"How could you have done that?" Iphicles screamed at the top of his lungs.
A small still reasonable part of his mind knew that he would regret this latest argument with his brother. That voice of reason tried to remind him that he couldn't win this fight, not only could Hercules flatten him with a single half-strength blow, but he probably wouldn't even bother. Every other of their almost ritual battles had ended with Hercules stalking off infuriated; leaving him to deal not only with Rena, but also Alcmene, who'd come for the wedding and three weeks later still hadn't left. Every time his mother suggested leaving Rena thought of some other absolutely necessary skill that she just had to learn and Alcmene, of course, would agree to stay.
Which meant that he ended up having one or the other alternately lecture or cajole him after each and every argument.
This time the argument had started in the courtyard of Rena and Iphicles' palace. A low stone wall enclosed the yard. The moist fall breeze warned of impending rain and blew up a light scattering of dust and leaves that he brushed away impatiently. He knew that Iolaus probably watched, and his eyes sought a crumbled portion of the wall that Iolaus preferred to sit on. Within seconds he found the hunter; even in weak sun the glint of blond hair shone unmistakably. The manned guard posts at each corner of the wall, more guards at the large main gate, and a group of kitchen workers and gardeners at the smaller gate that led to the kitchen gardens and an overgrown orchard created ample audience for the fight. As their argument got louder, the servants' slowed their hurried rush to prepare for the coming rain, preferring the promised entertainment of a battle between their new king and his brother. He heard them murmuring in the background, but chose to ignore the gathering audience in favor of focusing on his younger brother's angry reply.
"I didn't do it!" Hercules yelled back. His eyes moved across the
yard taking in the audience and Iphicles could almost see him reach
for patience. He held up his hands conciliatorily. "I didn't ..."
A flush of anger flashed over Iphicles' face at his brother's continued denials. He still vividly recalled his enraged embarrassment at the practical joke and his hurt when their mother refused to believe that Hercules had done it. The combination of rage, embarrassment, and long-buried pain drowned out everything else. "You put frogs in my bed!" Iphicles cut off Hercules with a roar. "And you laughed when Mom spanked me." Iphicles poked his brother in the chest emphasizing each furious word.
Hercules lightly swatted the poking finger away. "I laughed because the frogs were everywhere and I didn't put them in your bed," he insisted red-faced with fury. Both men took a step towards each other; then Hercules stepped back taking a deep controlling breath.
"Don't!" Iphicles roared, seeing his brother prepare to walk away from yet another argument. "Don't you walk away from me..." furious he reached for the most hurtful words he could find, "... you bastard!"
"Don't call me a bastard!"
Silence fell over the courtyard as they paced towards each other. Out of the corner of one eye, Iphicles saw Iolaus tense, ready to spring off the wall, however, he relaxed when Hercules stopped moving and simply glared. A soft voice broke the hush, "You girl, go get the Queen." Then he heard fast running steps headed for the kitchen gardens. Shaking with rage, both men disregarded everything else and stood nose to nose in the sunny courtyard.
"Why don't you just admit that you put the frogs in my bed." Iphicles insisted biting out each word.
"Because I didn't," Hercules insisted, just as adamant.
"Yes, you did."
"I did not."
"It was me you ninnies!" The bright laughter-filled shout came from the wall. They stood in silent shock for a few seconds too long before they simultaneously pivoted. With a wild jubilant laugh, Iolaus launched himself off the stone wall and began running diagonally across the yard towards the orchard.
"Iolaus!" The outraged shout came from both brothers as they began chasing him. Two young women carrying a large basket of freshly cleaned sheets blocked the path, Iolaus lightly dove forward ending in a somersault that took him between the now laughing women and under the basket. He sprang to his feet spinning to watch Hercules and Iphicles charge, separating to swerve around the women, unfortunately Hercules clipped one of them sending her crashing into her companion and the basket of sheets flying.
Iphicles caught one falling woman, but ended on his backside when the other smashed into them right before the overturned basket landed on top of the pile. Sheets continued to descend on the grounded trio smothering them in slightly damp, fresh smelling linen. Shrugging violently and flailing his arms Iphicles pulled several sheets off his head.
"Sorry," Hercules quickly apologized, caught a flying sheet, and whipped it around his head before flinging it like a net towards Iolaus. He sighed when Iolaus just giggled, ducked under the makeshift net, and dashed off with a raucous war whoop.
Iphicles continued struggling with the entangling sheets but glanced up to catch a fast glimpse of Iolaus racing across the courtyard towards the gardens. "Hurry up, we need to catch him before he hits the orchards," Hercules urged, extending a hand. Iphicles caught it and shifted his weight to take advantage of his brother's controlled tug. In a single smooth moment he was out, on his feet, and they resumed their chase weaving around men-at-arms, ladies, courtiers, and servants.
