Pulling the hood of his black cloak more tightly around his face, Ares walked through the Athenian market. He tried not to flinch at the swarm of hot bodies. The mass humanity disturbed him: in his newly-mortal body, he couldn't maintain the proper distance, the necessary perspective.
Instead, he was overwhelmed by the rough fabric of his clothing chaffing his skin, the oily press of hands as merchants reached for him, trying to tempt him to buy their goods, the grimy urchins chattering around him, begging for coins.
The harsh voices hurt his ears, and he wanted to kill them all to stop their incessant yelling. And the smells...the god shuddered. Normally, he could block out the worst of these. Now, his divine nose was assaulted by the stench of fish rotting under the infernally hot sun, of unwashed flesh, strong cheese, fresh dogshit...
Gasping for breath in the fetid air, he pushed down the welling panic. He could do this, if only to shut up that smug, arrogant son of a bitch lover of his. And when Iphicles admitted he'd underestimated the god, Ares woud enjoy making him pay. A day-long blowjob...just what he needed after this grubby day in mortal flesh. First, however, he needed to get to Corinth. That meant finding the main road--
"The god...the god!!!"
The crowd's exultant cries interrupted Ares' plans. He couldn't suppress a smile. The people still recognized him, despite his long cloak. His smile disappeared, however, when he realized that someone else had provoked the excited shouts.
Following the surging swell of mortals to the east, he found himself at the base of his own temple. Standing under the portico, the sun lighting his copper curls as he grinned down at the assembled Athenians, muscular arms folded across his chest, leather pants hugging his long legs, stood Iphicles. God of war.
Ares rolled his eyes as he listened to the mortals buzz around him, admiring the wargod's new look.
"You can see his lips now with the beard gone," exclaimed a black-clad widow, leering. "I never realized they were so full, so pouty..."
Her friend, tongue hanging out, agreed, nodding her grey head vigorously. "Beautiful! A complete waste on the god of war!"
"And that hair!" added a package-laden young mother, restless child clinging to her hand. "Gorgeous! I love the way it looks against the black vest. I wouldn't mind feel--" Glancing down at the little boy, she closed her mouth.
"But the body's still the same. Ares always did have the best body," a thin young man noted wistfully. Then, peering up: "Is it just me, or does he look even more buff than usual?"
His handsome companion nodded. "I think you're right. Look at those muscles...Wow!"
Ares was not amused.
Stroking his dark beard protectively, he decided that the Athenians could all go to hell. Just wait until they begged for his help against the Spartans. Let that ineffectual bitch Athena take care of her own city. They could all kiss his ass.
Staring up at Iphicles, he admitted that the king looked pretty hot squeezed into the slick leather, especially the way it clung to his huge cock. And he did have a lush mouth, perfect for sucking Ares to mindblowing orgasm. And that hair...so soft, when it trailed over his cock as Iphicles blew the god....
"Outta my way," Ares said brusquely, shoving aside the lust-struck mortals. "Coming through."
Iphicles, with a last wave to the admiring audience, vanished into the shrine just as Ares reached the top step. Feeling aggravated by the limitations of human motility, he grasped the handles on the heavy brass doors and pulled until he could squeeze through. Then he went looking for the king. He found the man lounging on his throne, one leg dangling over the heavy armrest in a very familiar position.
"Come to worship your favorite god?" Iphicles asked with a smirk.
Ares' eyes dropped to the erection straining between his lover's thighs. "Something like that..." he said, happily breathing in the fragrant, smoky fumes of the burning incense as he advanced toward the king.
"Much as I'd like to fuck you right now," Iphicles said, jumping gracefully to his feet, "you're not touching me until you get to Corinth. That was the deal: you make it there as a mortal, and I blow you for a day, wearing this...costume. Not til then. Besides, I'm not convinced you can make it. I thought you were going to pass out in the market."
Ares closed the distance between them. "I'll get there. And you'd better be ready. I'm going to fuck you like you've never been fucked before."
Iphicles couldn't repress the shiver. "I hope so, Ares. Because I need you."
They stood eye to eye, feeling each other's heat. "So fuck me now," the god whispered. "Forget this stupid bet." His hand slid into his lover's curls and pulled his head forward, until their lips met.
Iphicles' mouth opened under the pressure, and Ares gasped when the king's divinity-sweetened tongue stroked his. He gasped louder when his lover pushed him back until Ares leaned against the cool western wall of the temple.
"What do you think you're doing?" the god asked, groaning as Iphicles' cock rubbed against his.
