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This is... Romance? I Kinda Like It

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“Than…? There’s something that’s been… troubling me, as of late.” He’s been trying to decide whether or not he should even mention it for a little while now, and has come to the conclusion that he should broach the topic while Thanatos is still floating on the soft, pink haze of post-coital bliss if he wants to optimize his chances of actually receiving an answer—

And not, you know, embarrass Than to the point where he panics and leaves (and thus, answers his question in a rather roundabout way—and leaves him suffering from a rather severe case of blue balls until he calms down to the point where he feels comfortable showing his face in the House (and, more specifically, Zagreus’ bedchambers) again…).

Than is often nonverbal after their couplings. Zagreus chalks it up to spending eons without receiving much in the way of physical contact—all of this can, understandably, be a bit overwhelming for him at times, and silence has always been his preferred method of coping. But Zagreus has learned, with time, to make sense of Thanatos’ nonverbal cues, and he knows that the elder god is listening to him now. Now, all that is left is for him to find the necessary words…

He swirls his finger around Thanatos’ left nipple, thoughtful.

“Were you a… a virgin… when we first…?” He feels Than’s body tense beneath him, and hurries to amend, “Not that that’s a bad thing! I just… if you were, and I had known, I would have… well, I would have done some things differently, is all.”

Thanatos shifts a little in order to hide his face in the crook of Zagreus’ neck, but provides little else by way of answer.

“It’s okay, you know.” He’s rambling now, feeling a strange sort of desperation rising within him to fill the resounding silence. Than isn’t pulling away from him, but he’s not exactly relaxing either, and the last thing he wants is to make the other uncomfortable. “I… It actually makes me really happy, to be able to be your first.”

He can feel the way Than’s throat flexes when he swallows, can feel the warm mist of his breath on the side of his neck as he exhales around words he cannot quite bring himself to say. “…How did you know?”

Now is perhaps not the best time to mention his conversation with Nyx—the last thing that the poor god needs is to discover that his mother had outed his status as an eons-old virgin. Not that she’d said so in so many words, but… Zagreus was capable of reading between the lines. It hadn’t bothered him at the time (after all, it’d taken him quite a while to determine what it was that Nyx was trying to tell him, and then… well, it’s not like he could go back in time and change the past, even if he wanted to—and he didn’t), but now…

Now, he cannot help but worry about whether he’d… underperformed. No, not like that. He’s fairly certain that if Thanatos had any complaints about how well he pleases him in the bedroom, he’d say so. But… ugh, he swears that all of this made sense in his head before he’d tried to broach the subject with Than. He just happens to think that Thanatos deserved more for a first time than a quick romp in-between runs. If he’d known, he would have at least made Than stick around for a kiss and a cuddle. Post-coital fluff wasn’t something they always had time for, but he knew Than absolutely luxuriated in it.

He’d never admit it, but the centuries of dealing with mortals who lived in fear of his very presence had left him more than a bit touch-starved. And Zagreus was determined to make up for all the time that they’d wasted dancing around their feelings for one another (in tiny increments, of course—he couldn’t reasonably expect Than to be okay with prolonged displays of affection after going so long without).

Ah, but he’s getting ahead of himself. And Than is getting more and more anxious, the longer it is taking him to respond.

“Didn’t I tell you that it was nothing to be ashamed of?” He asks, poking the tip of Than’s nose with his forefinger. Than’s entire face wrinkles in displeasure, which is a considerable improvement from the near-despondent look he’d been wearing earlier.

Thanatos still seems to be struggling for his words, so Zagreus leaves it at that for now—allows the other god a moment to wrestle with his thoughts, his fingers working their way through Than’s short, silver-white hair. “T-Then… what is it that’s troubling you?” Ah, so his choice of wording had been poor.

He considers the question for a moment, before offering, “I just… think that you deserved better, is all.”

“Than you?” Thanatos’ earnest confusion is visible on his face and audible in his tone, and it warms Zagreus’ heart.

“I mean… I think that you deserve the world, Than. And if there’s someone out there that can be more for you than I can, well…” Thanatos looks ready to object. Zagreus soothes the worry lines between his brow with the pad of his forefinger, “But rest assured that I have no intention of giving you up anytime soon, my love.”

“Then what do you…?” The god of death meets his eyes, and Zagreus finds himself utterly captivated by the soft golden hue that’s tinged his cheeks. “I don’t understand, Zag.”

Zagreus presses a kiss to his cool skin, “I should’ve waited. If I’d known, I could’ve made arrangements with the House Contractor to woo you properly. Candles, chrysanthemum petals, romantic music—,” Thanatos is staring at him as if he’d suddenly sprouted a second head.

“I’m not some blushing maid, Zagreus. You don’t need to… to wine and dine me in order to get me into your bed.”

