Learning To Swim
By Sarah Saint Ives

"Come on in, Iolaus.  The water's great."  Hercules reached for the other young man's hand and urged him to step into the shallow water at the edge.

"You know I can't swim, Hercules.  I'm scared to death of the water."

"You can hold onto me.  I promise I won't let you drown."  Hercules gripped the hand and led him farther out.

When Iolaus' foot slipped on a slick rock, he cried out and grabbed the young demi-god around the neck, clung to him for safety.   "Okay, let's go back now." he begged.  "Come on, Herc.  Don't do this to me, please."

"You have to learn to swim, Iolaus.  It may save your life some day.  Just don't be afraid.  Being afraid is what will cause you to drown.  If you keep your wits about you, you can stay afloat."

"Really?  Well, I don't have any more wits.  They're gone.  I'm witty on the dry land, not on the water."

"Iolaus..."  Hercules lifted him like a child and carried him until they were chest-deep in the water.  "Trust me.  You'll get more confident.  Okay, let's just put your feet down..."

"No!  No!  I saw a snake down there!" Iolaus howled, wrapping himself around the other young man.  "Don't want my feet down there with him!"

"There's no snake, Iolaus.  It's a stick.  Put your feet down."

Iolaus buried his face in the side of Hercules' neck and held on tightly.  He was trembling violently.  "No, no, no, please!" he whimpered.

Hercules looked exasperated.  "Iolaus!" he said.  Then, with a sigh, he took pity on him.  "All right.  It's okay."  He gave him a gentle hug, pressed his lips against the banded ear.  "No problem."

"My butt is in the water." Iolaus complained, holding fast to him.

Hercules swung him back and forth so the water splashed his butt and back.  "It won't hurt your butt to get a little wet." he said in amusement.  "Water feels good to your skin."

"Not to mine." Iolaus whined miserably.

Suddenly, the waters rose all around them and soaked them thoroughly.  Iolaus screamed and tried to climb higher, but Hercules held him steady, clamping a hand over his mouth and nose so he wouldn't inhale water.  "Take it easy!" he called over the rushing noises of the upsurge.

When the sea calmed, a dark figure stood menacingly above them;  Ares, god of war.  He took in their situation and threw back his beautiful, evil head and laughed.  "This is precious!" he said.  "If I could capture this moment, I could laugh every day for the rest of eternity.  Too bad there are no video cameras yet."

"I'm trying to teach him to swim!" Hercules spouted defensively.

"To swim, he must touch the water." Ares pointed out.  "You can't hold him in your arms and teach him.  Drop him."

"He's afraid." Hercules admitted.

Ares reached out and snatched the phobic young man from his arms, effortlessly lifted him high into the air and tossed him into the deep waters.  Iolaus screamed as he landed with a terrible splash, then disappeared beneath the surface.  "That's the only way he's ever going to learn.  As long as you're babying him, he'll be a baby."

"He'll drown!"  Hercules started toward his friend, but Ares caught his arm and detained him.

"Wait!  Watch!"  The god's dark eyes were on the center of the ripple made by Iolaus' entry into the peaceful waters.  "Give him time."

Iolaus surfaced, sucking in desperately and fighting with all his might to keep his face above water.  "Hercules!" he cried, strangling.  "Help me!"

Hercules lunged toward him again, but Ares' arm around his waist halted him.   The god of war placed his full lips against his younger sibling's smooth cheek and whispered hoarsely, "He'll swim!  Watch him!"

Hercules stopped his struggle and watched in wide-eyed fear.  "Iolaus!" he cried.  "Swim!  Hold your breath and swim toward me!"

Iolaus flailed uselessly for a few more hysterical seconds before he submerged again, gulping water on his way down.

"Damn you, Ares!  Get him out of there!" Hercules twisted to free himself, found the full god stronger and cried out in anger and frustration.  "Let me go!  Let me go!"

Ares held him tighter, watching the spot where the blonde had gone under.  "Shit!" he said finally, and, releasing Hercules, he vanished.  Ten seconds later, he reappeared, carrying Iolaus' limp form from the depths.

Hercules raced him to the shore, pushing the curly hair back from the white face to check for signs of life.  "Is he breathing?" he asked anxiously as Ares laid him on a flat rock.

Ares turned the unconscious youth on his stomach and pumped his back until water gushed from his slack lips.  Then, turning him on his back again, he touched one finger to his chest.  The limp body bounced as if he had been struck by unseen lightning, but he breathed, coughed and strangled.  His blue eyes flew open in panic.

"It's okay." Hercules soothed, gently rubbing his chest.  "It's okay, you're safe."

Iolaus drew in a ragged breath and looked up at the war god.  "Ares, why did you do that to me?  Are you trying to kill me?  I thought you liked me!"

"I was trying to teach you to swim." Ares returned with a roll of his eyes.  "You need private lessons.  Very private, at my temple."

Hercules gave the dark god a scornful look.   Jealousy flashed in his sky-colored eyes.

"Think about it and let me know later.  My offer is good until you recover this little ordeal."  With a smug raise of his eyebrows in Hercules' direction, the gorgeous god disappeared.  They stared in stupefaction at the shadow he had left behind.

"What's going on with him?" Hercules asked, possessively embracing Iolaus.  "Is he dumb enough to think I'll let you to his temple after what he just did to you?"

