By Sarah Saint Ives
"Good morning, you lazy boys. It's time to catch the fishes."
"Ares! What are you doing here?" Hercules woke crossly. His bed for the night had been the hard earth. His bleary blue eyes caught Ares' mischievous smile. The handsome war god was holding a pole with string on it, and on the end of the string was a hook. "What's that?"
In the enchanted minute that their eyes held, Ares' smile disappeared and a look of torment replaced it. "You catch fish with it." he said, no longer interested in the gadget in his hand. He handed it to Iolaus, but his eyes were drawn to Hercules.
Hercules murmured miserably, "Go away, Ares."
The god of war laid a tentative hand on his shoulder. "Get up and go for a walk with me." he said, his tone amazingly softer. "We should talk about this."
"*What* do you want to talk about?"
Ares tugged persuasively at his arm. "You know what. Come on."
Hercules sighed and rose to his feet. Meeting his eyes again, he asked wearily, "What good will it do to talk about it, Ares?"
Ares moved intimately closer to take him in his arms. "I don't suppose we'll know until we have finished our talk, now will we? Hercules, tell me....what are you so afraid of....me, or of yourself?"
"What do you think?" Hercules became aggressive, gripped the lapels of his leather shirt. "Until that day in Shalis, you had always wanted me dead. What happened there that day? One kiss doesn't have the power to completely change the lives of two grown men unless there was a spell on you!"
"You think there was a spell on *me*?"
"I don't know what to think. All I know is that after you delivered that single kiss, I was powerless against you."
"Hercules, I was affected, too. I thought it was a spell for a time, but then I let you make me believe it was something that just ‘happened'. And it was so damned beautiful that I didn't want to ponder it too much."
"Ares, what do you want from me?" Hercules asked wearily.
"I want you to come back to me."
"I can't come back to you. I was foolish to let myself ever get caught up in your charms, Ares. I should never have stayed that night."
Ares looked painfully across the landscape. "All those mean, nasty things I did to you before, for all those things, you'll end up paying me back tenfold. Rest assured that this is the cruelest punishment you could possibly administer."
"I'm not trying to punish you, Ares."
"Yes, you are, and you're doing a very good job of it, too."
Hercules was frustrated. "How do you catch fish with the thing you gave Iolaus?"
Ares wiped his dark eyes and moved over to demonstrate. "You put a worm or a bug on this hook and make it jump up and down slowly in the water, like this. Fish love that kind of stuff. When one bites your hook, you yank him out." He threw back the line as if a fish were attached.
Iolaus nodded with a look of intrigue. "I'll go give it a try!" His eyes met Hercules' again. "You'll be okay, won't you?"
"Of course I'll be okay."
Iolaus hesitated for only a second before he scurried on to the lake to test the fishing pole.
"Now," Ares took Hercules' hand and kissed it. "Where were we?"
Hercules allowed him the small intimacy, wondering what to say. Ares had made a point when he had mentioned his nasty conduct of bygone days. Anything above those accursed deeds was an improvement, but Hercules could not sacrifice himself to convert a lovesick war-god. The spell could wear off any minute and leave Ares his horrible, rotten self again, and all would be lost.
Ares' hand touched his cheek and he leaned toward him for a kiss, but Hercules turned his head to the side. "Ares, please." he said in annoyance.
The dark eyes were woeful. "Why not? Why can't I kiss you?"
Hercules glanced around as if someone were there to witness an embarrassing situation. "Please just back off. Let's talk."
"Okay, let's talk." Ares backed away as requested and fixed his gaze on Hercules' handsome face. "What do you want to talk about?"
"About the way you feel. Tell me what changed. Tell me how you felt before and what happened. I want to know how it worked. If we know the means, perhaps we can reverse it."
Ares shook his head. "I don't want to reverse it."
"You want to suffer like this?"
"The only thing that's making me suffer is that you keep pushing me away, Hercules. Unlike you, I am not ashamed of wanting you. If you would let me, I could make us both very happy. Why are you causing us this torment?"