"This power is very....invigorating," his lover replied, his teeth sinking into Ares' neck. "I hope you lose. I'm looking forward more than ever to fucking you as a mortal." His bites grew deeper, and the god could feel his mortal flesh bruising. He tried to free his neck, confused by the sexualized pain, but Iphicles held him firmly. "I'm going to enjoy this. Your inability to fight is really turning me on." The king's tongue soothed the wounded skin, but he began to bite again, this time along the god's collarbone.
His mortal flesh a disturbing morass of screaming nerve endings, Ares let the king nip and suck at his skin. But when Iphicles began to force the god to his knees, he finally protested. "Not yet! I haven't proved myself!"
The king sighed, cheeks flushed and breathing ragged. "You just don't want to submit to me, Ares." He took a step back, hands clenched. "It's...hard to control my impulses now. Every sense vibrates. I nearly cum at a breath of air. And to have you touching me..." He threw back his head and let out a roar.
"If you lose any more of your inhibitions, king, you're going to make me cum right here," Ares told him, dark eyes glowing with desire.
A long moment passed while they stared at each other. The temperature rose.
Then a blue-robed priest entered the room, breaking the spell. "The people are demanding entrance, my lord. They've brought many offerings--even more than usual."
Ares snorted, quickly pulling up the hood of his cloak. "I'm outta here...my lord. I'll see you in Corinth. And be prepared: victory makes me aggressive."
Iphicles' rough kiss left them both panting. "Me too, apparently," the king said, smiling. "Only twenty-four hours left, and the I'll fuck you, mortal. Learn some humanity in the meantime." In a theatrical flash of blue sparks, a trick Ares had taught him the day before, Iphicles disappeared.
"Learn some humanity?" the god mumbled, as he slipped out the back entrance. "Bite me, king." But his thoughts centered on Iphicles' forceful behavior in the candle-lit temple. Ares was tempted to lose just to see how aggressive his usually repressed lover would become. But he had too much at stake here. He'd show Iphicles that mortality was a piece of cake. Then he'd fuck him til he screamed his apology.
With a feral smile, Ares strode back to the front of the looming shrine. He stopped the driver of a passing wagon loaded with dates, asking for the way to Corinth.
"You're in luck--I'm heading that way right now. We'll be there by dawn, if you don't mind taking a turn driving the horses."
The god climbed up beside the old man. "My pleasure."
The pleasure, however, didn't last. Within a few hours, Ares' mortal ass throbbed from striking the wooden seat every time they bounced over a pothole, and his back ached from tedium of sitting for so long.
"I think I'll walk for a while," he told the driver, interrupting the man's endless blather about his recent encounter with thieves, and how he'd vanquished a whole gang single-handedly.
"Be careful," Pirious warned him, wagging a gnarled finger. "Remember my story. And stick to the road. " Reaching behind him, the old man grabbed a bunch of sweet dates, thrusting them into the god's hands. "Take these. You'll be hungry soon." At a click of his tongue, the team of horses galloped off, leaving the god at a dark stretch of highway just outside Megara.
Ares flexed his cramped muscles, dropping the dates in his pocket. Once through the city, he'd catch another ride.
As he trudged forward, painfully conscious of the tight boots squeezing his toes, Ares let his mind drift to his beautiful lover. His only lover. No one could compete with the king of Corinth--not for beauty, passion, leadership, goodness...
The final thought stopped him short. Mortality was making him soft. He half-hoped those thieves would show up--he needed to kick some ass.
Walking along the dusty road under the full moon, Ares fantasized about Iphicles, remembering their first meeting. He'd seen the king on the battlefield, leading his troops to victory over the Mycenaeans. Instead of taking him on the body-strewn plain, however, as he usually did, the god waited until the mortal came to him. For some reason, this capitulation mattered.
He didn't wait long. Iphicles, gore-smeared and ecstatic over his first royal triumph on the field of war, burst into Ares' temple, leaving a trail of blood on the marble floor from a wound to his thigh. Falling only briefly to his knees before the altar, the king demanded the god's presence.
Ares was aroused to a new level by Iphicles' arrogance and the smell of fresh blood. He appeared directly in front of the praying king, his arms circling the man's strong frame. The intensity of the king's response startled him, as did its purity. There was no fear, no adulation. Just lust.
He fucked Iphicles from the front, face to face, until their sweat pooled on the floor, until Iphicles' blood, always gushing from his thigh, smeared their bodies, until the mortal's semen coated his chest...
Ares, lost in his reverie, almost missed the greeting behind him. Turning, he saw a tall figure advancing purposefully. With a tight grip on his sword, the wargod prepared for combat. But as the man drew near, Ares recognized him. Shit.
"Good evening, stranger," Hercules said with a smile. Then, startled: "Ares? What in Tartarus are you doing here?"
"What does it look like I'm doing?" he snarled back. Ok, so it wasn't a great answer. But his prudish little prick of a brother didn't need to know about the god's sex-games with Iphicles. The king insisted that Ares keep his mouth shut, and he agreed. Herc would lecture them into the grave.
