By Sarah Saint Ives
The fire graced the room with flickering shadows as the four men sat quietly around the stone hearth. The chairs were comfortable in the king's bedchambers, tables conveniently placed so they could set their cups down without stretching. Footstools were available, but none were used. Being men, they sprawled idly and stared without blinking into the fire.
Without looking away from the flames, Jason spoke. "It's been a long day. I think I'll go to bed."
Iolaus yawned. "Yeah, we should probably be hitting the sack, too." He glanced across to Hercules, who appeared frozen in place. "Herc? You okay?"
Hercules' blue eyes were forlorn and distant. His face moved as if with a great effort. "I'm fine, Iolaus."
The man next to him clasped his hand firmly. "Not a night to be alone." he murmured.
"No." Hercules agreed, meeting his bother's profound brown eyes. "It's not, Iphicles." He squeezed the hand affectionately. "Your wine has a kick to it, dear brother. I'm afraid I'M drunk."
"So am I." Jason said, struggling to his feet. "Good night, boys." He staggered to the door and stumbled his way along the wall until he found his assigned bedchambers.
Iolaus beamed after him. "He's very drunk." he said. He tried to gain his feet, but wavered and collapsed back into his chair. "Whoa! Room's spinning! Hercules, can you stop the room?"
Hercules laughed at him. "I can't move, Iolaus. My strength is gone."
"It's gone?" Iolaus peered at him in drunken concern. "What happened to it?"
"It was the demon in the bottle." Iphicles supplied the answer. "It consumed his power. Liquor is more powerful than even the mighty Hercules!"
"Yes, it is." Hercules agreed peacefully, squeezing his hand again. "What about you, Iphicles? Can you move?"
"Nope. My bones have dissolved." Iphicles answered, then burst into giggles. It was contagious. They all laughed until their sides hurt.
"You know, to be a king, you're a pretty cool guy!" Iolaus said, stretching across to pat Iphicles on the shoulder. He nearly toppled from his perch, grabbed the king's chair arm to steady himself. "Room's moving again!"
Iphicles caught his arm and dragged the unbalanced blonde into his lap. "Get over here where you're safe." he said, still laughing.
Iolaus flopped, face-down, across his knees and laid still. The brothers watched him, waited several seconds before they realized he had passed out. Hercules slid from his chair and sunk to his knees in front of Iphicles' chair to examine his friend. "Iolaus..." He lifted the curly head to see that he was sleeping soundly. "He's out for the night." he said.
"We should put him to bed. You can both sleep with me tonight."
Hercules looked across the room to the king's bed, a space of fifteen feet. "Long way over there." he said.
"Yes, it is." Iphicles longingly stared at his huge bed, his jaw slack, his eyes glazed. "Shall we make the attempt, or give up and sit here until morning?"
Hercules tried to rise but fell to his knees again. He rested his head on Iolaus' back, felt Iphicles hand cover the back of his head. "I'M *really* drunk." he said.
"Reminds me of the time when you were thirteen and drunk on ale. I found you crawling along the road on your hands and knees. You had a big knot on your head, your clothes were all dirty and torn, your pants split from front to back. I picked you up and carried you home, remember? I cleaned you up and put you to bed. I held your head while you puked all night. I would have thought that after that experience, you wouldn't want to drink that much again."
Hercules sat smiling at him. "That was a few years ago." he reminded him. "Lessons sometimes have to be repeated before they sink in." He took a deep breath for strength and lunged to his feet. "Okay, come on." He bent to lift Iolaus' limp form over one shoulder, slid the other arm around the king's waist and headed for the bed. His strength was short-lived. Iolaus was dropped onto the bed just before the brothers crashed at his side, not to move again for hours.
"I'm freezing." Iolaus shivered. He scooted off the bed, squirming from intense pressure. He looked around in the near-darkness. "Where's the door?"
"Use the window." Iphicles mumbled, his face in Hercules' armpit.
Iolaus wove a crooked path to the castle window and threw open the shutters, fumbled with his pants until he was in pain, finally succeeded in undoing them. He urinated out the window, sighing in relief. The air coming in the window was fresh and crisp, smelled vaguely of rain.
"Just what I expected." came a familiar complaining voice. "I hang around outside windows and I get pissed on!" The bearer of the voice rose from the ground below to the window's level, which was three floors up.
Iolaus stared at him dumbly. "Ares! What are you doing out there?"
"Getting pissed on!" the miffed god of war exclaimed, waving his arms dramatically. "I'm not exactly into golden showers, you know."
"Sorry." Iolaus said meekly. He took a step toward him. "Let me help you clean up." He felt no wetness on Ares' leather clothing.
