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Like a Virgin

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"And just because I haven't done it
Doesn't mean I can't want it
After all, you've never done me
But you know you've thought about it."
--Deborah Singer, "Cherry Leo"

Zeus was the cartographer of the world. He drew lines between every slab of green earth, every god-spit river, every goaty hill. With the physical parts mapped and divided among his kids, he hit the emotional realm, charting right from wrong, licit from illicit, before tweaking the psychic details. The world, after all, ran easiest with all the parts neatly organized--it left more time for skirt-chasing.

Autolycus recognized and appreciated Zeus' hard work, especially the fine line that separated requesting and groveling. But when he weighed cosmic order against Ares-lust, Ares-lust won every time. "I need it one more time. Come on, big guy. Just one more time. Slow and steady."

Ares exhaled, a fiery rush of air like a dragon's breath. "This is the last time. Someone's stolen my sword of power and now I'm mortal." For every word, Ares jabbed his ringed finger into Autolycus' chest. "The other gods, those bastards, won't help me. You're getting this so far?"

Not getting it the way he wanted. Still, pretty sexy with a spoonful of terror to be backed against the alley wall with six feet of hot god poking him, even if it wasn't quite the poking he'd like. "Yes, your divine worshipfulness. I'm getting it. Keep going."

"Apparently, the family doesn't like my attitude." Poke. "I have until the next full moon to find it." Poke. "I need you, the King of Thieves, to help me. Do you understand?" Poke.

"Love to help you, Ares, but I don't get involved with gods. Someone always gets hurt. Usually me. Remember the chicken incident?" His stomach growled, or maybe it was his cock. Ares, mortal or not, looked good enough to eat. Smelled it, too, all sandalwood, leather, musk. A whole banquet. And the hair curling around the wool hood was so rich and textured, thick and glossy and black. Dessert.

"Autolycus!" Ares waved a large hand in front of him. "Snap out of it. I'm not going to hurt you. I just need your help. Don't make me beg or you'll regret it."

Ares begging? On his knees, sucking hard--

"I'm ready to change my mind about the pain thing." Ares pushed his face close, backing Autolycus against sooty bricks.

"What's in it for me? I'm only in Megara to get my hands on a juicy diamond those merchants are showing at a party tomorrow." He nodded toward three well-fed men closing up their jewelry stand. "That's what I'm doing in this alley in the first place. Staking them out. Learning their habits."

"You want a diamond? Help me, and I'll give you a fucking diamond. I'll give you whatever you want."

Autolycus considered asking for a blowjob instead. Why not? Simple answer: when Ares got his power back, the Megarians would be living off fried Autolycus for weeks to come. So no direct requests for oral satisfaction, or risk turning a whole city into cannibals. Subtlety, that was the ticket. "I don't want just any diamond. It's a massive one. They call it The Rock."

"That's original. But fine. You can have it when I get my sword back. Do we have a deal?"

"Do I have a choice?"


Then Ares did it, right when Autolycus started to second-guess everything: a slight twitch of those juicy lips, like Ares couldn't control it, and wham! There it was: a gorgeous, shit-eating grin. No more hard-assed thug, but this boyishly wicked kid. Autolycus knew, he just knew, that this kid was the real Ares. He didn't show up often, like Ares didn't want people to know who he really was--not good for business, as it were. Sometimes Autolycus thought that he was the only one who ever saw the grin, or understood it. Made his cock throb loud as his heart. Play his cards right, and he'd be seeing that grin a lot more often.

"No choice," Ares said, showing more teeth than Cerberus.

His brain vacationing, Autolycus struggled to reply. Difficult with blood rushing to his cock at an alarming rate. "Uh, when was the last time you had some--had it! Had it. The sword. When was the last time you had the sword?"

"At my temple in Tanagra. I was having a private party with a few of my favorite priestesses. When I woke up the next morning, it was gone."

"Maybe one of them took it."

The grin faded, and Autolycus sighed as Ares continued. "I'm not an idiot. Those priestesses are devoted to me. Very devoted. No, someone broke in there and stole it. Someone with brass balls because it was right beside me the whole time."

"That limits the list of suspects. There are only three thieves with the guts to steal from the god of war: Rixos of Delphi, Chronius of Eretria, and Cyrenia of Argos. It's not Cyrenia. She's in Rome, working on a little caper there, and won't be back for a few months. Chronius is in jail. Heard someone turned him in. A revenge thing." Autolycus permitted himself a smug smile. "But Rixos...Last I heard, that creep was looking for a big score. I'd say he's our man. Or at least a good place to start."

"Where can we find him? I want to show him what happens when someone crosses the god of war."

"Rixos has a mistress down in Pylos. It's just the place to lay low til the heat's off."

"Let's go."

"Now?" Autolycus asked, looking up at the darkening strip of sky between the two buildings. "I've been here for hours. I need some food. Besides, the road north from Megara has more vicious highwaymen than Cerberus has fleas. We're better off leaving at dawn." When Ares still looked unconvinced, he added, "You're mortal, right? As in vulnerable to pain and death? Well, you may be a big guy and handy with a sword, but if you're outnumbered..." He drew a finger across his throat.

"Then we'll go to your room, get some food sent up, then leave at sunrise."

"My room?"

"Yes, your room. I've got to keep a low profile. The Megarians worship me, and they know what I look like."

"But there's only one bed."

One dark eyebrow shot up. "So what? Knowing you, it's a big, comfortable bed. Plenty of space. We're both guys. What could happen? Now let's go." He turned abruptly and marched off.

Autolycus followed him, eyes fixed on the ass swaying under the cloak's black folds. His lust-fevered brain conjured hot visuals showing exactly what could happen between two guys in a big, comfortable bed. And he was just the wild stallion to show Ares the joys of riding bareback.

Can't leap on the god of war. Can't leap on the god of war. Can't leap on the god of war.

Autolycus silently chanted the phrase, hoping to convince himself. It wasn't working. Not with Ares leaning back in his chair, long, leather-clad legs stretched before him, vest gaping to expose a generous vee of very impressive chest. "More wine?" So it was immoral, trying to lower Ares' inhibitions with booze. Dangerous, too, but what the fuck--if he got lucky, it'd be worth it. "It's pretty good stuff." When Ares extended the pewter goblet, and Autolycus poured in a generous amount. "Cool pendant." He pretended to study the silver sword hanging from a thin chain around Ares' neck, as he hungrily followed the line of dark hair down Ares' body.

"My father gave it to me," Ares said. "After I led my first campaign. He took me to his favorite whore. It was a day for firsts."

What an image. A young Ares, high from murder, losing his virginity. How was he supposed to control himself after that? "Was it incredible?" That's it, Autolycus. Get him talking about sex. Get him hot and horny, ready to change his entire sexual modus operandi just to get some Auto-cock. Find out what he's really like when he's just being himself, not playing god of war.

"I don't remember much about it. Sex is like war: when it's over, you just want to forget about it. And it's a lot less exciting."

"You're joking, right? Sex is incredible. Amazing. I'd do it twenty-four hours a day if I could. Maybe you need to reconsider your partners." That was subtle. Sort of.

"I've fucked a million women. Young, old, married, single, virgins, whores. They're just so grateful. They don't fight back or play--" He broke off. "Forget it. I'm going to sleep." He got up, the floor creaking under his weight, and walked the short distance to the bed.

Those hips. That ripe ass. When Ares deprived him of his view by sitting heavily on the mattress, Autolycus was initially disappointed. Until he realized that Ares planned to strip right before him. The shiny black boots came off first, landing with a loud thunk against the wall, prompting some banging from the occupant in the next room.

"Shut up in there!"

"Fuck off, or I'll rip your heart out!"

Dead silence. God or no god, Ares had attitude.

Next came the vest. A few laces untied at the waist, then it flew on studded wings before crashing in a dim corner. Autolycus tried not to stare at Ares' emerging skin. Instead, he sat in the vacated chair and began removing his own clothing. But from the corner of his eye, he watched Ares' progress. Finally, the pants. Ares stood up for this, grabbing the waist band and tugging those tight suckers down over his hips, his thighs, down, down, down. He tossed them in the corner with the vest, stretched, then climbed between crisp white sheets.

Autolycus' cock leapt and jerked like it was learning some new dances steps. The guy was naked under those pants. Naked. No discreet bit of cloth covering his huge cock, his gorgeous ass. Nothing. He swallowed. Ares couldn't be this naive. He had to know that getting completely naked to sleep with another guy had implications of the ‘come and get it' variety. Time for action. Autolycus blew out the candle, then pulled off his own pants, ready to blow some more. This was going to be sweet.

"Know what I like about you, mortal?"

"What?" Autolycus climbed in beside him, heart and cock pounding with excitement.

"I know some guys would take this as an invitation. But you're obviously into women. Which is good. I'd kill any guy who laid a hand on me."

Autolycus' erection wilted like a flower under a hot summer sun. Hell, like a flower in a desert after a year without rain. So much for getting lucky. Sighing, he settled on his back. "So you're not into guys, huh?" When Ares rolled onto his side, facing him, his musky-leathery smell breathed life into Autolycus' cock. Nervously, Autolycus slipped his hand under the sheet to hold it down. A tent in the middle of the bed would be a dead giveaway, and he didn't want to encourage Ares' psychopathic tendencies.

"I like pussy. That's it. I know some of the other gods do guys, but it's not for me. I'm the god of war, for Tartarus' sake. Fucking another guy--it's just not manly."

"You're yanking my chain."

"We're supposed to fuck women."

"Says who?"

"You trying to tell me something, Autolycus?"

"I'm just wondering, that's all. Hey, I like women." But he also had a serious thing for cock, especially bad-boy cock. Who didn't, other than Ares? And Autolycus had his doubts about him. "Women are great."

"They are. I wish I had one with me right now." He shifted onto his back, uttering a few curses about the inadequacies of his mortal body.

Even after Ares' breathing turned deep and regular, Autolycus remained awake, intensely conscious of the warm, naked flesh almost touching his. He considered jerking off to relieve the pressure, but didn't want to wake the sleeping god. Well, he did want to wake him. Wanted to wake him and kiss those lips, suck those nipples, lick that cock, shove himself into that ass. But he didn't want to end up on a scroll tacked to the gates outside Megara, with the ominous caption ‘Have you seen this man?' beneath his likeness.

So he focused on the soft rush of wine-scented air rhythmically leaving Ares' chest. In and out. In and out. In and out. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Instead, he thought of sheep, and fell asleep counting their furry bodies, wondering if Ares' beard felt as soft as lamb's wool.

The animal images stuck with him, and Autolycus dreamt that a lamb was nuzzling him with its hot, wet nose, pressing it affectionately against his hand. The little creature gazed up at him trustingly, and he gently stroked the damp snout, making the sweet little lamb sigh happily...

Autolycus opened his eyes in the dark room. This was no sheep-snout in his hand. The nose he rubbed was, in fact, the swollen head of Ares' very hard cock. Ares, who was still sleeping. A dilemma. Should he try to disengage his hand and risk waking him, or should he keep up the leisurely rubbing until Ares came? But that could wake him up, too. Let philosophers debate the ethics of this, he thought, and closed his free hand around the head of his own cock and repeated the stroking motion on both of them.

Sweet mother of Zeus, that felt good. Ares seemed to agree, unconsciously thrusting his hips forward. Autolycus glanced over at Ares' face, lit by a patch of moonlight streaming through the chamber window. Out like a newly- blown candle...Newly-blown. Hmm. He was already in enough trouble. Why not chance it? He'd love to taste the sticky wetness now covering the fingers of his left hand, love to feel the liquid dripping onto his tongue.

With the stealth from years of house-breaking, Autolycus began to slide down the bed, never letting go of Ares' cock. At least this way, he reassured himself, when Ares came, there would be no evidence. Hell, he'd swallow it. Still on his side, his head now level with Ares' warm chest, he paused. One little lick of the taut nipple right in front of him wouldn't hurt anyone. Wrong again. Tasting Ares' salty flesh was definitely hurting him. His cock, stretched to capacity by what felt like every drop of blood in his body, filled even more when his tongue met Ares' skin. And Ares' soft little grunt of pleasure didn't help, or the small jump of Ares' cock.

Autolycus resumed his downward journey, slinking like a very horny snake toward the prize. At last he faced it: Ares' big, hard cock. Slowly, he moved his fingers from the head to circle the shaft. Ares shifted, as though seeking the delicious pressure, and unknowingly pushed the wet tip of his cock against the extended tongue. Holy god of war. When the drops of moisture melted there, Autolycus slipped the tip of his tongue into the small opening to find more. Above him, Ares groaned, but his eyes remained shut. How could anyone could sleep through a blowjob? It wasn't natural. Well, all the better for him, because he didn't want to stop, not after finally tasting that ambrosia-sweet wetness, not after finally feeling that skin against his tongue.

Another line to cross, and Autolycus went for it, licking in widening circles around the slit until he skirted the smooth edge. He'd let go of his own cock, but now took it firmly in his free hand. Impossible to suck Ares without jerking off. If Ares woke up and turned him into roadkill, fine. But there was no way he was going to stop sucking this incredible cock until Ares came in his mouth, and Autolycus came in his own hand. If it wasn't law, or divinely- ordained, it should be.

With renewed determination, he let the gentle rocking propel Ares' cock further past his lips. Using broad sweeps of his tongue, Autolycus wet the surface of the engorged head, trying not to think what it would feel like to have that saliva-slick cock up his ass. Too distracting, and he was already way too close to orgasm. Letting go off his cock, which was thudding like a heart after a decathlon, he ran fingers light as air between Ares' thighs, before cupping the heavy sac there.

Holy Zeus, this was the mother of all turn-ons, to hold Ares' balls in his hand. Autolycus tried to rub his cock against the mattress, and only succeeded in butting his erection against Ares' knees. Soft fur brushed against the hot end of his shaft, and he let out a small moan. He froze, listening. But all he heard was Ares' increasingly ragged breathing. Was he still asleep? His eyes were still closed. He wouldn't fake it, would he? Pretending to be asleep because he liked it? Secretly grinning, because maybe guys doing guys wasn't so bad after all?

Get real, Autolycus told himself. Ares said he didn't like guys, and this was happening only because he was taking advantage of him. Raping him, essentially. The thought made him pause, and he might've stopped right there, if Ares hadn't pushed himself deeper into his mouth. Who could say no to that invitation? At least he'd give Ares the hottest, wettest dream of his life. Remember the grin. Ares has to know. He has to. Even if his breaths were deep and regular, his big body relaxed.

To Tartarus with moral dilemmas. Let Socrates and the boys worry about that. He was going to blow Ares, and dammit, nothing was going to stand in his way. Lifting the massive cock, he traced a semi-circle with his tongue at the lowest point. Then he continued that motion, licking higher up the shaft, inch by inch, moving only when that section was thoroughly wet. When Autolycus found himself back at the head, he again looked up. Ares was panting now, although his eyes remained closed. Taking a deep breath of his own, body quivering with excitement, Autolycus deep-throated Ares' cock. He ignored the sounds from above, as he began to slide his mouth up and down the rigid length, duplicating the motion with his hand.

While Autolycus wanted to keep massaging Ares' balls, his own cock was doing a cocker-spaniel impersonation, begging for attention. Grasping it firmly, almost frantic with need, he imitated the quick pace he used on Ares. Not sure what the bigger turn-on was: the almost harsh strokes on his cock, or simply the idea that he was blowing Ares, the god of war, who had to know, who had to want this. And when Autolycus felt the sudden tightening in Ares' cock, the extra pulse of blood beneath the smooth surface, he almost came. Almost. First he wanted to experience Ares' orgasm...

And here it was, a splash of hot, creamy semen on his tongue. Then another. And another. And another. Until he lost track of each delicious burst and just swallowed them reverently.

When at last they slowed down, Autolycus finished himself off with a few hurried strokes, wanting to catch the tail- end of Ares' orgasm so they could come together. Ares stopped shaking just as Autolycus began, and he spilled what seemed like an ocean of semen into his hand. He almost called the god's name, picturing Ares crouched on all fours while he rammed into him, and lay there, quietly shaking, until his breath came creeping back.

Afterward, he slowly inched back up the bed, surreptitiously licking the semen from his hand. As far as he could tell, Ares was still fast asleep, a small smile curving those luscious lips. No. There was no way he slept through that, Autolycus thought, plumping his pillow noisily. If he wanted to play games and deny everything, fine. But just wait until tomorrow night.

With a contented sigh, he went to sleep, dreaming of a god in ecstasy.

Autolycus woke before dawn, completely disoriented. Heart pounding from a half-forgotten nightmare, he struggled to make sense of his situation.

A warm bed at an inn. A strong urge to pee out some of last night's wine. A hot, musky body lying close to his.

He almost laughed. If he didn't know better, he'd swear he'd gotten a little tanked, then taken advantage of the beautiful but occasionally violent god of war. That the faintly bitter, salty taste his tongue encountered on the roof of his mouth, behind his teeth, was, in fact, the lingering trace of Ares' semen.