Iolaus closed his eyes and leaned on him weakly.

"Ares saved his life?" Jason asked in disbelief.  "Ares, your half-brother, the big, bad god of war?  That Ares?"

"Yes, that Ares.  But before he saved his life, he was the one who almost drowned him."  Hercules shrugged and glanced at Iolaus, who was wrapped in a blanket, still trembling on the bed.

"He offered to teach you to swim." Jason said, stooping before the blonde.

"You know he has something evil in mind." Hercules said.

Iolaus turned his head to the side and coughed.  "What do you think he wants from me?"

Hercules sat down beside him and put an arm round him.  "I don't know what he has in mind.  But you're not going."

"That should go without saying." Jason said.

Iolaus stretched out on the bed with his head in Hercules' lap.  "I never want to go in the water again, not even in a boat." he said.

Jason sighed.  "I've got to go.  Take care of him, Hercules."

"Yeah." Hercules said, glancing up distractedly.  "I will."

Iolaus yawned when they were alone and turned on his side, curled into a fetal position.  Hercules played with his hair.  "How're you feeling?" he asked.

"I'm okay.  I just wish I'd learned to swim when I was a kid, like everybody else."

"We'll try it again as soon as you're ready." Hercules said.

"How about now?"

"What?  No!  It's too soon.  You're not ready yet."

"I want to go, but not all the way out in the deep water.  Just at the edge."

"It's late.  The water's cold now."

"I don't care."  Iolaus rolled to his feet and tugged on his arm.  "Come on.  Teach me.  I want it to be you, not Ares."

It was dark before they reached the shore again, and the water temperature had dropped severely.  As they waded in up to their knees, they rubbed chill bumps.  "We should wait until tomorrow when the sun is high." Hercules' teeth chattered.

Iolaus closed his eyes, spread his arms and fell backward into the water, creating another sizable splash.  He giggled as he came up.  "Just show me what to do first." he said.

Hercules sighed and knelt beside him.  "All right."  He caught the blonde by the waist and showed him how to float on his back.  When his butt began to sag, he deftly reached beneath him and pushed it back up, which captured Iolaus' attention.   The young mortal's arms moved up and around his friend's neck, his lips caressed his neck.

As Hercules hugged him, Iolaus whispered, "I could swim like this all night."

Hercules chuckled awkwardly, but did not shy away.  His hero heart beat fiercely in his chest, his lips burned for something he had never known.  "Iolaus..." he said softly.  He moistened those full lips and bent to kiss him.  The heat from their bodies warmed the water surrounding them.

His hand began to massage the twin mounds beneath the water's surface, fingers slowly skimming the crack.  He rose from the kiss to gaze with profound affection into the shadowed face.  "I love you so much, Iolaus." he said.

"I love you, too, Hercules."

Another kiss and Iolaus changed positions to wrap his legs around him, brought him down on top of him in the water.  "Am I doing okay so far?" he asked.

"You're doing fine.  But we can't do *this* here.  It's too cold and it's not very comfortable.  Let's go back to the academy."

"But...this is such a romantic place!"

"Yes, but it's cold.  Things tend to be a bit shriveled when it's cold, or didn't you notice?"

Iolaus giggled again and gave him another kiss.  His breath was warm and fast, which made his throat dry.  "Let's go, then." he said.

They slipped in again without being seen and cuddled together in Iolaus' bed.  Hercules, who had already abandoned his inhibitions, was kissing his friend over and over, his hands boldly caressing.  His excitement was compounded by Iolaus' erotic response to every touch.  The kisses deepened.

"What do you want me to do?" Hercules asked, and gently bit down on a taut nipple.

"Oh...." Iolaus moaned.  "Whatever you want to.  Anything.  Just don't stop."

Hercules' hand wrapped around the blonde's erection and began to stroke it.  With the other hand, he took Iolaus' hand and guided it to his own cock.  They masturbated each other as the kisses continued.

Iolaus came quickly with a muffled shout, spurted his cum onto Hercules' hand.  "Oh, gods." he shivered.  "Oh, Herc...."  He laid still a minute to regain his strength.

Hercules gently wiped the mess away, patiently awaiting his turn.  "You're mine, Iolaus." he murmured, his soft eyes on the other young man's face.  "Ares had better keep his hands off you."

Iolaus sat up and kissed him again.  "What are you gonna do if he tries something?"

"I'll kill him!  You belong to me."

"Yes...." Iolaus pushed him onto his back and spent a few moments caressing his chest and stomach.  When he looked up into those ultra-blue eyes, he finished the commitment.  "I'm yours.  For as long as you want it that way."  He lowered his mouth onto the demi-god's pulsing organ.

Hercules arched up into his mouth, knew it would not take long.  Iolaus was very practiced at oral sex.  Wondering from whom he had obtained that experience, Hercules found himself thrashing in the throes of an explosive orgasm.

When it was done, Iolaus wiped the excessive cream from his mouth and smiled at him.  "I love you." he whispered, and snuggled beneath the covers beside him again.

"I love you, too." Hercules kissed his forehead.  "Iolaus, that was incredible!  Where did you learn to do that?"

Iolaus gave him a bear hug.  "Let's talk about something more interesting, okay?  Like...when are you going to teach me to swim?"

He decided not to press the issue.  "Tomorrow," he said.

The End