Ares watched Joxer blink in confusion at their change in venue. The room was richly if sparsely furnished. A large bed draped in deep green silks with velvet spreads stood at one end of the room. A fire crackled in the carved stone hearth. Laden with food on golden plates, a table and a single chair sat at the other side of the fireplace.
"Are we on Olympus?" Joxer whispered.
"No. This is a little mountain retreat where I can be alone, away from the others. Hopefully, they don't know about it. I'm just Ares, here. Not the god of war or son of Zeus or brother to Aphrodite, Athena, you fill in the name." Ares rubbed Joxer's back comfortingly. "I've never brought anyone else here."
Joxer flashed him a blinding smile and hugged him back. "Thank you ... um. What should I call you?"
"Arry is fine. Are you hungry?" Ares pulled back reluctantly but had to laugh at the stomach rumbles that erupted on cue. "Come on over and we'll see what my servants have left us."
Roasted lamb, olives, steaming hot bread and honey rested on platters. A single place setting rested before the chair. Ares decided against whipping up another chair. This way, he had an excuse to get Joxer to the fur rug in front of the fire.
"I guess we'll have to share." Ares chuckled and proceeded to load up the plate with enough food for two. Leading Joxer to the fire, he set the plate down on the hearth and sank gracefully to the rug.
Joxer sat down awkwardly, first putting his hands on the rug, then in his lap. His eyes kept darting little peeks at Ares, the rug, the fire, the bed. Ares decided a little relaxation was in order. A large goblet of spiced wine sat warming on the hearth and he picked up the solid gold loving cup.
"A toast, Joxer. To a pleasant dinner and perhaps a dance." He took a sip and handed it to the nervous warrior.
He took a hasty sip, eyes widening at the taste. "Wow! This is like nothing I've ever drunk before."
"It's from a little vineyard I know." Ares decided it would only spook him to know it was from the Elysian Fields. He chewed an olive and spit the pit into the fire.
Joxer still looked nervous but he took another sip of the wine and watched Ares chew a piece of roasted lamb. When Ares offered him a fragment of meat, he leaned forward and took it from his fingers, his lips grazing the god's flesh. Ares felt a long forgotten feeling shiver through him. The need to bury himself in another until the earth trembled. The other offered him the wine and Ares took a sip, his eyes never leaving Joxer's.
Slowly they dined, feeding each other alternating bites and finishing the wine in the ever-filled goblet. Joxer had relaxed onto the bearskin rug, his head resting on a satin pillow and his feet toasting by the fire. Ares reclined beside him, propped on his side with one hand toying with the buttons on Joxer's shirt. The wine had freed the warrior's tongue and he had pretty much told Ares his entire life's story.
Joxer stopped abruptly and cast a stricken look at the god at his side. "I'm sorry. I talk too much. Wine makes me silly."
"No, you're not silly, Joxer. I'm sorry your family rejected you. I know how that feels." Ares shrugged his shoulders.
"I disappointed them." Joxer gazed at the fire for a long moment then looked directly at Ares. "Just like I'll disappoint you."
Ares fought back a flaming desire to immediately go and burn down Joxer's family complex for daring to hurt this man. Instead, he leaned forward and kissed him gently. "You won't disappoint me or let me down or harm me in any way. We will do only what you want. Only what brings you pleasure." This kiss was more insistent and their tongues slid against each other in a slippery imitation of what Ares intended to do with their whole bodies. "And that will bring me more pleasure than I've felt in a long time."
Joxer's eyes were glazed and his hands moved restlessly through the soft fur beneath him while Ares slowly undressed him, like the solstice gift he was. Soft caresses and warm touches down his chest made him shiver with longing. Ares' hands traced patterns of fire down his legs and back up the inside of the strong white thighs before stroking the rising cock to fullness. He brought Joxer to the brink of orgasm and when Ares licked the weeping cock with a raspy tongue, he fell over the edge with bursts of creamy white liquid. While he was recovering, Ares swiftly shed his own clothes and returned to his side.
The goblet had refilled itself and Ares poured them a drink. Joxer gulped a mouthful and Ares swooped in to steal a wine-warmed kiss. This time, Joxer kissed him back and finally touched him. Trailing his hands up the strong arms that braced him on either side, he entangled his fingers in the hair that lay on Ares' neck. There, they massaged the tight tendons before moving down across the broad back, exploring the silken skin that rippled over the flexing muscles.