With a final flick of his tongue over incontrovertible evidence, he cringed inwardly. Okay. Last night really happened. He'd blown the war god while Ares feigned sleep, although, judging by the moaning and the thrusting hips, Ares had liked it. A lot. His confidence came roaring back. No surprise that Ares enjoyed it, really, not with his talented tongue. He considered himself an expert, if the truth be told. A penile afficionado. A cock connoisseur. Still, pretty flattering to be the one showing Ares the joys of gay sex.

Because Ares couldn't have slept through that. He had to know that the hot mouth around his cock belonged to his favorite thief. After all, Ares could've gone to anyone for help getting back his sword of power. And what was this crap about needing to share a room? Ares' cloak hid his face, so he could've been anyone. Well, at least a big, buff someone oozing animal magnetism. And what about getting into bed all naked like that? If that wasn't a demand for some Auto-lovin', what was? Ares knew what he wanted, just not how to ask. Twirling the ends of his mustache, Autolycus beamed with satisfaction in the near darkness. Not that he blamed Ares for his little crush. It had probably started at least as early as that incident with Artemis' bow. Come to think of it, that whole Auto- naked-and-chained-to-Iolaus thing orchestrated by Ares had repressed homosexuality written all over it.

A rumbling at his side interrupted his self-congratulations. Ares, awake now, lying on his back, stretched his muscular arms above his head, letting out a grunt of satisfaction. "I had," he announced with a beautiful, telling grin, "a great night."

"You're surprised by that?" Hard not to preen, so Autolycus gave into it.

"Fuck, yes. With all the weird shit this mortal body's pulling on me, I thought I'd be awake forever. But I slept like a log. And had a hot dream with my favorite priestess sucking my cock like a vampire out for blood--"

Favorite priestess? Vampire?

"--and now I'm ready to go kick some ass."

"You didn't wake up at all last night?" Maybe he just needed a little prodding. Sure, the guy didn't seem shy, but after his whole butch-god act, kind of embarrassing to admit the truth: that he was a butch god who liked cock.

"Not once." Ares rolled his legs to the edge of the bed, and sat there, stretching. "Why? Did I miss something?"

"Did you miss something? Did you..." No point telling Ares the truth, if he really didn't remember. Ares would either deny it happened, or pummel his body flat as his ego. "Not much. Just a couple of rowdy guys. Outside. Lots of noise. Guess you're a pretty heavy sleeper."

"Takes something pretty spectacular to wake me up."

He gave up his sulking when Ares rose naked from the bed. That sight made everything worthwhile, as the light from the open window copped a feel, sliding happily over the curves and hollows of Ares' body, while Ares stood there and flicked his wrist a few times. At first Autolycus thought he was trying to push away those invasive sunbeams, then realized that mortality made dressing complicated. As Ares glanced around the room for his clothes, then headed for his boots in the corner, Autolycus considered telling him the problem with his choice. He shut up, though, when Ares bent down to pick up the leather boots, showing him that gorgeous ass and prompting a million dirty fantasies. It was all about priorities.

By the time Ares had tugged them on, and was standing in naked but booted perplexity with his clothes in one hand, Autolycus' bad mood had vanished. How could Ares not know how he looked wearing only high black boots and a lot of smooth, golden skin? Holy Zeus' nuts! That sight would convince even that crazy itinerant priest Falwellus that guys fucking guys wasn't such a bad idea. If only Autolycus didn't have to pee so damn badly; he hated to miss the show.

Grabbing his pants, Autolycus pulled them over his hard-on. "I'll be back." Autolycus gave a final, lust-filled look at that naked perfection, then headed for the privy at the end of the hall. Of course, it was occupied, and Autolycus waited impatiently, shifting from bare foot to bare foot. "Hurry up in there!" he snapped. "Some of us have a life to get to!" He didn't want to leave Ares alone for too long since the guy could barely dress himself. Who knew what kind of trouble he might get into? The possibilities swirled in Autolycus' head, and he pounded on the wooden door. "For the love of Ares, man, speed it up!"

An ancient, sour-faced little man eventually emerged, casting Autolycus a dirty look from under his red nightcap. "Just wait until you're my age, sonny," he snapped. "You can't rush these things."

"Thanks for the advice, gramps. Ever hear of prunes?" He pushed past him, nearly fainting from the fumes.

A few minutes later, a relieved Autolycus returned to his room and met Ares on his way out.

"My turn," Ares said. "I'll meet you at the stables."

Autolycus finished dressing, then hastily packed his saddle bags, relocking the sophisticated mechanism that kept his stuff hidden from prying eyes. The last thing he needed was Ares poking around in there. Picking up the sturdy leather bags, he headed downstairs, tossing the key to the sleepy innkeeper before padding out through the kitchen. While the cook stirred a pot of stew on the blazing fire, Autolycus swiped a few shiny red apples from a bowl on the table, and stepped into the cool morning air.

Ares stood beside Promy, Autolycus' horse, holding the bridle. "About time."

"How did you know he was mine?"

"A horse reflects its owner's personality." Ares stroked the inquisitive animal's wet nose.

"So you knew he was mine because he's charming, spontaneous and intelligent?"

"No. Because he tried to pick my pocket."

That grin should come with a warning. Still, hard to believe that this was the same guy who'd been thrusting into his mouth last night. "Where's your horse?" he asked, strapping the heavy packs to Promy's sides.

"I don't have one. We'll share yours."

Autolycus looked pointedly at Ares' bulky frame under the black cloak. "We'll have to take turns riding. It'll slow us down, but it's only fair to my horse." Autolycus' brain slurped back the metaphoric possibilities of riding, and found his hips gently rocking when Ares broke in.

"Autolycus! Haul ass." That voice. Even in mortal form, it vibrated through the air like a thunder-clap. And Autolycus wasn't the only one who noticed.

"Shut up down there! We're trying to sleep! Bunch of hooligans!" It was the bathroom hog peering down from his chamber window, nightcap jauntily hanging over one bleary eye.

"Bite me!" Ares roared.

"How rude! Some people's children..." the old man grumbled, slamming his window.

"Why, you old bastard." About to tear back inside, and presumably rip the guy's head from his body, Ares stopped only when Autolycus put a restraining hand on his shoulder. Ares shrugged him off, but stayed in place. "I'm the god of war. That old fart can't talk to me like that."

"Ever heard of anger-management?" Autolycus muttered, as he mounted Promy. "Let's just get out of here."

With a backward glance at the inn's door, Ares followed. "I need my anger. Keeps me focused on the battlefield."

"We're not on a battlefield now, big guy. Here it'll only get you into trouble. You need to channel it if we're going to make it to Pylos in one piece."


Autolycus glanced down, saw the pout. "You're sulking."

"The god of war doesn't sulk. You sound just like my do-gooder brother with that anger-management shit."

"He's so annoying when he gives those little lectures, isn't he? I got one a few weeks ago on the moral failings of theft. For the hundredth time."

He heard Ares snicker. "I thought that you and Hercules were friends."

"We are. He's a great guy. He just needs to pull his head from his ass and look around him once in awhile. No one's able to be that good. Not even Iolaus." Especially not Iolaus, he added quietly, remembering how he'd fucked him the last time they'd met. Blondie moaning and groaning, holding onto the tree for dear life as Autolycus rammed his cock into that tight ass. Of course, Iolaus had almost ruined it by calling out Herc's name when he came. But Autolycus had been thinking of Ares, so it all evened out. More of that moral cartography.

"Herc might be okay if there had been someone there to kick his ass every day of his life."

"I guess you're only trying to make up for lost time then, right?"

"Something like that."

Autolycus' cock throbbed in response. The gentle swaying of Promy under him was erotic enough, but towering above the gorgeous war god didn't hurt, either. It gave him ideas. "He's not so bad, really."

"You never want to smack him around?"

"All the time." He and Ares were bonding, and it felt oddly good. Natural. "Hungry?" Like maybe for a taste of hot, throbbing Autolycus? At Ares' nod, Autolycus tossed him an apple. Poor substitute, but it was still early.

"This hunger thing sucks." Ares bit into the fruit, and a squirt of juice trickled down his chin before he swatted it with the back of his hand. "I don't know how you mortals stand how your bodies are always leaking, either. It's disgusting." The expression on his face, between disgust and bewilderment, made him look like a ten-year-old who'd just found out about sex.

Never one to miss a free association, Auto leapt. "What about come?"

"That's different. It feels good."

"So does taking a whizz. Especially if it's been awhile. Or if," he added, a plan forming in his mind, "you're competing with someone."

"Competing how?"

Putty in his hands. "You've never done it? It's just one of the things that men do together. A manly ritual. Your soldiers probably do it when you're not around."

"You're not serious." More intrigued horror. Had to give the guy credit: Ares was always game.

"Of course I am. They won't let you see because they don't want to offend you. Hey, I'd offer to compete with you, but I doubt you'd be very good at long distances. Not enough practice."

"I can piss as far as any man."

"It's too soon. Like I said, you need to build it up. We'll stop later on at a roadside stand and buy some ale. That'll do the trick."

"Let's go."

"You know, Ares, when you're not sending a giant chicken after me, you're not bad." Bad equaled intensely fuckable. "No way Hercules would get involved in a pissing contest." A slight lie, but the genuine smile Ares flashed him was worth it.

Midday found them chugging down tankards of ale under the patched awning of a wooden-framed stand. For entertainment, Autolycus and Ares watched the serving girl's breasts, big as harpy eggs, roll with abandon under her flimsy blue dress. When she aimed yet another sharkish smile at Ares, Autolycus said, "Those things will hatch if she's not careful."

Ares laughed, then drained his mug and pushed it across the counter. "I'm ready for that contest about now," he said, heading back to the horse.

The vintner's wife glanced up and often at Ares' retreating from as she tied a few bottles together with leather strips, adding an extra one when her husband turned his back. "Your friend's such a big man. He'll need a lot more than you, especially in this heat. If he wants, he can pay me back in Declea. We're heading there for the festival, staying at the inn my husband's family owns. The Golden Crocus." She rubbed her hand down the front of her dress, lingering for a second over her nipples. "Your friend could give me some private thanks when my husband and his brothers are chasing Bacchae."

"Sorry, sister. He's taken."

"There's enough of him to go ‘round. Big strong guy like that." She shrugged, her eyes never leaving Ares. "Can't blame a girl for trying. Especially not when I'm stuck married to old Thersites here."

Her dour husband glanced over. "Theia, quit gossiping and get back to work." He shook his grey head, glaring from pebble eyes to Autolycus, then back to his wife. "Slut. Remember what happened the last time?"

"Impotent old geezer," Theia muttered. "How could I forget what happened? You and your animal brothers beat Diomedes almost to death. You would've finished the job, too, if I hadn't got the magistrate." To Autolycus, she said quietly, "The festival will be fun. The Decleans know how to party. I can ditch my husband and his brothers, and show your friend the best time he's ever had."

"Fun as that sounds, don't hold your breath, sweetheart. There's only one rider for that pony. Me." Autolcyus raised the bottles. "Thanks for the booze, Theia. Maybe Dionysus will do you a favor and the old goat will pop off and leave you a rich widow."

"It's my dream," she said, and winked.

Autolycus loaded Promy, but gave one bottle to Ares. They passed it back and forth as they returned to the road. Every step of the horse jiggled his bladder, and he noticed that Ares was walking faster than usual, not even stopping when he chugged down some of the wine. "Feeling the pressure, huh?"

"I feel like my father in the Iron Age, just before the flood," Ares said. "I could drown a few towns right now."

"What do you think about stuff like that, the whole revenge of the gods thing?" He shifted again, trying to convince his bladder not to explode. "Mortals as playthings and all that?"

"I spend more time with you than my father does. I see things he doesn't, with his head buried in his new fling's pussy. Hard to see mortals as playthings when you've seen them die screaming your name, their guts spilling into the earth. Plain old revenge is good, though. People need to pay; it keeps the world balanced." Ares was almost jogging by now. "You kind of do that, don't you? Keep the world balanced?"

"By stealing? I make sure the rich don't stay too rich, so yeah, you're right. I hadn't thought of it like that." He was speaking as fast as Ares was walking.

"So why did you become a thief, anyway? Following in your father's footsteps?"

"Trying to distract yourself from the pressure? Don't worry. We'll stop soon." Autolycus' own bladder felt puffed like a blowfish, and he squirmed again against the saddle. "Revenge. When my parents died, a greasy merchant tricked my brother out of his land, then had him killed when he tried to get it back. I ruined him. Stole everything he had, and gave it all away. For my brother."


How did he know? Must be a war god thing. "That's the real story. Mostly."

"You may as well tell me. It'll kill the time."

"I steal because I like it. I like nice clothes and expensive whores and good food." Then, maybe because of the wine, or the almost painful pressure on his bladder, or maybe something else, Autolycus relented. "My parents didn't have any money. Just some land. And being poor--it's always kind of glamorous in stories, but truth is it's dirty and ugly and embarrassing. So one day I was in the market place, and I saw this merchant with a fat bag of gold. I took it."

"He didn't catch you?"

Autolycus reached down and unstrapped one of the wine bottles affixed to Promy's left flank, patting the sweat-slick black body. Uncorking it with his teeth, he took a big gulp, then passed the bottle to Ares. "He caught me. I still have a scar from the beating. That just taught me to be more careful the next time." He'd never told anyone about this. Only the other story, where he looked like a hero, and not like a pathetic loser. The heat, booze and pee- pressure must be taking their toll. Or maybe it was Ares. The guy didn't strangle him with expectations or disappointment. He could be himself, not some polished marble version trotted out to impress the legendary locals.

"Why lie about it? So you're not a hero. Who is?" Ares tilted back his head and poured a red stream of wine down his throat. It splashed his chin, and he wiped the smear with the back of his hand, never staying still.

"No offense, your divine Godliness, but what do you know about it? You're a god. People worship you."

"Try being the god of war. I'm not exactly popular, you know." The words came out slightly slurred. "Not with mortals. Not with my family."

"You kill people," Autolycus said cautiously. "In war. That scares them, even when it's necessary. People do and say stupid things when they're scared."

"Are you scared?"

"Should I be?"

"Only if you don't let me take a leak soon."

"Don't worry. I know this route pretty well. There's a lake a few minutes' walk through those firs. We can have our contest, then jump in. I don't know about you, but I'd like to cool off." He guided Promy into the thicket, with Ares crashing through the brush behind him. Ahead, the trees thinned, and Autolycus could see shimmering blue water under an equally blue sky. He jumped from the horse and led him to the outer ring of pines, fixing his reins around a jutting branch. Then Autolycus turned back to Ares. "Let's do it over there in the sand."

Ares pulled off his cloak, dropping it at the base of a pine tree, then followed Autolycus onto the beach. "So how do we do this?" he asked, when Autolycus stopped a few feet from the shore.

"We'll try to hit the water from here. We'll stand side by side, take our dicks out, and let ‘er rip. Are you ready?"

"Let's do it." Ares was already pulling open his pants.

Standing beside him, rocking on his heels in the sand, Autolycus pretended not to stare at the thick cock between Ares' fingers. A boner now, and he'd be screwed. But holy Hades, seeing their two cocks side by side like this, almost touching, was hot. Really hot. All he had to do is push his over just a little bit, and the heads would touch. Then he could pull Ares into his arms, shove his tongue between those full lips, rub his erection against Ares', and come a tidal wave. Wouldn't happen now. Even if Ares was into it, Autolycus had to pee so badly that nothing, not even the promise of sex with Ares, could stop him.

As identical streams of golden liquid began to shoot from both cocks, they both groaned with pleasure.

"This feels great." Ares glanced over and imitated Autolycus' stance. "Like I'd pushed my body as far as it could go, and now it's getting back to normal. And normal is good."

"I told you so. Now hold it a bit higher. It'll go further." He easily hit the water's edge.

Without the same control, Ares had to leap back to avoid peeing down his leg. "Fuck."

"I hope you can use that thing better during sex."

"Of course." An offended look. "At this point, I'm just glad to get it out. I can work on my technique later." But he resumed his place beside Autolycus, and for the last few seconds, managed to direct the yellow jet a respectable distance.

"Not bad. You just need some practice. Now let's take a dip." He stripped quickly, then waded into the cool water.

Ares joined him. "This was a good idea."

Was it ever. Wet god. Oh boy. Nothing beat it. Not the way the drops trickled down that bronzed body, glinting in the sun, the black hair gleaming damply. Autolycus could feel a twinge between his thighs, and he quickly dove, swimming a short distance to stay in control. When he re-emerged, Ares was returning to the shore. Treading water, Autolycus watched as Ares retrieved his cloak and spread it on the sand. Then, still naked, Ares settled down on his back.

Time for phase two. He left the water and went to Ares' side. "Feel good?

"Had to lie down for awhile." Ares' eyes were closed.

"It's too bad you're a god," Autolycus said, as he settled down beside him.


"Well, if you were mortal, you'd know the second part of the ritual. You pee and then--" He broke off, shrugging his shoulders. "But you wouldn't get it. It's a mortal thing."

"Tell me."