Splitting up again they converged on Iolaus, but this time he took advantage of a gardener, climbing the man using him as a springboard to leap to a tree branch overhanging the garden wall. Iphicles shifted the startled gardener out of the way, leapt, and snatched at Iolaus' dangling legs. One hand closed over an ankle, which he tenaciously clung to, only to land on his backside a second time when Iolaus' foot slipped out of the snagged boot. He tossed the boot to Hercules and quickly scrambled over the wall. Seconds later his brother landed beside him with a soft thud.
"Well?" Hercules asked.
Iphicles pointed vaguely towards the upper branches of the trees. "Up there." They turned at a sudden rustle. "Somewhere," he concluded ruefully.
"I told you not to let him get into the orchards."
"You told me that we needed to catch him before he got to the garden. And I didn't see you get anywhere close to him. At least I managed to snag a boot." Iphicles met his brother's irritated glare and pulled the boot out of his hand. Lifting it up he finished, "And I don't think he's going very far without ..." He broke off as the boot suddenly rocked in his hand and, startled, relaxed his grip slightly. The boot jerked violently then flew upwards and he stared for a single stupefied moment before seeing the fishing line holding it. He lunged and collided with Hercules who had lunged for it at the same time. They both missed, landing in belly flops on the debris-covered dirt with matching "Oomph's." They rolled apart and watched the boot disappear into the interlaced branches. A light laugh drifted deeper into the trees as leaves rustled softly.
Iphicles cautiously stood and gingerly brushed away the leaves, dirt, and small sticks that clung to his clothes. He winced as his hands brushed across developing bruises. "That is it," he said adamantly, "I'm going back to the castle. Iolaus can play out here alone."
"Oh no." Hercules gripped his shoulder stopping him. "We're seeing this out."
Iphicles looked around the orchard examining the tangled undergrowth dubiously. Like everything else that didn't have a direct relationship to war, Gorgus had paid no attention to it, spent no money or man-hours on it, resulting in a mess. A glance upwards confirmed that they had no more than a couple of hours of light left.
He shrugged out of Hercules' grasp and turned to glare at him. "You want to chase Iolaus, the best hunter in all the kingdoms of Greece, into an orchard. And we have less than two hours of light left and no supplies. Neither of us can track worth a damn and he's pretty obviously in the mood to keep us chasing our tails all night." A drop of rain splattered on his nose. "And it's raining. My alternative is for us to go back to the castle, have a great dinner, and spend the night in warm soft beds. So would you like to explain exactly why you think I'm going to be so stupid as to spend the night chasing Iolaus instead?"
"One, if we don't he'll think of something worse tomorrow," Hercules responded pragmatically. "Two, Mom can strip armor off a warrior from fifty yards without ever raising her voice, and I am not going back there and tell her that we left Iolaus out in the rain."
After a long pause Iphicles finally suggested, "Maybe it won't be so bad?"
"You can go back by yourself if you want."
"It's not like I'm high on Mom's list right now."
"Rena likes Iolaus, too."
Iphicles considered that and the way she had torn into him two days ago. "Oh. Damn." He looked at his brother searching the undergrowth for tracks. "Hercules, did Mom give Dieaneira lessons in ..." he tried to think of the right way to put his question " ... winning arguments."
"No, but she didn't need to," Hercules grinned in fond memory, "Dieaneira didn't need lessons, the first time we met she bawled me out, grabbed a torch and thumped me in the stomach with it, and decided that she needed to go with me to keep me from messing up again.
"I wish I had met her."
"You were invited to the wedding."
Hercules' curt response forced Iphicles to recall a decade's worth of unanswered scrolls inviting him to first Iolaus' and then Hercules' weddings, then to the births of each of their children, and finally letting him know of one funeral after another. "I'm sorry," he whispered.
The only response was a silent shrug.
"So, I guess we have to go after him just to stay in Mom's good graces?"
"That pretty much sums it up." He pointed. "There's the trail." Lightening broke across the sky followed by thunder; the drizzle became a downpour. "And I think we should hurry." The trail moved away from with wall and deeper into the orchard and within minutes they found themselves mired a patch of brambles that should have been cut down years before. Hercules yelped and Iphicles helped him untangle his hair from another group of thorns cursing as they pricked his fingers bringing blood.
Once freed Hercules snarled, "Give me your sword."
Iphicles passed it with an irritated, "Only if you promise to use it on Iolaus."
"No, I plan to use the sword on the brambles." Hercules used his gauntlets and the hilt to give him some maneuvering room and then started moving forward spinning in half-circles hatcheting through the patch with sheer brute force. "Iolaus I plan to spank."
"You spank Iolaus?" Iphicles eyed his brother incredulously, his emotions swiftly shifting from irritation to sensual curiosity.
"Occasionally." He cut through the last of the patch flinging it aside.
"Sounds kinky," Iphicles teased. His next step took him on a brief upward flight. When he got his bearings he noticed his brother dangling from a matching snare. Without a word Hercules bent forward grabbed the rope around his ankles with one hand and swung the sword in an easy arc to cut the rope with the other. His legs swung down and he released the rope to drop gracefully to the ground sending up a scattering of leaves. "Show off," Iphicles muttered.