Hercules' voice shook with the reply. "Because you are Ares."
"Do you want me to change my name?"
"No, I want you to stop this."
Ares' deep eyes showed his pain, which did not go unnoticed or unsympathized. Hercules, too, was in anguish. "Why did you come here today?"
"I came here to show you the fishing pole. I knew your little friend likes to fish. I'm not all bad, not even at my worst. I saw men using it in Greece and I thought of him. And I wanted to see you, to see your eyes. I love your eyes, they're so beautiful, so blue. I had several cute little things to say to you but when I looked into those beautiful blue eyes, I couldn't remember any of them. I felt just totally vanquished. Everything inside me went to mush and all I wanted to do was hold you and kiss you and make love to you."
"You said you wanted to hear it. Here it is."
"Okay, go on."
"You've got dozens of beautiful women working at your place, Ares, women that you make love to. You certainly don't need me."
"Yes I do. I need you."
"You want to add me to the harem?"
"No, I just want you."
Hercules gazed at him, studied his face and saw that he was genuine. "Ares, use your head. It can't be that way and you know it."
"Why can't it?"
"Because it can't!"
"Only because you won't let it. I see nothing wrong with us being together."
"When the spell wears off, when you see things straight again, you'll see plenty wrong with it. You'll understand and you'll be embarrassed about this. Then you'll want to kill me again."
"No, never." Ares kissed him on the lips with such swiftness that Hercules had no chance to block it.
Hercules decided not to make an issue of it. "Go home now." he said. "Eat some ambrosia. Talk to your women."
Sadly, nuzzling in his ear, Ares whispered, "I would die for you, Hercules." Then, without another word, he disappeared into the wind.
Hercules had a steady fire burning when his blonde friend returned with a whipload of struggling fishes. Iolaus looked around, and when he did not see Ares, he asked, "What happened?"
"I told him to go away."
Iolaus cleared his throat. "How can he be in love with you?"
"In love? He's not in love with me, Iolaus. He's in *lust* with me. He doesn't have the capacity to love anyone."
"Coulda fooled me. How can he *lust* after you? That doesn't make sense."
"What are you talking about, Iolaus?"
"How can he lust after you when you're both men?"
Hercules gazed at him. Such an guileless, off-handed question with such a complicated, troubling answer.
Iolaus pulled a fish off the whip and rambled on. "I mean....it's impossible for two men to...."
"No, it's not." Hercules interrupted him there, hoping he would shut up.
"Men can be in love."
"I mean...to make love."
"It can happen."
Hercules fidgeted in discomfort at the topic. He took a fish and smashed its head with a rock before he sliced open its belly. "Use your imagination." he said.
Iolaus' face was the picture of innocence as he cleaned his fish. "Any two people can hold each other, can kiss each other, can touch each other."
"Any two people can make love, Iolaus. Have you ever heard the expression 'where there's a will, there's a way'?"
"Yeah. The only way it could be....would be sort of painful for one."
"Right. But that's not the only way it could be, I'm sure."
"Tell me other ways."
"No. I'm not going to sit here and talk about this, Iolaus. If you can't figure it out, you'll just have to be in the dark about it." There were tears in Hercules' blue eyes.
Iolaus looked apologetic as he reached out and laid a grimy hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to ask such bothersome questions. And I didn't mean to come off sounding like an idiot, either. I *have* heard of such things. I just don't know how it's done."
"You're just as well not knowing." Hercules' voice broke.
Iolaus laid down his fish and put his arms around the bigger man.
Hercules hugged him snugly. "You're my brother, Iolaus. I am grateful for you."
"I am just as grateful for you." Iolaus posed another difficult question. "When you slept in Ares bed....did you and he....did you.....did you make love with him?"
Hercules pulled away from him and sat on a knee-high rock. Since his friend was still standing, the taller man now had to look up into the concerned blue eyes. Humbly, he confessed. "Yeah, we made love."
"That's none of your business, Iolaus."