Ares rolled onto his back, bringing Joxer up on top of him. At his surprised look, the god smiled up at him and whispered, "Your turn, Joxer. Explore me."
Joxer gulped then shifted to his side and began to hesitantly return the caresses that Ares had lavished on him. The dark haired god encouraged him with sighs and involuntary moans whenever Joxer reached a hot spot. He's a quick learner was the last coherent thought Ares had before Joxer reverently proceeded to worship his phallus with a flickering tongue while his fingers gently rolled his balls back and forth. Now, it was Ares' turn to explode and he barely had time to warn his lover with a strangled, "Joxer!" before he pulsed out his life-force into the eager mouth.
Ares felt little aftershocks while Joxer cleaned him with a warm moist tongue. He pulled him up into his arms and they shared an Ares-flavored kiss.
"You taste better than the wine." Joxer offered his tribute shyly.
Ares thought a moment and smiled. "I don't think I've ever had a nicer compliment, Joxer. You taste like ambrosia."
He blushed and hid his head in the comfortable curve of Ares neck and shoulder. Ares felt the hidden yawn and a protective impulse arose within him. "Would you like to sleep for a while? It's been a busy couple of days. The bed is pretty comfortable."
Joxer shook his head and lifted heavy lidded eyes in denial. "I'm fine. Really."
"Well, you've worn me out. I vote we move to the bed and keep warm. Then if we need a nap, we'll be well placed." Ares nuzzled a kiss into the silky dark head under his cheek. "You'll have to take pity on an aging god, young warrior."
Joxer chuckled sleepily and let Ares pull him up and steer him into the wide bed. The god tucked them both in and watched while Joxer lost the battle to stay awake. The young man lay against the dark linen, glowing with life and vitality, muted by sleep. His body gleamed in the firelight, his white skin warmer than marble but just as beautiful. His arms and face were bronzed by the sun but the rest of him was moon white, a testimonial to his modesty and his mistaken belief that he was plain and uninteresting.
Ares lay back and decided to take a nap to rest up for their next round. He spooned up beside Joxer, breathing in his scent like a sleeping potion and falling asleep with an unaccustomed smile on his face.
Joxer awoke slowly, wondering why he couldn't move. The feeling of a warm body stretched out along his back and strong arms holding him close, brought his memories to the fore in a rush. Oh, gods, I'm in bed with Ares. The wonder of that thought sent the blood rushing to his groin. All his skin tingled where the god touched him. Ares' cock nudged his buttocks and Joxer felt hot and cold at the same time. He wasn't quite sure what came next but Ares had promised to teach him a different kind of dance and he suddenly wanted that more than he'd ever wanted anything else.
"Morning, lover." Ares' voice rumbled by his ear and sharp teeth nipped his ear, followed by a rasping lick to soothe the brief pain.
Joxer turned around and found himself eye to eye with the tousled god. "You're real."
The god laughed, his spicy breath reminding Joxer of the wine from the evening before. "I guess I'll just have to convince you of that all over again." Then that laughing mouth was on his and they were sharing a breath that seemed to last forever.
Joxer felt as if he were drowning in the sweetness that was Ares. In the back of his mind, he kept the stories of the god of war that seemed so at odds with the kind, caring man who held him. Who'd accepted him the last two days, spent time with him, shared his body with him. He gave up the attempt to reconcile the two figures and just accepted the joy.
The god's lips moved across his cheek and down his neck, trailing fire in their wake. "What are you thinking, Joxer? Have you liked what we've done so far?"
"Oh, yes-s-s." Joxer arched at the fireball that erupted when Ares nibbled at the base of his throat. The heat radiated out in waves and made him ache for more. "Was I all right? Last night?"
Ares stopped what he was doing and moved back up to hover over him. His dark eyes were tender and he shook his head gently. "Joxer, Joxer, Joxer. You must not think so poorly of yourself. You are bright, gentle and loving. Every touch you give me is a gift that I've never been given before. A rare and beautiful present of yourself. Do you know how long it's been since I've lost myself in pleasure as I did last night? Years. People tend to think of me as a bloodthirsty savage who only lives for death and destruction."
