Iolaus peered into the cave. It was dark. It did not inspire confidence.
"I don't like it, Herc," he declared looking to his best friend.
"I have to agree with you on that one,” Hercules responded, “But everything indicates that the chalice is in there.” The demi-god pointed toward the dark recesses of the cave and Iolaus’ eyes followed. "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."
“Athena should have punished Ares,” Iolaus complained as he shifted position for a better view of the dark recesses. “Then we wouldn’t be here facing whatever he has guarding that thing.”
“This is what we do, Iolaus,” Hercules reminded him. “We rescue people and retrieve objects. So let’s do it.”
Iolaus held the torches while his friend created the sparks to light them. He passed one to Hercules, then followed the demi-god into the cave. "I'd still rather be back in Ioannina," he continued, determined to make his feelings known. "I was rather occupied when you came pounding on Decia's door." He pulled slightly at the crotch of his pants adjusting himself. It didn’t help.
Hercules laughed. "We'll be back there soon enough, Iolaus, and then you can get back to what you were doing."
“You’d just better hope Decia’s still interested when I get there,” he warned his friend.
“How could she not be,” Hercules countered, his tone joking. “You’ve got everything a woman could want and then some.”
“Humph,” Iolaus responded. “Compliments aren’t going get you off the hook on this one.”
A few minutes later, he was complaining again. “These passages go on forever. Couldn’t Ares have make this a straight run?”
“Be thankful we don’t have to figure out which passages to take,” Hercules eprimanded him while waving the map he carried.
“I still want to know where they got this map,” Iolaus said. “It’s got every trap in the place marked on it.”
“They weren’t willing to talk about it,” Hercules reminded him. “Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth.”
“Why not?” Iolaus demanded. “I want to know if it has teeth before it bites me.” He could see Hercules shaking his head as they progressed through the cave.
Iolaus almost crashed into Hercules when his friend stopped suddenly. “Wha?” he said in surprise. Then seriously, “What is it, Herc?”
The larger man stepped carefully ahead as he replied, “A large cavern.”
“How do you know it’s large?” Iolaus asked trying to peer past the demi-god.
“Because it’s lit with torches and I can see the far side,” Herc told him.
“Oh,” was all Iolaus could say. Then, as he entered the cavern himself, “Look. It’s over there.” He pointed toward a niche across on the far side. The chalice glinted in the torchlight.
“Wait here,” Herc ordered.
“What else would I do?” Iolaus muttered to himself. He turned his attention to the passage they’d come through, but tried to keep an eye on his friend, too. Consequently he wasn’t actually looking at Hercules when the demi-god picked up the chalice. However, he did hear a loud rumbling. Looking back across the cavern, he noted the concerned look on his friend’s face.
Hercules had the chalice in hand, but he stood frozen listening to the noise. Iolaus held his sword ready for action, and swept his eyes about the area looking for the source of the sound. When the ground began to shake, he lost his balance and fell to his knees. He looked back toward his friend and saw a gaping hole running across the cavern floor. Hercules was cut off from the only exit.
“I told you I didn’t like it,” Iolaus reminded his friend as he got back to his feet and moved closer to the ominous gap.
Hercules ignored the comment. “Here. Catch,” he called and then tossed the chalice across to the hunter. Iolaus caught it deftly in his right hand, bent down, and stashed it in the satchel he let slip off his shoulder to the floor.
“Now let’s find me a way out of here,” Hercules suggested.
Iolaus noted his friend’s calculating gaze and knew he was estimating the distance across the chasm. It didn’t really look to be a difficult leap for the demi-god. He’d just finished his own search when he heard the sound of crumbling rock. He looked toward Hercules and saw him making an effort to maintain his balance. A chunk of the chasm wall had crumbled away at the demi-god’s feet. Iolaus watched his friend scramble back from the edge, then try another spot. It broke away, too. Every time Hercules approached the edge, more of the floor gave way. The demi-god stepped back and waited. Sections of the floor continued to break off at irregular intervals.
“Oh, great,” Iolaus 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 his victim would be me. And I have you. We’ll get me out of this.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” he 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.”
He then doubled his efforts to find a solution to their problem.
“Herc, I’m running out of ideas,” Iolaus complained after a short while.
“Same here,” Hercules agreed.
“So now what?” he asked looking to his friend.
“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 him. “Now go.”
Iolaus hesitated a moment longer, then turned and ran right into Ares. The God of War caught him and held him at arm’s length. He pulled away and stepped back.