“Of course not. But you are blushing.”

He can tell that he is treading a fine line, here. Thanatos has started to squirm, the blush on his cheeks becoming more and more pronounced the more they speak of what they’d done—and what they’d been doing for the last several weeks. If he pushes too hard, there’s a chance that Than will teleport off without meaning to (and the blatant loss of control over his powers will only add to his budding mortification). That being said, Zagreus is attempting to be earnest, here. This has been bothering him ever since his conversation with Nyx, and though he’s often meant to bring it up, he’s never been able to summon the words (or never wanted to waste the time—time with Thanatos is, after all, a precious commodity, far rarer than the contraband he stumbles across on his runs…).

It’s not like he bent Than double over the nearest surface and had his way with him. In fact, Than had not bottomed once in their various couplings—the closest he’d come as when he’d fallen apart on Zagreus’ tongue, after the prince had offered him a rimjob by way of apology for not consulting him before taking it upon himself to lighten Sisyphus’ sentence. Thanatos had still been furious, but he’d been a so thoroughly wrecked by his orgasm that he hadn’t even cared. He’d passed out in a puddle of his own cum on sweat-damp sheets, only to wake up a short while later to the feel of a warm washcloth wiping the mostly-dried cum from his belly.

No, that time, and all the times they’d found themselves in a tangled mess of limbs on his bed, on the floor, on the settee, on his desk… err, all the times they’d found themselves together thereafter, it was always Thanatos fucking into him as if his very life depended on it.

If there is one thing that he knows for sure, it is that Thanatos most certainly does not fuck like a virgin. He has the stamina and endurance of a fucking bull (and he’s hung like one, too—Zagreus never would’ve guessed what the elder god was packing in those little black tights of his, gods).

It’s always amazing. He has no doubt that it will always be amazing. But…

Look, he just wants to be romantic, okay? Is that too much to ask for?

“Look, we… we don’t have to make this into a big thing. But I… something tells me that this is something that you’ll like. And if I am your first, well, then… it falls on me to show you that sex can be so much more than just, well… fucking. Not that I’m not very much enjoying the fucking!” He hurries to add.

Than seems to consider this for a moment, before asking in an almost hesitant voice, “This is something that… lovers do?”

Zagreus cannot help but smile at the term, “Some, but not all. Different things work for different couples. But I’d like the chance to explore this with you, to see if it works for us.” He reaches out to take Than’s hand, “Will you allow me a re-do, Than? Will you allow me the chance to take you properly?”

“I…” Zagreus is forcing eye contact now, and Thanatos forgets how to breathe. It’s lucky that he does not, in fact, need to breathe in order to survive, or else they would be facing a serious problem—“I s-suppose we could try it…”

Zagreus’ answering smile is as blindingly bright as Helios’ chariot, “You won’t be disappointed, I promise you that.”

“I so rarely am, when it comes to you.” Thanatos, thankfully, seems to have calmed down a bit. At least, he doesn’t look ready to flee the bed at a moment’s notice anymore. “But, Zag… You really don’t owe me anything.”

He wants to tell him that he’s wrong—that he very clearly deserves the world, and all the best it has to offer, and he’s made it his personal mission to ensure that he receives it. Instead, he tucks a stray hair behind Than’s ear and murmurs, “I love you, you know.”

Thanatos splutters, before settling into a glare so fierce it could freeze the River Phlegethon. “I see that you’re playing dirty tonight.”

Zagreus shrugs, “I play to win.”

He doesn’t think that he’s ever been so excited for when he’ll next see Than, while the god himself was still seated in front of him, looking petulant (can death look petulant?—he wishes that he had any sort of skill with pen and parchment (that didn’t involve knocking over the pot of ink and making a horrific mess of absolutely everything that he touched) so that he might sketch out the face that Than is making right now). He’s already plotting out how their next visit will go, making arrangements in his head to have everything prepared ahead of time so that not a single, precious moment went to waste. He wonders if he’ll have time to sneak up to Elysium to procure a bottle of ambrosia. Taking on the former King of Athens is the last thing he wants to think about when Than’s long, slender fingers are curled around his dick and—

Wait, what?

He comes back to his senses in time to see Than looming over him, a dangerous glint in his eyes, “It would seem as if you got a bit distracted there, Zagreus.” Than drags his tongue over his full, bottom lip, “Allow me to provide you a refresher as to where you are, and who you’re doing.”

Zagreus swallows hard, his head moving up and down in a few jerky nods. “A-Ah, fuck…”

Zagreus looks around his room one last time, ensuring that everything is in place.