Joxer couldn't bear the look of resignation that had fallen over the dark god's face or the regret in his eyes. He reached up a trembling hand, hardly believing that he could and brushed the hair from the broad brow. "That's not the man who made love to me last night. You gave me a part of yourself and accepted a part of me. That's never happened to me before, Arry. I'm suddenly greedy. I want more."
Ares caught the wandering hand and nestled a kiss into the palm that sent a lightning bolt up Joxer's arm. "There's so much more to experience, Joxer. Let me show you." His dark eyes glowed with fire and Joxer found himself short of breath, fearing and wanting at the same time everything Ares wanted to do with him. "Together, Joxer. Give and take. Love and desire beyond measure."
Joxer gasped at the sensations flowing through his body from shoulder to toe, the curly hair on Ares' chest and legs tickling every inch of skin to arousal. The wiry curls tangled with his where their groins met and Joxer couldn't help arching into the solid body that covered his, wanting more and harder pressure to ease the ache in his rapidly filling cock.
Ares chuckled, the vibration reverberating through Joxer, while his hands clutched the wide shoulders to bring that smiling mouth back down to his. Their tongues dueled in sweet battle while one of Ares' hands slipped between them and gathered both cocks into one slippery embrace. His fingers provided the tunnel that allowed the two cocks to slide together with increasing friction, helped by their quickening thrusts.
Joxer felt his blood rising within and desperately sought release. But even more he wanted to give Ares the gift of his own climax, so his hands began to move down the muscular back to the narrow waist and fell into place on the narrow hips, pulling Ares closer in time to his own upward thrusts. Within a few moments, he felt himself begin to pulse out white-hot liquid and with a surge of delight, heard Ares groan and erupt onto his tingling skin.
They lay in a satiated heap, breathing slowly and deeply. Joxer had never felt anything like this before. This feeling of languor that wrapped him in softness and overflowed into boneless contentment. Then a dark thought entered and he began to believe that this was all a dream, nothing could feel this good.
"Ouch!" Joxer jerked when Ares bit his bicep.
"You're frowning." Ares' dark eyes met his. "This is real. It's not a dream. I need you to believe that, Joxer." He kissed the bite.
"I'm trying. But it's hard." Joxer tried to explain his disbelief. "It's so strange and new. You make me feel like I really matter to you."
"You do matter. Not just to me but to the rest of the fools who just never took the time to get to know you. You make a difference with your caring and your sense of right and wrong." Ares cradled his head and placed soft moist kisses up and down Joxer's cheeks and across his eyes. "Your warmth and compassion are a fire with which I can warm myself. I called you a gift before and never has a Solstice brought me such largess. I will be forever grateful you came with me."
Joxer felt surrounded with love, afloat with pleasure. "I think I believe you. Nothing false could feel this good." He saw the pleased expression that lit up Ares' face and realized that he wasn't the only one feeling a little unsure of the situation. For some reason that made him feel more in control of the events that had turned his world upside down.
The table had been replenished with food while they slept. After cleaning up, they dressed and ate bread and honey with grapes to begin and end their meal. Pure spring water satisfied their thirst and Joxer found himself outside the small cottage on a tour of Ares' valley.
Even in the midst of winter, green flowed from earth to treetop. Small white flowers bloomed among the grass near the cottage while bushes of wine red leaves surrounded it like a fence. Ancient evergreens faintly dusted with snow stood in tall stands on the hillsides that encircled the valley. The silver green leaves of an olive grove glinted in the sunlight.
They walked for miles, sometimes in silence but more often in a sharing of stories. They laughed easily and Joxer found himself trying to release the dark god's laughter. They returned from walking the perimeters of the hidden valley after midday, ravenous with hunger. This time there was a spinach pie laden with salty feta cheese in a flaky pastry crust with mead to wash it down.
They made love again on the rug before the fire. Joxer eager to give Ares the same pleasure he'd been given that morning. He couldn't seem to get enough of the silky skin that rippled under his fingers. Ares didn't seem quite so larger than life when he was flat on his back smiling up at him, Joxer decided.