“Herc,” he called over his shoulder. “ We’ve got company.”
“Come to gloat, brother?” Hercules asked sarcastically to the newcomer.
“Of course,” the god responded. “You didn’t expect any less of me now did you?” Iolaus turned as Ares moved past him to 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 his brother. “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 him incredulously.
“He’s your brother,” Iolaus 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 desperation and defiance in his voice.
“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,” he replied without hesitation.
“No!” yelled Hercules then fell silent as Ares waved his hand. The entire cavern turned quiet. The only sounds were those made by the god and the mortal.
“You’ll do whatever I ask in exchange for Hercules' life?” Ares qualified
“Yes,” Iolaus said flatly. *I know he probably still won’t save Herc, but I have to try.*
Suddenly Ares grabbed him by the wrist, then tangled the other hand in his hair. He struggled trying to break away.
“What are you doing?” Iolaus demanded of his captor.
The god pulled Iolaus’ head back reducing his movements. He looked into his captor’s eyes deliberately showing every ounce of hatred he felt. With a quick move, Ares twisted the wrist he held back behind Iolaus. Iolaus stopped struggling.
“Exactly what I want to do,” Ares informed him.
Iolaus saw a slight smile crook the corner of Ares’ mouth. The god’s head tilted towards him. *He’s going to kiss me,* he realized in panic and struggled to escape. A tug on his hair restrained his head so that he couldn’t turn away. Their lips met and Iolaus resisted with clenched teeth. He gasped when Ares twisted his arm sharply. Too late, he realized that he’d opened his mouth with the pain. He felt Ares’ tongue slip between his teeth, so he bit it. *I should bite the damn thing off,* he thought as the god pulled back.
Iolaus watched his tormenter warily. Ares laughed. *Not the reaction I’d anticipated,” he realized, now afraid of what would come next. Ares’ lips met his again, but this time the attack was brutal. The god’s strong jaw forced his mouth open and it became a battle of tongues as Iolaus’ fought to keep the invader out.
Iolaus knew he was losing. *Gods, he tastes good,* he realized. *Too damn horny for my own good,* he then chastised himself. Nevertheless, it was too late. Of their own volition, his arms snaked around Ares neck and he started to give as good as he was getting.
Suddenly a bolt of lightening shot through his body and it started at his cock. Ares’ had pressed their groins together. Iolaus became aware of his and the god’s obvious arousals. His eyes snapped open only to stare into Ares’ amusement-filled eyes. He immediately pulled his hands down from the god’s neck and tried to push him away. *What have I gotten myself into?* he thought in horror. *Herc, let me finish next time.*
Ares chuckled without releasing Iolaus’ mouth. The god’s grip tightened pressing them harder together. The tongue continued to plunder his mouth. *Herc, forgive me,* he asked silently of his friend as he lost himself once more to Ares’ kiss.
When Ares started to rub their straining cocks together, Iolaus knew he had lost. He moaned his pleasure deep in his chest. His arms twined around the god’s neck again. When he couldn’t take any more he pulled back and Ares let him. Their eyes met and Iolaus noted the desire in the god's eyes. *He'd better be enjoying himself,* he thought. *If I give him a good enough show, maybe I'll get what I want out of this.*
Ares stepped back and Iolaus realized his knees had gone weak. He slowly sank to the ground as they failed to support him any longer. *A good show yes,* the mortal reprimanded himself, *but this is ridiculous.* The War God laughed.
Iolaus knelt on the ground his eyes on his hands in his lap. The silence enveloped him like a blanket until the god laughed again. It sent a shiver up his spine. Then Ares gripped his upper arms and pulled him to his feet. Iolaus was thankful for the hand that kept him balanced. He watched the god’s other hand slip into the waistband of his brown leather pants. Iolaus raised his eyes to the god’s just as those pants were torn from his body with a resounding rip. He grabbed at the remnants automatically trying to cover himself, but the leather fell apart in his hands. *One of those god things,* he realized and stopped. He took a moment to pull himself together knowing he had to look ridiculous in just his vest and boots. Calmly he raised his eyes to judge Ares' reaction to his present condition. The god was leering. *I’d say he likes the show,* Iolaus noted.
“This isn’t what I meant and you know it,” he stated angrily.
“What you meant doesn’t matter,” Ares replied matter of factly. “You said you would do whatever I want and this is what I want.”