"Look, mortal men are obsessed with our cocks. That's one of the reasons we have pee contests. Check out the other guy's equipment. Just to see if we measure up, of course," he added hastily.

Ares grunted. "Okay, I can understand that. So what else is there to do?"

"Guy stuff. We start talking about sex, maybe share a fantasy, and we have another contest." A meaningful pause. "To see who can finish first."

"You mean like a jerk-off contest?"

"We call it a circle jerk."

"Sounds good to me." His eyes stayed shut against the bright sun. "I'd like to come. The water and the heat are turning me on."

Autolycus turned his head slightly, watching Ares' thickening cock as he took his own in his hand. "If you're into it, I'd like to change the rules. Make it about stamina. See who can hold off the longest."

"You like your games, don't you, Autolycus?"

"Keeps life interesting. Besides, like you said, it always feels good when the world snaps back into balance."

Ares was squeezing the engorged head of his cock, coaxing moisture to the surface. When the silver drops appeared, he rubbed them in. Autolycus bit his lip to hold back the moan, and moved his own fingers light as butterfly wings down his shaft. Any more pressure and he'd be shooting his load. Seeing Ares like this--relaxed, horny, wet, gently toying with his incredibly big, thick cock--well, it pretty much redefined erotic fantasy. "What are you thinking about?"

"Just how good it'll feel to come, when things are balanced again. What about you?"

"Me? I'm just thinking about this...friend. I've wanted to get...her into bed, but she's kinda uptight about sex. I know that when I finally do, she'll be wild. I'm thinking about what she'd look like tied up, her dark curls against the pillow, her mouth open, while I feed her my cock." His cock was almost painfully hard now, and every light touch of his hand made it pulse. "You ever been tied up?"

"I'm the god of war. I dominate people. I don't let them dominate me."

"Relax, big guy. I've been tied up, and it's a lot of fun. You're not giving up complete control. You're letting someone else make you feel good. All you have to do is lie there, and let someone else run their tongue all over your body, their fingers, their...Whatever they can. It's intense, if you can find someone who's not intimidated by the idea of taking charge." Tears formed in Autolycus' eyes as he struggled not to come. Ares had briefly stopped touching himself at Autolycus' question, but his fingers had resumed their teasing passage over his cock. One hand still squeezed liquid from the head, while the other, using only the pads of his fingers, slid along the length. Oh man.

"So tell me what it was like when you were tied up."

Ares was intrigued. Again, no surprise. Those constantly aggressive types always secretly liked the idea of giving up control, letting someone else take charge for a change. "The first time a lover suggested it to me, I said no way. Too weird, and I didn't like the idea of submitting. But this friend reminded me that in exchange for willingly giving up power, I'd be getting mind-blowing pleasure in return. That convinced me."

"And was it good?" Ares' right hand moved more quickly over his cock, while the left abandoned the head to stroke the heavy balls.

Autolycus wanted to stop watching, because his frenzied lust made speech way too hard, but he couldn't resist. "It was amazing. I was tied up for about twelve hours, and my lover didn't let me come for the first three. Just kissed me, sucked my nipples. For the last hour, it was a warm mouth on my cock. Every time I was ready to come, my friend slowed down. By the end, I was begging for it. Begging. And when I finally came. Fuck." His body shook at the memory. "I swear it lasted for ten minutes straight. No joke."

"Sounds pretty hot." Ares' breathing was getting ragged.




"It was. So how do you like someone to suck your cock?"

"Well, I told you that I had this dream last night--"


"--where I was getting this incredible blowjob. Started with just the tongue against my head, tasting me. Dipping into the slit, trying to get as much out as possible."

Autolycus suppressed a whimper.

"Then, at the same time that the tongue is licking the head, sliding all over it, fingers close around my balls. Not hard. Just holding them, stroking them a little. It felt so good." With one wet finger, he traced a vein, and his hips arched.

Oh god. Ares getting off on the memory of last night. It felt like some huge monster was trying to fight its way out of Autolycus' cock. "What happened next?"

"Then the tongue moves to the bottom of my shaft, and starts slowly licking a series of horizontal lines up my cock. Makes me want to come. I just need a little bit more stimulation."

Here it was: temptation. Should Autolycus lean over and deep-throat him? This was the next part in the story. And he wanted to. Did he ever want to. But if he did, and Ares freaked, he'd never get another chance. Because he'd be dead. Still, death might be a small price to pay for another taste of that swollen, gleaming cock.

"Then the mouth closes over my cock--" Ares' breathing quickened "--and takes it all in. And then I...Oh fuck. Then I start coming..."

The sight of the creamy semen spurting from Ares' cock onto his chest undid Autolycus' restraint, and with a loud moan, he came with him. The idea that he and Ares were coming together, both panting, both shooting semen, both thrusting into invisible mouths, gave Autolycus one of the most powerful orgasms of his life.

"Guess I lost that one, too." Ares looked over at Autolycus while he rubbed the come onto his chest in lazy circles.

"Mmffph..." Autolycus replied.

Mmffph, roughly translated, meant, "I'm going to fuck you tonight if it's the last thing I do."

After the mutual jerk-off with Ares by the lake, Autolycus floated through the afternoon in a lust-filled haze. Every heartbeat, every thought, every step along the dusty road brought with it a new and tantalizing erotic vision, each more mouth-watering than the last, a veritable cornucopia of dirty pictures worthy of a dozen vases.

Ares on all fours, offering a smooth, ripe ass that rivaled one of the Hesperides' golden apples, gasping when Autolycus rammed his cock between those satiny cheeks. Ares, palms flat against a marble wall, sweat dripping down his back as Autolycus took him roughly from behind. Ares, kneeling between Autolycus' legs, lips closed over Autolycus' cock, tongue working busily. Ares, arms bound firmly above his head, long legs wrapped around Autolycus' waist, moaning as he was penetrated.

So caught up in his lust, it seemed to Autolycus' feverish brain that Ares' every word carried the promise of orgasm.

"I'm hungry," Ares announced as the sun died in a blaze of color over the horizon.

Translation: I want to suck your thick, juicy cock until you come down my throat.

"When do you think we'll reach the next town?"

Translation: I can't wait to be alone with you, so you can shove that hard cock up my ass like I've been dreaming about for months.

"I'm looking forward to bed."

Barely repressing a groan, Autolycus tried to respond as his brain and his cock warred. With a supreme effort, the former won, but with heavy casualties. " there soon. Hungry, too. Bed good." He wondered if Ares exuded some kind of chemical that turned men into raving sex maniacs. Or maybe it was a spell like the kind Circe used on Odysseus' men. Oink. There was just something about him. Yeah, like the rock-hard body, thick black curls, fuck-my-face mouth.

Autolycus mentally smacked himself. If he wanted Ares, he had to act. All of this mindless drooling only gave him a serious case of blue balls. He needed a plan, one that wouldn't get him killed in some brutal and unspeakable way. Because, in spite of everything, Ares still scared him a little. Part of the turn-on, of course. But he wasn't quite ready to die for sex. Was he?

He decided to run through his alternatives, and if they didn't work, he'd shove Ares against a tree by the side of the road and see what happened. Dammit, he knew that Ares wanted him. That cock-rubbing marathon at the lake, where Ares described Autolycus' blowjob while the two of them jerked off together. No way could that be misinterpreted, right? Right?

Cock beating like a giant's heart, Autolycus plotted Ares' seduction.

Plan 1: Jail House Rock. When they arrived in town, Autolycus would get them arrested. He'd arrange to get caught stealing from the treasury, and after naming Ares as his accomplice, the two would be thrown into prison. Eventually, with no other sexual alternative, Ares would finally let Autolycus fuck him.

Problems: Ares wouldn't get his sword of power back, and would remain a mortal til he died. Since, technically, this would be Autolycus' fault, he might not welcome Autolycus' advances, lack of female company or not. Besides, no way to guarantee that they'd get cells together. With his luck, Autolycus would get Malvik, the Siberian Strangler, who'd only been captured because the soldiers thought he was the Lernaean hydra.

Plan 2: Love Me Tender. Autolycus would break down, confessing with numerous tears that he'd been misunderstood and unloved from day one, and the only thing to cure his blues would be a thick, hard cock up his ass.

Problems: Ares wasn't exactly the cuddly, sentimental type. Instead of offering some hot and hard tender loving care, he'd be more likely to snort in disgust and smack him around. Besides, Autolycus didn't do tears: his nose turned red, his eyes puffy. He wanted to turn Ares on, not scare him into hiding.

Plan 3: Suspicious Minds. Autolycus would suggest that they checked out his local temple. When Autolycus accidentally knocked over the gifts on the altar, and the priestesses came running out, he'd kiss Ares, ostensibly to hide him and his new mortality from prying eyes. The kiss, expertly delivered of course, would have Ares panting for more.

Problems: There didn't seem to be any real problems with this one.

‘Suspicious Minds' it was. Soon, very soon, his creative, brilliant mind would bring him one hot, sweet reward. Even as he congratulated himself, the tall wooden palisade around Eleusis loomed above them. "Let me do the talking," he advised Ares. "You wait here. The Eleusian sentries are paranoid about thieves. I'll reassure them and then we'll find an inn."

In minutes, they were walking down the city's cobbled streets. "The sentries respect you," Autolycus told him, a little surprised. "They gave me dick until I mentioned your name. One of them fought in the Macedonian war, and said that anyone who followed you instead of that tight-ass Athena couldn't be all bad."

"We did good work in Macedonia." He looked pleased, in a bad-assed kind of way. "So is there a place we can stay?"

"There's an inn just a few blocks to the north," Autolycus said innocently. "The Nemean Lion. At the foot of the hill."

Ares snorted at the name, but he said nothing, obviously distracted by the building above them. "That's one of my temples up there. I'll head up and check it out."

"Give me a few minutes, and I'll go with you. It's safer. We have to make sure no one sees you or talks to you, or things will get sticky."

With the image of a sticky, come-smeared god imprinted on his retinas, Autolycus led Promy to the stables, then entered the inn's small, clean lobby. He could see a few patrons drinking at the bar in the room beyond, before a stocky, sweating young man hurried out. With much nodding and bowing, the man took Autolycus' bags and, after a quick consultation, agreed to his requests.

When Autolycus returned, Ares was still staring up at the black temple outlined against the purple sky. "Let's go."

The climb up the steep hill accounted for only part of Autolycus' panting. The rest came from fantasies. Hot, wet, come-filled fantasies. Then Autolycus stopped so suddenly that Ares crashed into him. For one, fleeting but intoxicating second, he felt Ares' cock against his ass. Cock. Ass. Fucking. Come. God. Sex. With a hurried shake of his head, Autolycus returned to his previous thoughts. What if the kiss grossed out Ares? What if, deep down, he really did prefer women? What if all of this heat was just the product of Autolycus' huge, undeniable infatuation?

"We've come this far. Don't back out now." Ares pushed past him.

What if Ares wasn't quite as oblivious as he seemed? What if he knew all along about Autolycus' crush and wandering mouth? What if he was in control, playing Autolycus like a lust-crazed puppet because he, the god of war, wanted to fuck him? What if he knew that they were going up this hill to finally get things going? Caution climbed onto his desire and choked it. Or at least restrained the impulse to jump Ares and hump him like a puppy. With a sigh, he followed Ares' ripe, leather-clad ass up the temple steps and into the candlelit chamber, with its frescoed walls and air smoky with old incense. Remember the grins, he thought again.

Ares went to the black marble altar, rooting through a pile of weapons left as offerings. "Not bad," he said, picking up a heavy sword with a ruby-encrusted handle.

At least Autolycus thought they were rubies. Could be old drops of blood. "Can I see?"

It was Ares' fingers that slipped, and the sword fell with a thunderous clatter to the tiled floor. "Shit!" Ares exclaimed, even more loudly. Suspiciously loudly, if one had a suspicious mind. The sound of running feet came from the inner sanctum. "What do you want to do?" Ares asked, looking directly at Autolycus.

Caution took a vacation. "We need to look innocent. Like we weren't trying to steal anything. And we need to hide your face Don't want everyone knowing that you're mortal.. I think our best bet, if we don't want to end up in prison, or reveal your presence, is to...kiss."

A slight pause while something unreadable flowed across Ares' face. Then: "Okay."

"It's the easiest way, you understand. That's all." Autolycus took a quick step forward, smacking against the hottest, hardest body he'd ever ground crotches with. Nose-to-nose, cock-to-cock with the cream of the Olympian crop, Autolycus opened his mouth to make a final, tension-dispelling joke, and kissed Ares instead. Maybe acting on instinct, Ares pushed his tongue between Autolycus' parted lips, and for the first time, their tongues touched.

Autolycus had kissed a lot of people in his time. The first, at thirteen, had been Medon, the baker's cute son from next door. They'd been playing hide-and-seek, and Medon had found Autolycus in the dark crawlspace beneath the back porch. Rather than letting him out, the boy had crawled in beside his friend. They'd spent the summer necking in the dark, hard cocks rubbing together, but too inexperienced to do more than dry-hump for hours. For the next decade or two, Autolycus had kissed a seemingly endless series of men and women, from virgins to whores. But nothing in his life had prepared Autolycus for that first kiss from the god of war.

Limbs drained, vision darkened, Autolycus nearly fell. Only two things kept him up: the wall now at his back, and Ares' weight, pinning him there. Reaching up almost desperately, Autolycus wrapped his arms around Ares' neck, winding his fingers in Ares' hair. When Ares kissed back, his tongue penetrating that divine mouth, Autolycus groaned, and he pulled Ares closer. He was vaguely aware of noise beside him, of shocked then annoyed voices buzzing in his ear, but when he paid no attention, they eventually disappeared. How could he do more than simply feel, when Ares was penetrating him like this, using that hot, honey-sweet tongue to fuck his mouth more and more aggressively, like he was equally hot for it?

Then Autolycus realized that Ares was rubbing his big, hard cock against him. And it was hard. Very hard. Undeniably, he-must-be-getting-off-on-this-as-much-as-me hard. Another groan. Whose? He couldn't tell anymore, overwhelmed by firm lips, wet tongue, hot breath, sharp teeth, soft beard, broad chest, hard cock. Someone groaned something about need and fucking, and they pulled apart, sticky with sweat, and went out into the night.

Dark skies. Cool, rain-fresh air. Stumbling walk to the inn. Creaky stairs. A long kiss against the rough pine wall there. Hands fumbling. Rubbing cheek against smooth-over-hard leather. Finally making it to the room. Door kicked shut. No turning back now. Clothes tugged off and sent flying. More kissing. This time bare skin slid against bare skin. Spreading kisses. Throats were licked and bitten, then nipples. Fingers closing around cocks. Groans. Mouths replacing fingers.


That was the first time.

Even as they both collapsed back on the pillows, licking traces of semen from their lips, panting and impossibly warm, their hands never stopped moving. For one, brief second Autolycus surfaced from the pool of desire to wonder what would happen in the morning, when the touching stopped, when they had to talk about what happened. About this. Sweat and come. But he didn't really care right now, and he rolled on top of Ares, pinning his arms above his head. Ares growled, but didn't stop him, not even when Autolycus leaned precariously over the edge of the bed, reappearing with a coil of rope in one hand.

Working quickly, Autolycus bound each of Ares' wrists to a solid bedpost. Tight. By the time he'd finished, Ares' cock rose hard and wet from between his thighs, brushing up against Autolycus' as Autolycus straddled him. Gratified, he rewarded Ares with a few slow strokes, while his own cock, still hot and damp from Ares' mouth, danced against his stomach. Tempting to shove it back in, make Ares suck him again and again and again. Common sense, some tiny voice he normally bullied quiet, urged caution: Ares, though he'd swallowed his cock so eagerly before, might be less willing now that his own wasn't engulfed between Autolycus' lips. Autolycus was upsetting the balance, shifting things. Life was much more interesting this way, if more quickly fatal.

Looking down at Ares, with his bound wrists and swollen lips, rich and desserty, Autolycus was eight again, going with his mother to the new bakery, staring with wide-eyed delight at rows of desserts bursting with plump almonds, sprinkled with fragrant cinnamon and nutmeg. And between each delicate layer of pastry seeped sweet, golden honey. A fantasy for a little boy with a sweet tooth. Tonight, to satisfy his fondness for the sticky stuff, he'd asked the innkeeper to include a jar of honey softened with oil alongside the fruit and wine, and they wait on the small table beside the bed.

With a quick, thankful prayer to Demeter, Autolycus pulled off the cap and dipped in two fingers, removing them only when they were drenched. Then he spread the honey on Ares' lips, and got a moan for his troubles. Pleased with the response (if a burst of blood to his cock so forceful it nearly knocked him out could be called ‘pleased'), he re-covered a finger with the honey, then slid it into Ares' mouth to be sucked clean.

