breathless, as Iphicles pushed his legs further apart, and bent his head to Hercules' cock. And then he could no longer think clearly about what Iphicles was doing, only lose himself in how good it felt and how it looked to see his brother sucking him.
When it stopped, he sobbed, and sobbed again as his legs were parted further and a hot tongue swiped over his balls. Blackness threatened his vision. Lost in pleasure, he fell back onto the bed and opened his legs wider, desperate for Iphicles' soft-mouthed attentions.
He pleaded wordlessly when these stopped, and then Iphicles' voice was whispering, seducing, commanding.
"What do you want, Hercules?"
"Suck me." He jerked out the words, his hips thrusting upwards. "Please, Iphicles."
He cried out as the mouth surrounded him again, and then buried his hands in his brother's hair, holding his head tightly as he began to fuck his mouth. Panting, he thrust into the inviting wetness with everything he had until the pressure inside him exploded with dizzying suddenness.
Afterwards he lay, unable to move except to gasp for air. It was some time before his chest stopped heaving, and he managed to open his eyes. His vision was blurred, and when he ran a hand over his face, it came away wet.
"Gods." It was all he could get out. No wonder Iolaus and Jason couldn't stop talking about it. What he had felt made mockery of the nights when he bit his tongue to stifle his cry as he came over his hand. Just now he couldn't have stopped to save his life.
"Is that - is it as good as that the other way, too?" he managed at last, looking up at Iphicles who was kneeling on the bed beside him.
"Why don't you find out?"
An incredulous smile dawned. "After that, I don't think I'll be managing *anything* for a while."
"And anyway, it's wrong, isn't it?"
The smile was wiped from his face, and his stomach tightened with guilt and doubt. "Damn it, Iphicles. *Don't*."
His brother shrugged. "If you want to find out what it's like to take someone up the ass, you're running out of time."
Hercules' gaze followed the direction of Iphicles' eyes and he saw the sand in the timer running low. He swallowed convulsively, almost as panicked by the possibility of *not* finding out what he'd come here for as he was by the thought of doing it.
The bed shifted and he turned his head to find Iphicles crossing the room to the table in the dimly-lit corner. He squinted, trying to see what it was his brother was doing, but the light in the corner was faint and he was left only with an impression of an array of objects on the low table.
Iphicles turned and Hercules watched his approach back into the light, mesmerised by the graceful play of lamplight over golden muscle. It was only when his brother was back at the bed that he became fully aware of what he held in his hand, and he propped himself up on the pillows and took the cup gratefully. The wine burned his throat but he drank it all, welcoming the bite as it hit his stomach. With a sigh of satisfaction he handed the cup back to his brother, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. It had been precisely what he needed.
He lay back, enjoying the warmth that stole along his muscles, relaxing and yet invigorating. He wasn't used to so much strong wine but he didn't feel drunk, just intensely aware of his body. Closing his eyes, he murmured his enjoyment as Iphicles' mouth began to move over him, each soft touch a new thrill of pleasure.
It wasn't long before he was moving under Iphicles' attentions, squirming to offer himself more fully to the lips and tongue that explored him. As his arousal grew, his hands knotted in the dark hair to guide his brother's mouth to where his cock was full and hot again. That was when, despite the pressure of Hercules' hold, Iphicles raised his head and looked at him.
"D'you want to fuck me?"
Desire jolted through him at the words, an urgent need to have Iphicles, to bury his cock deep inside him. Suddenly hungry for it, he thrust Iphicles off him, twisting to push him down on his front; he didn't want to see his face, to be reminded that this was wrong when his cock told him how right it was. He lay on top of Iphicles, thrusting against his ass, gasping at the feeling of his swollen cock on his brother's smooth skin. He bit at Iphicles' shoulder and tasted salt and warmth as he thrust harder.
Iphicles moved slightly under him, positioning himself, and Hercules suddenly realised. He closed his eyes and stilled his movements, trying for control, and then his hands moved over Iphicles' ass, feeling, stroking, before holding him still as his cock slipped inside. He cried out as he slid inside, deeper into the slick tightness that welcomed him, until he could go no further. Looking down, he saw that he was buried deep inside Iphicles and watched in fascination as he pulled back before sliding in again, watching the way his cock pushed inside. The full shaft glistened in the lamplight, and he realised that the slickness he felt inside Iphicles must mean that his brother had prepared himself for this in advance.
Thought fled as hot tightness gripped him. He was aware only of the need for more and thrust again and again, fast and desperate. Trembling, he finally cried out in triumph and came, deep inside Iphicles.
He collapsed, gasping, still shaking. Iphicles moved him until they both lay on the bed, and Hercules' breathing gradually steadied as the sweat on his body cooled.
"Gods." He finally turned over onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. The images painted on it no longer had the power to discompose him. Now he *knew*.