Iolaus saw the god’s gaze move past him toward where Hercules must be. *Herc’s watching,* he realized, *and he can probably hear us even if I can't hear him.* He kept his eyes riveted on Ares not wanting to see his friend’s reaction to the current situation.
“Now kiss me,” the god commanded.
Iolaus hesitated considering his options. He had none. *Back to the show,* he thought as he slipped his arms around Ares’ neck again. The god ravaged his mouth again. His blood was on fire and it coursed straight to his groin. *This has to be a god thing, too,* he noted absently. *I hate these god things.*
The god released him and turned him to face Hercules. He kept his head down. *I can't look at Herc,* he thought. *I'm not sure I could do this if I did.* Directly in front of him he saw a slab of stone. *An altar conjured up by Ares,* he noted. *How subtle.* Then a hand lay gently on his back and pushed him forward. He noted that Ares had ositioned him so his erection hung freely down the side and would be fully visible between the legs of the altar.
Ares whispered into his ear, “Hold onto the edge.”
Iolaus reached out gripping the edge of the altar, and he kept his eyes fixed there. He was surprised when Ares ran his hands over his back caressing his skin. The gentle touch continued across his soft cheeks, down his outer thighs and then up the inner thighs to the groin. He moaned as the god’s hands cupped his balls, massaging them briefly before moving on to his turgid shaft. *Oh, gods, why is he doing it this way?*
The God of War stroked Iolaus’ cock casually and he automatically arched his back trying to thrust into Ares hand. *Oh, please don’t stop,* he pleaded silently. Ares released him and stepped away.
“Please,” he whimpered before he could stop himself.
“What was that Iolaus?” Ares queried sweetly. “You have to speak louder if you want me to hear you.”
*Damn you.* Iolaus took a deep breath. *I've got to put up some kind of fight,* he told himself. *If only for Herc's sake.* He steadied himself, then turned and launched at Ares. His hands closed around the god's throat. Ares laughed. He squeezed with all his strength and still Ares laughed.
*I've got to be crazy trying to strangle a god,* Iolaus realized and released his grip. *I'd laugh too if I was in his place. So much for playing hard to get.* He turned back to the altar and froze. He'd forgotten to keep his eyes down. Hercules stood across the chasm staring at him. The look on his friend's face begged him not to do this.
Iolaus felt the god step up behind him, pressing his leather-clad body against his back. Arms wrapped around his torso and Ares' hands caressed his body. Fingers rubbed a nipple while the other hand stroked his rapidly stiffening cock. He moaned and leaned back against the god. *I can’t believe how much I want this,* he acknowledged. He closed his eyes as Ares’ lips kissed his neck.
The god kissed and nibbled his way down Iolaus’ neck and across his shoulder. *I never thought of Ares as being gentle at anything,* he considered as he floated on waves of sensation. The god's hands never stilled as he kissed his way up to an ear where he nipped and sucked. Iolaus moaned and tilted his head to give Ares better access.
*My turn,* Iolaus thought as he turned suddenly in Ares’ arms. Their lips met and this time he plundered the god’s mouth. Ares didn’t resist. He pressed his body against the god's leathers wondering if Ares would remove them at some point. He rather hoped he wouldn’t. The feel of the leather against his skin added to his arousal.
Iolaus turned back to the altar at Ares gentle prompting and bent over it again. He automatically reached for the far edge. The god ran hands over his back and down to brush his genitals. Iolaus felt Ares’ weight on his back as the god sucked on an earlobe. Then a finger slid easily into his body. He arched his back pushing further onto the intruding digit as a moan escaped his lips. The finger slid almost out and two fingers slid back in. He moaned loudly and moved with the stroking fingers. Ares chuckled in his ear. *Herc’s not going to forget how willing I am,* he realized.
Ares straightened behind him removing his hand. A moment later Iolaus felt Ares’ cock press against his anus. The god pushed and the head of his cock slipped past the ring of muscles. Iolaus gasped at the combination of pain and pleasure. The god waited for the muscles to relax then continued with slow strokes. Each stroke took the god deeper into him eliciting a greater moan than the one before. When fully sheathed, Ares bent down to kiss and nibble at his shoulder, neck, and ear. Coherent thought abandoned Iolaus.