The soft wetness and gentle pressure reminded Autolycus of earlier, when his cock had been in place of his finger, and he needed, more than anything, to feel Ares lick honey off his cock. But he also wanted Ares to experience the thrill of bondage, that delicious sense of being helpless to pleasure. Plunging his fingers back into the jar, Autolycus painted a gold map on Ares' chest: one long line down the center, beginning at the hollow of Ares' throat, and ending just above the tip of his cock, shorter ones from nipple to nipple, then down again. With Ares gleaming, he bent and traced the first honeyed strip with his tongue, lapping up the honey with long, broad licks, like a tabby on a window sill leisurely cleaning its fur. The only difference was the responsive body being cleaned. For every new contact between the wet tongue and his sticky flesh, Ares' hips jerked, and his thick cock hit Autolycus' in a rhythm just east of orgasmic.

When the longer line ended, he briefly tongued the head of Ares' cock. A bestial moan, and another upward thrust. He expected Ares to order him to suck it, but Ares maintained a frustrating silence. The guy had to be getting desperate, just couldn't admit it. Not yet, anyway. "I'm not going to touch your cock until you beg me. I'm not going to suck you or fuck you until you tell me that you want it."

In response, Ares made a sound like Cerberus captured by Hercules, a noise somewhere between a snarl and a howl. His eyes turned blacker than earth in a freshly-dug grave as he strained against the bonds, while the bed creaked ominously. What would happen if he got free? Kill him, probably. No witnesses that way, no one to blab about the war god's newly-acquired taste for cock.

Fortunately, there was a fairly easy solution: make Ares so hot for him that Autolycus' death would be a punishment. Autolycus set eagerly to the task, bending his head to take one sweetened nipple in his mouth, flicking his tongue back and forth over the hard tip. At the same time, he moved one hand down Ares' body to rub the end of his thumb along the tender, moist skin at the juncture between thigh and groin, deliberately, torturously, avoiding cock and balls. Next, he trailed his fingers back up, over the curve of one hip, along Ares' side, testing for ticklish spots. When Ares tensed, Autolycus lightly scratched the sensitive skin, then bit a taut nipple.

Ares' head went back, and Autolycus bit him again, sinking his teeth into Ares' exposed throat. He did it hard, staining the unbroken skin with a rush of blood under the surface, then smeared honey on the near-wound. Ares groaned, and groaned again as he licked it off. When Autolycus rubbed more of it onto Ares' nipples, Ares began to pant, his hips rising and falling. Hell, even if Ares did skewer him on a pike and plant him in Tartarus, it was worth it. When Ares said a near-word, Autolycus sat up, letting his eyes wander over the tangled curls, across the bruised throat, over the reddened nipples, down to the leaking cock, and finally back up to the dark eyes. It took him a minute to recover. "You say something?"

Ares stared back, angry, horny, and unbelievably beautiful. And quiet.

"I guess you need more encouragement." He took Ares' cock in one hand, while scooping out a mass of honey with the other, before letting it trickle onto the swollen skin. With the tip of a finger, he followed the path of one heavy drop. "I could do that with my tongue," he added thoughtfully. "All you have to do is ask." As added incentive, he bent down until his mouth rested a warm breath from the engorged head.

"You son of a bitch."

"Not nice. Dangerous, too, since I'm the one with the power."

More Cerberus sounds.

"You're completely under my control." Pushing Ares' thighs apart, Autolycus caressed the warm, ridged skin of Ares' balls. "I'd like to suck them. One, then the other, while I'm jerking you off." The image was too inviting, and he wriggled down, mouth opening in anticipation. As he explored the heavy sac with his tongue, his fingers closed around the base of Ares' cock for a few quick strokes, before pulling back at the loud gasp. "Just say the word."

If Ares didn't start begging soon, Autolycus reasoned, there would be trouble, because he could barely speak. He wanted--no, needed--to fuck Ares, feel that tight ass wrapped around his cock. That could only happen if he sucked Ares first, sucked him until he was right on the verge of orgasm, then stopped, and Ares, crazy with lust--

"Suck me."

The pressure building in his balls nearly erupted at the growled words. Delirious with need, Autolycus again grasped Ares' cock at its lowest point before guiding it past his lips. He tasted honey and underneath that the salty-musky taste of Ares. Fighting the temptation to force an orgasm from Ares just to taste more of him, Autolycus kept his movements slow, enough to make liquid ooze from the head and Ares moan. Still licking, he caught some honey on the end of one finger, and spreading Ares' thighs wider, smeared it on the line of skin under Ares' balls, inching lower and lower. Ares tensed when the tip of Autolycus' finger nearly penetrated him, relaxing only when Autolycus sucked harder. A few seconds later, Autolycus tried again, distracting Ares by lightly scraping his teeth against the end of his cock. Muscles closed tight around him, and Ares struggled to get away. He kept sucking, using his free hand to hold him still before pushing his finger deeper.

When he started fucking Ares with his finger, and the sounds from Ares changed. A low, keening moan filled the room, and Autolycus could feel the increased flow of blood to the cock in his mouth. He added another finger, and this time Ares let him, and thrust back. With a last lick, Autolycus rose to his knees. "I want to fuck you. You can kill me tomorrow, or when you get your godhood back, but I'm going to do it."

Ares opened his mouth, and Autolycus listened for the protests, the rejection, the hysterical protests of heterosexuality. Instead, he said, "Try."

Not sure if that was an invitation or a challenge, and not sure he cared, Autolycus coated his cock with the last of the honey. His hand shaking, he positioned himself against Ares' honey-slick ass and stayed there, rubbing the head of his cock against him, teasing, never quite entering, with Ares glaring and flushed under him. Finally, so ready he ached with it, he start to push. Ares shook and moaned every time Autolycus stretched his ass with a short, barely-controlled thrust. To raise the stakes, Autolycus grabbed Ares' cock, which felt alive, almost vibrating in his hand.

Another thrust, another slow pull of Ares' cock, then Autolycus was fully inside him, balls pressed against the smooth ass. He waited, savoring the moment. He was inside Ares. His cock was up Ares' ass. He was master of the universe, and he wanted confirmation. "Tell me you want it."

"Fuck you," Ares gasped.

A double stroke, one long, deep one into Ares, matched by a smooth stroke of the pulsating cock. "Tell me." The wordless cry was almost enough. But not quite. "Tell me, Ares, or I'll stop fucking you."


When he heard the word, Autolycus lost it like he never had before, thrusting into Ares harder than a raging bull in mating season, until he couldn't see. Couldn't think. Couldn't breathe. What made him shout was the explosion of come in his hand, and the knowledge, however hazy, that he'd fucked the war god to orgasm.

And Ares had loved it.

Soft light danced over his eyelids, poked through his lashes, and Autolycus awoke, ready to face the day with a smile and a hard-on big enough to satisfy the Colossus at Rhodes. Or Ares, god of war.

Rolling over toward his lover, free hand extended to capture Ares' cock, Autolycus found himself groping air. He squinted in the dusty morning glow. No Ares. Only crystallized smears of honey and semen on the still-warm sheet to confirm the night's activities. Hurrying to cure his bad case of wounded ego, Autolycus fed himself a heaping dose of rationale: Ares was obviously out taking a leak, not avoiding him. The god of war, even in mortal form, didn't run from anything, not even his first man-to-man fuck. A quick look around confirmed it. While the pants were gone, the cloak, vest and boots still lay in a fairly regular trail from the door to the bed. Memories of last night took over. His cock in Ares' mouth. His cock in Ares' ass. The sex had been worth the worry of setting it all up.

After all, he'd been planning this since the Porkules fiasco...

As a thief, Autolycus worshipped Hermes, patron god of the light-fingered. He never paid much attention to the other Olympians until he started hanging around with Xena and the others. Then Ares' name kept coming up. They blamed him for every little thing that went wrong, until it became a running joke. The tariff into Athens went up a dinar, and it was Ares' fault. Iolaus couldn't score with the cobbler's daughter, and it was Ares' fault. Gabrielle burned the fish, and it was Ares' fault. Argo got the runs, and it was Ares' fault.

The accusations got sillier and more cruel, until Ares' intelligence, usefulness, and even cock-size were fair game. Autolycus, who'd always avoided the dark shrines dedicated to Ares or the occasional statue in a market place, imagined him based on their talk as Charybdis' ugly cousin, about as appealing as a Gorgon, with the brains of a rotten turnip and a personality to match. So when Autolycus had literally dropped Ares' temple one day to steal back Artemis' bow and saw in the studly, leather-clad figure arguing with Discord, he was momentarily confused, wondering how come he'd never heard of the god of Conspicuous Bulges. In disbelief, he soon realized that this walking erotic fantasy was Ares, god of war, butt of more jokes than the Trojans the day after Odysseus' equine surprise.

When Ares turned, fixing him with a gaze hotter than the flaming stream of Phlegethon, Autolycus said nothing, just stared back. How come no one had mentioned that made-for-kissing mouth? Those heavy-lidded, fuck-me eyes? The body with muscles where Herc only wished he had muscles? Were they all blind? When his cock leapt up in an appreciative salute, Autolycus figured he'd better start talking before his penis did, and a flood of one-liners poured out. To his surprise, he saw a flicker of amusement before Discord broke the spell with a well-aimed blast and Autolycus dropped with bone-jarring rapidity to the temple floor. Even then, he'd expected Ares to rip his heart out and eat it for breakfast. It didn't happen.

Fireballs flew and threats were uttered, but Ares kept passing up opportunities for brutal murder. From Autolycus' position, it looked almost like the war god deliberately overplayed his role, posturing and threatening, but never seriously hurting anyone. Like he knew how the others saw him and gave them an appropriate show, all bluster and lightening, so their lives would have meaning. A proper forum for good versus evil, with the world nicely ordered, just the way Zeus intended and people appreciated.

How else to explain the whole business with Ares and the befowled Discord, the way he clutched the black chicken- goddess to his chest, chin held suspiciously high before he disappeared? After all, when he showed up soon after, still cradling the chicken to his muscular chest, the terrible retribution he inflicted on Autolycus was...being chained naked to Iolaus? Not that Blondie acknowledged this. No, he just carried on about wicked Ares this, cruel Ares that, ranting about the poor villagers who became chicken-feed. Autolycus, though, secretly found the whole thing funny (admittedly more so after the fact). Curious, he did a little checking and discovered that no one had actually been hurt during Discord's mad, hennish rampage. The soft, springy ground had protected everyone seemingly trampled under her giant clawed toes, while the man eaten by the giant chicken had miraculously appeared in the village a few days later, a little dazed, but none the worse for wear.

After that, Autolycus found himself thinking about Ares all the time. The usual methods of distraction didn't work, either. He'd scour the bars for big men with curly black hair, take them upstairs, and fuck them under dim light. Alone in bed, he jerked off to embarrassingly elaborate fantasies about the war god. In his masturbatory visions, when Autolycus crashed to the temple floor, Discord and Iolaus disappeared while Ares got naked, fell to his knees, and hissed, "You think you're so tough? Then show me." Or, instead of chaining him to Iolaus, Ares whisked Autolycus away to his silk-lined bedroom, tied him up, and did unspeakable things to him with a mango. Better yet, Ares appeared right before him, smiled, and asked, "Ever fuck a god, Autolycus?"

Unfortunately, Ares didn't show up, cock in hand and ready for action, so Autolycus decided to take drastic measures and grab the proverbial bull by his big horn: a clever little plan that would force Ares to spend a little quality time with him. After all, a few days in Autolycus' irresistible company would have Ares begging like a spaniel for a big, hard bone.

That was when Autolycus decided to steal Ares' sword of power.

It was the most impulsive, crazy act in a life admittedly characterized by impulsive, crazy acts, but he couldn't resist. He wanted to see Ares again, risk or no risk, even if ultimately it meant bye-bye life of sporadic luxury, hello eternal torture in Tartarus. Actually stealing the sword proved a piece of particularly tasty cake. First, a few discreet inquiries at various temples, where he found out that, after a battle, like the just-concluded blood-fest between Sparta and Athens, Ares usually headed north to Tanagra, where he'd get drunk and let a few priestesses service him for a week or two.

In two shakes of a hard cock, Autolycus hooked up with an olive merchant making a rush delivery to the city. No horse for him--too much commitment. As the cart bounced over the bumpy road, Autolycus imagined Ares pounding into him. Bump, thrust. Bump, thrust. By mid-afternoon, when the driver deposited him in the bustling Tanagra market place, Autolycus' ass throbbed from the rough wood bench, but he gamely rubbed his bruised cheeks and headed down the main street for the black temple squatting to the south. As he neared the god's shrine, the road ended abruptly, replaced by a wide, marble-tiled courtyard that led directly to the shrine's gleaming brass doors. The last strip of road before the courtyard began was flanked by two taverns.

He chose the one with an empty seat tucked safely under a green awning. Perfect, he thought, sitting down, the brick wall warm against his back. Not only did the inn have a sexy name, but the chalked menu beside the door listed very competitive prices. He ordered a flagon, keeping his face turned away from the waiter and toward the temple. What was with the tavern name, anyway? The Blown God? Who in Tartarus called a bar The Blown God? Oops. Make that The Brown Goat. Still, better that than the Slaughtered Lamb across the street.

The beer arrived, thick and foamy, and he scoped out the temple while greedily tonguing the drops that clung stubbornly to his mustache. So, how to get in unseen? An exuberant discussion at the next table interrupted his planning.

"Get a load of that one," a leering farmer said to his companion, pointing a stubby finger at a curvy brunette sashaying across the courtyard. "Ares must be back. Every priestess from here to Cythera will be coming to town."

The other man's grey head bobbed enthusiastically under the blue cap. "Great jugs on her. That war god can pick ‘em. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall there tonight?"

"I hear you. Too bad it's a private party for him and the ladies only. You think someone who looked like him could give the rest of us a break. I'd pay good dinars to see Ares stick it to that one there." This time he jerked his chin toward a buxom redhead held together by a swathe of green cloth.

An idea snaked out and bit Autolycus. He jumped to his feet, his coin hitting the table's wooden surface like an exclamation. Mentally patting his own back, he sauntered back to the market square, scanning the stalls through the noisy herd of villagers. A burst of rosy flowers against a mauve background caught his eye over the baby-clad shoulder of a haggling matron.

"You have this in a large size?" he asked the yawning merchant, holding the dress against his body, making sure to keep his face averted.

"Yup." Without a flicker of surprise, the man rooted through the pile of dresses behind him, triumphantly extending the colorful outfit. "Five dinars."

"I'll give you eight if you throw in the blue shawl, that ratty blue blanket, and that sparkly brooch."


The ease of the exchange had Autolycus wondering if Tanagra had a high percentage of transvestites, or this little man was just unusually open-minded. Either way, surely a sign of favor from Hermes. His cock gave a little twitch of victory before he moved to a fruit stand, carefully selecting two unripe melons and several juicy apples. Minutes later, armed with his packages fitted into his pack, he ducked into the narrow alley between the tavern and bakery next door, heading back to the stables. A room at the inn would be more convenient, but the less people who saw him, the better, especially when Ares or one of his minions started asking questions about suspicious strangers.

Stepping carefully, Autolycus made his way to an empty stall in a far corner, dropping his bag in a straw-strewn corner. A horse whinnied in the next stall, poking its head over the wooden divider to watch him with liquid eyes. It accepted the apple he offered, munching with obvious relish, while Autolycus pulled a few more items from his bag, laying them neatly atop a few stacked bales of hay. "They don't feed you much, do they, guy?" Autolycus asked, removing his shirt and pants before unrolling his thieving kit. While the horse looked on with interest, he chose a piece of wire long as his forearm, before ripping the blanket into long, skinny strips.

The usual pre-robbery buzz set in, heightening Autolycus' perception and hardening his cock. Nothing like a challenge. His hands moved with quick precision as he bent the end of wire to form a hook, then threaded in a strip of cloth. The free end of the wire slid easily into the melon, and he pushed it deeper until the strip's two ends dangled from either side of the fruit.

"Don't look," Autolycus told the curious horse. "You wouldn't understand." Tucking the melon under his chin, he tied the ends of the strip behind his back, gradually letting the fruit fall into place on his chest. "It's a human thing. Well, a kinky human thing." Finally, he secured the makeshift breast by looping a fresh strip under the melon, then tying it around his neck. The animal peered on with interest. "It's not as weird as it looks. You see, I want to fuck a god," he said, repeating the entire process with the second melon. "So I'm going to steal the sword that gives him his power. And when he discovers it's missing, who better to help recover it than the King of Thieves?"

The horse snorted and shook its black mane.

"You want to know about the drag part? Look, it's pretty simple." The second melon in place, he used the last strip to bind his half-hard cock against his right thigh, then gently pulled the brightly-colored dress over his head, careful not to dislodge his new appendages. The voluminous folds fell with a silky whisper to his ankles. "Ares is only letting women into his temple. So I need to be a woman." A yelp followed as he accidentally jabbed himself with the brooch before fixing it above his right ‘breast'. "Perfect. Now for the finishing touch." He wrapped the shawl over his head, holding the lower part over his mustache. "There! Just call me Autolyca. So how do I look?"

With a faint, mournful neigh, the animal turned away.

"Yeah, I know Aphrodite won't lose any sleep, but it's not supposed to be pretty. If anyone sees me, they'll remember the tacky dress and jewelry, nothing else. Trick of the trade, my equine friend. And the prize is worth a little temporary homeliness." His cock nodded in agreement. The horse seemed more skeptical.