He’d, err… commandeered the music stand from the Great Hall, and after what felt like an eternity’s worth of deliberation, had selected a soft, bittersweet love ballad. For a tremendous number of gemstones, the House Contractor had been able to procure white chrysanthemums, which he’d scattered over the floor in a wobbly sort of path to the bed and the mattress. The few precious gemstones he had leftover had been used to purchase incense. While there was quite a bit of incense lurking around the House (there always seemed to be some burning in the lounge), Zagreus had gone to great lengths to discover the scent that worshipers burned at Thanatos’ altars. There was a small variety, but it seemed that the most popular were cedar and sandalwood. Luckily for him, the scents were complimentary.

There’s a bottle of ambrosia, as well as two bottles of nectar, sitting on the bedside table. He’s just about to pull the cork out of one of the bottles when he hears the familiar toll of a bell and, out of the corner of his eye, catches the flash of pale green light that heralds the arrival of the god of the dead. Once than fully materializes, he jumps a little, likely not having expected to run into Zagreus so soon—when they’d last crossed paths in Elysium, Zagreus had been in fairly decent health, and had had decent prospects for reaching the surface. But now—

“Ah, Than!” Zagreus flashes him a small smile, “You’re early. Come—sit, sit.” Than is tempted to inform him that he is technically on time; Zagreus is the one that is early. But that requires him to dwell on how exactly Zagreus had managed to return to the House before him, and… “What’s with that dour look on your face, hmm?”

Thanatos shakes his head, “It’s… nothing.” He allows Zagreus to push him down onto the bed, his hood tumbling down onto his shoulders as he flops down onto his back, “What is all this?”

“Romance!” The prince chimes happily.

The elder god blinks up at him dumbly, “Ro…mance?” He repeats, sounding as though he has a mouthful of cotton. Zagreus giggles as he flops down onto the bed beside him and sends a torrent of white flower petals into the air.

“Chrysanthemums?” He knows of the flower. He’s seen them a couple times, when he’s been to the surface. The mortals believe that they’re—

“Death flowers.” Zagreus finishes his thought, his tone far too cheery for the context of their conversation. “I thought it fitting.”

Fitting indeed. He barely has time to contemplate how Zagreus intends to clean all of this up once the ‘romance’ has finished (though some distant part of him knows that he probably won’t bother, and he’ll come back to the House weeks—or even months—from now to hear Lord Hades bitching about the state of his bedchambers) before Zagreus is pressing a spoon to his lips. He instinctively opens his mouth, recognizing the taste of ambrosia (even if every bottle is supposed to taste different, there’re enough similarities for him to recognize what it is that’s dribbling onto his tongue without having to see the bottle). Had Zagreus procured a bottle, just for this? He cannot help but feel like it’s a waste—the prince lavishes such gifts on him freely, too freely, when there are others that’re clearly more deserving.

“What does it taste like?” Zagreus asks, as he draws the spoon back out from between Thanatos’ lips. Thanatos opens his mouth to respond, only to have them sealed shut again by Zagreus’ own, the prince’s hot tongue sliding into his mouth to steal a taste of the juices… “Mmm… fruity.”

“Are we…?” Thanatos’ eyes flutter. His chest feels tight, not only because Zagreus is leaning against it to prepare him another spoonful. “Z-Zagreus, what’re you—,” He jumps a little when some of the ambrosia sloshes over the side of the spoon to dribble on his bare skin.

“Whoops,” Zagreus sounds anything but repentant as he spills even more ambrosia on Thanatos’ skin. “Looks like I made a little bit of a mess, hmm? Whatever will we do about that?”

The corners of Than’s mouth tug downward in a frown, “That’s… unbelievably wasteful. This… This is the drink of the gods—,”

“Mhmm,” Zagreus concedes this fact easily enough, “And I’m using it to exalt a god right now.”

He swoops down to lick a wet strip over Thanatos’ bare pectoral, lapping up all of the ambrosia that he’d spilled just a moment earlier. Than hisses, his entire body tensing as he arches up into the heat of Zagreus’ tongue. It sears into his frigid skin, leaving sweltering red marks behind. It never ceases to amaze him how the slightest touch from Zagreus makes him feel like he’s melting, fills him with an incredible heat, the likes of which he’s never felt before. When Zagreus pulls away, Than’s skin is tacky with spit and the last remnants of the drink—he teases a finger over his nipple, blowing cool air over the moist, pebbled flesh just to watch him squirm.

He pulls aside Thanatos’ chiton, rolls it down so that his entire chest is bared to him. Then, he takes his spoon and drizzles ambrosia all over his bare skin. Thanatos watches as the yellowish-orange liquid pools in the divot between his pecs, trickling down, down, down to fill in the small well of his belly button… It rolls off of him, trickling down his sides to stain the bedsheets, and the petals scattered overtop of them, in colors like the sunset he has never quite managed to adjust his eyes to the sight of.

