A bell rang, loud and persistent, in the Temple of Ares. It echoed through the large halls demanding attention. Ares, God of War, lounged on his throne, one leg thrown over the arm. The blade he fondled, almost lovingly, glinted in the light from one of the high windows. His brow furrowed at the intrusion into his thoughts, and he waved a hand in the direction of a large mirror across the room. An image shimmered into existence on its surface.
"I don't like it, Herc," came Iolaus' voice from the mirror.
Ares turned his attention to the scene in front of him. There he saw his half-brother, Hercules, and that annoying sidekick. The men stood at the entrance to a cave, his cave. The one where the he kept the gold chalice he'd taken from one of Athena's temples over a century ago.
*What are they doing there?* Ares wondered to himself.
On the mirror, Hercules responded to his friend. "I have to agree with you on that one, but everything indicates that the chalice is in there." He pointed toward the dark recesses of the cave. "It's the only thing that will break the curse on Ioannina. They've suffered enough at the hands of the gods. Ares stole the chalice from their temple to Athena and they got punished."
*I didn't steal it,* Ares contradicted his brother, if only to himself. *I won the bet and it was my chosen prize.*
"Athena should have punished Ares," the hunter said. "Then we wouldn't be here facing whatever he has guarding that thing."
"This is what we do, Iolaus," Hercules replied. "We rescue people and retrieve objects. So let's do it."
With torches in hand, the friends entered the cave. "I'd still rather be back in Ioannina," Iolaus complained. "I was rather occupied when you came pounding on Decia's door."
Hercules laughed. "We'll be back there soon enough, Iolaus, and then you can get back to what you were doing."
Ares watched them make their way through the twisting passages obviously following directions they'd gotten from somewhere.
*Strife and Discord are the only ones who know where that chalice is,* Ares thought as he leaned back in his throne. *One of them will pay for this intrusion.* He caressed the blade still in his hands without looking at it.
After watching for a few minutes, Ares returned his attention to the blade. He threw both legs over the arm of the throne. The mirror continued its display, but it no longer held any interest for the god. The two men were having no problems detecting and avoiding the various traps.
*They're boring,* Ares thought. *The little runt could at least trip over something.*
A short while later, a loud rumble brought the God of War's attention back to the mirror. The intruders had found the main cavern and Hercules held the chalice in his hands. *Now that was a foolish move,* Ares noted. The god's eyes sought out the second man. Iolaus stood by the only entrance to the room poised for trouble. Both men had obviously heard the noise and now waited to find out what it presaged.
Ares smiled. *Maybe this will be interesting after all.* Suddenly the middle of the chamber floor fell away leaving behind a deep chasm.
"I told you I didn't like it," Iolaus reminded his friend.
Hercules ignored the comment. "Here. Catch," he called and then tossed the chalice across to his companion who stashed it in the satchel on the floor.
"Now let's find me a way out of here." Both men started looking for the best way to get the demi-god across. Hercules stood at the edge estimating distances when a chunk of the chasm wall crumbled away at his feet. He scrambled back from the edge, then tried another spot. It broke away, too. Every time he approached the edge, more of the floor gave way. He stepped back and waited. Sections of the floor continued to break off at irregular intervals or when he came too close to the edge.
"Oh, great," the blond moaned. "Only your side is crumbling. It was a trap for whoever picked up the chalice."
"And that would be me," Hercules commented dryly. "But Ares would never have anticipated that I'd be his victim. And I have you. We'll get me out of this."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Iolaus replied. "You can't jump this thing if you can't trust the ground under your feet. Just stay away from the edge til we find another way to get you across." They doubled their efforts to find a way over the abyss.
"Oh, this is rich," Ares remarked to the empty air. "Hercules will die and I don't even have to lift a finger. Zeus can't blame me for this." The god was now sitting on the edge of his seat in anticipation.
After a few minutes though, Ares started to feel bored again. "This is taking too long. I need to spice it up a little. And if I'm there, I can savor my victory." A flash of light and he was gone.
Rather than alert the men immediately to his presence, Ares arrived a short way down the passage, and walked to a position where he could watch.
"Herc, I'm running out of ideas," Iolaus complained after a short while.
"Same here," Hercules agreed.
"So now what?" the hunter asked.
"Take the chalice to Athena," Hercules suggested. "Maybe she can help."