"Iolaus, it's none of your business. Why are you being so nosy?"
"Because I don't understand it."
Hercules looked down. "Why are you so interested?"
"Because I care about you. I share your life."
"Yes, you do." Hercules agreed with a bitter smile.
"I don't want him to take you away from me."
"He's not taking me away from you, Iolaus."
"He'll keep trying."
The bigger man concentrated on the fish he was cleaning. "I'm here, Iolaus." he said with finality.
"Can we talk about something else now, Iolaus?"
The blonde turned his back on him and went to work gutting a second fish. He caught sight of a peripheral movement a few feet away and groaned in irritation. "Come on out, Ares. I see you."
Ares stepped out from behind a nearby tree.
Hercules glared at him. "How long have you been standing there listening to us?"
"I just popped in." The god approached him, bearing gifts. He handed him a bouquet of flowers, gave him time to react before presenting him with a bejeweled necklace.
Hercules smiled resentfully at the gifts but made an attempt at politeness. "Thank you, Ares. You are very kind."
"May I kiss your hand?"
"No, you may not. Ares, I don't think I can accept these gifts. I wish you would just leave me alone. Your persistence is only making things worse."
Ares shook his head. "I want you back, Hercules. You will belong to me! I will never give you up."
"Ares, give up."
"No, I can't."
"Yes, you can. Please, Ares, don't do this to me. Leave me alone."
Ares gazed into his eyes with forlorn reluctance. "I'll let you think about it. I won't take the gifts back. They're yours....you can burn them if you like. I'll leave you alone for a while if that's what you really want. Anything for you, even if it is the death of me."
"It's not your death. I just want this spell broken."
"Why? Why must it be this way?"
"Because I cannot belong to you and I cannot abide by you lusting after me."
"I don't know why not. We make a perfectly wonderful couple. Look into history, Hercules. There have been...."
"I know. There have been some very happy heroes, but Ares, this is absurd."
Ares fell silent and gazed at him.
Iolaus, sensing danger, tried to explain. "He means he doesn't want to get hurt, Ares. You *have* tried to kill him many, many times, if you will recall. What if he submitted to you and then suddenly, in the middle of the night, the spell wore off? Then, there he would be, at your mercy and you would kill him."
Hercules eyes met Ares' and he shook his head sadly. "No, that's not what I'm afraid of and he knows it, Iolaus."
Ares' eyes were brimming with tears. "He hates me." he said. "He despises me. He would rather die himself than be with me."
"No, I don't hate you." Hercules said in annoyance.
"Yes, you do."
"Ares, I don't hate you."
"Then prove it. Let me come closer. Let me touch you."
"No. You know what I meant. You're trying to twist this around so it puts guilt on me."
"I only want to touch you."
Iolaus was prepared to stand in defense of Hercules, but the big man waved him out of the way, sure of his safety. With a long sigh, Iolaus took the fish and went to the other side of the fire to finish cleaning them.
Ares placed his hands on Hercules' knees and pushed them apart, stepped between them and bent to put his arms around him. "It feels so good to hold you." he whispered into his ear.
Hercules, not knowing what to say or do, returned the embrace. "We are brothers, Ares. We cannot be lovers."
The embrace was lingering and intimate. "How can you deny me when you know how I feel?"
"I'm trying to do what's right, Ares."
"Don't try so hard." Ares pressed against him, made him aware of his burning need. His erection demanded attention. "Do you feel that? How can you keep saying no? Think how sweet it would be if we weren't wearing all these clothes......"
"Maybe Aphrodite can help us."
"Help us with what?"
"She can cast a spell of love. Maybe she can remove one that has already been cast."
"You mean you really think it's a spell, Hercules? I thought you were blowing smoke up my.....hmmm, that's a sexy idea for later....What do you think? A little smoke, some scented oil, maybe a dip in the pool...."
Hercules ignored the romantic fantasy. "Yes. We should go see her. Whatever it is, she'll probably know what to do. Let's go see her."
