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It’s cold in the House of Hades. The air bears a hint of iron from the River Styx, blood and water ever flowing, reaching out with greedy, ethereal hands. There’s no escaping the scent. It saturates every surface.

Most denizens of the House don’t notice. It’s part of their surroundings, as natural as the cool chill of stone, the snores from his brother Hypnos, the deep growl of Lord Hades’s voice. Thanatos only became aware of the smell himself after he began spending more time out of the House while attending to his duties than within its dreary walls.

The scent isn’t the only feature he’d grown accustomed to. In the mortal realm, the brilliance of Helios’s chariot pains eyes made sensitive by dim torchlight. Thanatos shies away from the glare whenever he travels to collect souls during the daylight hours, ducking farther beneath the limited protection of his hood. It’s little more than animalistic instinct, the urge to burrow back into a familiar den after an eternity spent amid the gloom.

But oh, Thanatos can imagine the feel of that faraway light, if only Lady Demeter would lift her curse of perpetual winter. The delicious, penetrating heat would drift over his exposed skin like a lick of flame, warming him from the outside in. Nothing else would compare. Of that he’s certain.

Except, perhaps, one.

Thanatos shivers, just managing to resist the urge to chafe at his bare arms. He’s always cold, whether here on the balcony in the west hall or in Elysium or on the surface, or even during his infrequent visits to the magma-flooded hellscape of Asphodel. The chill is inescapable because it lingers within, because it’s not so much physical as it is a lonely, indefinable ache in his core.

Yearning keeps his fingers and feet the temperature of Lady Demeter’s snow.

From what he’s seen, from what he’s heard, he’d always assumed desire would be molten hot, that it would ignite like a torch in his belly, an all-consuming need, inflaming him.

Instead he feels as if he’s under a gorgon’s gaze, slowly turning to bitter stone.

Thanatos thinks of Zagreus when he feels his coldest. The prince who blazes as bright as the sun, who Thanatos secretly longs to touch. 

The last time they spoke, Zagreus suggested they could take their time. A commodity they had in good supply. “If you feel the way I do,” he said, “you know where to find me.”

Thanatos does know. He always knows. He feels the path of Zagreus’s movements like the breath in his lungs, like the string of a lyre being plucked.

Zagreus is blood and life, vibrancy and fire, blistering heat that scorches down to the very marrow in his bones.

Thanatos wonders what it’s like to burn.

 


 

When next he senses the prince’s death, Thanatos finishes his current task and goes to wait for Zagreus in his chambers.

After days and nights of contemplation—of agonizing, if he’s being completely honest with himself—he’s finally determined his next step. 

Where’s the sense in tormenting himself with fantasies of what it might be like to melt under Zagreus’s fire? It’s time to take his courage in hand. The hour, some might say, is long overdue.

Of course, his determination doesn’t mean it’s easy once he’s made the decision. 

If he were the type to pace or fidget, the churning anxiety in his stomach would have him flitting to every corner of the messy room.

That is not, however, his way. Instead, Thanatos stands unmoving near the foot of Zagreus’s bed, until eventually, he hears Hypnos’s voice, sarcastic and teasing as he greets their tenacious prince with another quip about his most recent demise.

Only moments later, Zagreus enters his quarters, clothes still damp from the Pool and steaming lightly from his body heat. His head is bowed and his shoulders slumped—bent by the weight of his disappointment with whatever went awry during his latest escape attempt, no doubt. He spots Thanatos almost immediately, though, and his posture straightens, any signs of discouragement or frustration vanishing in an instant. 

“Thanatos!” Zagreus breaks out into a grin. “You’re here! It’s really good to see you.”

Thanatos wants to go to him, to return the smile. He stays where he is, for now. “Zagreus. You said we ought to take our time. Just tell me one thing. Did you really mean it?”

“Yes.” Zagreus steps closer. “I don’t want to push you, Than. I need you to know this isn’t some impulsive thing for me. I’ll wait for you however long it takes.”

Thanatos scoffs. For all the times Zagreus has failed to check his reckless impulses, of course it would be now, when Thanatos most wants him to simply act, that he hesitates. “You say you’ll wait, well, let me ask you this: what are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? I’m here, already. Right?”

Zagreus’s lips part. Thanatos can see his tongue, fiery red and yellow like his feet.