The God of War ran fingers over Iolaus’ body evoking a cascade of shivers and twitches. He felt the god's shaft pulse within him. Hands slipped under his chest and tweaked the hard nipples. He was almost ashamed at how he was writhing under the god. Almost. Then the god pulled his cock almost all the way out of its tight haven, and rammed back in. He withdrew again, but this time he slid back in slowly. Iolaus whimpered. Another slide out, a slight shift of position, and Ares rammed home again. This time the stroke brushed the prostate. Iolaus cried out. He continued to moan and cry with every stroke from the god fucking him.
On a downward stroke, Ares stopped briefly, then pulled all the way out. Iolaus could feel the tip of the cock resting against his anus.
“Please.” he begged. “Please don’t stop.”
“You want more,” Ares asked loudly.
“Yes,” he replied in a strained, but soft voice. “Finish it, please. Now.” He suddenly pushed back and the tip of Ares cock was again inside him.
“Tell me what you want, Iolaus,” the god demanded.
Iolaus’ 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.”
The god slid into Iolaus again and began to stroke finding a comfortable rhythm. Iolaus moaned with each stroke as the pace increased. Soon he was encouraging the god, begging him. He wanted...no needed release.
Just when Iolaus thought he couldn't take any more, Ares wrapped a hand around his cock pulling it away from the rough stone of the altar. The god stroked in unison with his own thrusts. In moments Iolaus tensed and cried out, his seed shooting against the altar and onto the floor. He barely noticed Ares’ last erratic strokes before the god sank teeth into the soft flesh of his shoulder and pumped his seed into him.
An eternity later, Ares straightened and withdrew. Iolaus thought it was over then a hand caressed his ass and gently squeezed his balls.
"Thank you, Iolaus,” Ares said loudly. “We'll have to do this again sometime." *Oh, yes,
definitely,* the hunter told himself. *But not with Herc watching.*
"Hercules," Iolaus said. He hadn't yet moved, but he sensed that Ares was about to leave. "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 War. "No," he said softly, sitting dejectedly. "Of course not." Nevertheless, his eyes met Ares'.
Ares looked up and across the cave at Hercules. *At least Herc's still there,* Iolaus realized with relief. *But it means he had to watch the whole thing. He knows I wanted Ares to fuck me.*
The god's eyes turned to Iolaus again. Iolaus knew his own eyes showed his despair, but it didn't matter. Nothing mattered any more. The fates had dealt him a rotten hand and he couldn't do a thing about it. Then, without taking his eyes from Iolaus, Ares waved a hand. A moment later he was gone.
A few minutes passed before Iolaus heard a rumbling. *That's probably the end of it,* he thought. *I can't look at him. I can't bear to see the disappointment in his eyes.* He slouched more heavily against the altar listening to the continuous rumble. The ground shook slightly, but he paid it no heed. The rumble and the shaking seemed to go on forever.
“Iolaus,” Hercules called softly.
Iolaus raised his head with a start and his eyes met those of his friend. Disbelief spread across his 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, his own surprise evident in his voice. He knelt beside his friend.
“I guess we should be grateful,” Iolaus commented. He scuffed a boot in the dirt.
“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,” Iolaus said as he started to rise.
Hercules stood and reached out to help his friend, but Iolaus flinched away. *He doesn't understand,* the mortal reminded himself. *I can't make him suffer more for what I've done.* He reached up and took the proffered hand. His friend pulled him to his feet and for a moment, Iolaus was afraid the demi-god was going to hug him. He relaxed slightly when Hercules started looking around the area for something that could be used as clothing. Almost immediately Herc asked, "Will these do?" He was holding out Iolaus' pants. They were intact and showed no sign of their earlier disintegration.
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?”
"When it comes to Ares," Hercules said, "we probably should look that gift horse in the mouth."
"Yeah, but let's do it some place else," Iolaus suggested. "I didn't want to come in here in the first place remember." Then he flashed his friend a smile to take the sting out of his words. *None of this is his fault,* he reminded himself. *I’ve got to convince Mr. Guilt-Trip of that.*
Iolaus headed out of the cave. He heard Hercules pick up the satchel behind him then follow. "Slow down," his friend called. "I'm not sure we got all the traps on the way in."
"No way," he threw back. "There was a stream just off the road out there and I need a bath."
"You won't get it if you break a leg," Herc warned him.
"Maybe, but it'll get me a lot of pampering from Decia." Iolaus rushed on. He needed time to sort through his feelings. *This didn't go according to plan,* he thought. *I wonder if it went according to Ares' plan?*