"Unnecessary. Already taken care of." Ares took him by the hands, typical sneer in place on his full lips. "The three of you sleeping in the king's bed? I think this requires a bit of an explanation."
Iolaus shivered again. "We drank too much."
"Drank too much what?" Ares released him suddenly and closed the window.
"We had too much wine."
The god of war smirked. "Then Hercules is drunk?" he asked, striding over to look down at the sleeping men. "That means I could kill him easily now, doesn't it?"
"Ares, please. Leave him alone."
Ares' deep eyes shifted to the man lying next to Hercules, and a wicked smile crossed his handsome face. "The King of Corinth." he breathed thoughtfully. "Despite his present situation, he is splendid, don't you think?"
Iolaus nodded absently. "They're both splendid." he said, his blue eyes on the sleepers.
Ares turned to the smaller man, gripped his arms as he focused on him. "And so are you, Iolaus." He raised a hand to the blonde curls and lightly touched their texture. "Flawless packaging."
Iolaus gazed up at him trustingly, waited for him to continue.
The bed creaked and Hercules' husky voice broke the silence. "Ares, what are you doing?"
Ares rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Go back to sleep, Hercules."
"What are you doing to Iolaus? Iolaus! Come here!" The big man was struggling from the bed, still obviously dizzy and uncoordinated. "Get away from him."
"He's not hurting me." Iolaus said, but stepped away from the god. He took his friend's arm to steady him. "You okay?"
Ares faced him with crossed arms. "Are you coming to fight me, Hercules?"
Hercules' fists were doubled, his blue eyes intent on smashing the war god's face. "You leave Iolaus alone!" he warned as he closed the distance between them.
The god laughed mirthlessly, easily sidestepped the weak blow he delivered, kicked him gently in the ass to knock him off balance. "Stop it, Hercules. I'm not here to fight you."
Hercules whirled, his fists up again. He threw another punch that was effortlessly deflected and ended up flat of his back on the hard floor.
"Stop it, Herc!" Iolaus cried, kneeling beside him. "He doesn't want to fight! Can't you understand?"
"Then what does he want?" Hercules demanded, straining to get up. He was surprised that Iolaus pushed him down again and held him there. "Iolaus, let me up!"
"Not until you listen. You're drunk! You're not thinking straight."
"What does he want? Why is he here?" Hercules gave a great shove that sent the smaller man spinning off him.
Ares caught the blonde, saved him from crashing into the wall. With his arm around him, he pointed a warning finger at the man on the floor. "You're out of line, brother!" he said. "If you can't treat your friend with any more respect than that, perhaps I should take him away from you."
"No!" The shout woke Iphicles, who sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes. Hercules reached desperately out for Iolaus. "Ares, please!"
"It was certainly easy to make you beg." Ares noted, smiling at him. "Let's make a deal. I won't take him if you'll tell him exactly how you feel about him. The truth, Hercules."
Hercules' eyes were tormented as he got to his feet. "He's my best friend. He knows that."
"Not good enough." Ares said. "Too generic."
"He's my brother!"
"Nope." Ares raised a hand as if to poof out, his other arm still firmly around the tortured blonde. "Say goodbye to him, Hercules."
"Wait!" Iphicles shouted, climbing from the bed to stand beside the demi-god. "Hercules, tell him!"
Ares paused and waited.
"I love him!" Hercules cried out, his blue eyes brimming with tears. "Iolaus, you know I love you. I have always loved you!"
Iolaus sobbed. "I love you, too, Hercules."
Ares looked down at him, then back to the strong man. "Still not enough." he said.
"Loving him isn't enough?"
"It's not all there is to it." Ares said. "Tell him how much you love him."
Hercules swallowed hard. "Iolaus, you know how much I love you, don't you? You know that I would do anything for you. You know.....I'm.....in love with you...."
The king stared at him. "*In* love with him, Hercules?"
"Yes." Hercules said in a stronger voice. "*In* love with him."
Ares was smiling. "Then he's yours."" he said softly, and handed the blonde over to him. As Hercules drew Iolaus into a frantic embrace, the war god reached for the king and pulled him to the side. Touching his face, then his lips, he murmured to him, "Send them away and be with me tonight."
Iphicles felt the heat coming from him. "Yes." he said, barely able to speak. "Hercules, Iolaus, go to your bedchambers now. Ares and I need to be alone."
Hercules hesitated, fearing for his brother's safety, but the king waved them out. With Iolaus still in his protective embrace, the world's strongest man slipped quietly out of the room.
Iphicles lurched in surprise when his clothing disappeared, looked down at his naked body, puzzling. "How did you do that?" he asked in fascination.
"I have powers untold." Ares answered with a smile. His own clothing vanished and he took the king into his arms. Muscular bare flesh against equally muscular bare flesh felt good, felt silken and sweet.