“This… is romance?” He sounds confused, but not at all displeased, by this turn of events. “It feels…”

“Good, I hope?” Thanatos hums in something like agreement. It melts into the most glorious moan he’s ever heard when Zagreus takes his tongue and traces the outline of his abdominal muscles, dips his tongue into the well of his belly button. “This ambrosia is absolutely divine… but I think it tastes even better lapping it up off of your skin—,”

Hgn…” once Zagreus deems him sufficiently clean, he takes the bottle again, tips it back to messily take the last of it on his tongue. Then, he brings their mouths together in a surprisingly gentle kiss, liquid dribbling down their chins as it transfers between their mouths. “G-Good doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

He removes Than’s chiton entirely, before rolling down his tights just far enough to gain access to his cock. “Mmm… it seems as though I was a bit too liberal in my use of the ambrosia. Oh well,” he reaches for one of the bottles of nectar, “this is why we always come prepared, no?”

“What are you…?” Than cuts off abruptly as Zagreus upends the entire bottle of nectar onto his groin, turning his manhood, the crease between his thighs, and the bed into a sweetly sticky mess. “Z-Zagreus!”

“Shh… just let me work.”

Zagreus laps at the tiny pool of nectar between his thighs, before making his way upward to lick a strip along the underside of Than’s cock. The idea of having Than’s thick hardness in his mouth never ceases to make his mouth water… but there’s something about the addition of the nectar that has his eyes rolling back into his head. He moans, loving the way that Than’s body tenses and writhes beneath him as the vibrations cut straight through his cock. The god of death looks so pretty like this, hair disheveled and cheeks flushed, his bronze skin slick with ambrosia and nectar and spit, sprawled out on a bed of some of the most beautiful flowers that Zagreus had ever seen.

He feels like his head his full of cotton. Nectar doesn’t usually have this effect on him—but he always feels a bit love drunk in Thanatos’ presence, and he thinks that the combined effect of the nectar, the ambrosia, and Thanatos has him a little high. He takes him as deep as he possibly can, nestling his nose in the coarse, silver-white curls resting atop his cock. Than groans, his fingers knotting in Zagreus’ hair. He tugs, ever so slightly, but is careful to keep from pushing his head further down—

He watches for Than’s nonverbal cues—feels the way that his fingers tighten in his hair, his belly goes taut, and something close to Zagreus’ name ekes out from in-between tightly-pressed lips—and pulls off seconds before he can cum. Thanatos curses underneath his breath, frustration in his eyes until he sees that Zagreus is peeling off his tights.

He catches the slight sheen of oil on the sweet little furl between his legs, and forgets how to breathe.

“We are going to try something very ineloquently named cuddlefucking. I think that you’ll like it,” he climbs up onto Than’s lap and sinks down onto his cock, nice and slow. “A-Ah, fuck, Than… that’s the stuff, gods…”

“Isn’t this… shouldn’t we have cleaned up before y-you…?” Isn’t that sweet, that he’s concerned about Zagreus’ comfort, even now? And while it’s true that he’ll probably regret not wiping the rest of the nectar off of Thanatos’ cock before sinking down onto his heat… he just couldn’t wait.

“Probably, but…” he lays himself down on Thanatos’ chest, feels Thanatos’ arms snake around his torso and cuddle him close. “Ohh, that’s nice. Isn’t that nice?”

He feels Than swallow hard, “Y-Yeah, it’s nice…”

They can’t move very fast, not in this position, but that’s okay. Zagreus is rolling his hips in a slow, steady rhythm, his cock trapped in-between their stomachs. It feels so, so good to be held by Thanatos like this—to be holding Thanatos like this. It’s not the same as when they’d fucked the first time; it’s not the hard and fast type fuck that’ll break the bed, not the type of fuck that’ll keep him from walking tomorrow. But he feels… warm. Like… the heat from the River Phlegethon is building up inside of him, spreading from Thanatos’ hands. He starts to move a little bit faster, fingers digging into Thanatos’ icy skin. Thanatos is shuddering, his face buried in the crook of Zagreus’ neck as he rocks against him, matching the pace of his movements—

“C’mon, Than… let go for me…” Than had already been so very close to the brink. All he needs is Zagreus’ permission, offered in a gentle whisper against the side of his neck, and he’s spilling inside of him, filling him with a warm, sticky heat—

Mmph…” he feels Zagreus tense in his arms, before he cums between their stomachs.

They don’t move for a long time. He can’t remember the last time he had the chance to hold Zagreus like this, and he intends to take full advantage of the opportunity. After a moment, Zagreus presses a kiss to his cheek and cuddles up closer to his chest. He doesn’t speak, simply lays together with Than, his softening cock still tucked away inside of him, feeling so very safe and content…

“Romance is… nice.” He says, after a long stretch of silence. Zagreus chuckles, pressing a soft kiss to Thanatos’ nearest pec.

Romance is nice, indeed.