"That'll take too long," Iolaus protested. "I can't get there and back before you run out of ledge."
"I'll be creative," the demi-god reassured his friend. "Now go."
Iolaus hesitated a moment longer, then turned and ran right into Ares. The God of War caught the hunter and held him at arm's length steadying him. The mortal pulled away and stepped back.
"Herc," the hunter called over his shoulder. " We've got company."
"Come to gloat, brother?" Hercules asked sarcastically as he stared across the chasm at the newcomer.
"Of course," the god responded. "You didn't expect any less of me now did you?" Ares moved to stand at the edge of the chasm.
"Not really," Hercules replied. "The chalice is going back to Athena, you know."
"She only had to ask and I would have returned it," Ares informed him, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth. "But that would have meant I was right and she was wrong. We can't have that now."
Iolaus stepped in front of the god. "Help him," he demanded.
"Why ever should I?" Ares asked incredulously.
"He's your brother," the mortal reminded the god.
"My half-brother," Ares corrected. "Not terribly popular with the family. Always getting in my way and fouling my plans. And you want me to save him?"
"I'll trade my life for his," Iolaus offered.
"You dead or alive makes no difference to me," Ares informed him. "Hercules dead is very appealing. You've got to do better than that."
"Name it," Iolaus said without hesitation.
"No!" yelled Hercules. It was the last word either of them heard. Ares waved his hand and the cavern became deathly quiet. The only sounds were those made the god and the mortal.
"You'll do whatever I ask in exchange for Hercules life?" Ares qualified. *He can't have thought this through.*
"Yes," Iolaus said flatly.
*He's just sold himself and doesn't realize it,* the god thought smiling inwardly. *This just keeps getting better. I get some fun before I let Hercules die.*
Ares grabbed Iolaus by the wrist, then tangled his other hand in the smaller man's hair. The hunter struggled trying to break away.
"What are you doing?" Iolaus demanded.
The God pulled the mortal's head back reducing his movements. He looked into his prisoner's eyes reveling in the hatred he saw there. With one quick move of his arm, Ares twisted the wrist he up behind Iolaus' back. The struggles stopped completely. *Ah, yes, the eyes now contain a touch of fear. Hatred sweetened with fear is so arousing.*
"Exactly what I want to do," Ares informed him.
A slight smile crooked the corner of Ares' mouth as he tilted his head down towards Iolaus. Panic spread across the hunter's face and his struggles resumed. With a tug on the hair he held, Ares thwarted the man's attempt to turn away. Their lips met, but Iolaus resisted with clenched teeth. A sharp twist of the arm brought a gasp from the mortal. Ares pressed his advantage and probed the other man's mouth with his tongue. Iolaus bit him.
Ares raised his head in surprise. *The mortal has spunk.* He tasted blood in his mouth -- his own blood. *Oh, this is good.* Iolaus was watching him warily. Ares laughed and saw the fear in the mortal's eyes increase. Lips met again, but this time the attack was brutal. The God waged a war in Iolaus' mouth knowing that the blond could not win this battle.
When Ares felt Iolaus start to relax, he released the wrist he still held. He moved his hand down the other man's back to cup a cheek. The God almost laughed when he felt Iolaus' arms snake around his neck. The mortal had obviously forgotten whom he was kissing. Ares took this opportunity to bring them closer together. With his hand on Iolaus' ass, Ares pressed their groins together.
Ares own pulse raced as Iolaus' leather covered shaft pressed against his. *He's aroused. Good.* Then he felt the shock of surprise that ran through the smaller man's body. Again, Ares was looking into those blue eyes. The hatred was still there, but he saw desire as well. Iolaus' hands immediately dropped to Ares' shoulders and tried to push the God away. Ares chuckled into Iolaus' mouth as he tightened his grip on his hapless victim.
Slowly Iolaus began to respond again. Ares kept his grip on the mortal, but began to move against him, rubbing their straining cocks together. The God felt more than heard the other man moan. The arms twined back around his neck. When Iolaus finally pulled his head back, Ares let him. The God met those blue eyes again, now dark with lust. *Another battle won,* he thought triumphantly.