Ares shook his head, then turned to wave his fingers mockingly at Iolaus. "See ya later." he said. Then, still embraced, he and Hercules vanished.
Aphrodite was beautiful but frivolous, spent hours looking for just the right flowers to wear in her long, golden hair, whiled away her infinite free time situating sheers around her body so that only a few choice parts of her anatomy were unconcealed. There were peeks of fair skin everywhere and it was very distracting to even the most stoic of men.
Ares stood staring, displaying no decency as they faced their beautiful half sister, but Hercules' blue eyes remained on her face. "Do you know who put this spell on us?" he asked as she graced him with her sweetest smile.
"Spell? I see no spell on you, little brother." she answered, flipping her hand as a bee lit.
"Our dear brother is convinced there is a spell on us." Ares said, hoping she would crush the notion once and for all.
"You don't look bewitched....you look....affectionate. If I didn't know better, I'd say the two of you were ‘romantically involved', but since you're Hercules, and you're Ares, that couldn't be. I suppose there *could* be a love spell. Cupid can do that. So can his child. It's not impossible for another god to have the ability."
"Aphrodite, remove the spell, I beg of you." said Hercules.
"Remove it?" She laughed gaily. "Oh, it's so delicious! You and Ares are smitten with each other! I just can't wait to tell Artemis and the others."
"Aphrodite!" Hercules demanded her attention.
"Oh, poof! You impatient, silly boy! None of my brothers have any patience! What was it you wanted again?"
"Take off the spell!"
The woman drew a deep sigh and laid her hands on his muscular chest. "There's no spell on you. I can't remove what isn't there."
"Maybe it's on Ares." Hercules suggested desperately.
She went to Ares, whose eyes were stuck on her beautiful breasts and laid her hands on him. "I can't feel spells if they're on a god." she explained, "Oh, well, at least this won't kill you." losing her eyes, she summoned up a bolt of power that sent him spinning fifteen feet. "There." she said, the ultimate ditzy blonde. "There you are. If there *was* a spell on him, it's gone now."
Then, she disappeared.
"Aphrodite!" Hercules cried. When he realized she was not coming back, he went to Ares, who was lying flat on his back on the cold ground and knelt beside him.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
Ares sat up, taking his hand. "Maybe it *was* a spell." he said. His brown eyes were empty and weary.
Hercules hugged him. "I am sorry."
"It's what you wanted."
"It was what had to be done. We could not feel such things for one another, not you and me."
"You're right, of course."
"Well," Ares got to his feet and brushed himself off. "I'd better be getting along home now." As he prepared to pop out, his face was so devoid of emotion that Hercules wanted to cry.
"Take me back first."
"Oh, yeah. I almost forgot." He took Hercules by the hands and snapped the two of them back to the campsite, then, backing away from him, he held up a hand in fond farewell. "Goodbye my love." he said softly, brushed a kiss across his lips, and was gone.
Iolaus came running. "What happened?"
"Aphrodite took the spell away."
"Then why do you look like you just lost your best friend?"
"Did you see his face?"
Iolaus shook his head. "You are telling me that you actually care about Ares' feelings?"
Hercules shrugged. "I can't help myself. I wish I *didn't* care. I never saw his face depict sadness to that degree before."
"What's his problem, anyway?"
"I don't know. Maybe he *is* capable of feeling love." Hercules sat down on the rock and took up the necklace Ares had given him. "These are real diamonds. Real rubies. And, whatever the blue stones are, I'm sure they're real, too."
"Zircon. It's beautiful."
"Yeah, it is." The big man slipped the necklace over his head and reached for the flowers.
"You know he can never be the gentle, loving person you are, Hercules. The two of you are complete opposites."
Hercules reached for him and gave him a bear hug. "Where are those fish? Did you get them all cleaned?"
"All cleaned and soaking in a pot of salt water. I'll put them on to cook in a few minutes."
"Good." Hercules pulled away, forced a smile and said, "I'll be back oon. I need time alone to think."
"Okay. Just don't be gone too long. I'll worry."