"There is another room, Joxer. Why don't we clean up after our ... hike?" Ares nodded towards an arch hung with shimmering beads.
They walked together through the tinkling curtain and into a spa of marble and gold. The sea-green tiles beneath Joxer's feet were warm and gusts of heated air flowed all around them. The sound of running water reminded Joxer that he really needed to relieve himself and once again Ares seemed to read his mind.
"Through the door over there. I'll find some towels."
Joxer spent the next few moments alone for the first time in a day and although part of his mind wanted to sit down and analyze the events of the last few days, the other part just wanted to relive the pleasure. With a smile, pleasure won. Suddenly shy, he washed his hands under a mini-waterfall, stretching out the moment before he had to walk naked back into the other room.
"Joxer, do you like spruce?" Ares called from the other room.
Spruce? Joxer stuck his head around the archway and saw Ares seated in the marble tub filled with ... bubbles? The odd sight brought him out and over to the tub. The god of war smiled and offered him a hand.
"Be careful, it's slippery. The spruce bubble bath was a solstice gift from Artemis. The spruce comes from her own grove." Ares shrugged and disturbed a mound of white that separated and floated in the air for a moment before settling back onto the water. They floated everywhere but Joxer couldn't take his eyes off the sight of a naked Ares, his bronzed skin gleaming through the froth.
Joxer sat on the marble edge and slid into the tub, settling on the ledge two feet below the surface of the rippling water. The water felt slippery and the foam lathered like an oily soap.
"Wow! It feels ... different." He tried to catch some of the bubbles and they slipped away with a pop. He laughed out loud when Ares reached over and dabbed some suds on his nose. He retaliated with a glob on Arry's ear and the foam flew through the air in their mock battle.
Moments later they were laughing in each other's arms and Joxer sighed happily. "Arry, I feel fizzy like the bubbles have gotten into my blood."
"I'd forgotten what it was like to laugh like this, Joxer." Ares smiled at him and cupped his jaw, leaning in for a steamy kiss.
Joxer slipped into his arms, smooth skin sliding against smooth skin. Arry tasted of wine and laughter, an infectious combination. His tongue glided across the roof of his mouth and Joxer felt the jolt down to his toes. A tingling began to spread through his body. Pressing closer to Ares, he gasped when the god pulled him around and into his lap. His legs instinctively went around his waist and he found himself sitting closer than he'd thought, while their cocks rubbed intimately together.
Ares tore his mouth away to breathe, resting his forehead against Joxer's. "You are a fire in my blood. Not even the steam can put this flame out. There's so much more, Joxer but I'm afraid we're going too fast. I could hurt you."
Joxer felt a little frisson of power at the thought that Ares was thinking of him first. The god's hands were cupping his buttocks and the long fingers were brushing gentle caresses across nerve endings that Joxer hadn't even known he possessed. The look in Ares' eyes was uncertain.
"Joxer, I need you to make the decision here. I've very much enjoyed what we've done so far but there's more. That 'other kind of dance' we talked about in Delphi. But it may be too much, too soon. I told you that we'd only do what you wanted to do and I meant that. With all my heart."
His stomach felt like hummingbirds had taken up residence. This was serious. What he decided would affect both their lives. Joxer couldn't remember a time when he hadn't desired a lover who would love him for himself. Just never thought it would be a man ... A god? What am I thinking of? He's a god. I can't be in love with a god. Can I?
His thoughts scattered into a thousand bits and something in his face must have alerted Ares of his indecision. The god smiled wryly and began to pull away. "Oh, Joxer, don't look so worried. I can't blame you for wondering about me. Most of the stories are true. I glossed over some of the more seamy portions of my past. I've begun more wars than you have years. Death and destruction are part of my job. And I'm good at it, always had a feel for the dark side. But you haven't been touched by that. You deserve someone who can come to you as pure as you will come to them."
Joxer realized that Ares had jumped to the wrong conclusion. He held on tight and refused to let go of the dark god. "That's not it, Ares. I've heard the stories and I accept that you've had to do things that are hard for me to understand. It's who you are. The god of war. But it's not all of who you are. The part of you that laughs and loves is also there."