"Nothing; just get me down."
His brother kicked some more leaves under Iphicles. "Brace yourself." Iphicles heard the warning and then descended to sprawl on the leaf-strewn ground. He scrambled up and took his sword when Hercules held it out.
His brother wiped a streak of mud away. "I'm going to tan his hide," he muttered furiously, squatting again to look for tracks. "I'm going to spank him till my hand hurts and his ass feels like it's been roasted over a fire." He stood. "That way."
"I'm only going if I get to help spank him."
To his surprise, his brother looked at him with a light smile. "I guess you deserve to get a few licks in," he grinned, "as long as Rena won't mind."
A tingle of shocked lust filled him and he shifted uneasily at the mental image of Iolaus squirming facedown over Hercules' knees, red-assed and hard. Dismissing the fantasy, but looking forward to the chase for the first time he followed his brother deeper into the orchard. "Rena and I have already talked about that, I can do whatever I want with another man."
"But you might end up missing some important assets if you do anything with another woman?" Hercules asked wryly. He looked over and Iphicles shut his mouth when he laughed. "I had the same conversation with Dieaneira early in our marriage. Fortunately, she and Ania always understood the relationship Iolaus and I have."
The brothers slowly resumed following the trail as it led them through the orchard. Both men shivered as the wind picked up and the steady rain soaked their hair and clothes. Iolaus' tracks twisted through the orchard and they moved quickly trying to follow before the rain had a chance to obliterate them. Nearly an hour later Hercules stopped suddenly. "This is much too easy."
Iphicles examined the trail, trying to place where they were in relationship to the castle. Finally he decided that as circuitous as it was the trail would eventually end at a nearby pond. "I'd noticed. I thought the threads draped on that shrub was a nice touch." He brushed wet hair off his face and looked at his dripping brother. Wanting to avoid whatever unpleasant practical joke Iolaus had set up at the end of the trail he suggested, "He's heading towards the pond, I think we should cut across and ambush him."
"No, we should just stick with his trail.
Hercules' unwillingness to cut across didn't make sense to Iphicles and he made no attempt to conceal his frustration, "Well I think we should cut across; he's obviously leading us into a trap."
Shaking his head, Hercules explained, "I don't think it's a good idea to try and outthink Iolaus when he's in this kind of mood. Our best bet is to keep it simple; we follow his trail, let him play his joke, and when he thinks he's won - really wallop his backside. Besides, I really don't want to find out what surprises he's arranged for us if we go off the path."
"He's leading us someplace for a reason and you want us to just follow his trail into whatever trap he's set at the end." He glared at his brother in disgust. "I thought you were supposed to be the great strategist," he ended sarcastically.
"I know Iolaus. It's not like he'd ever actually hurt us. And however embarrassing whatever he's set up ahead is, it still won't be as bad as whatever he's set off the trail."
Iphicles grimaced at the overly reasonable tone of Hercules' voice. "Don't patronize me! We should..."
"Stop arguing!" A jet of dirty water sprayed out from the trees catching them both in the face. "And you might want to pick up the pace; dinner's waiting." They looked over and saw Iolaus hanging from a branch by his knees and holding a large wine skin. He dropped the wine skin, flipped off the branch, grinned, and darted into the trees. "Move it slowpokes!" With a growl Hercules and Iphicles followed leaping over fallen branches and skirting around trees. Minutes later they stopped in a small clearing and spun looking for the hunter.
"He's gone again," Iphicles gasped.
"Yeah, but at least we know why he did this."
As he replied, Hercules looked around the clearing trying to pick up the trail. "Yeah, he got tired of our arguing constantly."
"We didn't argue constantly."
Instead of answering Hercules crossed the clearing and pointed out a footprint. "This is the direction."
"We weren't arguing constantly," Iphicles insisted as Hercules started following the footprints. "And I think we should go back to the castle," he continued.
"I thought you wanted to help spank Iolaus?" Hercules turned to look at his brother and added, "Besides, I couldn't find my way back to the castle, can you?"
Iphicles glared around the clearing, trying to figure out where he'd managed to get turned around and finally realized Iolaus had led them past the orchard and into the bordering woods. He glared at the gray clouds that obscured the setting sun. "You're lost," he accused.
"That's what I just said, besides you're lost too." He turned to follow Iolaus' trail and called back, "And Iphicles, we were arguing constantly, at least once a day and usually two or three times."
"Shit," Iphicles muttered under his breath before following his brother. "We argued because you're so stubborn."
"And you aren't?"
Iphicles trudged behind Hercules refusing to answer.
"Don't sulk. And you are stubborn. We were mostly arguing about stupid things. Like the frogs and guest seating at the banquet."
"I'm not sulking."
"If you say so," Hercules' tone of doubt pricked at Iphicles.
"Not all of it was stupid, you thought I shouldn't marry Rena."
"That's not what I said, I just suggested that you two take some time to get the country settled and get to know each other before..."
"We knew each other well enough."