"Yes, you do." Iphicles affirmed breathlessly. His eyes closed, his head back, he was filled with sensations as their erections brushed together. "Be with me, Ares." he used the god's own term to complete the seduction. "Take me."
Ares viewed the handsome king, very affected by his lust. "Yes." he hissed, and kissed the plush, moist lips. The first touch was magnetic, required furious repetition. Passionate, open-mouthed kisses went on until they were panting with need, thrusting against each other. Then, when he could wait no longer, Iphicles led the way to the bed and held up the covers as the war god joined him.
Iphicles kissed every inch of his flesh, heard the reverent expletives, felt the strong fingers tangle in his copper curls as his mouth closed on the god's erection.
"Oh, gods, you're so beautiful." Ares murmured, content for the minute with what the mortal was doing to him. His hands lovingly stroked Iphicles' hair and shoulders as he felt the tightening in his loins. He began to arch up into the mouth that was sucking him, felt the collision with the back of the throat. He pulled back as the king gagged. "Sorry."
Iphicles did not stop. Rubbing the water from his eyes, he continued to suck him.
"Oh, yeah." Ares was impressed with his determination. "Very, very good." But he sat up and pulled the king's face off him. "Do you want me, Iphicles?"
"How do you want me?"
"Inside me." Iphicles laid on his back and offered himself to him. "Now."
Ares was well-lubricated with saliva. He lifted and spread the mortal's legs and, without preparation, entered into him. The cry of pain paralyzed him in place, kept him still until the opening had stretched to accommodate his size before he moved again. It had been reckless to enter him without first stretching him. He could be torn, and, since he was a mortal, it could be painful for days. Ares had never cared about such things before. It gave him something to ponder as he laid there gazing with great affection into the man's beautiful brown eyes.
It did not take long. Iphicles was soon ready for him to move, so he began to thrust slowly, gained momentum when the muscles relaxed.
The intrusion caught them both unaware, but it did not stop them. Hercules burst into the room, pointed accusingly at the god of war as he shouted, "Leave my brother alone!"
Ares remained in place but fell still. Propping his chin on the heel of his hand, he said, "Hercules, we're *both* your brother. Which one do you want to leave the other alone?"
Hercules stared at them in a stupor. "What are you doing to him?" he asked.
Ares raised his eyebrows. "The same thing, dear brother, that you should be doing to Iolaus. I realize your prudish heart has never allowed you to enjoy carnal pleasures such as this, but there comes a time in a man's life when he needs to admit the truth about himself. Denying what's right in front of you is foolish when your life's thread is so short."
Iolaus crept up behind Hercules and reddened at the sight of the lovers. "Herc, come on. Let's leave them alone."
"Since you're here, you could join us." Ares invited. "This could be fun."
Iphicles' eyes grew wide with excitement. Hercules had turned away, but the door suddenly slammed in his face, trapping him in the room. He whirled. "Ares! This isn't right!"
Ares' lips twisted in a snarl. "Get over here. Both of you!"
They were compelled to undress and join the lovers in bed. As he made himself comfortable at Iphicles side, Iolaus found himself the recipient of a plundering kiss from Ares. He hesitated for a moment, then returned it, his arms around the god's neck.
Ares was still inside Iphicles. He began to move again as he ended the kiss with Iolaus and covered the king's mouth in another long kiss.
Hercules laid still beside Iolaus, watching with scorn. Ares laughed and reached for him, brought him close and kissed his full lips with enthusiasm. "Stop being judgmental, brother, and feel the love."
"Love?" Hercules asked doubtfully, but he moved forward for a second kiss, allowed Ares' tongue in, let his inhibitions begin to melt away. "You feel love, Ares?"
"I feel everything." Ares answered. "Emotions. Intense emotions. I enjoy them all. I'm not ashamed of what I feel, so I enjoy living."
Hercules kissed him again, then, at Ares' provocation, kissed Iphicles, too. When he drew away from his lips, he gazed at Iolaus in a new light. The blonde smiled at him and wrapped his arms around his broad shoulders.
"I love you, Hercules." he said, inciting the first kiss. It was instant magic. The two of them were oblivious to their surroundings as kisses became their single fascination.
Ares was the first to achieve an orgasm, shouted out as he exploded. Iphicles' shouts came shortly afterward as the god's hand stroked him to climax. Then, they cuddled together on the far side of the bed and watched as Hercules and Iolaus explored and discovered each other.
The door opened again and Jason entered the room. He stared at the four of them on the bed. "What is going on in here? What is all the yelling about?"
Ares laughed and beckoned him. "Come and join us, Jason, and we'll show you."