Autolycus moved through the shadows, soft boots silent on the black marble floor. The room was huge, high-ceilinged, lit by four smoking torches at the corners. Weapons covered the walls -- swords and daggers, spears, maces, some things the thief didn't even recognize. A massive throne, carved with a pattern of human skulls along the arms and back, stood on a high platform against the back wall. The Halls of War. I can't believe I'm doing this...
He'd been hired by King Thereus of Lemnos, who had been suffering from a long spell of bad luck -- failing crops, winter floods, bandits raiding his borders. Desperate, the king had gone to an oracle, who had informed him that he was under a curse, which could only be broken by collecting a list of very specific items. And so, the King of Lemnos dispatched the King of Thieves on a scavenger hunt.
He had already acquired one of Aphrodite's veils, an arrow from Artemis' bow, and a feather from Cupid's wing. Now there was just one item left. It was mounted on the wall above the throne -- a bronze shield, engraved with a stylized design of two crossed swords.
Autolycus climbed up on the throne and stood on the seat, then scrambled up until he was balanced precariously on the high back. Even from there, the shield was almost too high to reach. He stood on his toes and stretched his arms upward. Just a little bit more, another couple of inches, and he would have it...
"And what do you think you're doing?"
The voice was accompanied by a flash of blue light that left Autolycus momentarily blind. He started, lost his footing, and flailed his arms wildly as he felt himself toppling backwards. Somehow, he managed to regain enough balance to pivot sideways, and to jump down to the floor with some semblance of a graceful landing.
He crouched into a defensive stance, arms raised in front of him as he blinked the light's afterimage from his eyes. Slowly, the spots dancing in his vision faded, to be replaced by the far more unnerving sight of a tall, black-clad figure standing in front of him. Powerful arms folded across a broad chest, soft leather molded against rippling thigh muscles, a dark, bearded face glowering down at the frozen thief. No mistaking who this was.
Autolycus gulped, and ran his tongue over suddenly dry lips. "Uhm... Ares... I guess you're wondering what I'm doing here, huh?" He didn't remember retreating, yet somehow his back was pressed against the wall. The cold from the granite slabs seemed to seep into his bones, making him shiver.
"Besides committing suicide, you mean?" Ares' voice was a low, menacing rumble. "I admit, you have me curious. Who in Tartarus are you?"
Autolycus' legs felt weak. He braced his shoulders against the wall, and made himself stand straight and look the God in the eye. "I'm Autolycus." Ah, what the heck, might as well say it. "The King of Thieves."
"Is that right?" A hint of amusement crept into the velvet voice. "Well, you've come to the wrong place... Your Majesty." Ares stepped forward until he was standing inches away from Autolycus, blocking off all possibility of escape. Autolycus felt the heat radiating from the God's body, smelled leather and sweat, heard the sound of his own heart pounding in his chest like a drum. Part of him wanted to drop to his knees and beg for mercy. And another part wanted to reach out and touch that smooth bronze skin, to see if it would feel as good as it looked.
"Who sent you?" Ares demanded.
"You wouldn't have risked coming here if you didn't have a buyer lined up. Who is it?"
Autolycus hesitated, then gasped as strong fingers encircled his wrist and twisted.
"I could take the knowledge from your mind," Ares growled. "But you wouldn't like the experience. Who sent you?"
Autolycus closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and explained his mission in a reasonably steady, though somewhat high, voice. As he spoke, Ares' mouth quirked upwards, and his eyebrows began a slow climb up to his hairline. He really had an incredibly expressive face, Autolycus thought. And those eyes, so dark, so focused... when he looked at you, you knew you had his full attention.
Gods could take any shape they wanted to, couldn't they? Was this Ares' true appearance, or just another illusion? Did the God of War choose to have that full mouth, that soft tangle of black hair, those ridiculously long lashes...
"Hello?" Ares was waving a hand in front of his face. "Anybody home?"
Autolycus realized with a start that he had stopped speaking, and was just standing there like an idiot, staring up into the God's eyes. Get a grip, man! Here he was, probably minutes away from death, and all he could do was think with his crotch.