Repacking carefully, Autolycus kept out another apple, then walked into the next stall. "Now that we know so much about each other, you won't mind looking after this for me, will you?" The horse took the second apple and let Autolycus step past him. He hid his pack in the space beneath the animal's manger, then patted the thin flank. "Good boy."

With a swaying walk copied from his ex-wife Luscious, Autolycus wiggled his way from the stable toward Ares' temple. Behind him, the horse snickered, while stars crept out overhead as the sun burned out, leaving the air a rich, dark purple. "Don't know it, Horse. You'll be begging to see me when I take this act on the road. You'll see. Men will love me everywhere, give me furs and diamonds, big expensive diamonds, if Autolyuca will only reward them with her favors."

As he rounded the corner, returning to the main street, Autolycus glanced under the tavern's awning. Fortunately for his ego, the two farmers had retreated, lured inside by a heated game of dice. Even from the lip of the courtyard, he could hear excited shouts and the clank of pewter tankards on tabletops. The second his foot touched the first smooth white tile, all sound stopped. He withdrew it, and the night turned noisy again, louder than before, filled with sounds Autolycus usually ignored. Birds screeched over the thunderous rumble of wagons in the high street, dogs howled while men laughed raucously, and behind it all, the wind shrieked. When he stepped forward again--perfect silence.

"Weird," he muttered. Not that weird mattered. He'd seen plenty of weird in his time. But the sound on/sound off business was a shiver-inducing reminder that, sense of humor or not, Ares wouldn't appreciate someone dicking with his power source. Autolycus pulled his foot back again then paused, dangling it in mid-air like a girl playing hopscotch, while he quickly ran through his options. Stay, steal the sword and maybe fuck Ares. Leave, go to a bar, and pick up some poor sap who wanted to squeeze his melons. While the second option had its appeal, it couldn't compete with the image of a naked war god riding Autolycus' cock.

His foot hit the ground with such force that he nearly dislodged his breasts. Then, chin up and shawl artfully arranged to cover his mustache, Autolycus wiggled his way across the courtyard and up the temple steps. The doors opened easily, and sound returned, filtered through the spicy smells of incense, wine and sex. His cock stiffened in response, straining at the strip of fabric holding it down, even as the tiny, rational part of his brain thankfully acknowledged that, with the party apparently in full swing, no one would notice a frumpy matron scurrying around. Ever-diligent, his cock had other ideas, and kept flashing pictures of a naked, sweaty war god before his eyes.

Struggling to breathe evenly, Autolycus turned down the hallway, following the noises. One in particular, a deep, wolfish growl, danced along his spine and drowned out the squeals and squeaks. It tugged him forward, right up to the doorway, where he paused, cheek resting against the marble frame, and peered into the chamber. His over- excited cock was leaking expectantly, and he humped the door frame, trying to relieve the pressure, eyes never leaving the spectacle before him.

Without their clothes, most people look ordinary. Shoulders shrunk, bellies expanded, skin creased, bulged and folded. Ares, though, defied natural law and looked even better, all smooth, gleaming planes and soft, black hair, as he lay spread-eagled on an enormous bed. And his cock...Autolycus bit down on a knuckle to stifle the moan. Three closed fists couldn't cover it that cock. The priestesses were doing their best to compensate, licking and sucking what their hands left bare.

Autolycus groped himself, while his tongue went out to lick the frame's cool marble. He could only imagine what he looked like, fondling himself through this flowered dress while he tongued a door frame. Did it really matter, with Ares' big thighs spreading wider over the red silk, as Ares got ready to come? The dark head went back, while his fists clenched, and the full lips parted. Every muscle in his big body tightened, before he arched, wrenching his cock from the girls' tentative hold, and sprayed his semen all over them.

"Don't be afraid, dear. Just go on in."

Nearly fucking the door frame, swaying with lust, Autolycus jumped at the soft female voice behind him. If he didn't get a grip, he'd blow his cover, not to mention his load. "Yes, thanks. A little nervous," he simpered, but the woman had already passed him, shedding clothes as she joined the others on the bed.

The orgy had started again, and Autolycus decided that surviving this night meant no more staring at Ares' hard, sweating flesh. With a concerted effort, he located Ares' sword, but that took only a few seconds: it hung, sheathed, from one of the bedposts. Then he gave up, and stared with unabashed eagerness, even as he slipped into the smoky room, grabbing a bottle of wine from the dozens scattered about. His eyes didn't stray from the bed even when he settled on the floor in the shadow of a great stone altar.

On the ground, leaning back against the heavy stone base, Autolycus put the bottle between his thighs and jerked off the green neck, cursing whichever god invented lust and reduced him to a transvestite voyeur with a bottle fetish. At least, he consoled himself, no one was paying attention: all eyes, hands and mouths were focused on Ares. Still tightly clutching the bottle, he hunted for fragments of Ares from his low vantage point through the swaying forest of smooth, feminine limbs.

A rough elbow. A curved hip. A handful of dark curls.

Eventually, it became a contest. For every glimpse of god, he tugged a little at the cork. If it popped before Ares did, Autolycus got a drink. Autolycus was winning, too. A few god-bits and he'd be gulping down what smelled like a very good vintage. The problem? At this point, hornier than a herd of water buffalo, Autolycus was ready to sit on the bottle, let alone drink from it. He shifted on the smooth marble, trying to ease the pressure, and with his free hand touched leather. Confused, he picked it up, staring at the shiny black fabric before the truth hit him. Ares' pants. He was holding Ares' pants. Don't smell them, Autolycus told himself, even as he brought them to his nose, fingers on his left hand tightening around the bottle neck.

The first deep sniff brought waves of musk so rich it was like having his face in Ares' groin. Autolycus breathed in so deeply the second time, straining to catch it all, that he hit his head against the scrolled ledge of the altar's overhanging top. Jerking with surprise, he struck the cork hard with his thumb, dislodging it, and sloshed warm red wine between his legs. It soaked the thin fabric, licking his thighs, then his cock. It was too much, and Autolycus collapsed back against the altar. The cliche's accuracy startled him--he'd had some good orgasms, but never a blackout--til he realized through the heavy smell of leathery god-cock that Ares' pants now completely covered his face.

Autolycus staggered to his feet, wine and come dripping wetly down his legs. Even he had limits, and he'd shot past them all awhile ago. Nothing was worth this. Nothing, except that incredible picture. Foolishly glancing at the bed from this better vantage point, he saw the long, hard body covered in sweat, that massive cock pointing to the ceiling, purple and swollen with blood. A low moan vibrated in the thick air. To Autolycus' infatuated ears, it sounded like the first syllable of his name; Ares, so close to orgasm, simply couldn't crank out the rest. With a little shudder of renewed lust, Autolycus sank back down.

For the next few hours, he fantasized about the different positions he'd bend Ares into. He had Ares hanging upside down from a swing when the soft, warm sounds of sleep finally replaced the moaning and panting from the bed. Time for action. Stretching his cramped limbs, Autolycus crept quietly to the bed, and the sword dangling from it. He froze when a drunken priestess snorted, but she only rolled over, snuggling closer against Ares' side. Ares himself seemed out cold, on his back, eyes closed, body still gleaming with sweat, cock still semi-hard. Autolycus paused for a long, dangerous minute to stare and breathe in the musky scent he'd learned from the pants. Fresh off the real thing, the smell seemed thicker, creamier. Realizing his head was lowering, and that he was within seconds of blowing Ares, Autolycus pinched himself, then reached for the sword.

That was when Ares opened his eyes. Sleepily, he asked, "Who are you?"

"Just another worshiper, your Divine Studliness," he said, trying to suppress the quaking. "You can call me Autolyca."

Ares grunted, then rolled onto his side, his eyes closing.

Good. If he remembered anything in the morning, which was doubtful, it would only be a voyeuristic broad in a very loud dress. He hoped. Then Autolycus grabbed the sword, and split.

No one stopped him as he left the temple and hurried back to the stables, easily picking the lock. "Victory," he told the horse, who clambered to his feet and nuzzled his side, obviously searching for more apples. "An animal after my own heart. Don't worry, big guy. Soon you'll be getting all the apples you want." He stripped, then tucked everything back into his pack. "Say goodbye to Autolyca." When the horse tried to pick his pocket a second time, he found the last apple. While he munched contentedly, Autolycus liberated a saddle, strapping it onto the animal's back, before securing his pack there. "Good horsie." He put one leg in the stirrup, swinging the other across. "Now let's go." With his knees, he guided the animal into the black night.

By dawn, no trace remained in Tanagra of a melon-breasted thief, a hungry horse, and a sword of power. Instead, all three were firmly ensconced in Megara: Autolycus, in a feather-soft bed at his favorite; his horse, the newly- named Promy, in an apple-filled stall in a warm stable; and the sword, in a cloth at the bottom of a saddle bag.

The remaining pieces fell perfectly into place. Autolycus awoke, went to the market place, and pretended to spy on some merchants while he waited, heart pounding, for a certain god of war to come begging for his help.

He didn't wait long.

So here he was, a few days later, lying on semen-stained sheets and waiting for Ares' return. They'd finally done it last night, and it had been fantastic, worth every minute of anxiety. And this was only the start. After all, Ares didn't know he had the sword. He thought Rixos had it, and he'd never find out differently, so when they reached Pylos, Autolycus would slip the sword into Rixos' hiding place.

Linking his hands together behind his back, Autolycus smiled with satisfaction. He had a few days left before they reached the town, and he intended to enjoy them. His cock twitched in anticipation. Yes, this was going to be good. Ares had loved every second of last night, and he'd doubtless be eager for more. Who could resist the Auto-lure? The thick luxurious mustache, the silky dark hair, the hard body strong and firm from scaling walls? Maybe they'd spend the whole day in bed, just sucking each other's cocks. When the door knob turned a few second later, he adjusted the smile for maximum fuck-me appeal. "I've been waiting--"

"Still in bed? Get a move on, Autolycus. We'll never get to Pylos at this rate."

"Hold your horses there, big guy." He lowered the sheet suggestively. "I thought we could--"

"Get off your ass and let's go. We'll never get my sword back at this rate. I'm going downstairs to load the horse. If you're not there in ten minutes, I'm leaving without you." The door clanged shut behind him.

"Ha ha," he said weakly, and waited for the door to reopen.

It didn't.

So Ares wasn't a morning person. Big surprise. And that's all the rejection meant, right? Feed the guy his bowl of oat grain, get him some juice, then see how resistible Ares found--


The shout vibrated through the walls. "Keep your pants on," he mumbled, crawling out of bed on wobbly legs. "For now, at least."

By the time Autolycus got to the stables, Ares was standing beside Promy, impatiently tapping one foot against earth turning black and muddy under steady drizzle from a pigeon-colored sky.

"What were you doing?" Scowl. "Robbing the innkeeper?" Snarl. "Maybe a few guests?" Sneer.

"Hey, I had to pay the guy. I do that sometimes. It's--"

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Get on the horse and let's go."

"Here, eat this." Autolycus tossed him a bunch of grapes and a round loaf of bread. "Maybe it'll improve your mood," he added under his breath, reaching for Promy's reigns. If Ares was walking, so was he. Probably thought only girls rode, anyway. He should just give Ares his stupid sword back and retire to some Hestian retreat for the terminally unsatisfied. Maybe write a hundred times on a piece of slate, "I will not go to elaborate lengths to sleep with the hottest stud in Olympus."

Or maybe he should go straight to the source of these feelings, that winged menace to society, Cupid. This whole disaster had to come from a misdirected arrow because Autolycus wasn't in the habit of putting his head, cock or any other thudding part of his anatomy on the line for anyone. It was all a horrible mistake, and he'd pluck out those white feathers one by one as payback. Of course, then Ares would probably come after him for putting the hurt on his kid, and they'd be right back where they started from. Which, Autolycus admitted, sneaking a glance at the big, muscular body striding along a few paces ahead, wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Gods, he was hopeless.

They walked in silence down a gravelly road that crunched under their feet, thunder growling in the distance. Autolycus lasted until they passed the city gates, then he tried again. "I figure we should head northwest to Decelea."

"Fine." He'd pulled up his hood against the rain, and Autolycus could only see his mouth and bearded chin.

Hard to believe he'd been kissing that mouth last night. Maybe Ares was suffering from some kind of temporary amnesia, some kind of post-Auto trauma, and needed a gentle reminder. "So, about last night--"

"Nothing to talk about last night. We went to the temple. I checked out my offerings, then we went back to the inn. We slept, and now we're here."

Wordlessly, Autolycus shook his head. Was Ares embarrassed about last night? Had to be it. Ares might be a big stud, but he had some weird ideas about masculinity, a legacy from his pussy-happy father. "Look, Ares, there's no need to get all repressed--"

"You know, half the time I never know what you're talking about. Now walk faster or we'll never get there."

He could be offended by this. What was up with this guy? He'd loved last night. Hadn't he? Last night had actually happened, hadn't it? He wasn't actually losing his marbles, was he? Maybe he'd slipped into some alternate universe where the world just didn't make sense. It was all very worrying, and Autolycus decided to comfort himself with visions of Ares from last night, with his cock was buried dark and deep as Hades up Ares' tight, hot ass. Okay, don't go there, he thought, as his cock twitched. Unless...

The plan sprang like Athena from Zeus' thigh, fully formed and extremely phallic. All he needed was some more rain and a little luck. "Hey Ares," he said. "I know this shortcut..."

"Some shortcut," Ares said. His cloak, drenched with rain, hung in tight, heavy folds, and he shook his head like a wet dog.

Woof. Hard to feel guilty when Ares looked so good. Autolycus adopted his concerned face, one he reserved for gullible merchants and drowned war gods. "Sorry. How was I supposed to know the rain would wash the bridge out?" He shrugged and wiped away the drops collecting on his lashes to stare with dramatic false bewilderment at the waves snapping at the bridge's stony pillars and over the worn planks. "The good news is I think I saw a cave back there. We can spend the night there and figure out where to go in the morning." No need to fake the shiver, not with the wind hissing around him.

"A cave?"

Did he sound suspicious? Autolycus squinted at Ares through the downpour. "Yeah, a cave. I saw it through the trees. A thief's got to have good eyes." And a few secret hideaways, perfectly equipped for a few days' refuge or a godly seduction. Both, if he was lucky.

"If you need to get warm, we can go in."

About to walk off, Autolycus glanced over his shoulder. "You know, Ares, it wouldn't kill you to show some human emotion. You can't be any warmer than I am."

"I'm fine."

"I suppose you're not hungry, either."

"Does it matter? Unless you've got some food stashed inside." Ares nudged Autolycus' pack.

"No touching! I mean, you might break something. My tools are in there." Right next to Ares' sword. "Let's just go, okay? I'm freezing." He guided Promy carefully back into the thicket, sticking close to the cliff mostly obscured by tall pines. The mud squelched under his feet and into his boots, but he pretended to be unsure of the cave's exact location, wandering just to the north until Ares pointed to the entrance, mostly hidden behind a tangle of ivy.

Promy accepted another apple while Autolycus unstrapped his pack. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do." He patted a strong flank. He walked slowly in the dark. "Can't be too careful." Especially when he'd set up a trip-wire set to trigger an avalanche to keep out any intruders. A few feet in, Autolycus felt the pressure just under his knees and stopped, reaching back with his hand outstretched so Ares wouldn't crash into him. "Got something in my boot," he lied, and bent down, unhooking the wire. "There we go."

He turned left, counting out his steps, and followed the tunnel downward until it opened into a warm dry grotto that smelled of smoke and candlewax. Ducking inside, Autolycus dropped his pack then removed a piece of flint from the small pouch at his belt and struck it against the rough stone doorway. A few sparks flared, before catching the handful of straw stuffed into a torch on the wall. He used the new flame to light other torches around the room, illuminating a bedframe with pillows and folded blankets stacked neatly on a rolled pallet, a locked chest, and a square table with two chairs beneath a shelf loaded with bottles of wine, a few glasses and clay pots.

"You know, Autolycus, I get the feeling you've been here before."

"I might have used this place a time or two. Years ago. I'd forgotten all about it. Get the bed ready, will you? I'll get us some food." Autolycus went for the wine first. It was rich and red, and warmed him to his toes. To wiggle them better, he kicked off his boots, then poured a second glass and grabbed some dried figs from one of the jars. Then he walked across the clean smooth floor to Ares, who had dropped his cloak and vest on the back of a chair. "Try this. It's not spiced, but it's pretty damn good." He followed suit and removed his sopping shirt.

"I could use a place like this." Ares took the glass, sat on the mattress' edge and looked around, the figs piled in his lap. "Not much privacy on Olympus."

"Anytime you want to use it..." A lewd afterthought popped into his mind that dissolved as he considered why Ares might need time alone. Everyone knew that Zeus gave Ares grief over the whole war-god deal, and that liked Herc better. "Your old man gets on your case sometimes, huh?"

Ares kicked off his boots and leaned back into the pillows. "Nothing I can't handle."