Not for the first time, Thanatos wonders if any other part of him shares the trait.

“Right.” Zagreus’s mouth curves, and he moves even closer, crowding into his space. 

Thanatos’s shoulders go rigid, but he quashes the instinct to shift away. This is what he wants, why he’s here. He’s not usually so brazen—the urge to flee, to hide is nearly unbearable in the wake of this uncharacteristic boldness—but he’s tired of being cold. Of pining and hoping and putting everyone else’s needs ahead of his own. He has the responsibilities of his station, of his birthright, and he’s taken them on with pride, with the conscientiousness and solemnity as befits the role.

But, oh, can’t he have something, just one thing, for himself, too?

“If you’re done waiting, so am I,” Zagreus says. 

He reaches for Thanatos with warm hands, and Thanatos shudders beneath his touch, his skin pebbling when they make contact. It very nearly aches after aeons spent without.

Residents of the Underworld aren’t known for being physically demonstrative. It isn't the done thing. Friendly embraces, claps of shoulder or ruffles of hair, kisses on cheeks or brows or mouths—the myriad ways Thanatos has witnessed mortals expressing their affection throughout his long existence—simply don’t exist in the realm of the dead. 

There are couplings, to be sure. Thanatos knows Zagreus once shared some sort of understanding with Megaera, though he’s unsure how or why it ended. But sex, lust, those are entirely separate from touching solely to express fondness. He’s only ever seen Zagreus behave so casually with Cerberus, and at the time he suffered a confusing, embarrassing rush of jealousy and longing. Envy, for Zagreus to touch him, to pet his hair and stroke his face and speak to him with the same care and warmth. He’d wished, for just a moment, to switch places with the Hound of Hell.

Just as he’d wished, later, to destroy something as thoroughly as Cerberus had ravaged the lounge when he learned of Zagreus’s departure.

But that was then. Now, he’s learning what it is to have Zagreus’s hands on him, and from this alone, he’s already trembling.

“I’m done,” Thanatos tells him. “I don’t want to wait any longer. Warm me up, Zag.”

Zagreus’s low chuckle kindles fire in his blood. “Happy to.” He cradles Thanatos’s face in his broad palms, callused from years of training, and more recently, his escape attempts with a host of new weapons, and draws him down until, with the slowness of ages, the softness of the most exquisite, fine-woven wool, their lips finally meet.

Thanatos has never kissed another soul. Surely, the lack of experience must be obvious to Zagreus. Thanatos is clumsy, uncertain of the pressure, of where to rest his hands, but Zagreus is gentle with him here, coaxing and slow, feathery brushes at first, almost teasing, gradually building in urgency to give Thanatos a chance to gain confidence. And his tongue, when Thanatos opens to welcome him inside, is both as hot as Thanatos anticipated and yet nothing like he expected.

The sensation pulls a jagged moan from Thanatos’s chest. Not from pain—it doesn’t hurt—but from the blaze of desire that sears through him like cinders, combining with his cooler body temperature to create a lovely, addictive heat, a warmth he wants to revel in, drown in, worship

Zagreus withdraws then and grins up at him with a wet, swollen mouth. “Let’s get you undressed, shall we?”

It’s a matter of minutes to get them both stripped bare, and Thanatos receives an answer to the question he’s been pondering.

Zagreus’s half-hard cock glows duller than his tongue and feet, but it appears to burn similarly all the same.

Fascinated, Thanatos reaches out a hand. “May I?” he asks, whisper quiet. “Will it hurt?”

“No part of me will hurt you, I promise. You may touch me wherever you like, love.” Zagreus has a brash smirk in place, but he quivers and puffs out a startled little breath when Thanatos hesitantly rests his fingertips against the firmly defined ridges of his abdomen. His stomach tenses as Thanatos traces the grooves bisecting the muscles, circles the shallow indent of Zagreus’s navel, explores the sensitive crease between pelvis and hip. “Than.”

“I…” Thanatos pauses, just touching the base of Zagreus’s cock, where the skin is deep crimson. “I have to confess something.”

Zagreus’s chest heaves. His fists clench tight at his sides; his spine goes taut as a bowstring. “What is it? You can tell me anything.”