Ares kissed him tenderly when he faltered and dropped his eyes. Joxer didn't know if he could say what he wanted to say if he was actually looking at him so he closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
"That's not the problem. The problem is that I think I've ... falleninlovewithyou." He finished in a rush and held his breath, hoping Ares wouldn't drown him in the bubbles or laugh in his face.
The silence was absolute except for the gentle lapping of the water against the sides of the tub. Joxer couldn't stand it and he peeked through the dark fringe of his lashes. The look on Ares' face made him exhale with a whoosh. It was a combination of stunned disbelief and overwhelming desire.
"Just when I think I can't get any happier, you give me a gift of more joy than I'd thought possible." He whispered but Joxer heard every word clearly. "I don't know what the future holds for us. But I know that I want you to be a part of my life."
A future? With Ares? Joxer gulped. "You mean, I can stay with you, until you need to go?"
Ares began to stroke light feathery strokes down Joxer's back. "I mean, I need you to stay until you want to go." His dark eyes were warm and tender, his mouth trailing teasing kisses across Joxer's shoulder.
"Then, you'll never be rid of me." Joxer said simply, hoping his eyes said all the things he couldn't say. He decided it had worked when Ares moved him closer and resumed the intimate caresses he'd begun earlier.
Hands trailed languidly down to his balls, gently sliding them together and apart. Ares was kissing him again and Joxer almost didn't notice when one long finger breached his most private place. He tensed but Ares just moved it in and out slowly, mimicking the movement with his tongue. Joxer relaxed, curious as to what came next. It didn't hurt really, just felt odd to have that slippery intruder so intimately playing inside his body.
"It gets better, love. Just relax. I won't hurt you." Ares whispered, running his tongue around his ear and tickling the sensitive skin.
"I trust you. It just feels ... different." Joxer managed to say while holding on for dear life as Ares moved down to suckle on one of his nipples. "Oh gods, that feels good."
The chuckle against his chest sent a tidal wave of need through his whole body and when the finger left, he suddenly felt empty. But then there were two fingers inside him, spreading the bath oil in little circles that made him feel restless, needing something more. The fullness was beginning to feel right when the long fingers pushed deeper and a fire ignited inside him.
He bucked helplessly and gasped, his eyes opening wide. Looking to Ares for reassurance, he found the god tenderly watching him. "What was that? O-o-oh!" It happened again, the flames leaping higher.
"All men have a spot inside them that responds to touch. Does it feel good or bad?" Ares asked him seriously, watching him closely.
"O-o-oh!" Joxer moaned, pushing back onto those tormenting fingers.
"I'll take that as good." Ares moved his other hand to a firm grip on Joxer's cock.
Joxer didn't know what to do with the dual stimulus, torn between wanting to push back and thrust forward at the same time. The fire was raging inside him now and suddenly he couldn't take anymore. With a shout, he spent himself in Ares' hand. The moment stretched languorously until Ares removed his fingers and Joxer moaned involuntarily into the shoulder that supported his too heavy head.
Ares tensed beneath him and his arms came up protectively. "Did I hurt you?"
Joxer shook his head, unable to speak. It had been wonderful but Ares was still hard against him and he wasn't sure what he could do about that. Raising his head, he looked into the worried dark eyes so near to his. Maybe it was time for that dance?
"Ares, what can I do for you? Show me how to make you feel as good as you made me feel."
Those ebony eyes glowed with the same fire that had spread through Joxer's body. "I need to be inside you. To bury myself so deep within you that my cock reaches your heart."
With a haze of desire, Joxer realized what he meant. Can I do that? He could feel Ares' cock like an iron bar in his lap. Long and thick, it suddenly felt huge. Inside of me? He shuddered but not entirely with fear.
"I won't lie. It will hurt at first. Maybe we should wait for a while. You're so tight." Ares ran soothing hands down his back and began to ease away from their close embrace.
"No." Joxer reached down and hesitantly grabbed the cock that seemed to be retreating. "I need this." He struggled to find the right words. "I want to belong to you. If you're inside of me... then we'll be truly one."
Ares laughed shakily and cupped his face with both hands while he gently kissed Joxer's trembling lips. "You are a brave man, Joxer. I don't think anyone has ever made such a beautiful offering to me."
"Not a sacrifice, Ares." Joxer pulled back. "I'm no sacrificial lamb."
