Marina stifled a yawn as she walked, hands in pockets, shoulders slumped. It had been a long, exhausting week. Endless, hectic hours at work, endless nights alone at the hotel. And no time off at all until today.
Technically, she was supposed to be back at the Savoy, getting some extra sleep in preparation for the upcoming overnight work shift. But this was London, dammit, one of her favorite cities in the whole world, and she was not about to spend two weeks here and see nothing but the office and the hotel.
So here she was, at the British Museum. Too tired for organized sight-seeing, she strolled through the rooms at random, stopping whenever something caught her eye, then moving on. Remnants of the ancient world surrounded her. Egyptian Pharaohs with their stiff postures and inhumanly serene expressions. Massive winged lions with human heads, guarding the entrance to the Assyrian galleries. Graceful Greek *kouroi* smiling down from their marble pedestals. Lovely and ancient and dead.
Now she stood in a small, dimly lit room that served as a separation between two larger exhibits. There were only two display cases here, holding perhaps a dozen pieces, but each one was exquisite, a gorgeous example of red-figure pottery from 500BC, when the technique was just beginning to catch on in Athens.
Marina was just about to squat down to examine a particularly fine vase on the lower shelf when she sensed that she was not alone in the room. Someone was right behind her, standing much too close. She could hear his breathing.
She turned, expecting to see another pottery-admiring tourist, and found herself looking up into the glowering face of the God of War.
"Ares!" Marina jumped, dropping her purse with a thud. His eyes were so stormy, his posture so tenseà "What are you doing here?"
"Slumming," he said shortly. The low, dangerous timbre of his voice made Marina's spine tingle with an uncomfortable mixture of fear and desire. He was giving off a palpable aura of anger, a white-hot shimmer in the air that made it hard to breathe. She had no idea what caused it, or how to defuse it.
He was staring at the display case, his normally expressive face hard and immobile. Marina followed his gaze, and saw that he was looking at the same vase that had caught her attention earlier. She bent down for a closer look.
On the vase, the gods were battling the giants. Horses stomped and reared, chariots clashed, armored figures aimed spears and lightning bolts at each other. Marina leaned in closer to read the little explanatory card.
"Zeus shares a chariot with Hercules," the text informed her. "Athena advances alongside." Even without the explanation, the figures were easily recognizable. Zeus, with his handful of lightning, Hercules in the lion's skin, Athena in her crested helmet, clutching a spear--
"Why aren't you in the picture?" Marina blurted out.
Stupid question. Dangerous question. The anger in his eyes flared into full-blown rage. Was it her imagination, or did the walls tremble?
"You were at the battle, weren't you?" Gods, she was babbling, and she couldn't stop herself. "I mean, you're God of War. You'd have to be there, right? It being an important battle and all--"
"Of course I was there!" he growled.
Marina gulped. "Then why--"
"How the fuck should I know? I didn't paint the fucking vase, did I?"
That explained it. No wonder he was furious. It had to be hard, to see the civilization that worshipped him reduced to a handful of artifacts under glass. No record left but painted clay. And then, to find himself excluded from that record--- Without thinking, she reached out and put one hand lightly on his arm, trying to offer a bit of silent comfort--
--and found herself spinning around, slamming backwards against the wall with a force that knocked the breath from her lungs.
"Ares--" there was no place to run or retreat. She was trapped in the narrow space between the display case and the wall, and he was blocking the only way out. He was breathing hard. His mouth twisted in a snarl, lips drawn back to bare his teeth. A sheen of sweat glistened on his bronze skin. Marina's legs felt weak. Gods, she wanted him... even in this terrifying guise, with the violence spinning out of control, she wanted him. And he knew it.
He cupped his hands around her breasts, kneading them roughly, fingers digging into soft flesh with bruising force. Marina choked back a whimper. She could feel the heat of his hands right through her thin cotton sweater. An answering heat flooded through her body, spreading outward from her cunt. Her nipples tightened. The pain seemed a small an insignificant thing compared to her need.
He growled. The sweater vanished, along with her jeans and panties. And her shoes. Her bare feet slipped on the polished hardwood floor, and she would've fallen if Ares hadn't caught her, gripping her arms above the elbows, propping her up against the wall again. He lowered his head and caught her right nipple between his teeth, tugging hard, triggering another jolt of pain and desire. Marina bit down on her lower lip. She couldn't afford to cry out, not with so many people so close. She could hear the murmur of voices in the rooms at either side. What would she do if somebody came in? What would *he* do?
He let go of her left arm to thrust one hand between her legs. She was wet already, moisture trickling down her thighs, but that still didn't quite prepare her for the sudden stretch of muscle as he jabbed three fingers inside her all at once. She squirmed against the wall, moaning through clenched teeth. Ares pumped his hand, fucking her with his fingers, rubbing his thumb across her clit, the friction igniting her every nerve.
He withdrew his hand, and she nearly sobbed as the sensation ebbed. *Bastard.* She had been so close... Then she realized that his clothes were gone, too. He slid his hands down her back to her ass, and lifted her up, supporting her weight with no apparent effort.
Marina knew what he wanted. She wrapped her legs around his waist, opening herself up to him, and he lifted her still higher before lowering her down again, impaling her on his engorged cock.
Marina moaned and raked her nails down his back as he began to thrust. His skin grew slick beneath her fingers, with blood or sweat, she didn't know. Didn't care. Nothing mattered except the strong hands gripping her ass, the hard body moving between her thighs, the thick, throbbing cock gliding inside her, filling her, pushing her body to its limits and beyond.
Ares' back was arched, his head thrown back, the tendons in his neck stretched taut against the skin. The rage she'd seen in his face earlier was still there, but it was changing even as she watched, transmuted to desire by the alchemy of lust.
He gasped and froze for a moment, holding perfectly
still, every muscle tensed as he clutched her against him. Then the
tension broke and a deep shudder coursed through
It took a while for both of them to stop shaking. Finally, Ares breathed a deep sigh and set her back on her feet.
"I'm sorry," he muttered.
Marina scowled at him. "No, you're not."
"No, really." He bent down to brush his lips against the dark bruises he'd left on her breasts. "I shouldn't have come for you in this place. It... affects me."
"There's the understatement of the millenium."
"I'll heal the bruises."
"Leave them." Marina twined her fingers in his hair and pulled his head up so she could kiss him. "I meant to bring home a souvenir, after all... Now can I have my clothes back, please? I think I hear a tour group coming through."