“I’ve never done this before.” Thanatos bites his lip, staring while he takes Zagreus in hand, squeezes a bit to feel the hot throb of the shaft. “Never with anyone else, I mean.”

“You…” Zagreus hisses sharply when Thanatos drags his thumb across the reddish-gold head, catches the foreskin and tugs, just a little, the way he likes to play with his own. “You’re doing fine, I’d say. Better than fine.”

Thanatos uses his cock to pull him closer, and Zagreus shuffles near with a low moan. The plump crown brushes Thanatos’s thigh, smearing a bead of warm, slick precome. 

“I’ve wondered about this,” Thanatos says. Another confession. “If you were the same here as your feet, your tongue. And if you were, how you managed to wear any clothes at all.”

“Ahh.” Zagreus shivers when Thanatos strokes him slowly, from base to tip. “It’s… It’s not—yes, yes, like that, Than.”

“It’s not what?” Thanatos asks, speeding up the motion of his hand. 

“It’s, hah, it’s… it’s not always. Like this, I mean. It’s not the same, not as hot as my feet. Only happens when I’m—” He swallows audibly, the knot in his throat bobbing. Thanatos dips his head to swipe his tongue across that bump, tastes the sensitive skin as it shifts under his attention. Zagreus moans, chin tipping back. “Aroused. When I’m hard. The extra blood, maybe, I’m not… not sure. It’s caused issues, now and again. Let’s just say my leggings are made to be a little flame resistant, like… like the rest of me.” He laughs, breathless, then chokes on a cry when Thanatos tightens his grip. “Than, I can’t—I can’t think when you—”

Zagreus clutches at his hip, blunt nails digging in, and Thanatos, who’d forgotten his lack of clothing in the face of Zagreus’s bare skin and fascinating cock, abruptly remembers his own nudity. He doesn’t have time to be self-conscious before Zagreus urges him back toward the bed.

“Let me touch you, too.” Zagreus leans up to kiss him again. “Let me show you how good it can feel to have someone else’s hands on you.”

Yes. Yes. That’s what he wants. That’s it exactly.

“Please,” Thanatos says, voice muffled by Zagreus’s lips. “Show me, please.”

“Gladly.”

Thanatos is hefted into sturdy arms and tossed onto the bed without any further warning, his startled yelp and undignified bounce bringing a flush to his cheeks. “Zag!”

The Prince of the Underworld may be shorter than Thanatos—shorter than most of the other inhabitants of the realm, save for a few—but he’s stronger than he looks. He’s also laughing, grinning, rakish and wide, when he crawls over Thanatos.

Thanatos seizes him by the back of the neck, drags his face close to growl, “Don’t toss me about like one of the wretches you fight on your way to the surface, Zagreus.”

His prince chuckles and smacks a loud kiss on his chin. “Are you sure, Than? You might like it.”

Thanatos sputters out the start of a protest, but the sound is cut off by Zagreus’s mouth against his. By the time he draws back for air and nuzzles their noses together, Thanatos has entirely forgotten what he was upset about. Zagreus really is more adorable than he has any right to be, so affectionate and earnest, both when he was handing Thanatos all those bottles of nectar and ambrosia, and now, here, on the soft, mussed blankets of his bed.

Thanatos drags his hands from Zagreus’s shoulders to his waist, enjoying the shift of muscle beneath his palms. “No more waiting, Zag.”

Zagreus nods, his playful expression fading into something infinitely tender. “No more waiting,” he repeats. “I’m glad you’re here, Than. You belong here, with me.”

Thanatos arches his back, bold again, brave in this intimate space they’ve created—Zagreus’s skin on his, Zagreus braced above him, sheltering him from the rest of the world. “Show me, then. Warm me. I…” He slants his gaze to the side. This part he can’t say with that mismatched stare intent on his. “I’ve been so cold without you. I… It aches. Every day.”

Zagreus grabs his chin, urging Thanatos to meet his eyes.

He allows it. How can he not? And what he sees in Zagreus’s expression sends heat sizzling down his spine to pool in his pelvis, sultry and sweet.

“What do you want?” Zagreus asks.

Thanatos spreads his thighs, letting Zagreus settle closer, feeling that cock like a firebrand against his own. Hot, so very hot. Enough he’s already beginning to sweat. Thanatos shakes and hooks his calves over the backs of Zagreus’s legs to press their bodies more tightly together. “What can I have?”