"I know." The big man shielded his eyes from him. "Be back soon."
He strode into the woods, sat at the foot of a huge tree, put his face in his hands and poured out tears until his throat hurt.
"Don't cry, Hercules."
He looked up at Aphrodite. "How do I live with this, sister?"
"I don't know." she answered. "I don't know what's wrong with you."
"Go see what Ares is doing, then come back and tell me."
She frowned in confusion, then nodded her pretty, ditzy head and disappeared. Five minutes later, she was back and her face was frozen in a stunned expression. "He's as upset as you are." she reported. "What evil force could cause two of the strongest men in the world to cry like children?"
"Whatever it is, it's cruel, Aphrodite."
She believed him. "I have to do something. This is too sad."
He watched her disappear, wiping away his tears. Minutes passed by and he waited, hoping for he knew not what. What was he hoping for? He tried to think it out.
His eyes were still cherry red when two godly figures appeared before him.
"The two of you need to discuss this. Work it out." she said. "I can't stand to see either one of you unhappy."
"Iolaus will be worried about me if I'm gone any longer. We should let him know..."
"I'll tell him." she offered, and disappeared again.
Hercules got to his feet to face the war god.
Ares studied him closely. "She's such a dumb blonde." His chuckle ended in a long sniffle. "Just gotta love her!"
Hercules drew in a shaky breath. "But she's probably right. There has to be a good reason why we were both so affected. If a god or a sorcerer didn't put a spell on one or both of us, it makes no sense."
Ares stepped forward and put his arms around him, took a torrid breath in his ear. "It happened when I kissed you. Maybe, like you said before, it's just chemistry between you and me. I can't bear it when you're cold to me."
Hercules wrapped his arms around him.
"You love me. Admit it."
Hercules' drew in a long, ragged breath.
"Tell me you love me."
"I love you, Ares! You know I do."
Ares' voice broke when he said, "I love you, too, Hercules."
The declaration had a profound effect on them. They stood locked in the embrace for several minutes before either spoke again. Finally, Ares whispered, "Let me kiss you."
"Let the spell be broken, Ares."
"The spell be damned! Let me kiss you!"
Hercules turned his face to him. "Kiss me, then!"
Ares was careful as he touched his lips, kissed him very tenderly several times.
"Now, that you've done that, what other needs do you have?" Hercules asked as his fingers combed through Ares' dark locks. "Has it stirred a fire in your loins, or are the kisses enough to satisfy you for now?"
"Oh, there's a fire here, my love, one that rages." Ares took his hand and pressed it to the unmistakable hardness between them. "A fire that rages. I wish you to understand that I have been eternally smitten by you, and that I want you forever."
"And what are you prepared to do about it?"
"I don't know."
"Do think about it. I want you to come back to me. I want you to live with me."
"Our lives would forever be changed."
"Our lives are changed, anyway." Ares kissed him again, then again, and when he backed away from the second glorious kiss, his eyes closed in ardent gratification. "I want change. I need change."
Hercules held to him, unable to contain his own passion. "So do I."
"Think about it."
"I will let you go back to your little friend now." Another long, lingering kiss, and Ares vanished from his arms.
Hercules turned to put his forehead against the tree. A few minutes, he would take only a few minutes to collect himself, and he could face Iolaus.
It took nearly half an hour.
"I was getting worried about you."
"Didn't Aphrodite tell you..."
"Yeah, she told me you and Ares were talking, that you had to work out your differences. I didn't know what to expect."
"We talked." Hercules sat down.
"So, did you work anything out?"
"Is he mad at you?"
"Are you mad at him?"
"Are you going to tell me about it?"
"Yeah, I'll tell you about it." Hercules took a deep breath. "If it's a spell, it's unbreakable. He still wants me. He asked me to live with him."
"That's something I can't see ever happening."
Hercules nodded. His eyes strayed to the fire where fish was cooking on a spit. "Somehow, the idea doesn't seem so far-fetched when he's talking. I'm having feelings for him, too."