"Iphicles, you knew each other for a few weeks, and most of that time you were lying to her."
"I only lied about my name."
"That's right," Hercules responded sarcastically. "You used my name, my history, and claimed my skills to woo your princess."
"Everything I told her about how I felt was true and I would never have stood a chance with her if I hadn't..."
"If you believe that then how could you marry her?" Hercules whirled around to yell at his brother. Iphicles strode forward to respond and once again they squared off to argue, ignoring the setting sun, the dwindling rain, and Iolaus' trail.
"We love each other."
"You don't know each other! How could she ever know you? You were too busy pretending to be me to ever tell her anything about yourself. Why couldn't you have just used your own name, your own history, and your own skills to woo her? Why did you have to use my name?" Hercules screamed at his brother.
"That's what this is about, your name, like it's some precious thing that can't be sullied."
"It is and so is yours! I don't understand why you're so jealous."
"Why? Why!" Iphicles shrieked. "Well, why don't we start with Mom making it crystal clear who came first. She always loved you more! You were her precious divinely blessed son, I was just some mortal brat she abandoned!"
"That wasn't how it was..." Hercules charged pushing Iphicles against a tree and holding him firmly. "It wasn't like that. You were always first in her heart."
"Don't interrupt! She never wanted Zeus; she never wanted me! Zeus had to take Amphitryon's form to seduce her and even then I think she would have aborted me if she'd figured it out early enough in the pregnancy. She considered exposing me."
"How would you know?"
"I heard her talking to Erythia after your uncle took you." Hercules released him stepping back. "She fought to keep you and only stopped fighting when she realized that Hera's attempts to kill me threatened you too. I think she only kept me because Zeus threatened to have me raised in one of his temples." He shook his head. "Can you imagine what kind of monster that would have turned out?"
"Maybe." Iphicles straightened out his tunic and started following Iolaus' trail again. This time Hercules followed him and continued talking.
"Iphicles, when you first left she cried every night for months. She had to fight for every visit you made, and when you came everything had to be perfect. She had us cleaning for days before, set aside your favorite foods, fussed over every little thing. Then you would leave again and she'd start crying herself to sleep."
Iphicles tried to ignore the volley of emotions that shot through him as Hercules talked. "She did?" He glanced at his brother then lowered his eyes back to the trail trying to hide the tangle of anger, hope, and grief he felt. "I mean, she was always so calm when I was there."
"I don't think she even slept the night before when you were expected. She was more excited than a five-year-old on Winter Solstice Eve. Iphicles..." Something in his voice made Iphicles turn to look at him. "Sometimes I was jealous of you." The soft confession shifted long held beliefs and Iphicles gulped feeling like he stood on the precipice. "I always knew that you were her favorite. You were her firstborn; the son of her beloved Amphitryon, every time she looked at you she saw him; all she could ever see in me was Zeus' deception. I'm a bastard foisted off on her by Zeus and she was too honorable to just get rid of me.
"She loved you."
"I know, but I always knew I had to be perfect. My being a hero, it's what I am, but it also ..." He struggled to explain, "I'm good at this, it's what I'm meant to be, but even if I hated being hero I would have to walk that path ... it's the only thing that makes up for Zeus' deception. And whenever I stray from it, I see the disappointment in her eyes. You've always been able to be whatever you wanted. Mother loves you no matter what. It never mattered what you did, or didn't do, or what stupid kid thing you got involved in, she never looked at you with those disappointed eyes."
"Oh yes she did. There were times when I felt that I could never measure up to ..."
"To me?" Iphicles nodded. "You never needed to, you never needed to be anyone other than yourself." At Hercules' words, he felt a lump of anger shatter and barely contained a sob as he reached for his brother. The two men stood in a hug for long minutes.
They both tensed when they heard a light thud to one side and with a flash of understanding formed their plan.
"So, am I interrupting a moment or are you two ready to ..." Iphicles relaxed as his brother's hands moved down to circle his waist and lifted to throw him towards Iolaus in a single smooth movement. "Yikes!" Iolaus got out, right before Iphicles reached him grabbing him by the waist and pulling him down. There were a few seconds of scrabbling struggle from Iolaus before Hercules reached them and got a solid grip on his lover.
"Got you." He lifted Iolaus by an arm after Iphicles got off the hunter. "You had better have camp set up close."
"A dry camp," Iphicles added grimly.
"Hey the rain's letting up, besides you two needed to cool down."
"Iolaus," Hercules warned.
"I know - a camp with a nice dry tent, food, dry clothes, and a fire. That way." Iolaus pointed with his free arm and tried, unsuccessfully, to pull out his partner's grip. "You want to ease up on the grip, Herc?"