“All of me,” Zagreus answers without hesitation. His thumb traces the curve of Thanatos’s lower lip as he moves his hand to cup his cheek. “Everything.”

“Then that’s what I want.”

Zagreus starts by kissing him again, slowly, but deeper, harder than the first time, his hand a firm pressure on Thanatos’s nape.

In the past, he’d wondered, vaguely, about the appeal of kissing. He’d witnessed the act, and it struck him as rather crude, sloppy, two people inelegantly mashing their mouths together as if they wished to eat each other’s faces. Now, he understands. Messy it may be, and perhaps it is a bit crude, the swapping of spit and the thrusting of tongues, but it feels so good

There’s finesse to it, too—or perhaps it’s just Zagreus who possesses the skill to make it seem so. Whichever the case, long minutes are lost to slick, lovely heat, to sharp little nips that leave behind a pleasant sting, to intimacy, closeness. And best of all, Zagreus’s taste consuming his senses.

His thoughts go a bit hazy as Zagreus lazily grinds against him, as those warm, rough hands wander down his flanks and along the rungs of his rib cage. Zagreus’s fingers alight on his sensitive nipples and toy with them, pinching the buds until Thanatos surprises them both with a plaintive whine.

Zagreus soothes him by scattering light kisses along the column of his throat. “Than, if at any time you need me to stop, just say, all right? No matter what we’re doing.”

Thanatos has to swallow twice before he can summon his voice to answer. “All right.”

Zagreus continues his path downward. He drops a nuzzling kiss onto Thanatos’s breastbone, cups his pectorals and massages gently, exploring Thanatos’s bare chest with a firm, confident touch that soon reduces him to a quaking, whimpering mess.

It’s startling, how quickly, how easily he’s overcome.

Thanatos has rarely been touched by anyone else—in fact, he can’t remember a time since he reached his majority—and never like this, never with the intent to bring him pleasure, never to let him feel and offer his own tentative touches in return, his fingertips digging into powerful shoulders as Zagreus works his way lower and lower still.

He lingers over the muscled expanse of Thanatos's belly, peppering kisses and sucking up small, biting bruises on his path to the patch of silver hair at the base of Thanatos’s cock. A puff of warm breath fans across the tight skin, making the hard length twitch. 

Thanatos’s legs tremble. His hips jerk instinctively, a desperate bid for friction, contact, but Zagreus holds them down with an iron grip.

His burning-bright tongue looks positively obscene against Thanatos’s ashen complexion when Zagreus swipes a long lick along the underside of the shaft. He draws the foreskin down to tease along the ridge, to nip ever-so-gently at the hypersensitive spot just beneath the head.

A shiver builds in Thanatos’s thighs when Zagreus dips into the slit, lapping up his precome and moaning as if he enjoys the flavor. It evolves into a full-out shudder as the tip of his cock disappears into Zagreus’s hot, wet mouth.

Almost immediately Thanatos is overwhelmed, lips parted on a gasp, rough breaths escaping as his brain shuts down.

When Zagreus starts to suck, a rough, keening cry tears from his throat. The noise sounds so much like pain Zagreus’s gaze instantly finds his, his brow creased in concern. He starts to pull off, but Thanatos shakes his head, buries fingers in the disarrayed locks of Zagreus’s hair, accidentally knocking a few leaves from his pretty, flame-colored laurels. They land on Thanatos’s pelvis, emitting tiny sparks.

“Stay,” Thanatos pants. “Stay, please. It feels—it’s just—”

He doesn’t have to finish. Zagreus hums in understanding. The vibration makes Thanatos groan. His fingers spasm in Zagreus’s hair, setting loose another flutter of small, fiery leaves to drift across his exposed inner thighs.

Zagreus eases lower, takes him a bit deeper. Thanatos rocks his hips, gingerly, delicately as a drop of morning dew trickling over flower petals. He craves more of the wet warmth, more slick suction, but he doesn’t want it to be over either. Not yet. The icy core inside of him has only just begun to thaw, a slow, steady melt arising from the power of Zagreus’s proximity; his attentiveness, his care, his brilliant, mesmerizing heat.