"Uhm... what was I saying?"
"I think you were finished." Ares was grinning openly now, clearly aware of the effect his presence was producing. "So you really stole all that other stuff, huh? I'm impressed."
"Thanks." Autolycus was beginning to feel hopeful. After all, Ares hadn't killed him yet. Maybe he wasn't going to. "Look, Ares... maybe we could work something out. I am the King of Thieves, after all. Perhaps you wish something... acquired?"
"If I did, I wouldn't hire a thief." Ares stroked his left hand down Autolycus' cheek, a touch like liquid flame. "When I want something, I take it."
"Yeah..." Autolycus breathed. It was hard to get the words out past the lump in his throat. "I can see that you do."
Ares lowered his head until his breath blew warm against Autolycus' ear.
"I'll tell you what," he whispered. "If you ask me really nicely, I might let you leave here in one piece. I might even let you borrow the shield."
Autolycus' head was spinning from a dizzying combination of fear and desire. He wasn't entirely convinced that Ares would let him live. But he could think of worse ways to spend the last minutes of his life than fucking a god. A tall, dominating, impossibly gorgeous god, with eyes like dark flame...
He slipped one hand inside Ares' vest, pressing his palm flat against the broad pectoral and stroking downward. "How nicely do I need to ask?"
His fingers brushed against a nipple. Ares sucked in a sharp breath.
"That's a good start..."
Autolycus twined his other hand in Ares' hair, intending to pull him down into a kiss, but the Ares had other ideas, and turned his head at the last moment. He bit Autolycus' earlobe, making him cry out, then kissed his way down the thief's throat until he reached his shirt collar. An impatient growl, and the shirt was gone. Autolycus shivered again, but this time the cold had nothing to do with it.
He yelped as Ares sucked one nipple into his mouth, teasing it erect with his tongue, nipping lightly with his teeth. Ares chuckled, and worked his way up again, trailing hot kisses across Autolycus' collar bones, up his neck, and along his jawline, before finally allowing their lips to meet. His tongue thrust into Autolycus' mouth, jabbing, insistent, a promise of what was to come.
Autolycus' legs threatened to buckle. His cock throbbed, straining against his trousers. His hands moved with a will of their own, stroking down Ares' back to cup his ass. Ah, gods, he loved that feeling, hard muscle under soft leather, a powerful body pressing against his, a bulging crotch rubbing against his thigh... only one thing could make this better...
Ares wiggled against him, and suddenly it was no longer leather against leather, but skin against skin, sweat-slick and hot. Autolycus groaned. Yes. Now it was perfect.
Then Ares broke the kiss, wrapped his arms around Autolycus' waist, and rocked them backwards, away from the wall. Autolycus had a moment of panic as he realized that they were toppling right off the platform, and onto the bare floor. To make it even worse, Ares twisted as they fell, so that Autolycus would land on the bottom. But before he could begin to struggle in earnest, they hit, and it wasn't cold, hard marble beneath them, but silk sheets over soft bedding.
Breathless from the fall, trapped beneath Ares' considerable weight, Autolycus could only lie there and blink. He was sure the bed hadn't been there before. He would've noticed.
Ares lifted one hand, and suddenly he was holding a black silk scarf. Before Autolycus knew what had happened, his right wrist was bound to the bedpost.
"Hey!" he yelled.
Ares grinned, and ran his tongue over his teeth. "Gotta make sure you stay put. After all, you are the King of Thieves..." He produced another three more scarves, to bind Autolycus' ankles and his other wrist.
Autolycus tugged experimentally at the bonds, and found them secure. Oddly enough, he wasn't frightened. If Ares really intended to hurt him, four flimsy bits of silk weren't going to make the slightest difference. And when it came right down to it, he was intrigued. Not to mention more aroused than he ever remembered being.
Ares produced another scarf and reached for his eyes, but Autolycus shook his head.
"No. Wait. You're too beautiful, I want to look at you."
"Flattery will get you nowhere," Ares muttered, but he crumpled the scarf into a ball and tossed it over his shoulder. "You'd better look, then. Don't let me see you close your eyes."