A half hour later the three of them came in sight of the pond and saw a large tent set up. Within minutes they settled in the tent and lit the brazier. Hercules planted Iolaus on the floor in a clear spot as far away from the opening as possible. "Stay there," he ordered. Grabbing a handful of clean towels he tossed a several to Iphicles and they started cleaning off the mud and rainwater. While they did that, Iphicles looked through the tent, noting the bedrolls with layers of down mattresses, woven blankets, and soft pillows, clean clothes, and two picnic baskets. Discarding a third filthy towel and deciding he was as clean as he was going to get, he finished drying his hair and grabbed a dry shirt. Hercules had already finished, dressed, and started going through the baskets. "Well, at least we'll be well feed," he said setting out the plates.
Iphicles finished dressing before looking at the food. When he saw the plat es he yelped, "Iolaus, you thief, that's the royal china!"
"Don't look at me, I didn't pack the baskets."
Iphicles looked around the tent again; Iolaus couldn't have set all this up without help. "Rena?"
Iolaus shrugged. "We both figured you two need a chance to, uh, bond," he said awkwardly. He edged towards the opening.
"Where do you think you're going?" Iphicles asked.
"I was just going to let you ... bond in privacy." He lunged for the opening only to be brought up short by Hercules hands' around his waist.
"Actually, we were planning on bonding over chastising you." Hercules smiled as Iolaus twisted in his hold. "You didn't think I'd let you pull a stunt like that without doing something.
"No, but Herc, you wouldn't actually let Iphicles watch, would you?"
"No, Iolaus, I'm not going to let him watch." Iolaus relaxed a little. "I'm going to let him participate."
"After all, he ended up hunting for you in the rain too, and besides, he is my brother." He grinned wickedly. "You did want us to bond," he emphasized the last word.
"What about Rena?"
"Rena won't mind," Iphicles stated, walking over to them. "We have an arrangement."
"Like Dieaneira and I did," Hercules added. "Besides, you owe Iphicles a spanking from that stunt with the frogs."
"That was twenty years ago," Iolaus protested.
"I guess that means you owe me interest." Iphicles ribbed, trying to assess whether Hercules was serious about this. With a swift controlled move Hercules released Iolaus propelling him back to the center of the tent. Iphicles risked a glance at his brother's crotch and the slight bulge in his pants confirmed his intent. He relaxed letting Hercules take the lead and at his brother's nod closed and tied the tent flaps, sealing the opening tightly.
Casually Hercules tossed a handful of towels to his partner. "Strip and clean yourself up." Iphicles watched Iolaus catch them easily and saw the hunter's eyes moving assessing his chances of getting out of the tent. Automatically, he shifted towards his brother helping him cutoff escape. A speculative smile crossed Iolaus' face and he began a calculated striptease, toeing off his boots, then turning and twisting to emphasize his lean body. Watching the sensual striptease Hercules and Iphicles started in on the food and wine. However, neither man forgot Iolaus' penchant to evade the consequences of his jokes, and they both vigilantly blocked the exit. Finished stripping Iolaus began languorously wiping off mud and dirt working his way down with the towels until he stood bronzed and ruddy in the faint glow of the brazier's fire.
"The problem with punishing Iolaus is that he likes getting spanked," Hercules said conversationally. The slight twitch of Iolaus' tumescent penis confirmed Hercules' statement. "At least he does when I put him over my knee." He looked at his partner assessingly. "I think I have an idea about that though. Come here, Iolaus."
Gracefully Iolaus moved till he stood right in front of them, then following some unspoken command of Hercules he turned and knelt bending forward until he was braced on his hands and knees. "Not quite," Hercules murmured, gently pulling Iolaus' legs a little further apart and then pulling his arms back while pushing his chest down. "I'll need a pillow and a belt." Mutely, unable to stop staring at the Iolaus' displayed body, Iphicles groped with one hand until he found the requested items and passed them one at a time to Hercules. His brother placed the pillow under Iolaus' forehead propping it up slightly and quickly bound his wrists behind his back. After tying Iolaus he used the trailing end of the belt to swat him on the ass lightly. Iphicles stared, watching the muscles of Iolaus' hips and ass shift to meet the swats. Every move sent Iolaus' cock and balls dancing and his gasps obviously had more pleasure than pain in them.
When the ass was a light uniform pink Hercules stopped dropping the belt. He met Iphicles' eyes and asked, "Nice view?"
"Yeah," Iphicles choked out.
Patting one pink hip lightly Hercules settled back on his heels and let a hand glide down the muscles of one arm until he wrapped a hand around the forearm just above the bound wrists.
"Comfortable?" he asked Iolaus.
A fast whoosh of air and the sound of the Hercules' free hand landing hard on Iolaus' ass filled the tent.
"Good," Hercules responded, "You're not supposed to be comfortable. Right, Iphicles?"
"Right," Iphicles agreed, somewhat shocked at this new side of his brother. He stared at the red handprint on Iolaus' ass. His mouth went dry with lust as he watched a second slap send Iolaus' cock and balls bouncing and he spread his legs slightly trying to create more room in his suddenly much too tight pants. Still uncertain, he stretched out one hand tentatively almost touching one red buttock. Hercules gave a slight nod and Iphicles pulled back his hand and remembering the frustrating chase lowered it with all his strength. His palm wrapped around Iolaus' ass as it connected and the power of the blow vibrated all the way up his arm; the sensation seemed to travel to his cock and he gasped.