Lust enshrouds him. Pleasure flows from Thanatos’s pelvis, to his chest, up his neck. Deep, delicious tension builds in his muscles, gathers beneath his skin. Each passing second he grows hotter, invigorated, brought to life by Zagreus’s hands and mouth and tongue. It’s addictive, this feeling. How has he lived without it? How will he endure their time apart now that he’s partaken of this bliss, now that he’s learning what it means to truly be warm? 

“More,” he moans, and Zagreus moves faster, slides farther down his cock. “No, no—” Thanatos claws at his shoulders. “Zag. Stop.”

True to his word, Zagreus pulls away instantly. His mismatched eyes dart up to study Thanatos’s face. A pink flush stains his cheeks, and his lips are swollen from their kisses and his attentions to Thanatos’s cock. He looks as debauched and desperate as Thanatos feels, and still, he expresses no frustration at being told to stop. Only worry for Thanatos. “I’m so sorry, Than. When you said more, I thought—”

“No, you misunderstand.” Thanatos tugs at him until Zagreus is braced above him once again. “I do want more, but not that. I want you to…” He inhales, deliberate, measured. Exhales a tremulous sigh. Finds the courage, finally, to hold Zagreus’s gaze without a hand on his chin to bolster him. “I want to know how it feels to have you inside me.”

The change in Zagreus is immediate. Concern smooths from his brow, and he offers Thanatos a delighted grin, so eager, so hungry. At this moment, he’s more handsome than ever.

Thanatos’s body responds as if he’s already in tune with Zagreus’s every want or need. His cock, still wet from Zagreus’s mouth, jerks and drips onto his taut belly. A shiver courses down his spine, trailing fire. He wraps his arms around Zagreus’s waist, tries to pull him closer. 

“Zag,” he murmurs, barely recognizing his own voice for the pleading it contains. “Zagreus, please. Don’t make me wait.”

“No need to beg, love. I’ll take care of you. I promise.” Zagreus kisses him, and by now his taste is familiar enough Thanatos recognizes the slight difference underneath. A hint of himself on Zagreus’s tongue.

Thanatos groans and deepens their connection, his hands pressing down on the small of Zagreus’s back as he arches up. He’s shaking already, gripping Zagreus with fierce, greedy fingers. Frantic noises catch in his throat, stifling anything else he might try to say. He can scarcely focus from the force of his desire, his thoughts lost to wildfire.

Zagreus, as if sensing this, gentles the kiss, eases it into something slow and sensual, blunting the frenzied edge. 

With the way he tears through his Lord Father’s realm, smashing urns and leaving casual destruction in his wake, Thanatos had never expected delicacy from him. Care, yes, but not such… mindfulness, tenderness.

And yet, it also fits what he knows of Zagreus, who at heart is quite possibly the most thoughtful, compassionate man or god Thanatos has ever known.  

“It’s okay,” Zagreus whispers when he draws back. Thanatos tries to shake his head, but Zagreus shushes him softly. “It is. I’m going to move away, just for a second.”

Thanatos doesn’t want to let him go, but he relents when Zagreus gives him another quick kiss, a promise he won’t go far.

Zagreus digs around the shelf above his bed, and after a second, he returns, grinning as he brandishes a stoppered bottle. “We wouldn’t have gotten much farther without this,” he says as he pulls out the stopper and pours a small puddle of the golden fluid into his palm. Some type of oil, Thanatos assumes. “This will make it easier. I won’t hurt you, Than.”

Thanatos swallows thickly; a flush warms his cheeks. He may not be experienced, but he’s been on the surface enough to occasionally stumble across both coupling animals and mortals alike. He’s not entirely ignorant of what needs to be done. “I know you won’t. I trust you.” 

Zagreus smiles again, but this time it’s soft, sweet. He sets the bottle aside and kneels between Thanatos’s legs. 

Thanatos sucks in a sharp breath and quakes—nerves, anticipation, shyness, all entangled together—but he spreads his thighs in welcome as Zagreus reaches down to touch him.

His finger is slick when he traces the delicate patch of skin just under Thanatos’s sac. The area is more sensitive than Thanatos anticipated, and he stifles a moan, teeth sinking into his lower lip, when Zagreus plays there a moment before circling the tight furl of muscle below.

“All right?”