Autolycus looked. Ares was kneeling between his legs. Sweat gleamed on his skin. His face was flushed, his eyes glittered. His cock jutted forward, as hard and impressive as the rest of him. He reached down and stroked himself with slow, deliberate movements, biting his lower lip as his hand pumped up and down on the shaft. The sight sent even more blood rushing to Autolycus' groin, and he moaned and bucked his hips. If his hands were free, he'd touch himself the same way. But his hands were not free, and he would have depend on Ares' dubious mercy for relief.
Ares, obviously, was not feeling merciful. He pinched Autolycus' nipples, rolled the erect tips between his fingers, then bent down to lave each one with his tongue. Autolycus squirmed against the sheets, groaning through clenched teeth. Ares' mouth traced a line of heat down his chest and stomach to his cock. Ares' lips wrapped around the swollen head, and Autolycus arched his back and strained against his bonds until the headboard rattled.
Ares lifted his head, grinning. "If you break my bed," he drawled, "I'm going to be very displeased."
Autolycus clenched his fists in frustration. "Ares..."
"Oooh, I like how you say my name. Something's missing, though..."
Ares held up one hand. Oil glistened in his cupped palm. He spread it over his cock, taking a great deal longer than Autolycus thought necessary, then reached out and cupped his slippery hand around Autolycus' balls.
"Say it again." A gentle squeeze, a light scrape of a nail against his scrotum.
Ares released his balls, and slid his hand farther down. Autolycus nearly screamed as two fingers stabbed inside him.
The fingers moved back an forth, maddeningly slow. Autolycus pushed back with his hips, trying to control the pace, but once again the damned scarves restricted his movements. His cock twitched against his stomach. Drops of precum glistened at the tip, and slowly trickled downward. Ares licked them off. Autolycus nearly wept with frustration as the god's warm tongue caressed his engorged shaft, then retreated.
"Oh, gods... Ares, please..."
"Ah. Now you've got it right."
Ares pulled his hand back. The scarves dissolved into thin air. Autolycus drew his knees up to his chest, and then Ares' cock was pushing into him, filling him, stretching him almost beyond endurance, pleasure and pain hopelessly intertwined.
Autolycus' breath came in shuddering gasps as Ares began to move inside him. His eyes squeezed shut, then flew open again at the sharp sting of a slap across his cheek.
"Ah-ah. Eyes open, remember?"
Ares leaned forward, bracing his hands on the headboard as he pumped his hips in rapid rhythm. Autolycus responded with his own frenzied thrusts. He wrapped his legs around Ares' waist, dug his nails into the god's broad back, brought one hand down between them to pump his throbbing cock. Gods, it felt good to be able to move!
"Harder," he gasped, and threw his legs over Ares' shoulders. Ares gave a surprised grunt, and picked up the pace.
Autolycus' cock pulsed in his fist. He bounced his head against the pillow, and drummed his heels on Ares' back. He wanted to call out Ares' name again, since the god seemed to get off on it, but all he could manage was an incoherent moan that turned into a howl as he finally came.
He was only marginally aware of Ares shuddering on top of him, of a rough voice crying out, of sharp teeth biting into the base of his neck. By the time full consciousness returned, they were both sprawled limply across the bed, too spent to do anything except breathe.
"So," Autolycus murmured when his voice finally came back, "did I ask nicely enough?"
Ares gave a tired chuckle. "It'll do." He waved his hand, and the shield vanished from the wall to reappear, clattering, on the floor beside the bed. "There's no curse, you know. Just a plain run of bad luck. Thereus' oracle is full of shit."
Autolycus shrugged. "Hey, my job is just to fetch the stuff. What happens afterwards isn't my problem."
"Whatever." Ares rolled over and stretched, arching his back. "Remember, this is a loan, not a gift. I want that shield back."
"I'll bring it back, don't worry." Autolycus found himself grinning. "Maybe I'll even... thank you for the loan."
Ares grabbed him by the waist, pulling him close, licking at the bite mark on his neck.
"Oh, trust me... you will."