Ares stepped back and let Iolaus slowly sink to his knees. The God of War laughed. *It's great being a god. Clouding a mortal's mind is so easy and they never realize they've been influenced.*
The God looked over the mortal's head to see Hercules watching them. The poor man looked ready to fly across the chasm, but then the spot where he stood crumbled and he was forced to jump back. *You haven't begun to hate me, dear brother,* he thought with a smile. The demi-god released his anger on a nearby boulder shattering it, then resumed hunting for a way across the ever-growing chasm. Ares was glad he'd put up a wall of silence between them. If Iolaus could hear his friend, this war would be lost instantly.
With his best laugh, Ares pulled Iolaus to his feet. Supporting the man with one hand, he tore off the mortal's leather pants leaving him in vest and boots. *Oh, what a sight,* Ares thought as he leered at the smaller man. *And my brother is watching.* The God didn't need to look to know this.
The God of War watched Iolaus desperately trying to recover his pants, but the leather continued to fall apart in his hands. The mortal suddenly stopped. He visibly recovered himself then turned his eyes to Ares. *The lust is gone. I'll have to fix that.* The god reached for his victim, but Iolaus sidestepped away.
"This isn't what I meant and you know it," Iolaus stated angrily.
"What you meant doesn't matter," Ares replied. "You said you would do whatever I want and this is what I want."
The god looked toward Hercules knowing his half-brother could hear them quite clearly. Iolaus kept his eyes riveted on Ares. *He doesn't trust himself. He knows what he has to do and he also knows Hercules won't approve.*
"Now kiss me," the God of War commanded.
Ares noted the hesitation, but then Iolaus complied. The god ravaged that mouth again and felt his power over the mortal restored. This man had to enjoy what was to come or the victory wouldn't be as sweet.
When Iolaus started to respond to the kiss with fervor, Ares knew it was time. A wave of his hand produced an altar behind Iolaus. It came to hip level on the mortal. The god released his captive and turned him to face the altar and Hercules. This display was for his brother's benefit after all. Ares took a step forward pushing Iolaus face down on the altar making sure that his erection hung freely down the side, fully visible between the altar's legs. Then he leaned in to whisper in his ear. "Hold onto the edge."
The mortal's hands gripped the opposite edge of the altar, but he still studiously avoided looking at Hercules. As Ares straightened up, he ran his hands over Iolaus' back caressing his skin. His gentle touch continued across the man's soft cheeks, down the outer thighs and then up the inner thighs to the groin. Iolaus moaned as the god's hands cupped his balls, massaging them briefly before moving on to his turgid shaft.
Ares' hands were on a mission of their own, but his eyes were locked on Hercules'. The demi-god stood back from the edge seething. The god absorbed the hate that emanated from his brother. He chuckled softly. *This is better than I'd anticipated.*
The God of War stroked the mortal's cock casually, as though none of this mattered to him. In return, Iolaus arched his back trying to thrust into Ares hand, trying to take control. Ares released him and stepped back.
"Please." Ares almost missed the whimpered word.
"What was that Iolaus?" he queried sweetly. "You have to speak louder if you want me to hear you."
The man on the altar took a deep breath to steady himself, then tensed slightly. *What is he planning?* With no further warning, Iolaus turned from the stone table launching himself at Ares. The god stood his ground as hands closed about his throat. He laughed and kept laughing.
Slowly realization of the futility of his actions spread across Iolaus' face followed quickly by resignation. The mortal dropped his arms and turned back to the altar. He froze.
As Ares recovered from his laughing fit, he realized that something was wrong. Hercules' eyes were locked on his friend pleading, begging Iolaus not to do this. *Iolaus has made a mistake,* the god noted. *He looked at Hercules. Time to reclaim my prize.* The god stepped up behind Iolaus, pressing his leather-clad body against the other man. He wrapped his arms around the rigid torso and let his hands caress the skin as they had earlier.
Ares watched his brother over Iolaus' shoulder, while one hand rub a nipple and the other stroked the rapidly stiffening cock. Iolaus moaned and leaned back against the god. As eye contact broke, Hercules turned his attention back to his half-brother. Ares dropped his eyes and put his lips to Iolaus' neck to hide the smile that played at the corners of his mouth.
The god kissed and nibbled his way down Iolaus' neck and across his shoulder. *Not my usual style, but not unpleasant either,* Ares thought. *Maybe I'll have to give this gentle stuff a try some day.* Hands still moving on the mortal's body, he kissed his way back up and onto the ear where he nipped and sucked. His victim moaned and tilted his head to give Ares better access.