Thanatos bites harder on his lip to muffle a whimper; nods, just once.

Zagreus pushes in with the tip of his finger, breaching him carefully, then slowly delving deeper. “It might be easier to start with, if you’re on top. Once you’re ready, I mean.” He eases nearly all the way out, slides back in, a little faster, a little harder, steadily building up a rhythm as Thanatos softens, loosens around the intrusion. “You can control the depth that way.” Zagreus adds another finger, and Thanatos hisses, rolling his hips into the touch. “The speed, too. You’d be in control.” He flashes Thanatos a grin. “I’ll stay still, and you can use me however you like, love.”

“That…” Thanatos moans softly at the stretch. Zagreus’s fingers aren’t overly thick, but still, they’re unfamiliar. The entire experience is new. “Th-that sounds good. I—Ah, Zag, Zag—”

Zagreus had glanced over something inside him, a spot that sent an urgent pulse of heat through his groin.

“What—what is—?”

“Right there?” Zagreus asks, pressing more firmly. “That’s part of what makes this so good.”

Thanatos doesn’t try to ask more questions. He spreads his thighs wider apart, writhing on the blankets as Zagreus proves his point by tormenting that sensitive place until a steady stream of precome is welling from Thanatos’s slit, a string of clear fluid connecting the tip of his cock to the skin of his lower abdomen.

“Oh gods.” Thanatos tosses his head back, sweat-damp hair clinging to his face. “Oh. Zag. Zag, please. Now. I can’t—I can’t wait.”

Zagreus pulls his fingers free and runs his clean hand down Thanatos’s chest. It’s an attempt to soothe, Thanatos is sure, but it only serves to inflame him further.

Now, Zag.”

Zagreus chuckles, breathless, and moves to lie on his back as Thanatos rises to his knees. “I didn’t expect you to be like this.” He grips Thanatos’s waist, urges him to sling a leg over his hips, getting him into position above his straining cock. “I didn’t expect any of this. It feels like a dream.”

“For me, too.” The admission leaves him feeling raw, but it’s true all the same, and as he told Zagreus earlier, he’s done holding back.

Zagreus offers him the bottle of oil. “Here, put some of this on me first.”

Thanatos pours more into his palm than is probably strictly necessary before handing the bottle back, but Zagreus’s cock is much bigger than his fingers. As much as Thanatos wants the thick length inside him, he’s not reckless enough to risk hurting himself—not until he gets a bit more experience under his belt, at least.

He scoots back a little so he’s sitting on Zagreus’s muscular thighs. Zagreus’s cock burns even brighter, hotter, throbbing with the heavy beat of his arousal. Thanatos fists the shaft and smears oil from the curved head to the base, relishing Zagreus’s choked breath, the way his fingers curl where they’re touching Thanatos’s knees.

Next time they do this—and there will be a next time—Thanatos will linger here, feel Zagreus blaze against his palm as he strokes him to completion. He’ll ask Zagreus to teach him how to please him with his mouth. He’ll suck him to the back of his throat, feel the pulse of Zagreus on his tongue, and swallow down every last drop of his seed.

But as much as he longs for a taste, his impatience goads him into another course of action.

He moves back into place, poised above Zagreus’s cock, and lets his weight guide him down. Slowly, the plump crown slips past the barrier of muscle. It’s broad enough the sensation is edged with discomfort, but nothing so bad as to make him stop. Not now. Not unless Zagreus asks him to.

Thanatos tosses his head back and widens his thighs, taking in the length, bit by bit, unhurried but resolute, until finally Zagreus is buried to the hilt. 

“It’s so…” Thanatos gasps and shifts forward to brace his palms against Zagreus’s chest. “It’s so warm. So full. Gods.”

He looks down to catch sight of Zagreus staring up at him, starry-eyed, his expression open, completely enthralled. Thanatos’s heart races in response. 

“Than… you feel incredible.”

Thanatos rocks his hips, tentative at first as he adjusts to the hot, hard presence within him. It takes him a couple of minutes to experiment, to work out a rhythm, but soon he’s lifting up and bearing back down, ending each rough plunge with a deep, dirty grind.

Beneath him, Zagreus stays utterly still, just as he promised—save for his hands, which are once again exploring Thanatos’s body.