"What are you feeling? Can you describe it?"
"Passion. Need. Love."
"For Ares? Hercules, are you crazy?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Get hold of yourself. You can't feel that way about Ares. He's evil and wretched!"
"He loves me."
"Do you believe that? How long do you think it will last? What he's experiencing now may be temporary. He'll get over it. When it wears off, he'll be the same evil, mean, nasty jerk he's always been and he'll try to hurt you again, he'll do mean things to you again. Remember all the evil things he's done to you? Remember that he's directly responsible for..."
"Don't say it. Don't remind me!"
Iolaus shook his head in frustration. "You know! You know what he is! You know the people he's hurt!"
"Iolaus!" Hercules put his hands over his ears.
"He'll hurt you!"
"He loves me. He's not as bad as you think."
"Yes, he is. Get that through your head."
"Maybe I need to sleep on it."
"Maybe you need a *lot* of sleep if you're even considering anything so insane."
"Maybe I do." Hercules sighed. "Is the fish done?"
As the bigger man sat down and took a portion of fish, Iolaus continued. "You know he could be coming up with a brilliant new idea to kill you. Your blind faith presents all kinds of opportunities for him! If you let him close, he can kill you easily."
Hercules nodded, admitted he was right. "I will consider it."
Iolaus wanted to slap him. "Hercules, he's a killer! He will try to kill you!"
"I have killed, Iolaus, but I do not kill those I love." It was Ares, standing just behind them.
Iolaus whipped his head around. "Would you stop sneaking up on us like that!"
"You're just too easy, Blondie." Ares said, tweaking his nose.
Iolaus knocked his hand away. "How can you love Hercules? Explain to me how you can *love* him."
"What do you mean, Iolaus? Do you want to hear the way I intend to *make* love to him?"
"What I meant was how ..." Iolaus was perplexed. "Okay, yeah. I want to know how you intend to make love to him."
"That's a little too personal for open discussion."
"Then tell me what kind of a relationship you think you can possibly have with him when he's the world's strongest man and Hera has vowed vengeance on him. I think it looks just a little unlikely."
"You have a relationship with him."
"Not the kind you want."
"You don't love him?"
"Of course I love him, like a brother. He's my friend."
"And he's a good one." Ares took Hercules' hand. "What you have with him, Iolaus, friendship, brotherhood, whatever kind of love, I have never had with anyone. My line of work has made it impossible to make friends or to find faithful lovers. Would it surprise you to know that I've been lonely?"
"Not at all. You're the god of war! Of course you're lonely. But why him? You have your pick of women. What do you really want from him?"
"What I want from him is....forever." Ares took the hero's head in his hands and kissed him passionately. "Forever."
When the kiss subsided, Hercules said softly, "Your forever is a little longer than mine, Ares."
"Not once you eat ambrosia. I can make you immortal. We can spend eternity making love."
"I don't see myself dining with the gods at this point in my life, Ares. Thank you, anyway."
"Trust me, Beloved. It's delicious."
"Ares, don't take him away from me." Iolaus begged.
The god gave the smaller man a moment's speculation. "I will extend his welcome to you, too. My ladies seem to be rather fond of you. They wouldn't mind having an extra sex slave around the castle. You're an entertaining guy."
"So the idea is to keep me busy with the ladies while you keep Hercules busy in your bed." Iolaus summed it up.
"Who's going to complain? I think it sounds like a perfect plan, myself."
"Did you ever stop to think that maybe *I* want him? Maybe you're cutting in on my time here?" Iolaus said boldly.
"He would have told me. Good try, though. Iolaus, why don't you want im to be happy? Jealousy doesn't become you."
"It's not jealousy." the blonde said stubbornly. "It's possessiveness. There's a difference."
Hercules gave Iolaus a moment of scrutiny. "You and I have to talk about this." he said, almost warningly.
"I *hope* you'll talk to me about it!" Iolaus said temperamentally. With that, he grabbed up his fishing pole and headed off toward the water.