Suddenly Iolaus turned in Ares arms. Their lips met and this time it was the mortal plundering the god's mouth. Surprised at the turn of events, Ares didn't resist. *This will irk Hercules.*
The God of War felt the smaller man's body pressed against his leathers. He considered removing his own clothes, but that wasn't the effect he wanted here. Instead, he turned Iolaus back to the altar bending him over it again. The blond automatically reached for the far edge.
Without raising his head, Ares looked toward his brother. He saw a variety of emotions playing across the demi-god's face. Hercules showed concern and fear for his friend. There was also frustration and anger at their predicament, but no trace of the hate that the god had seen earlier. *The hate shows only when he knows I'm looking at him.*
Ares again ran his hands over Iolaus' back. He brushed the man's genitals to test their arousal. *He's definitely ready.* A thought coated the god's fingers with slick oil. *Must remember; pleasure not pain.* Leaning over Iolaus' back, Ares sucked at an earlobe as he slid one finger into the waiting man.
Iolaus arched his back trying to push further onto the intruding finger as a moan escaped his lips. Again, Ares looked at his brother through lowered lashes. The pain and despair he saw there encouraged him. He slid his finger almost out, then added a second as he pushed in again. The mortal's moan was loud and his movements more intense. Ares chuckled. *He's enjoying this more than I thought he would.*
Opening the front of his pants with a simple touch of his hand, Ares extracted himself from the confines. He stroked his shaft noting the extent of his own arousal. A second stroke coated it with oil. Placing one hand on the small of Iolaus' back, he used the other to guide his shaft to the mortal's waiting entrance. Ares pushed and the head of his cock slipped past the ring of muscles. A gasp escaped from Iolaus. The god waited for the muscles to relax then continued his descent with slow strokes. Each stroke took him deeper and elicited a greater moan from the man beneath him. When he was fully sheathed, he bent down to kiss and nibble at Iolaus' shoulder, neck, and ear. *Exquisite.*
Once he regained control of himself, Ares checked on Hercules again. The demi-god knelt on the floor with his face in his hands, no longer able to watch the scene transpiring across the chasm. *It'll be a long time before they reconcile this between them.* Ares chuckled.
The God of War took a few minutes to run his fingers over the mortal's body relishing the shivers and twitches he evoked. The occasional spasms about his shaft were delicious. He slid his hands across Iolaus' chest and tweaked the hard nipples he found. Soon the blond was writhing beneath him. Ares could no longer wait. He pulled his cock almost all the way out of its tight haven, then rammed back in. Again he withdrew, but this time he slid back in slowly. Iolaus whimpered. Another slide out, a slight shift of his position, and he rammed home again. This time his stroke brushed the mortal's prostate. Iolaus cried out. A moan or cry from the man he was fucking now punctuated each of Ares' strokes. The god bit his lower lip to suppress any sounds of his own.
On a downward stroke, Ares took a moment to compose himself, then pulled all the way out of Iolaus. The tip of his cock rested against the mortal's anus.
"Please." Iolaus begged. "Please don't stop."
"You want more," Ares asked loudly. He watched Hercules flinch at the words.
"Yes," the mortal responded. "Finish it, please. Now." Iolaus suddenly pushed back and the tip of Ares cock was again inside that delicious channel.
"Tell me what you want, Iolaus."
The mortals response was soft, almost inaudible.
"I couldn't hear you," Ares said. "I can't do what you want if I can't hear you."
"Fuck me, dammit," Iolaus cried loudly. "Let me cum."
Ares watched as Hercules curled in on himself even more. *The words cut him,* the god gloated to himself. *He blames himself for this. It makes this so much better seeing him suffer so.*
The god slid into Iolaus again. He began to stroke finding a comfortable rhythm. With each moan of his partner, he increased his pace. In only a few strokes, Iolaus was encouraging him, begging him. Ares knew he wouldn't last much longer. *He's too good.*
Ares reached a hand around to the mortal's crotch. His questing fingers found Iolaus' straining cock where it hung along the side of the altar. The rough stone scraped it with each thrust. Ares gripped the organ and stroked in unison with his movement in the hunter. He felt the man tense and then Iolaus cried out, his seed shooting against the altar and onto the floor. The mortal's orgasm pushed Ares to the edge of his own, then with one more stroke he fell over it. He clutched the man beneath him and sank his teeth into the soft flesh of a shoulder. It stifled his cry of pleasure as he pumped his seed into the golden hunter.