"Oww!" Iolaus howled, jerking forward to slam against the pillow.
In spite of the protesting howl, Iphicles noticed that Iolaus' cock had gotten harder. Hercules struck almost immediately after Iphicles' hand had lifted and he noted how Hercules' grasp on Iolaus' forearm steadied him and kept him from moving too far forward. Matching his brother's position, Iphicles took his turn and for the next several minutes they alternated smacking Iolaus' ass falling into the same rhythm as a hard fast fuck. In spite of their grips on his forearms, Iolaus moved to the rhythm their hands set, his body falling forward with each strike and the strong muscles of his legs wrenching backwards to meet the next. Soon Iphicles couldn't tell if Iolaus' moans and gasps came from pleasure or pain. He almost missed it when Hercules suddenly stopped and had to pull his falling hand back awkwardly at the break in the rhythm.
"Why?" he choked out.
"I think Iolaus is enjoying this a little too much." Hercules glanced down and Iphicles followed his eyes down to see Iolaus' cock completely hard, semen dripping from its head. Tugging at Iolaus' tangled hair Hercules pulled Iolaus' head up just enough for Iphicles to see the teeth biting into his lower lip and the glaze of lust filling Iolaus' eyes. The musky smell of arousal and sweat mixed with smoke from the fire to fill the tent.
"I see what you mean, he's about two blows from coming."
"You ready to forgive him?" Hercules moved his hands off Iolaus.
Iphicles rested a palm against one red ass cheek feeling the heat. "I think an apology is in order, first."
"You're going to have to be more specific then that." Hercules ordered as he briskly removed his shirt and undid the laces of his pants. Iphicles' eyes widened a little at the size of the hard-on that sprang out of the undone pants.
"I'm sorry I made you chase after me in the forest when it was raining and muddy, and that I teased you and shot the water at you from the trees," Iolaus babbled quickly. He paused then continued; clearly trying to make sure he covered everything, "And for making Iphicles fall on his butt and ... Gods, I'm sorry, please just finish me."
"Not good enough," Hercules decided, "You forgot something."
Bound hands clenched into fists against his back in frustration as Iolaus tried to remember.
"Frogs," Iphicles provided the hint.
"I'm sorry for putting frogs in Iphicles' bed, and letting Alcmene blame him, and letting him blame Hercules," Iolaus concluded rapidly.
"I think he's covered everything, but I still think he owes me interest," Iphicles observed, trying to keep his voice steady.
"How many times did Mom swat you?"
"Five times for the frogs and ten for 'lying' to her," Iphicles said.
"And there's the interest."
"Yes, but Iolaus seems to like hands too much, so maybe..." Iphicles' voice trailed off and looked around the tent, his eyes settled on another belt, and he grabbed and doubled it. He could see Hercules' momentary hesitation, the struggle to trust him not to hit Iolaus too hard. Then his brother reached his decision. "Fifteen more, Iolaus, and you better not come while he's doing it." Hercules moved to kneel in front of Iolaus pulling his lover's face to his groin.
Almost disbelievingly Iphicles wrapped the trailing end of the belt binding Iolaus' wrists around one hand to steady the hunter and doubled belt with the other. As he raised his arm to lower the belt in a carefully controlled blow Hercules pushed the head of his cock into Iolaus' mouth. With each blow Hercules thrust deeper until by the tenth blow the shaft completely disappeared into Iolaus' mouth and Hercules' open pants obscenely framed his lover's face. The sight almost sent Iphicles over the edge and he nearly dropped the doubled belt. After a moment he resumed the whipping, his attention torn between Iolaus' red buttocks, the muffled sounds of his gasps around Hercules' cock, and the frantic working of his mouth and throat as he sucked Hercules. When he finished he dropped the both belts and stared at the slow withdrawal of the cock from Iolaus' mouth. Iolaus' chest dropped down and Iphicles heard his ragged gasps for breath, but he could not tear his eyes from the moist cock sticking out from his brother's pants.
"Iphicles." His brother's voice finally caught his attention and he looked up. "Have you forgiven Iolaus?"
"Good, because it's important to make sure he knows he's forgiven." Iphicles stared as his brother striped off his pants and grabbed a bottle of oil from one of the baskets. When he turned back, Hercules frowned slightly. "Brothers share their toys, don't they?"
Not entirely understanding the question, Iphicles answered, "I suppose well-bonded brothers do."
"Then why are you still dressed?"