"Iphy." The childhood nickname slipped out, and he was too drowsy to try to pretend it hadn't. Instead his head flopped against his brother's shoulder where he lay beside him. "Thank you," he whispered, pressing his lips briefly against sweat-damp flesh.
"It's what you paid for."
He ignored Iphicles' blunt comment, not wanting to let anything spoil the moment. Iphicles' chest rose and fell rhythmically, and he idly watched the regular play of the light on the gold hoop before he reached out a hand and touched the metal curiously. "When did you get this done?"
He guessed from the movement beneath him that Iphicles had shrugged. "A while back."
Hercules raised his head to look at his brother's face. "Why? Didn't it hurt?"
A shrug again. "A bit, but then it wasn't my idea to start with. Palmerius did it." He grinned suddenly. "Old Callias would've had forty fits if anyone else had done something like that to one of his boys, but as it was he just had to accept it. Palmerius paid him well enough to stop his moaning, anyway, and most of my regulars seem to like it."
"But do you like it?" Hercules was honestly curious.
"Yeah, I do. Feels good."
Hercules' attention returned to the ring and he lay fingering it. "It just seems - odd, though."
"To you, maybe."
"Iph... " He sat up.
There was no answer from Iphicles and he didn't continue. He didn't know quite what it was he wanted to say anyway.
"You'd better go."
His instinctive hurt at the dismissal disappeared as he followed Iphicles' line of sight.
"Damn!" He leapt off the bed and began feverishly to pull on his clothes, calculating frantically how much money he had left. "How much will it cost, the extra time?"
Iphicles sat up, one leg bent and his elbow propped on his knee while he watched Hercules dress. "Don't worry about it," he said. "I'll sort Callias."
"Will you have to pay him?" He couldn't let Iphicles do that. It wasn't right.
Iphicles shook his head slightly. "He'll stop it from my earnings."
At Hercules' horrified expression, he grinned. "Don't worry," he said again. "He's always happy to take an alternative offer. I won't lose out."
Hercules straightened from where he'd been pulling his boots on. The thought of those pudgy fingers polluting Iphicles, claiming him, made him sick.
"Don't," he said sharply. "Come home with me, away from this. Please, Iphicles. I promise I won't tell Mom."
"You mean so that she doesn't find out that you're visiting the local whorehouse on your afternoon off?" The ugly anger in Iphicles' tone had Hercules wincing. "I don't give a toss if you *do* tell her, long as you don't tell her where she can find me. Unlike some people, I don't have a problem with being a whore. In fact," he lay back on the bed and his hand moved over his body in a deliberate caress, "I like it. I'm fucking good at it too, in case you'd forgotten the way you screamed."
Hercules shook his head, colour flaming in his cheeks at his brother's brutal statement. But before he found the words he wanted, there was a discreet tap at the door.
Iphicles' challenging gaze flicked to the door. "Yeah, I'm still alive," he called. "Give me time to get cleaned up, ok?"
His eyes returned to Hercules' troubled face.
"Iph, please. I don't want to leave you here like this."
His brother was suddenly off the bed and in front of him, glaring into his face. "Didn't you hear a fucking word I said? It's what *I* want. I didn't ask you for your opinion, or your fucking pity. Now get out."
He turned abruptly away and wrenched the door open. Hercules paused, not knowing how to talk to his brother, how to explain to him that he only wanted what was best for Iphicles. As he hesitated, the guard from the front door appeared in the open doorway.
Iphicles shook his head. "He's leaving."
Eyeing the man, Hercules was pretty sure he could take him. But he realised that it wouldn't solve anything; Iphicles would be even less likely to listen to him if he did so. He glanced back at Iphicles, to find his brother had turned away to the table in the corner.
"I'm going, Iphicles," he said at last.
The word was final, and he turned away to where the guard was still waiting.
"I can find my own way out," he snapped at him.
The only response was a disbelieving grunt. He paused in the doorway and turned back, to find Iphicles with his back to him still, wiping his body with a damp sponge, removing all traces of his brother's visit.
His eyes stinging suddenly, Hercules turned away and plunged up the corridor towards the way out.
The familiar noise and light of the street outside gradually steadied him until, breathing deeply of the fresh air to rid his lungs of every last trace of the debauched atmosphere of that place, Hercules' path became clear to him. His jaw was set in determination as he reckoned when he would next have an opportunity to slip away without being questioned by Iolaus or Jason, and go and talk some sense into his brother.
His resolution faltered suddenly as he saw a familiar figure approaching. Iolaus moved with his usual lightness, but Hercules found he was watching with different eyes, seeing the subtle messages Iolaus' body was putting out to all those around him even while his gaze was concentrated on Hercules.
Taking in the grin on Iolaus' face and the way his soft leather pants clung to his thighs, Hercules swallowed suddenly, his stomach tightening in a now-familiar way. Perhaps after all he shouldn't be in too much of a rush to avoid Iolaus' company just to see his brother.