"I just meant that I didn't expect to see you dressed like that. You're not usually one for discretion," the demi-god noted with a trace of sarcasm.
"I was just scouting locations for a battle," Ares lied. "I don't want the Megarans to notice me; it wouldn't help the Athenians. Not that it's any of your fucking business."
Hercules sighed. "You don't have to get hostile, Ares. And don't try to provoke me into a fight; I'm heading into Megara for some sleep, then I'm meeting Iolaus. I don't have time to waste on your crap."
The god tried to hide his relief. Hercules could inflict some serious damage on his mortal body, and he didn't want to waste time recovering from injuries. He just wanted to get to Corinth, and let Iphicles suck him into oblivion. Was that too much to ask? But he vowed to pay Herc a visit when he resumed his godhood. That asshole needed to be taught a lesson in humility. He was a god, after all. "Neither do I, little brother. So get the fuck out of my way."
With an annoying little bow, Hercules let Ares pass. "Don't let me stop you. I wouldn't want to stand in the way of mass destruction."
The god paused, as the rage burned through him. Then, with an angry toss of his dark curls, he stormed into the forest. There was no fucking way he was walking into the town with that smarmy bastard. Besides, Herc would soon realize that his brother was in mortal form, and he didn't want to explain that. ‘Just a little game I'm playing with your brother, because I'm obsessed with him, Hercules. Nothing to get upset about. Just a little foreplay...' Right.
He could see nothing in the dark woods, and within seconds stubbed his toe on a large rock. "Fuck!" he cried. Daylong blowjob, daylong blowjob, daylong blowjob... Think of Iphicles standing before you. Think of prying that sweaty black leather from his strong thighs, peeling the vest from his chest so that he'd be naked before his tongue claimed your cock...
Pulling a date from his pocket, Ares comforted himself with the sweet fruit. How the fuck was he going to get out of here and on to Corinth? Maybe Iphicles was right. Maybe he did rely too much on his godhood. But fuck--was that so wrong? So maybe it made him impatient with the narrow conditions of mortality, and maybe he could be less of a bastard to the king. He didn't want to lose him, and sometimes he was...not scared, of course, but slightly concerned that one day Iphicles would tire of his impossible demands.
Discouraged, the god sat on a fallen tree he'd nearly tripped over. His cheek bled from a small cut inflicted by a hostile branch. His whole body ached, and the damp chill made him shiver. He wanted to be locked in Iphicles' arms, out of this hellish forest.
He needed to sleep. That would help. About to curl up in a self-pitying ball, Ares noticed a light in the distance. Perfect! He leapt to his feet, grimacing at the pain, and limped toward the beacon. In minutes, Ares could make out a fire. Four men sat around it, talking in low voices, as they shared pieces of the rabbit cooking on a makeshift spit.
The god's stomach rumbled noisily, as the aroma of roasting flesh reached his nose. About to approach them, Ares froze when he heard Iphicles' name. Ducking hastily behind a bush, he listened and watched.
The leader, a heavy-set man with thick, greasy blond hair under a blue cap, licked each of his greasy before he spoke. "Our contact will instruct the guards to let Janus and me in, saying that we're there to help with the food. Once inside the king's palace, we'll grab Iphicles as he leaves his room, and slit his throat. By next week, we'll have one dead king, and a thousand dinars."
Someone had hired a bunch of thugs to assassinate Iphicles. Just fucking great. Probably that slimy prick Diomedes, the king's captain of the guard. The god had never liked him. But did Iphicles ever listen? No. Too damn stubborn...
Ares considered his chances against these four. The men were all armed; the firelight caught the shiny blades hanging from leather belts. In his exhausted mortal state, the god could take maybe two of them...Not enough. And he had to act. Iphicles, immortal now, would be mortal soon enough, and Ares couldn't always be there to protect him.
Ares retreated from his hiding spot, carefully heading back in the general direction of the road. His growing desperation pushed his feet forward, and twice he fell, cutting his hand the second time. Ignoring the pain, sucking the sweet blood from the wound, the god hurried forward. In minutes he'd found the route into Megara, arriving there shortly.
Entering the first tavern he found, a crumbling, low-ceilinged building, Ares asked for directions to the town's least expensive inn. The barkeep stopped polishing the counter long enough to admit that he'd found it, but too late. A brawny stranger had taken the last room, a small one at the back. Without another word, the god tore up the steps to the left, and began banging furiously on the farthest door.
Seconds later, it creaked open, and Hercules looked out, his mouth dropping open at the sight of the bloody, dishevelled god. "Ares?? What in hell is going on?"