Iphicles pulled off his shirt so fast it ripped and his fingers tangled in the laces of his pants. A snarl of frustration turned into a moan when Hercules' hands brushed his aside and with a strong tug broke them. Seconds later Hercules drizzled oil over Iolaus' heated buttocks they started gently massaging it in, working their way to his anus. Iolaus' low cries guided their hands as they prepared him. Iphicles prodded an oiled finger against him and Iolaus bucked impaling himself on it. Thrusting deeper and twisting he loosened the passage making room, which Hercules used adding a finger. Iphicles' hips thrust forward reflexively at the flare of desire he felt as their fingers rubbed against each other inside Iolaus, both searching for that little nub of flesh. His finger suddenly glided across it and he felt Iolaus constrict around their fingers with a strangled cry. Feeling Hercules pull down on Iolaus' bound arms, Iphicles matched, pulling until Iolaus straightened. They pulled more making him arch between them and almost simultaneously lowered their heads to suckle a nipple. Iolaus twisted trying to push against their thrusting fingers at the same time he arched his chest to their mouths.
"Please, please, please," he pleaded, his cock beating a tattoo against his stomach as he writhed. "I'm ready, please."
Hercules lifted his head to press his mouth against Iphicles' ear and whisper, "Ass or mouth?"
Lifting his head, Iphicles responded, "Ass," just as quietly, certain that Iolaus' pleas covered their brief exchange.
Hercules pulled his finger out letting Iphicles finish opening the passage and drizzling more oil on his hand stroked Iphicles' cock oiling it. "Like that?" he asked in a light teasing voice, forcing Iphicles to remember some of the jokes Hercules really had pulled when they were children.
"You really are kinky." he finally responded, pulling his fingers out.
"Yes!" Iolaus' exasperated voice broke across the moment, "Now will someone fuck me already!"
"Iolaus," Hercules half-scolded, half-teased, "I thought you wanted us to bond."
Twisting to glare at his lover, he commanded, "Bond later. Fuck now."
At Hercules' shrug, Iphicles centered himself behind Iolaus shifting his hands to the hunter's hips. He pulled down, thrust up and forward plunging his cock deep into the readied ass. A moment later Hercules stood to pull Iolaus' mouth to his cock. Iphicles pulled almost out of Iolaus, then stopped and dug his fingers into Iolaus' hips when he tried moving. "No," he hissed, "I want to watch you suck my brother."
"And you think I'm kinky?" But Hercules still shifted his hands to give the best possible view of the in and out thrust of his cock into Iolaus' mouth. Iphicles moved closer to Iolaus pushing his cock deeper and reaching up to play with Iolaus' nipples. He watched his brother stroke Iolaus' face tenderly right before he stepped closer, with a practiced move Iolaus bent his head back slightly and Hercules bent his knees driving the cock almost straight down his lover's throat.
Iphicles' stomach and groin tightened and he began to thrust and withdraw keeping the strokes slow and shallow, more a tease than a fuck. "I know what you want, Iolaus. You're ready for hard and fast. But I want to see him come first." He reached around and undid the belt, finally freeing Iolaus' hands. Like lightening they shot out and grabbed Hercules' hips pulling him deeper and massaging his ass. In another sudden move, Iolaus drove a finger into Hercules sending him over the edge. Avid, Iphicles stared trying to memorize the sounds, scents, and sights as Hercules tightened, bucked and came into Iolaus' mouth. Done Hercules backed away letting Iphicles push Iolaus over and begin the hard fast fuck he had promised.
Vigorously, Iphicles plunged into Iolaus wrenching an inarticulate wail of lust from him. Completely caught up in the rhythm of the fuck, Iphicles transferred his weight until he could shove Iolaus down and brace his hands on the smaller man's shoulders. Pushing forward he used his knees to force Iolaus' further apart and drive deeper. With each thrust he heard Iolaus grunt or yell something and felt him rear back to meet him.
Iphicles finally understood Iolaus' desperate words and reached beneath them to find his hard shaft. "Yes!" Iolaus screamed, pushing forward into his hand and then back onto the impaling cock. The body under him tautened and a stream of sticky fluid covered his hand propelling Iphicles to finally orgasm.
He collapsed on top of the hunter, unable to move, barely able to breath. A muffled, slightly annoyed command came from beneath him, followed by a hard elbow in the gut. The second elbow convinced Iphicles that Iolaus really wanted him to move and the exhausted king rolled over to crawl to one of the bedrolls.
"Where do you think you're going?" Iolaus' voice made Iphicles pause. He looked up to see Hercules pulling his lover to lean against him.
"Bed." Iphicles continued moving toward the bedroll.
"We are not done yet."
This time the imperious note in Iolaus' voice got through to Iphicles and he actually stopped to consider another round. After assessing his condition he said, "You've got to be joking."
"I thought Iolaus was your toy?" he joked, looking at Hercules.
"But not as often as Hercules is mine," Iolaus interrupted, ignoring the demi-god's light swat. "You may have noticed that he's sarcastic and patronizing more often than I'm hot-headed and impetuous, which means he's my toy more often." He frowned as Hercules swatted him again. "Stop hitting me," he ordered, then looked at Iphicles, "And throw me one of those pillows; my ass hurts." Tossing the pillow, Iphicles decided not to comment on Iolaus' statements and simply waited. Iolaus took a few minutes to squirm on the pillow until he decided he was comfortable and then grinned at Iphicles. "You need to work on your stamina, I could probably go a few more rounds, but I'm not talking about sex. You two need to reconcile."