"Right." Autolycus went back for the bottle, then settled down beside him, the pillows soft and warm against his naked back. "Then why do you need a hideaway?"

"Why do you?"

"I'm a thief. Sometimes I need to stash the loot and lay low."

"And that's the only reason you'd use a place like this?"

Autolycus guzzled more wine, which spread its delicious heat through his chilled bones. "Maybe to get away sometime. Think stuff through. Remind myself that I'm the greatest, no matter what people say or do." Carefully, Autolycus reached into Ares' lap and snagged a fig. "I hear a lot of ‘Stealing is bad, stealing is wrong,' and sometimes it gets to me. I mean, I wasn't born in a cave, even if I like to hang out in them sometimes. I know it's bad, but it also balances things out, you know? I don't steal from little old ladies or orphans, just fat cats with lots of spare cash." He was panting at the end.

"Balance," Ares repeated. "That's what it's about. How come no one else understands that?"

"It's easier if they blame us for all the crap in the world." Autolycus bit into his sweet, sticky fig, then licked his fingers and remembered why he was here. "Mind if I take these off? They're kind of damp."

"Good idea."

Glasses on the floor, they both peeled off their pants, then dropped back onto the pallet. Autolycus grabbed a blanket, tossing it onto both of them, and wiggled his chilled rear against the wool. "Better. You know what I could go for right now?"

Ares turned to him, his hair drying in tight curls, his lips curved into a fuck-me smile. "Yeah, I know."

"Tell me."

"A beautiful woman to fuck. Like that blonde who sold us the beer. The one with the tits and the jealous husband. She was hot."

"Theia?" Okay, what was going on here? Did he dream last night? Autolycus thought back, shivering over all the dirty details. Definitely real. So what was this crap about Theia? What about Autolycus, he of the talented mouth, cock and fingers? Ares must regret it, that's all. Why else the denial? If he forced the issue, said, "Hey, big boy, remember what happened at the temple, then in our room, when we did each other all night?", Ares would splatter him, or worse, tell Autolycus that he'd misread the whole thing, right before splattering him. Although how he could misinterpret Ares begging for a blowjob? It's like they spoke two different languages. "Theia was okay," he said. "If you like that type."

"A hot mouth would feel great right now." Ares stroked his own thigh over the blanket.

"I'd settle for a hot hand." Autolycus did some self-groping of his own. As they shifted, the blanket sank lower, and Autolycus saw the swollen head of Ares' cock poking out. Was this some kind of punishment? Torture? The Fates putting the squeeze on him at last? Time to tempt them. "Say, Ares..."


"I was just thinking. You got any jerk-off tips for me? As a god, you must have centuries of practice."

"I have my own technique."

"Well, in the interest of furthering the joys of chicken-choking, why not show me what you do?" He held his breath, wondering how his intestines would look on the cave wall. "Man to man."

Ares threw back the blanket, exposing them both. "Man to man. Sure." He spread his thighs wider and formed a ring with his thumb and index finger. "Just stroke the head for awhile, like this," he said, fucking the hole. "Don't do the shaft, and don't do it too fast."

"Not too fast," Autolycus repeated, and prayed he wouldn't come just watching. "Feels good." They stroked themselves for awhile, their cocks turning thick and purple with blood. "You know, I've got some stuff in my pack that'll make it even better. It's this mixture I use for oiling locks. It's just olive oil and a few other things. Works great as lube."

"You ever leave anything to chance?"

"Chance is a crazy chick with some dice and a wheel. Safer to be prepared for anything. You know what it's like. You've got to be a planner. Or do you just fight for the sake of fighting, no plans, just action?"

"What do you think?"

"That you don't go out of your way to stop people from believing you're a mindless killer."

"Why would I do that?"

"If I tell you, you have to promise not to decorate the cave with my body parts."

"No point promising if I'm a mindless killer."

"The thing is, I don't think you are. You talk the talk, and sure, you kill on the battlefield. But you let people think you've got no limits because, well, because it's easier."

"Are you saying I'm afraid?"

"No! Not exactly. It's just that this way, they have no expectations. So you can't disappoint them. I know because I do it, too."

A pause, then they both started talking at the same time.

"Look, I'll just get the lube." Autolycus tried not to run, which wasn't hard, given the size and throbbing weight of his erection. Seconds later, he was back on the bed, dribbling pear-scented oil onto Ares' cock, then his own. "That's better." He fixed his gaze on Ares' gleaming cock. "Much better. How about I show you my favorite technique?"

"You don't think I have good technique?"

"No, it's not that. But you're a god, right? You get lonely, there's always some pretty little thing around who'd love to blow you. Down here in reality, some nights your hand's all you get."

"Fair enough," Ares said. "Give me what you got."

A gulp, then Autolycus regained control. "You just move your thumb in a circle around the head. Can't hit the slit, though. And it's got to be...No, that's not right." He sighed heavily. "Look, just between us guys, can I show you how it's done? Position things for you, so you'll do it right."

"A guy thing."

"Yeah, a guy thing." He aimed for Hestian innocence. "It's what we do when you gods are off ordering the universe. We share jerk-off techniques and sometimes help each other out. Guess you miss out a lot being a god. Or maybe you just think you're too good to do what we regular guys do."

"I can respect guys helping each other out. We do that on the battlefield."

"So it's okay?" Ares might be mortal, but the guy was strong. He didn't want to put his hand on Ares' cock and have it ripped off. Besides, these slow steps made his cock harder than Hephaestus' anvil. The thing is, he'd already had his hand on Ares' cock. And his mouth. It was all very puzzling, and if his dick wasn't leading him around like a trained dog, he'd be more than a little worried.

"Why not?" And Ares reached over and took Autolycus' cock in his big hand.

Gasping, Autolycus went limp everywhere but between his legs. Eventually he remembered the mutual part of this deal and closed his fingers around Ares' cock. And gasped again. "Just normal, butch male fun," he said a little too loudly.

Then the cave was quiet except for the sound of their breathing, the slap of flesh against flesh. Beside him, Ares spread his legs wider and tilted back his head, his eyes closing. That incredible mouth was a little open, kind of like a lion yawning. It gave Autolycus ideas. Not about lions, of course. About his cock in Ares' mouth. Ares' cock in his mouth. A hundred different versions of mouth and cock. "Feel good?"

Ares, still in lion-mode, only growled.

"I take it that's a yes."

"You always have to talk?"

"No. Of course not. You saying I talk a lot? I didn't realize there were laws about this. I..." He forced his lips together. Which wasn't hard, because, truth be told, his ego smarted. Not everyone was the tall, repressed silent type. Some liked communication. He was a people person, dammit, and if Ares didn't like it, he could go find someone else to jerk off his big hot cock. Next time.

"We don't do a lot of talking on Olympus."

"Is that supposed to be an apology?"


"If you don't talk, what do you guys do?"

"Yell. Throw things. Fireballs, mostly." Ares arched, his hips rising. "Faster."

Every time the top of Autolycus' closed fist hit the head of Ares' cock, liquid pulsed out, thin and silver. Instead of obeying Ares, he slowed down and rubbed his thumb in it. "You ever taste yourself?"

"I don't know. Maybe. A long time ago."

"They say that tasting it makes you stronger. Don't know if it's true or not."

"No shit?"

"Want to try?" Autolycus held up his wet thumb. "I mean, you're mortal and everything. You need all the help you can get." A twinge of guilt that disappeared when Ares opened wider and accepted the thumb. While Ares' tongue slid over his skin, Autolycus twisted toward him to jerk off Ares with his left hand. "Like it?" he asked, when Ares had cleaned him.

"Not bad."

"Feel anything?"

"You mean stronger? No."

"Guess you need more for that. Mouthfuls."

"What are you saying?"

"Just that you'd boost your strength if you had more, that's all. You know," he said. "I have an idea."

"You're full of ideas, Autolycus."

Something in the tone made him look over, but Ares seemed relaxed, in a flushed and really horny kind of way. "I could do it for you. You know. Take it in my mouth and pass it over to you. A sacrifice on my part. To help you out. Do my part for the team and all that."

"For the team."

Was that sarcasm? Hard to tell with the guy sometimes, without the grin as compass. Ares might not be a big fan of Herc's, but he and his brother shared at least one thing in common, in their ability to look somewhere between innocent and depraved at once. Two things, actually, he thought, glancing down at Ares' big swollen cock, if Iolaus' stories were anything to go by. "You can always do it for me, too. Even things out, you know? And it's good strategy to have us both extra-strong. Just in case. You never know who's out there." He got up and kneeled at the edge of the cot while Ares moved closer, placing a leg on either side of him. "For the team," Autolycus echoed, and swallowed Ares' cock, tasting pears, and under that, Ares. He stifled the moan.

"I didn't know that cock-sucking was an Olympic event." But Ares gasped when he said it, the words trailing off, so Autolycus forgave him and got busy.

Ares had a beautiful cock. In his lifetime, Autolycus had come face to face (quite literally) with dozens of them, and he'd never seen one like this, so smooth, with a huge head that stretched his jaw with just the right amount of presence. And the taste...Like baked bread with honey drizzled on it. He found himself tonguing the slit with near- obsessive fervor, jerking the shaft in long, slow sweeps to hurry more precum to the surface. Ares' thighs went rigid around him in a Pythian squeeze, his hips rising while his hand dropped hot on Autolycus' head.

"Suck it," Ares growled.

Reaching under Ares' cock, Autolycus closed his fist around Ares' balls. "For leverage," he lied, and opened wide. The leaking head bumped the roof of his mouth, then slid deeper, until the hair between Ares' legs tickled Autolycus' nose. It was a point of pride that he didn't choke, although Autolycus couldn't stop the welling tears, and blinked them away.

"Pretty impressive for a beginner."

A beginner? About to rear in offense, Autolycus remembered his cover. Not a cock-loving slut, but a one-sex kinda guy who was blowing this big juicy cock only for the potent come. Uh-huh. He decided to show Ares just how damn good this beginner was and did his best bitch-to-bone impersonation. Noisy, too, so Ares wouldn't get distracted. Judging from the sounds, the sudden sharp thrust of Ares' hips, that wasn't going to happen, not with the massive head of Ares' cock now lodged behind his spleen.

Autolycus' eyes watered, but he kept sucking, the balls in his hand rubbing back and forth across his palm. Ares was getting close, breathing with that now-familiar ragged edge, and needed only one thing to cause a torrential orgasm. Casually, Autolycus let his thumb drop from Ares' balls, angling downward. A risk, sure, to try and push it between the cheeks of that beautiful round ass. His logic: if he could steal Ares' sword of power and make him mortal, then he could fuck his ass with a finger and make him come.

Still, no sudden moves. Mortal or not, Ares could pound him flatter than a dinar. Instead, he pressed the pad of his thumb against the tight hole, squashing the memory of how Ares had begged to have it stuffed full of Auto-cock the other night; said Auto-cock was hard enough already. How would it look if he shot his load just from giving a blow job? Talk about suspicious. On the plus side, with Ares shaking violently at the extra contact, he probably wouldn't notice if Autolycus turned into a minotaur, let alone came on the floor.

Encouraged or--let's be honest--extremely horny, Autolycus pushed his thumb a little harder, never quite inside, and pulled back off Ares' cock to slurp at the head, now the rich dark color of those flowers he always saw in the temple of Apollo. It tasted how it looked, all hot and purplish, and Ares was really going wild now, humping his face, both hands on Autolycus' head, his hips thrusting convulsively. And he wasn't exactly pulling away from the thumb, actually spreading his legs even wider, like he wanted Autolycus to shove it deep.

Never one to turn down a writhing former god of war, Autolycus obliged.

Ares shouted, bucked so hard a corner of the bed edged a few inches from the cavern wall, and poured a creamy flood down Autolycus' throat. With Ares so hot and tight around him, and in him, he held onto his own orgasm only by picturing himself being attacked by a giant chicken as he raced through a freak show.

When Ares' cock finally stopped spurting, Autolycus, his mouth full and his knees wobbly, climbed onto the bed, pushed Ares onto his back, and kissed him, letting the hot come spill between Ares' lips. He did it slowly, not sure how Ares would react until he felt Ares' tongue sliding across his own, tasting him, tasting himself. His hard cock pressed into Ares' stomach as they lay there necking like teenagers, and Autolycus got that quivery, warm feeling in his gut. He gave Ares a last, come-soaked kiss, said, "Just think how strong you'll be if you get some from the source," and held his breath.

No sound except for the pounding and thundering of various internal (and external) organs. Ares' face, still flushed from his orgasm, had reverted to that borderline expression, and for a long moment they stared at each other. He knows, Autolycus thought. He knows it's a scam, and he's going to crush me like a cockroach. A blowjob's as likely as Zeus turning celibate. As Hera suggesting a menage a trois with Zeus and Io. As--

When Ares pushed him off, Autolycus closed his eyes and mumbled a prayer. "Hermes, I've served you well. Could you put in a good word with Hades? I hear Tartarus is pretty rough, and I'm a delicate guy--" The fall back onto the bed winded him, and he lay there, eyes still screwed shut, fists clenched, cursing his stupid cock for leading him on this stupid, fatal journey--

That's when he felt it, fiery and wet between his legs. On his. On his. Oh god. On his cock. Ares' mouth. Ares' tongue. He, Autolycus, King of Thieves, was getting his cock sucked by Ares, God of War. He sat up quickly, to see it in action. Ares lay on his stomach between Autolycus' trembling legs, one hand wrapped around the base of his cock, his tongue against the head. Pretty staggering technique, given the limited experience, every pressure-point massaged just right, snapping him to the edge, then a short recovery-time, then snapping him back. Through it all, Ares' hair, wild from the rain, brushed the sensitive skin high between Autolycus' thighs, sometimes his balls.

For once he kept his mouth shut, other than to gasp or moan. Really, what could he say? "Thanks"? Or, "I love you?" Not that he wanted to say that. This wasn't about love, just blowjobs. Just because he'd set up this elaborate, potentially-fatal plan over a long period of time, just because he couldn't stop thinking about Ares, just because he got this strange warm feeling in his chest--not his heart! It was his liver or spleen or something-- whenever he did think about him, but especially when Ares grinned, did not mean that he was in love with him.

Being in love with Ares would be the stupidest thing in the history of stupid things, like Polyphemus falling for Odysseus' "My name is No one" trick so Poseidon wouldn't know who'd blinded his kid, or Arachne bragging that she wove a meaner tapestry than any goddess. Stupid. Ares might have a non-psychotic side that maybe Autolycus found a little appealing, and maybe he appreciated Ares' sense of humor and his balls, the whole no- bullshit thing he had going, but it was fairly obvious that Ares only wanted his sword back. Sighing, Autolycus settled back against the wall and watched Ares lick his cock. It's not like this wasn't great, no matter why Ares did it. It's not like he felt guilty or anything, either. Guilt was for virgins and saints.

He noticed Ares watching him back and decided to focus on that mouth stuffed and stretched with his cock. Only Ares didn't look away, but kept staring as his tongue slid in spine-crunching circles just under the head. Who kept staring like that? Most people got embarrassed and looked away or closed their eyes. But not Ares. No, even after all his talk about being the pussy-king, he just lapped at Autolycus' cock and eyeballed him through it all. It made Autolycus' brain hurt. What was going on?

"Autolycus," Ares said, as he started to jerk him off with hard, deliberate strokes, "stop thinking and come." He started sucking again, hard, too.

"Okay." What else could he say? He sat straighter and dared to put his hands not on Ares' head--because he wasn't suicidal--but on his shoulders, and rode him until his muscles screamed. Then, his eyes closed just in case things showed, Autolycus collapsed back on the back, moaning loud enough to shake the walls of Hades. You had your good orgasms, and your not-bad orgasms, but nothing compared to an orgasm when the god of war sucked down your come. Autolycus quivered and shook against the mattress, and found himself hanging off the bed, his head on the floor, the lower half of his body held in place by Ares.

"You alright?"

Autolycus nodded, pulling himself back up. As he did, he couldn't help noticing that Ares' cock was hard again. Some guys had all the luck. Even mortal, the guy was a stallion. Seemed a shame to waste it, so big and red, still wet from his mouth, all ready to make some guy very, very happy...A plan swooped in on the idea's tail, and Autolycus, his body tingling all over again, yawned heavily, preparing to lie down. "What's this?" he said, picking up the discarded bottle of oil. "Oh, right." Then: "Oops!"

The cork somehow escaped from the bottle, and the contents spilled down between Autolycus' thighs, over his cock, then trickling down, getting him nice and slick. Then he moved under the covers, laying on his side with his back to Ares. "I'm beat. Let's go to sleep." As Ares joined him, he added, "It's kind of cold in here, so you'd better get close. Don't want to freeze to death." No one had ever frozen to death in Attica, even in a cave during a rain storm, but some plans called for desperate measures. Like "Operation Anal" here.

Phase one was already in operation, as Ares moved closer, pressing the length of his body along Autolycus' back. The head of his hard cock rested in the cleft of Autolycus' oiled ass, and really, all was right with the world. Except that Ares didn't move. Time for phase two. He yawned again, and pushed back into Ares' hot body. "Just butch- man sleep," he said, as Ares' arm went around him.