“That’s it,” Zagreus whispers, tweaking one of his nipples. The other hand is on Thanatos’s hip, encouraging him to move even faster. “Ride me, love. You said you wanted all of me. Take it.”

Thanatos moans and leans farther over Zagreus, flattening his palms on the bed just above Zagreus’s shoulders for a better angle, better leverage.

His thighs burn from the strain. Sweat sheens his back, his chest, droplets sliding down to be lost to the light thatch of hair surrounding the root of his cock. The length of it bounces, smacking against Zagreus’s stomach, spattering precome, adding to the slick, wet sound of flesh meeting flesh.

Thanatos can’t seem to catch his breath, shallow inhalations making his head spin. “Zag,” he pants, faltering. “Zag, please. I—You move, too. Move with me.”

He expects Zagreus to try to roll them over. Instead, he sits up so Thanatos is straddling his lap.

Thanatos links his arms around Zagreus’s neck, holding him tight, and they fall into a deep, scorching kiss that threatens to steal the last of the air from his lungs.

“You did wonderfully,” Zagreus whispers against the shell of his ear. “Do you know how hard it was not to come just watching you?”

Thanatos closes his eyes, buries his face against Zagreus’s neck. Swivels his hips to feel Zagreus move inside him, the delicious stretch of his rim. “Zag.” 

“Than.” Zagreus’s palms slide up his back. “Tell me how it feels.”

“You… you feel…” Thanatos licks along the base of Zagreus’s throat, sinks his teeth in just there, over the quick flutter of his pulse. Tastes his heartbeat. Salt on his tongue. Zagreus. Zagreus. Zagreus. “Incandescent,” he says, grinding down. “Like fire inside me.” He moans, long and low. “I don’t feel cold anymore.”

Zagreus grips his waist and starts to move—or rather, moves Thanatos, wrenching him up and down on his fiery, slippery cock.

Ecstasy simmers in his pelvis, fizzles under his skin. Flames crawl up his spine, and he feels his orgasm rising, violent and sudden, like the lava that flooded Asphodel, leaving nothing but wreck and ruin in its wake.

Thanatos gives in to the sensation, whimpering Zagreus’s name, ready to be destroyed.

But then Zagreus stops. He lifts Thanatos off and pushes him down onto the bed. Before Thanatos can even think of complaining, he’s back inside, joining them with a sharp, hard thrust that makes Thanatos’s breath break on a sob of pleasure. 

Zagreus braces one hand on the mattress, hooks an elbow under one of Thanatos’s knees, and drives into him until Thanatos has to shove his own fist against his mouth to keep from screaming.

The space between them is sultry, fragrant with the scent of the oil. Zagreus leans down to kiss him again, and Thanatos is almost too far gone to return the contact. He accepts the thrust of Zagreus’s tongue like the plunges of his cock, keeping himself open and willing, inviting everything Zagreus has to give.

Zagreus’s movements become rougher, more erratic. “Than,” he grits out, voice strained. “You feel too good. I—I can’t last. Touch yourself.”

Thanatos takes himself in one hand, digs the nails of the other into the soft skin just above the muscular swell of Zagreus’s buttocks. He shudders at the touch of his own fingers, barely needing to stroke himself before the fire banked inside him reignites into a blaze. 

He spills across his stomach, the coolness of his spend almost a relief against his sweaty, sensitized body. There’s nothing left of the cold in him now, and Thanatos is smiling, blissfully content, when Zagreus completely loses his pace and releases inside him with a low, gutterul groan.

Zagreus goes to move away, but Thanatos pulls him down so that hot, sturdy chest is pressed close to his.

“Stay,” he whispers.

The cold may be gone for the time being, but he wants to bask in Zagreus’s light for just a little while longer.

Zagreus presses a kiss to his cheek, radiating affection and pleasure. “I’m not going anywhere.” He draws back just far enough their gazes can meet. “Are you all right?”

“I’m warm,” Thanatos replies simply. Someday, he’ll explain more, tell Zagreus how without him a never-ending chill had seeped into his bones, into his heart, freezing him from the inside out.

Zagreus grins down at him, his laurels completely askew, leaves and sparks caught in his hair. “I know exactly what you mean,” he says.

And Thanatos thinks perhaps he won’t have to do much explaining after all.