"Not death but life. Is that what you're offering me?"
"Yes. My life ... and my love."
"Oh, Joxer." Ares groaned ...
... and they were suddenly on the bed. Joxer clutched him in alarm then relaxed. Ares began a serious assault on every one of Joxer's newly discovered hot spots. Pleasure built on pleasure until his entire body was on fire with a need that burned steadily.
Joxer moaned continuously, allowing Ares to position his body as he willed. Those tormenting fingers were back, slick with oil but this time he didn't stop at two but added a third that stretched him wide. Joxer was bereft when the fingers were withdrawn and he was turned on his side away from the dark god. His hands clutched the bed linen when he felt Ares spoon up against his back, his cock like a red hot brand against his buttocks.
"Relax as much as you can, Joxer. Take a deep breath and then let it out all at once." Ares' deep voice reassured him.
Joxer nodded and took the breath but before he could completely let it out, Ares pushed in. Joxer screamed at the searing pain, all his muscles clamping down hard in protest. He couldn't seem to catch his breath, all his awareness on the annihilating fullness that was splitting him in two.
"Breathe, Joxer. Please." Ares' pleading voice echoed dimly. "Do you want me to pull out?"
Joxer let go of the sheet and brought his hand to the hip behind him, holding on with a bruising grip. Through gritted teeth, he managed a strangled, "Don't you dare."
The god's hands stroked soothingly up and down his chest while he stayed unmoving within the tight ring of muscle. Joxer took a deep breath, then another, concentrating on relaxing all his muscles. Slowly, he felt his violated ass unclench and gingerly accept the massive intruder.
"Joxer?" Ares' anguished whisper relaxed him even further.
He really cares for me. For me! The wonder of that thought made him rock back experimentally, taking in a tiny bit more of Ares' cock. The hiss from the god made him smile and he moved more confidently. The pain was a dull ache now and the fullness was more satisfying than he'd imagined.
The next few moments were spent in sliding Ares completely home to within Joxer's now molten depths. The pain was gone and only the delicious feeling of being filled was left.
"Zeus, Joxer, you're so tight ... and hot ... and mine." Ares spoke fiercely into his ear, the hot breath gusting into his soul.
"Yours." Joxer agreed, content to lie here like this forever, feeling loved and desired and completed in ways he'd never dreamed possible.
"You're all right?" Ares still sounded unsure.
"I'm fine. More than fine." Joxer thought dreamily that it couldn't get any better than this, the pain a distant memory.
Ares chuckled and began to slide out, the friction making Joxer twitch. But then he was thrusting back in and that mysterious spot was sparked again, making Joxer shout an incoherent question.
"Hang on, lover. It gets better." Ares promised him and proceeded to make it reality.
Joxer twisted the linen in his hands, pushing back when he could but Ares held his hips still and thrust with a controlled power that reduced him to a mindless being who existed only for pleasure. The flames burned higher, flushing Joxer's whole body with a burning need to erupt in ecstasy.
When Ares' hand reached around and stroked his cock, the volcano that was Joxer exploded in a fireball of spewing lava. Dimly, he heard an echoing shout from the dark god and the feeling of liquid fire shooting up inside of him pushed him over the edge into smoking ashes.
Ares curled around the unconscious man in his arms, more tired than after any battle he'd ever fought. The smoldering embers of passion were partially satisfied but he knew it would take only a look from Joxer to fan them to flames again. But he needs his rest, he told himself, willing his cock to soften so he could back out of the channel that gripped him so fiercely. Slowly, he slid out without doing further damage.
He sighed in relief when no blood appeared. Mortals were so fragile and yet, so tough sometimes. Tenderly, he turned and cradled his new lover, combing back the hair that fell on the broad forehead and stroking the long arm that lay across his chest. So soft and yet so strong. Like the phoenix, he felt reborn into passion from his old life of death.
It wouldn't last, of course. It never did when the pull of war drew him back to human conflict. That was a darker wine that bubbled in his blood. He looked down at Joxer's content face, half buried in his shoulder. But maybe this time, he'd found someone who would stay for awhile and keep the demons at bay.
Maybe, even a lifetime. Ares smiled sadly and fell asleep in his lover's arms.
End part two
And a very merry Solstice to you all!