Okay, so phase two lacked the subtle sophistication of phase one. But, with the head of Ares' cock now firmly lodged against his slick hole, Autolycus really didn't give a damn. Instead, he wriggled around as though trying to get comfortable, smacking his lips together. "Yes, very sleepy." If sleepy meant hard as one of Sisyphus' rocks and eager to be fucked, as Ares' breath tickled his ear, his hand hot on Autolycus' hip.

Now the tricky part: how did he subtly impale himself on Ares' stiff cock? Slow and steady seemed best, so he stretched wide, arching his body, cracking a few joints. Better. No penetration, but a tight pressure that sang through to his balls. Just a little more careful maneuvering. "Itch," he muttered, and bent, sticking his ass out as he pretended to scratch his knee. The pressure increased, the first burn as his body said, "What the fuck?" before relaxing.

Behind him, almost in him, Ares stayed quiet, although his fingers gripped then released Autolycus' hip. "So you're tired," Ares said.

Was he smirking? Autolycus couldn't see, so he turned--any excuse for some movement--and got his ass nicely stretched for his trouble. When this was all over, he thought, ignoring the little twist in his gut, he'd write a scroll: "How to Get a God's Cock Up Your Ass in 101 Slow and Not So Easy Steps." In any case, Ares wasn't smirking, only staring again, with his eyes half-closed and his mouth a little open. "Are you tired?"

"I'm the god of war. I don't do tired."

"But you're mortal now." Wriggling as he turned back, Autolycus took another inch inside him. "And we walked a lot today. Plus a lot of people say rain makes them tired."

"You want me to be tired?"

"No! I want..."

"What do you want, Autolycus?"

"What do you think I want?"

"You tell me."

A quick glance again, another shift, and Ares was all the way in. Not that he'd moved a goddamn inch. If Ares' cock wasn't hard as Euclidean geometry, Autolycus might start to think he wasn't interested. "What do you want me to say?"

"You started it."

"How old are you, two?" Maybe not the brightest question to ask the god of war, but consider the circumstances.

"Why don't you just say what you want?"

"Because you want me to."

"I want you to what?"

"You are the most frustrating person I've ever met," Autolycus said, and slammed his hips back. "Can't you ever give in?"

"I did. Once."

He moved his hips forward, then back again. Good thing it felt so great, or he'd be out of here. The guy could try the patience of a Hestian--could he be more competitive? "Could you, maybe, like, move?"

"You want me to sleep somewhere else?"

"Is this payback? Is that it?"

"I don't know what you mean."

"I think you do." An extra-hard slam. "Did you say something?"

"No. You're the talker here."

"So you're saying you want me to say something?"

"I didn't say that. But if you want to..."

Autolycus refused to turn around, but he knew, he just knew, that Ares was grinning. He had to be. After all, Ares couldn't be serious, right? He couldn't fail to notice that they were, in fact, fucking? "At least say that you want me to say something."

"What could I want you to say?"

"Do you have to sound so rational?"

"How do you want me to sound?"

"And could you stop answering my questions with another question? No wonder Herc wants to kick your ass, if you pull this kind of stuff with him." He slid back again, cursing himself for choosing a position that didn't give him full control.

"I definitely don't do this kind of stuff with him."

"Aha! What kind of stuff?"

"Answer questions with questions. Usually, I just pound him. Maybe throw a fireball or two."

"Pounding. I like the sound of that."

"Are you trying to tell me something?"

"All I'm saying is that a little pounding wouldn't kill you. I mean, kill me. I mean...Oh, for the love of Hades." Autolycus scrambled away, then flipped around, pushing Ares flat on his back. Then he straddled Ares, squatted over his oily cock, then sank down.

Ares moaned, and steadied Autolycus with his hands on his hips. "Did you say something about getting pounded?"

"Is that an offer?"

"No, it's just an--"

But Autolycus had reached his limit. No more games. Holding Ares' wrists as Ares held him, he started to ride fast and hard. Let Ares pretend they were strolling down the goddamn banks of the Aegean. They were fucking, and that's all there was to it. His strokes got faster and faster, his cock fuller and fuller, while below him, Ares' skin started to glow, sweat matting the hair on his chest, his cheeks a suitably aroused shade of sunset pink. "What were you saying?" Autolycus bent down, his hips always moving. Take that. And that.


"What's the matter, Ares? Cat got your tongue?"

"I'm fine."

"You don't look fine. Hell, you don't sound fine, either."

"Maybe I just need some sleep."

"You bastard," Autolycus snapped, and kissed him, hard.

He came once, possibly yelling Ares' name, and shot all over Ares' chest, which he remembered only because he licked it up afterward and had Ares suck his tongue.

They slept.

He ached. That was his first thought. His ass ached from Ares' cock, from the pounding it took last night. His cock ached. His jaw ached. His nipples ached, because Ares liked to bite.


Ares was standing beside the bed, dressed, fingers drumming impatiently against his thigh. "Up. Now. I need my sword back. I'm sick of being mortal." Then he walked out.

"Good morning," Autolycus said, wasting value sarcasm on an empty cave. Still groggy, he sat up, rubbing his eyes. A different kind of man might've given up, but not Autolycus. So maybe his determination had less to do with strength of character than with a hard-on for Ares that just wouldn't go away. Last night didn't help. Talk about incredible--

"Autolycus! Get your ass out here!"

"Yes, your Imperial Highness. I live to serve your ever desire."

"Don't think I didn't hear that! You can make it up to me later."

"Sounds promising." His mood picked up, and he jumped out of bed, grabbing his clothes. "Tell me more."

Another shout from outside. "You can walk, while I ride your horse."

"I have a better idea. Why not come back in here and ride--"

Was that snickering? By the time he walked into the grey morning, his head cloudy as the sky, Ares was leaning against a rock, eating a handful of berries, while Promy watched Autolycus with an indulgent equine eye, and snickered again. "At least the horse laughs at my jokes."

"When they get funny, I'll laugh."

The wink drastically improved Autolycus' mood. "Maybe I'd be funnier if I'd had more sleep. Whenever I tried, you shoved your c--"

"So, which way are we headed?" Ares walked to the horse, offered Promy some berries, then climbed up. "North through those trees?"

"Yeah, yeah. Through the trees. You know, you could maybe act a little less eager to get away from me. Just to improve interpersonal relations."

"I didn't realize there was anything wrong with our interpersonal relations. Besides, you know I want my sword back. I've got a job to do. I can't afford wasting time--"

"So now I'm a waste of time?"

"This isn't about you, Auto. It's about the sword. It's who I am."

"So that's who you are? A killing machine?"

"You have a different opinion?"

"You're not that bad. I've met a lot worse. You don't try to change me. You let me talk, and even listen, sometimes." He walked faster, to keep pace with the horse. "You have balls."

"Make you could talk to my father sometime. Or my brother."

"Ares, admit it: you like to piss Herc off. You're never like this with him?"

"Like what?"

"Just a guy on a horse."

"What, and disappoint him?" He shook his head. "Nah. It's easier being the villain. Besides, I look good in black."

"You ever wanted to be something else?"

"I tried being mortal once, and it didn't work. For me, or for the world. They need me to focus their energy. It's a god thing. You ever want to be something else?"

"Not really. I do my own small part in balancing the world. Steal from the rich, give to the poor. Just don't let that last part get around. I've got a reputation to think about."

"Who am I going to tell?" Ares looked down at him and smiled.

It was just a little thing, that smile, but the air sped from Autolycus' lungs, as a flash of insight blindsided him. Shit. Shit. Shit. Because there was no denying the stupid feeling latching its claws under his skin, especially in the general chest region. When he shoved all lust aside--hard to do, the way Ares looked riding Promy, kind of majestic, if a guy could say that about another guy without sounding fruity...

When he shoved all lust aside, he, Autolycus, King of Thieves, occasional sidekick to Hercules and Xena, secret friend to orphans and widows, and all-around handsome stud, was in love with Ares. Shit.

"Are you okay, Auto? You look a little green."

"I, uh, swallowed a bug, that's all." He coughed loudly, thumping himself on the chest, trying to dislodge not a pesky little fly but the gooey girly sentiment that was now tying pink bows around his aorta. "Just swallowed a stupid bug."

Let Euripides come up with a better description.

The rain started again late in the afternoon, grey streams of it, like Zeus was spitting at them from Olympus. Debris from merchant carts littered the road north to Decelea, squashed plums, olives and dates that mixed with the rain and formed a slick layer. Promy, who'd almost fallen once, resorted to cautious baby steps, and Autolycus couldn't blame him: he'd already gone down once, scraping his right knee on a pottery shard, while the rain stung his cheeks and eyes.

"Let's hit the forest. I'm drowning here."

"Another shortcut?"

"At least the trees will block out some of the rain. It's not like we're getting anywhere out here. There's a path, too, that'll take us right into Decelea. I usually stick with the road around here, but all smart robbers are home in bed right now."

"You ever not convince someone to do what you want?"

"Some people make me work harder than others," Autolycus said, as they headed for a break in the trees.

The ground between the oaks and the tangle of bushes squished underfoot, but the branches spidering overhead kept the rain at a reasonable tempo, and they walked through the gloom in an easy silence. Even the birds huddled behind damp leaves gave only the odd, half-hearted chirp.

"The weather sucked like this the first time I led my own campaign."

"What was that like?"

"I'd planned it for weeks, going over every detail, and I was excited. I was going to prove myself. The Dorians had been attacking the mainland, done a lot of damage. One of their local gods was helping them, so they did better than expected."

Hard to picture Ares young and inexperienced. "You mean you weren't born knowing this stuff?"

"My father decides everyone's jobs. Because of the Dorians, he decided we needed someone on war full-time. Up til then, he'd been handling it, but screwing everything in sight kept getting in the way."

Autolycus patted Promy's flank. "Did it live up to your expectations? You kicked some Dorian ass and showed your dad that you had bigger balls than anyone on Olympus?"

"Most of my experience was from fighting other immortals, like the Titans. When we get hurt, there's maybe some spilled ichor. Mostly we get weaker, that's all. When mortals die, they die messy."

"Hey," he said, his hand still on the horse, stroking, "the good thing about mortals is that we know how to live well. Yeah, we scream and bleed when we die, but if life went on forever, we'd stop appreciating it." His words reached his brain a second later. "Not that eternity doesn't sound like a blast. It's different for you, though. You're born knowing you'll never die. We're born knowing we will. It means we take things more seriously, even when we're living it up. Things stick. I think that's why some gods like to hang around us. Not you, I mean. I'm sure your life is great. But--"

"Relax. You might be right."

"Really? Any kind of reward for rightness?"

"No. It just means that I won't throw you down in the bushes and pound you."

"But what if I want to be--"

A sudden rustle from the bushes cut him off. Five men blocked their path, each bigger and uglier than the next. Two brandished swords, two daggers

The fifth, obviously the leader, had a spear that he tossed from hand to hand. "You know the drill, boys. Pay up or prepare for a discount cruise down the Styx."

"I thought you said that all smart robbers would be in bed," Ares said.

"You calling us stupid?" The spear froze in one thick paw, the bronze tip now aimed at Ares' heart.

Autolycus stepped forward. "Don't mind my friend. He's a little slow." He tapped his head. "Ever since the war, you know. Says the strangest things."

"Cut the talk and give up the cash." A second man, his gut stretched like a full wineskin, raised his blade. The rain had plastered his coarse black hair to his head, like a cat had perched there and died.

"We'll take the horse, too." The leader smiled, which puffed up his fat cheeks. "Now. We don't got all night."

"You don't want this old nag," Autolycus said. "It's got permanent gas, and likes to bite." And carries a big heavy sword that safeguards Ares' immortality. "Here's some gold." He tossed over a fat sac that landed with a thud at the man's feet. "Don't spend it all in one place. Well, nice doing business with you--"

"Not so fast. I said I want the horse."

"Maybe when Tartarus freezes over." Did Ares know this was his cue? "Hold on tight!" Hard as he could, Autolycus smacked the horse's flank, and Promy charged, knocking two of the villains flat on their asses. In seconds, the horse was out of sight, the pounding noise of hooves fading quickly. Promy would run no matter what Ares did, and would buy him enough time to deal with these yahoos. He owed it to Ares, for risking his life like this.

"Stupid, selfish idiot," he muttered, then ballyhooed, landing a nice double-kick he'd learned from Iolaus right in the gonads of the two staggering to their feet. While they writhed in the mud, he backflipped, landing hard enough to send a spray of thick black mud into the leader's face. Lashing out blindly with the spear, he struck the fourth man in the shoulder. The fifth man watched his buddies shriek, bleed and stagger, then decided to bluff his way out. Had to give him credit for that, and a good, solid punch in the wineskin.

Finally, before he chased after Ares, time to indulge his theatrical side, while making the path safe for future generations. "Here me now, oh loathsome highway scum," he said in his spookiest voice, popping his eyes wider than Leda when Zeus first showed her the joys of swan-love. "Do not let my lowly but handsome disguise fool you. I am Gnooly, god of bushes, which is how I defeated you so easily. If you dare set foot in my forest again, I'll cut off your nuts and feed them to the squirrels. Understood?" He prodded one of the downed men. "I said, ‘did you hear me, mortal scum?' Or are you giving up your balls as an offering to me?"

"No, oh great god Gnooly. We hear and obey."

A quick tumble through the air over their bowed frames, a quick hand between their bent forms to retrieve his cash, and Autolycus was off down the forest path. He met up with Ares and Promy, as they charged toward him. "It's okay," he said, holding up the sac. "There's more to me than just striking good looks, you know."

"Nice trick, hitting the horse, but I can take care of myself."

"Don't get your leather bunched. I got you into this mess, I get you out."

"What do you mean, you got me into this?"

"Nothing! Just that we came into the woods because I was bitching about the rain. Now let's get a move on. I need a bath, roast chicken, and some very good wine."

"So, really, how'd you take care of those guys?" Ares asked, as they started walking.

"You don't think I could kick their asses?"

"A simple asskicking doesn't seem like your style."

"I'll take that as a compliment. And, now that you mention it, I did add a few special Auto-twists to it..."

A short while and one or two minor exaggerations later, they crested a short hill and saw the ugly city wall, built during the Peloponnese War to piss off the Athenians a dozen miles south. Hanging vines softened it a little, as did the laughter and music that reached them even from fifty feet away.

"What's going on?" Ares pulled the horse to a full stop. The rain had finally let up, and the bleary sun sat on the horizon, glowing pink.

"It's the Oschophoria. Everyone's boozing it up inside, dressing in drag, singing dirty songs. The usual mortal holiday entertainment." He remembered the harpy-breasted Theia, and hoped that she had her thighs locked around some drunken sailor. "Let's go."

Chaos inside. Bodies of all shapes, sizes and smells pressed together. A pretty boy with curled hair handed him a mug of ale, while another grabbed his hand and pulled him deeper into the crowd, closer to the dozen musicians who banged out music on the steps of Dionysus' temple.

"You need to get yourself a good festival," Autolycus said, but Ares was too far away. "The Golden Ram! Later!" Nothing like a drunken public bash to scope out future thieving prospects. Sure, he could rob them all blind now, but where was the fun in easy pickings? Look, for example, at how that councillor in the gold-trimmed robes was fondling that skinny brunette behind that pillar. The old guy's rampant horniness, the girl's high-pitched perky giggling, the way she slapped his hands but still managed to get felt up, had extra-marital stamped all over it. Perfect set-up for a thief: find the night of the week when the councillor sneaked away to visit her, distract the wife with a little warning note, and hello gold-stuffed coffers.

A troupe of jugglers walked by, tossing firebrands that glowed red against the darkening sky. When the crowd surged after them, it dragged him along, through the narrow streets to the stoa. Merchants hawked cakes and wine, their voices blending with the thrum of a chorus speaking on the odeon's steps, as they enacted a scene from Dionysus' life. Suddenly the doors flew open, and an actor playing the boy-god danced down the steps, blond curls rippling to his shoulders, fawn-skin barely covering a dick the size of his thyrsus, followed by shrieking Bacchae. Shouts and applause around him; even the vendors paused in their calls, banging their fists enthusiastically against wagons or wooden stalls. Autolycus, trapped by the sweating bodies around him, barely managed to raise his mug, half in homage, half in thirst.

Why didn't Ares get his own festival? Or was that the point of war? Some kind of warped tribute? Dionysus got wine and honey and plays while Ares got pieces of men. No wonder the guy had issues. Spend five minutes with him, and anyone with half a brain would see that he was about a lot more than violence. Ares was impulsive, yeah, but smart and strong. Not like this little blond bimbo of a god, prancing around. Ares never pranced, even in effigy. He'd kick the ass of someone who--

"I've been looking for you. I didn't know you followed Dionysus."

Even if Autolycus hadn't recognized the hard body pressing against his back, there was no mistaking that voice. "I'm just looking. You've got to admit, he's pretty. Kind of like Iolaus."