An eternity later, Ares began to think again. He straightened and withdrew from his victim. A gesture covered his groin again. He caressed the mortal's ass, then squeezed the balls gently. *Curb those thoughts,* he told himself.
He stepped back so that he could see both Iolaus and Hercules. "Thank you, Iolaus. We'll have to do this again sometime." The demi-god's head came up and their eyes met. *If looks could kill, I'd be dead,* Ares thought. *A bit cliched, but definitely true.* He raised his hand to leave.
"Hercules," Iolaus said. The mortal hadn't yet moved, but he was obviously aware. "You promised to save him."
"You trusted me to keep my word?" Ares laughed.
The hunter released the edge of the altar and slid down the side. As he reached the floor, he turned to face the God of the War. "No," Iolaus said softly. "Of course not." Nevertheless, his eyes met Ares'.
The god's heart skipped a beat. *He can still look at me after what I've done to him,* he realized with surprise. *Perhaps he has earned a reward.*
Ares looked across the cave at Hercules. His brother stood stiffly, fists clenched at his sides. The god noted that there wasn't much left of the narrowing ledge.
*Just five more minutes and he's gone,* Ares thought triumphantly. Then he dropped his eyes to Iolaus again. Despair filled those beautiful blue eyes. Ares searched them, but couldn't find any hate only resignation to the hand the fates had given him. *He sacrificed himself knowing there was little hope of saving Hercules,* Ares realized. The god waved his hand without taking his eyes from the mortal's. A moment later he left.
Back in his temple, Ares sat on his throne and turned his attention to the mirror that still showed the cavern. The scene hadn't changed since his moment of departure except for a low rumbling.
It seemed to take an eternity for either of the men he watched to notice the sound. Iolaus stiffened for a moment, then returned to slouching against the leg of the altar. He didn't seem to care any more. Hercules, closer to the edge of the chasm, felt the ground trembles that started to accompany the noise. He turned his head to look at the edge obviously expecting to see more of it fall away. Surprise spread across his features. A section of wall rose up to its original position. Slowly, the cavern floor returned. It looked like time running backwards.
Hercules hesitated before stepping onto the restored surface. *Is it that he doesn't trust me,* Ares wondered, *or that he's not sure he can face Iolaus?* The demi-god walked slowly across the cavern waiting patiently as each section slid back into place. He hesitated again when the floor was whole. He clenched his fists, put a sympathetic look on his face, then moved around the altar to look at his friend.
"Iolaus," Hercules called softly.
The hunter raised his head and their eyes met. Disbelief spread across the mortal's face, replaced quickly by shame. He dropped his eyes back to the floor.
"I thought he'd let you die," Iolaus said.
"I don't know why he didn't," the demi-god responded as he knelt beside his friend.
"I guess we should be grateful," Iolaus commented.
"I'm sure he's up to something," Hercules observed bitterly. "He's probably watching us right now."
"Well, then, I guess I should find something to cover myself with so we can get out of here," the smaller man said as he started to rise.
Hercules reached out to help his friend, but Iolaus flinched away. Ares saw a moment of panic cross the mortal's face before he took for the proffered hand. The demi-god showed pain, then relief as they touched and he pulled the smaller man to his feet.
For a moment, the God of War thought his brother would hug the blond hunter. Instead, he started looking around for something Iolaus could wear. He immediately found Iolaus' pants laying neatly folded on the altar. "Will these do?" he asked as he held them out. They showed no sign of damage.
Iolaus took the pants and slipped them on quickly. "I don't understand any of this," he said shaking his head. "Ares got what he wanted so why the generosity?"
*I don't understand it myself, Iolaus.* Ares sat back on his throne chewing on his lower lip. *I could be rid of Hercules by now and you would be mine.* The god leaned forward again to look closer at the image of the mortal. *Mine in body, but not in soul.*
Ares, God of War, straightened momentarily, then threw his leg over the arm of his throne. A sword appeared in his hands. As he lifted it for inspection, he waved a hand and the image of Iolaus vanished.