"He wants you, too." Ares observed. "Maybe it's not just me. Maybe you have that affect on everybody and I just accidentally fell for it."
"Fell for it? You're having second thoughts?"
"Second thoughts? Never. I don't care why. It doesn't matter what the reason. You're in my heart now."
"Not so long ago, I would have asked,...what heart?..." Hercules touched his hard chest, found the rhythmic beating within and smiled at him. "But there it is. The heart of a god."
"And it beats just for you."
Hercules kissed his lips, then his chest, trailed his lips down his flat belly as he knelt before him. His fingers undid the fastener at the front of black leather pants. Ares closed his eyes sensuously, tangled all his fingers in the demi-god's hair as he freed his aching erection. "Oh, yes...." he groaned as Hercules took it in his mouth.
Ares pursed his lips in carnal appreciation, thrust himself deeper. "Yes..." he said again. "Don't stop. You stop now and I'll break your neck."
Hercules couldn't help his sudden fit of laughter. He backed away, wiped his lips and looked up at the impassioned war god. "You're in no position to threaten me." he said, finding it very amusing.
"Hercules, damn it, I swear I'll hurt you if you don't finish what you've started."
"Okay...okay." Hercules went back to his task, suppressing the urge to chuckle. He paused for another second to say, "Gods, no wonder I love you so much. You're really crazy." Before Ares could respond, he was applying full-blown oral sex, and the god was incapable of coherent speech.
Ares was gone when Iolaus returned and Hercules was humming, smiling to himself as he stoked the campfire. "So, where'd he go?" asked the blonde.
"He went home."
"He gave up on you?"
"Gave up on me? No. We're just taking things a little slower. We're meeting tomorrow."
"He's coming to see you every day?"
"I don't know. We don't have an arrangement yet. I think he's going to be more reasonable from now on."
"Why did you cave in, Herk? What did he promise you?"
"Yes, what did it take to get in your pants?"
"That's not a very nice way to put it. Anyway, he didn't get in my pants."
"You got in *his*, then!"
"He told me he loved me, Iolaus."
"I've told you that before. You never gave me a blow job."
"You were watching?" Hercules was outraged.
"I didn't mean to. But I saw."
"What makes him so special? Why is *he* the lucky one who won your love? I'm the one who has stuck with you through everything. I'm the one who's taken all the risks for you!"
Hercules stared at him in bewilderment. "Iolaus, I didn't know this was going to be a problem between us. We're friends, you and I, not lovers. You never expressed an interest in a love affair with me. Although there have been times...."
"If you had a brain in your head, you would have known how I felt about you." Iolaus said, sulking.
"I know. It's too late."
"Iolaus, I didn't know."
"Then you're stupid." He turned his back. "It doesn't matter any more. It's over now. You belong to him."
"Iolaus, please don't do this to me. You're my friend! My brother!"
"And *Ares* is your lover!" Iolaus kept the exclamation light. "What a life I have had, Hercules, and all because I became your friend and brother!"
Hercules hugged him from behind. "I will always be your friend and brother."
"How long before we go to live with Ares?"
"I don't know. For now, things are the same, except that now, we have a god to protect us. He won't let anything happen to me because he loves me."
"A god to protect us? Is that the reason...."
"No. You know better."
"You love him."
"Yes, I do."
Iolaus sighed in bitter acceptance.
"Thamiris! Thanks to you, it won't be long now! He'll be coming here to live with us." He threw his arms around the beautiful woman and gave her an excited kiss.
She smiled at him, shaking a small bottle of blue liquid. "Just a little eye-opener. It didn't make him feel anything that wasn't already there. Just gave him a little boost, that's all. When did you put it on him?"
"Right after Aphrodite zapped me. He didn't notice because he was too worried about me. You *do* have more of this, don't you?"
"Enough to last for a very long time," she assured him. "Don't worry, my beautiful god of war. You shall keep Hercules as long as your heart desires him."
He kissed her again. "Thank you, Tham. You're the greatest," he said.