Pushing past his brother, Ares stepped into the sparsely-decorated room. "They're going to kill him," he gasped. "I need your help."
Hercules sat heavily on the narrow bed. "Is this another one of your tricks, Ares? Because I need some sleep; I'm too tired for your games."
"This isn't a fucking game, you moron," the war god hissed, grabbing Herc around the neck. "I need your fucking help. You're the hero, right? Who helps people in trouble? Well, there's trouble. So shut up and get your ass in gear."
"I'm not going anywhere unless you tell me what's going on." He pushed Ares back, and the god went flying, hitting the wall with a painful thud. He didn't get up. Concerned, Herc walked over to him. "Ares--what in Hades is going on?"
"I hate you, you know that? My fucking head..."
"You're mortal," Herc said in surprise.
"No shit, you idiot. But forget that: your brother's in trouble and you have to help him. Now!"
"What kind of trouble are you in?"
Ares let out a frustrated cry, rubbing the tender spot under his hair. "Not me, you half-wit! Your other brother! Iphicles!"
"You're desperate for me to help my brother Iphicles? This is all for him? The blood, the pleas, the panic?"
"Yes," Ares said abruptly. "It's all for him. Now will you help me?"
"I'll take the leader, and the other guy beside him. The big one in the dirty red cloak," Ares whispered.
"Maybe I should take those two," Hercules replied quietly. "You're mortal, Ares. You'd be safer fighting the smaller two. Just don't kill them, ok? We'll take them back to Megara when we've caught them, and let the authorities deal with this."
"Don't worry about me--just make sure you get your two, ok? And yeah--no murder. So we go on the count of three. One...two...three!"
With a shout, the wargod charged, his sword flashing. He tackled the leader, pinning him to the ground. "Who hired you?" he demanded. "Tell me, and I might let you live!"
"Fuck off!" the man responded, spitting at Ares, who slapped his face, then pressed the razor- sharp tip of his sword against the man's heart. "I'm not telling you anything!"
"Tell me who the fuck hired you. Now!" the god snarled. "Before I cut out your heart and feed it to you!"
The mortal, realizing the big man meant business, gave him his answer. "It's not worth dying for. Diomedes. Iphicles' captain of the guard."
At the words, Ares plunged his weapon into the man's heart, relishing the spray of blood as it struck his face. This little fuck would never plot against the king again...
He heard Hercules shout a warning, and threw himself to the ground just as the second man attacked. His knife missed its target, but sliced open the god's right shoulder. Searing pain shot through Ares' body, but he pulled himself up, facing his opponent, sword extended.
They circled each other warily before the man launched a kick at Ares' groin. Grabbing his foot, the god knocked him off balance, and as he fell, Ares slit his throat. Then he turned to the other two men. Hercules held each easily by the collar.
"Stop right there," the demi-god snapped. "Don't touch these two. You got your blood. I'll deal with them." He noticed the gaping wound on his brother's shoulder. "Ares, you'd better go to Megara and see someone about that. You're losing a lot of blood."
"I need to get to Corinth. He's waiting..." He sat down beside the fire, feeling lightheaded. The smell of the burning rabbit nearly gagged him now. "Mortality hurts. And Herc--whatever happens, I don't want Iphicles to know about this. Promise me that!"
"I can't do that, Ares."
At points, Ares was dimly aware of a soft mattress, a foul liquid forced between his lips.
Voices...His brother and Iolaus.
"...if you don't call him, he'll die..."
"...made me promise..."
"...I'll do it...hates me anyway..."
He wanted to stop him, the interfering little bastard, but his mouth wouldn't obey. Then the god felt a warm current shooting through his body. Divine and healthy again. Opening his eyes, he saw the amber gaze of the Corinthian king.
"You lost," Iphicles said with a smile, reaching out to caress the god's warm cheek.
Ares accepted a glass of wine before speaking. "Thieves," he croaked. "Could've happened to anyone."
"I know what you did," the king informed him, now stroking his lover's hair.. "Iolaus told me everything. Thank you."
"Iolaus has a big mouth."
"They thought you were going to die; they only wanted to help you. I'm glad they did, Ares. I love you."
Neither of them noticed Hercules and Iolaus discreetly leaving the room.
"You're not so bad," the god said with a grin. "Now let's go to my temple. I need a bath, and some more wine. Then I'm going to let you fuck me."
Iphicles, golden body covered in semen and sweat, his long legs wrapped around the god's hips, kissed his lover deeply. Thrusting into Ares' temporarily mortal ass, staring into those dark, passion-filled eyes, the king pulled away long enough to gasp out a question. "You never told me, Ares. What do you think of mortality?"
"Mostly, I hate it. The pain, weakness, heaviness, need..." He shuddered, then smiled. "But this part, Iphicles...This part is nice."