"You find that hot?"

"If I liked guys, sure. Someone small, pretty. Like a girl, with one hot, throbbing difference."

"He wouldn't last five minutes in a fight."

"I'm not talking about fighting."

Ares didn't look amused. "He wouldn't last five minutes in bed, either."

They turned left onto Baker's Row. As they moved from the temple, the crowd thinned, the sidewalk less like an obstacle course. The air smelled rich and sweet, not like spilled wine and cloying incense, although a whirling stream Bacchae advanced, chanting their god's name.

To avoid them, Autolycus stepped into the narrow gap between two white-washed buildings, Ares following. As they watched the women pass, he pressed his point. "Hey, those small guys have lots of energy."

"That guy has no strength," Ares said. "I could snap him like a twig. And no strength means no staying power."

"Maybe, but he'd be spontaneous. Fool around. He wouldn't just lie there and let it happen. He'd be all over you." As the last of the Bacchae danced past, Autolycus pretended he cared more about her swaying ass than provoking Ares. Another big fat deception, because he was fed up to here with the situation. He'd been off-balance for too long, and it was time for an adjustment. Time to push Ares and see if he'd break. "Definitely wouldn't be boring."

"And that's what you want?" Ares turned to him, scowling in a way that only he could. "Something spontaneous?"

It was Autolycus' cue to shut up, so he kept talking. "Spontaneous because we both wanted it, not because one person kept manipulating the other one into it. What's the fun in that? Okay, it's a lot of fun, but it would be even better to know that, yeah, we were equally hot. It's a balance thing. You were the one complaining the other day about how boring your sex life was, about how all you get is gratitude. Wouldn't you like--"

"I know what I like," Ares said, and pushed him deeper into the alley.

The kiss slammed him back against the wall, and Autolycus leaned there, stunned and wobbly-kneed, as Ares took over his mouth, like he was a village or an army, commanded it so completely, so thoroughly, that a white flag seemed in order. It didn't stop there.

Somehow, Ares had gotten them both mostly naked, everything oiled and ready, then spun Autolycus around so that he was kissing the wall. A hot press of skin against his back, then Ares shoved his cock inside him. Autolycus said something, maybe "Holy shit," maybe just "Yes." Whatever it was, Ares went crazy, ramming hard, grabbing his wrists and pinning them over his head. Part of him tried to make sense of this, what it meant that Ares was forcefully doing him in a Declean alley, in control and demanding, but his body kept interrupting with forceful shouts of "Shut up and enjoy it!"

Not that the enjoyment part was optional. Ares fucked like a pro, hitting all the right spots and finding some new ones. Normally Autolycus would demand a hand back to work his own end, but the rough hot sting of the plaster matched the one up his ass. Another stroke, and he'd be paying Ares some creamy white tribute. He could hear himself in that distant, dreamy way, saying the filthiest stuff about Ares' cock and his ass. Every time he did, Ares would lick or bite some exposed part of him: his neck, his shoulder, his back. He got the feeling that Ares was trying to tell him something, only Autolycus couldn't order his thoughts enough to figure out what.

His skin began to feel sticky and too warm, and breathing confused him. The plaster against his cheek smelled like bread and smoke, and he rubbed against it while pushing his ass back for Ares' cock. Ares liked that, too, and bite him harder, not letting go this time, sinking his teeth with a satisfying pain right where Autolycus' right shoulder curved up into his throat. With that big cock shoved deep inside him, the restraining bite, and hand closed on his wrists, he couldn't do much except be fucked, and Ares took advantage of that, ramming hard until Autolycus shot to the edge, then slowing so he teetered there, every muscle straining, his cock aching, his balls full. It was, without question, a fantastic fuck.

"Could he do it like this? That little blond pansy?"

Did Ares just ask that? His shoulder smarting as the blood rushed back, excited by the fuck and the balance that was shifting, finally, Autolycus shook his head. "Only if you gave him lessons."

"Can anyone else do it like this?"

A long, smooth struck followed. Autolycus waited for the brick to reappear under the stars. "No way. Maybe you could open a school." When a hot tongue traced the top of his spine, he moaned. "Are you sure you're the god of war, and not the god of fucking?" That earned him a another slow, deep thrust, the kind that stretched his ass wide and added a few moons to the stars. Ares could bring him off just saying stuff, but that cock up his ass was also good.

"So you don't want me to stop? Maybe get that actor here instead?" Ares pressed so tightly against him that Autolycus felt the bones of his hips. "Or maybe Iolaus?"

"Iolaus? No way. He's good, but he's not...I mean, I hear he's good. From other people. Rumors. You know how people like to talk."

"You like to talk," Ares said. "Too much."

"I don't see you running away. Now how about showing me just what you can do?"

Ares did, rocking into him, stroking Autolycus' thigh with his free hand, licking the line of his shoulder. He could hear Ares' breathing, so low and broken it sounded like a series of moans. His own ass started to feel raw, in a hot, possessed way, and his balls tightened. Everything tightened.

As he came, Autolycus tried not to say "I love you," because he was a guy, and Ares was a guy, and he didn't want to screw this up anymore than it already was. Mostly he just said, "Oh god, oh god, oh god," and confessed things on the wall with creamy graffiti.

At his back, Ares growled and went dead still. Then he pushed forward one last time, his arm snaking around Autolycus' waist, his mouth against his neck, shaking as he came.

"Definitely a god of sex," Autolycus said, kept standing only by the wall and Ares' hot body. "Where can I sign up for the intensive course?"

"I think you already have."

The grin popped out, and Autolycus went fuzzy inside like old wool or the scruffy stray dog who'd wandered into the alley and was now nosing his wet cock, wagging a stumpy brown tail. "I think you're right."

"Now let's get out of here," Ares said, dressing quickly. I'm starving."

Things had changed. Autolycus could feel it as firmly at that canine nose. No more pretending. No more games. Sure, it would be a cold day in Tartarus before he told Ares how he felt, but after this at least they could just *be* after this, acknowledge that something was going on between them, act like two normal guys fucking--

"Oh, and I forgot to tell you," Ares added. "I got us two rooms this time. Nobody likes a good stiff cock like Bacchae during a festival." And he walked from the alley, Autolycus staring after him.

Happily, there were no Bacchae in the inn's dining room. Less happily, at a table near the fire, her harpy-egg breasts prominently displayed in a low-cut white tunic, sat Theia, the vintner's wife. She took one look at Ares and bounced to her feet, waving them over. "I'm so glad you're here," she said, as Ares, followed by a reluctant Autolycus, joined her. "My husband just went to meet brothers three, four and five, while six, the family jailor, is over there keeping an eye on me." She jerked her chin toward the kitchen, where a beefy man in floury robes expertly cut meat from a carcass dangling by a hook. "I'm not allowed to leave and have some fun, so I'm glad the fun came to me." Under the table, she squeezed Ares' thigh.

"We won't be here long," Autolycus told her. "Just grab some food, then head off to bed. Got some business to take care of in Pylos."

"There's no rush," Ares said, pouring himself a glass of wine as he smiled at Theia. "It's still early. I'm Aresius, by the way."

"Well, we wouldn't want Theia to get in trouble with her husband."

"It's okay. He'll be gone until dawn. It's good to be free of him, even if I can't go out. He has a tendency to punch when I talk. Or when I breathe."

"What about him?" Ares nodded at the cook.

"He'll leave us alone as long as I don't go outside. He's a coward, and won't make trouble because there are two of you. Almost three, really, because you're so tall and broad," she added, running her fingers over Ares' forearm. "There will be Tartarus to pay tomorrow, but that's a long way off."

"Still, we wouldn't--"

"Just relax, Autolycus. She's a big girl. She can take care of herself." Ares moved closer to her, his chair scraping the red tiles.

"It's not her I'm worried about," he muttered.

As Theia flirted with Ares, the innkeeper's wife brought them plates of lamb with lentils, round hunks of creamy goat's cheese, piles of dried figs, fresh bread that gasped when broken, and a jug of cardamom-spiced wine. After the first few mouthfuls stuck like straw in his mouth, Autolycus focused on the wine. He couldn't taste that either, but it created an almost-comforting warmth in his stomach. For once, words failed; he opened his mouth only to pour in more wine, an extra long sip every time Ares touched her. And he touched her a lot: on her arm, her shoulder, her thigh.

"You planning on giving her a full physical?" The question popped out before he could stop it.

"Aresius is just being friendly." She stroked Ares' cheek as he smiled at her. "I know you two are close, but I'm sure there are plenty of women out there who'd be happy to keep you company."

"If he were any friendlier, he'd be arrested for public indecency."

"Is he always like this?"

"I think he's jealous," Ares said, tossing a fig into his mouth.

Autolycus choked on his wine. "Jealous? Me? You've got to be joking. Why would I be jealous? We barely know each other. I'm just helping you out..." He realized the mistake and felt his face redden. "Right. Jealous of you, not her. Sure. Well, it's been a long day, and I'm off to bed. ‘Night." As he stood, his chair flipped over, the way chairs do when they're supposed to stay in place, and prevent intense humiliation. And Autolycus fumbled too long on the floor before straightening, as he watched Theia's bare foot stroke Ares' calf. It felt like weeds were growing in his heart. The lute player in the corner chose that moment to stop, so all Autolycus heard as he walked to the door was the slap of his boot heels. Great. The most dignified exit since Archimedes forgot he was in the bath and ran outside naked, shouting "Eureka!" Eureka indeed.

A quick question to the innkeeper's wife, and he stumbled up the back stairs to his room, slamming the door, then tripped over the leather packs. Had the Fates tacked a "Kick Me" scroll on his back? He kicked the bag with the sword, then dropped face down on the bed. With a groan, he buried his face in a pillow that smelled like lilacs, feeling utterly defeated, like some giant chicken had pecked the marrow from his bones. Maybe if Discord had been a better killer hen, none of this would've happened. He'd be a faded splat on the flap of a freak show tent, and Ares would be banging priestesses and leading armies, not being led all over Attica by a lovestruck, albeit very charming thief.

Charming. That, it seemed, was the fatal flaw in his perfect plan. The ol' Auto-charm had failed. If Ares felt anything, he wouldn't be downstairs groping Theia but upstairs groping him. None of it made sense. Why had Ares fucked him in the alley, acting all jealous and possessive? Was it some kind of territorial thing, Ares staking his claim just because he could? But what about those grins? Okay, stupid, maybe, to see a few grins and build on that. Very stupid. That chain-and-chicken incident had obviously fried his mental egg. Or maybe this was all a bad dream, and if he just gave it all up to Hypnos, he'd wake up alone and...Alone without Ares. It sucked like a five-headed Hydra. On the bright side, at least Ares didn't know about his stupid, selfish plan, and he never would. In a few days' time, he'd get his sword back, and the world would return to normal, at least for Ares.

Proving that the Fates were sadistic torturers, Ares and Theia then clambered up the stairs. Autolycus could hear her giggle, Ares' lower growl, before a door swung shut. To block out other sounds, he pulled the pillow out from under him, dropped it on his head, and held it firmly in place. It worked for awhile, then the noise grew, banging and shouting. Feeling like a kid listening to his parents, he started singing to himself, a twenty-verse song he'd learned from Iolaus during their unfortunate incarceration.

He was on the sixth verse, about a ninety-year-old virgin who'd decided to act on her boyfriend's urgin', when Autolycus realized that someone was rapping furiously on his door. "I'm out," he called.

"It's Theia! It's your friend--my husband and his brothers have him, and I think they're going to kill him! He looks like he's already hurt pretty bad."

"I'm coming!" Autolycus leapt from the bed, diving for the leather pack. He yanked the sword free and threw open the door. "Where is he?"

Her cheeks shiny with tears, Theia pointed to the room at the end of the hall. Even from here Autolycus heard fists striking bone, and his heart and spleen changed places. Racing to the door, he kicked it open and saw six men in a tight circle, kicking and punching an invisible seventh. When they turned, some part of his brain understood that these were the thieves from the forest. The other part saw Ares huddled on the floor, sickeningly still, his face covered by his hair. Behind him, Theia sobbed, reminding him to act.

"Ares!" Autolycus shouted. "I've got your sword! Please be alive! I'm sorry. This is all my fault. You sent the giant chicken, and you kept laughing, and I wanted you..."

"It's Gnooly, god of bushes!" The leader of the thieves stared at him, horror-struck. "And he called this guy Ares. We're dead!"

"This is the Gnooly, the one you've been raving about? You idiot!" Theia's husband hit him. "This guy's no god. He and his boyfriend bought wine from me yesterday. No god buys cheap watered down crap from a roadside stand. Get him! And finish this one off." He rammed his boot into Ares' gut, then spun to face Autolycus in time to see the giant sword slide between his feet, stopping just short of Ares' hand. "It's too late to help your friend," he said. "Now I'm going to cut your balls off, you--"

"What the fuck?"

No one moved as Ares stood, a head taller than anyone in the room, no bruises or blood anywhere. "Do you know who I am?" The voice was turned on full volume.

"You're dead," one of them sputtered.

"Wrong," Ares said, and grabbed him by the neck, holding him high in the air. "I'm Ares, God of War, and I'm going to kick your ass." The sword lay untouched at his feet, even while he threw the man into the wall. When Autolycus went to help with the ass-kicking, Ares shook his head. "Let me. I owe you." Two fireballs appeared, one in each hand, and he tossed them at two of the thieves, who careened backward, crashing into the wall beside their brother.

"This is a trick," the husband insisted, and charged. Somehow, Theia's foot intercepted him, and he went flying from the window in a fall that would do Icarus proud.

The leader stood with his mouth hanging wide open. "This can't be happening. You really are a god."

Ares lobbed another fireball, hitting the man in the gut. He staggered back, landing unconscious atop of the fraternal pile.

"They should've listened to Gnooly," Autolycus said, not sure whether to rub his eyes or his head.

"You okay?" Ares asked Theia, as he stooped to pick up his sword, dropping it into its sheath.

She was at the window, looking down. "I am now. I'd better get the magistrate." To Ares, she said, "Thanks for listening to me. For the god of war, you're a pretty decent guy. Don't worry--I won't tell anyone. It's the least I can do now that I'm free."

"Well, guess I should split, too," Autolycus said, after Theia left. "Been nice knowing you. Good luck in the war business."

"You're not going anywhere."

"You want an explanation. Right. Okay. I tried before, but it probably didn't make any sense. Although this new and improved version probably isn't going to rock your world, either." He cleared his throat and trained his eyes on the vein pulsing in Ares' throat. Eye contact might be possible in a century or two, after the embarrassment wore off. "So I wanted to, um, fuck you. Okay, not just that. More. I kind of, um, liked you. I thought if I stole your sword, you'd come to me for help, and we'd, you know, connect. Naked connect, yeah, but, um, other stuff, too. Is it hot in here, or is it just me?"

"It's not just you."

That sounded intriguing, kind of overemphasized, but Autolycus wasn't ready to look higher than Ares' mouth. Staring at that, though, sent distracting little messages to his cock, which didn't understand things like mortal shame and guilt. "I was under the impression that your sword held your mortality. That without it, you'd be just like one of the guys. A really hot, strong and fun guy, but still just a guy, you know? Apparently, I was wrong. About the sword part. The rest is true."

"The sword's just a weapon."

"This is the part I don't get. If you were a god all along, you had to know that I had it."

"I did."

"So that means..." Autolycus paused. Ares was immortal all along. Ares knew he had the sword. "Do gods actually sleep?"


"So you saw Autolyca steal your sword?"


"If you're a god, then you didn't need to, um, drink certain bodily fluids for additional power?"


"I'm getting the feeling," he said, daring a peek up, "that maybe you've been playing me."


"To punish me. Make me crazy not understanding why you denied anything was happening. Make me jealous."


"Because things were happening. Naked guy things. And you like naked guys things."


"You let me tie you up and rub honey all over you, and lick it off. You came for me."

"Right again."

He peeked a second time, saw the grin, and decided it was time to start breathing again. "Are you going to kill me?"


"Are you going to, uh, pound me?"

"Would you like to be pounded, Autolycus?"

"Yes, please."

And he was.


"You know," Autolycus said, stretching lazily, "you owe me something."

Ares raised his head from the pillow, staring down at him. "You want to go again? Twice a day, every day, for a week isn't enough for you?"

"Look, you're big on order and balance, right? A place for everything, and everything in its place? Retribution and payback?"

"I think I know where this is going."

"Hey, you said if I got your sword back, you'd give me that diamond I was going to steal in Megara. The Rock. Well, I want it." Pushing his luck, but he was starting to learn that Ares liked that.

"Oh, you can have it," Ares said. "But I'm not going to just hand it over. That would be too easy."

"So what do I have to do to get it?" He was already licking his lips, ready to give Ares the blowjob of his life.

Ares snapped his fingers, and a pile of clothing appeared at the foot of the bed: a large dress covered with pink and purple flowers, a blue shawl, a ratty blue blanket, a sparkly brooch, topped, rather conspicuously, by two round melons. "First," he said, with a grin so wide it had to hurt, "I'd like to meet Autolyca."


The End