Ignoring the last part of what Iolaus said, Iphicles rolled his eyes and joked, "Now I know why Zeus tricked Mom," he waited a beat, "he knew that only a demi-god lover would keep that over-sexed blond," he nodded towards Iolaus, "from fucking every Greek warrior to death and causing the fall of Greece."
Iolaus waited for Hercules to stop laughing. "I'm serious. I did not go through that spanking to leave this half-done."
Iphicles looked desperately at Hercules, who just shrugged.
"I want you two reconciled." The firm tone left no room for argument.
Hercules thought a moment. "We are reconciled," he assured Iolaus, and Iphicles nodded in agreement.
"Really? So, you've already forgiven Iphicles for using you're name?" Hercules squirmed. "And you've forgiven Hercules for being a jerk about your marrying Rena?" Now Iphicles squirmed. They looked at Iolaus' set face and shrugged.
Iolaus stood up and moved to the bedrolls moving them to lie next to each other, while Hercules and Iphicles uneasily avoided saying anything. "Well?" Iolaus flopped onto the bedroll closest to the brazier settling gingerly on his stomach. "Look you two, I'm going to have to sleep on my belly for a week and I hate sleeping like that, so you are going to deal with this." When they still didn't say anything, he added threateningly, "Or do I need to have a talk with Alcmene?"
"No!" they shouted and immediately began apologizing, talking over one another. After a few minutes of listening to their garbled conversation, Iolaus broke in, "You don't sound very sincere."
"We are so sincere." Frustrated, Hercules turned and swatted Iphicles hard on the ass.
"Ow!" Iphicles hit him back.
"There we've been punished!" Then Hercules grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled Iphicles into a kiss. After the first stunned second, Iphicles responded pushing his tongue into Hercules' mouth then pulling it back to let Hercules' explore. Finally, needing to breath, Iphicles pulled back. They looked at each and Iphicles wondered whether his eyes had the same uncertain speculative look that his brother's held.
Finally, Hercules broke the silence. "And forgiven each other."
"Good. Then you won't argue about how the cooks should prepare the meat, or how much grain should be used for seed versus stored for winter feed, or how many hours the men-at-arms should drill, or ..."
"Enough, Iolaus, we get the message," Hercules interrupted the list, thankfully before Iolaus got to what Iphicles considered the more embarrassing arguments. Hercules sat down next to his lover settling into the bedroll and grabbing several blankets.
"Just checking," Iolaus said, innocently adding, "After all, you two
managed to usurp the traditional mother-in-law battles over the color
of gown the bridal attendants should wear, how expensive the feast
should be, and what kind of flowers Rena should carry."
"Yes, but now we've reconciled and nobody is in trouble anymore." Iphicles stopped the recital before Iolaus managed to get to the truly stupid arguments and settled on the other side of Hercules.
"Pretty much!" Iphicles sat up. "Iolaus, what do you mean, 'Pretty much.' Who's still in trouble?"
"Iphicles, go to sleep, he's just teasing."
"I don't think so. Who's still in trouble?" He reached across Hercules and tugged on Iolaus' hair. "Iolaus, tell me who's in trouble." Instead of replying, the hunter simply rolled his head sideways pulling his hair from Iphicles' grasp. "Iolaus!"
Iphicles continued asking, reaching over Hercules to poke and prod Iolaus until finally he slapped both hands hard and said, "Rena."
"Rena's not in trouble ... uh-oh... how mad is she?"
Iolaus refused to answer and after a few minutes later they heard soft even breathing.
Iphicles continued worrying about Rena. "Hercules, how upset do you think she'll be?"
"I don't know."
"You were married, how upset did Dieaneira get about stuff like this?"
"Rena's not Dieaneira."
"She got that upset?"
"Iphicles, go to sleep."
"Well, she's not going to be angry just at me. You argued too."
"No, but I'm not the one she's married to."
"We'll both have to deal with Mom, too."
"Probably, there's not much we can do about it. I'm sure we'll both survive. Now will you please lie down and go to sleep."
"I'm too worried to sleep."
"Then lie down and be still so I can sleep."
Disgruntled Iphicles settled down, to his surprise the rhythmic sound of rain and Iolaus' light breathing soothed him enough to relax and consider sleeping. He shut his eyes, took several deep breaths, and squirmed deeper into the shelter of the down mattresses. Abruptly, Hercules sat up with a worried, "Oh shit!"
"Do you think Iolaus heard me talk about being a hero?
Iphicles thought a moment. "He was right there when we finished the fight."
"So, he's going to talk with me about."
Oh ... how bad is that?"
"Will he tell Mom?"
"I don't think so."
"Then you'll survive," Iphicles promised.
A few minutes passed.
"You were right."
"We should have gone off the trail, then we wouldn't know how much
trouble we were going to be in," Hercules concluded ruefully.