“Right, we can’t plan anything else until tomorrow,” Daedalus announced, after a couple of hours of discussion.
He got up, poked around the room muttering to himself until he found what he was looking for, and then dropped a pile of blankets into Pythagoras’ arms.
“You obviously can’t go home; they’ll be looking for you. You can sleep on the floor in Icarus’ room.”
“Um, thank you.”
Pythagoras was already talking to Daedalus’ back as the older man disappeared towards his own room with no more than a momentary glance at his son.
Icarus waited until he was gone, and then hopped down from the table and led the way. Not that he needed to; Pythagoras already knew exactly where Icarus’ bedroom was, but it was only polite.
Icarus lit a couple of candles, closed the door and then hesitated for a moment before he turned to face Pythagoras, who was just standing there in the middle of the small room, still holding the blankets.
“So...” Icarus said.
He closed the distance and the blankets fell from Pythagoras’ arms and then they were holding each other and kissing and kissing until there was nothing else in the world but the two of them right here in this moment.
Pythagoras hadn’t even known how much he had needed this until he had it. For so long, everything in his life had been about other people; Jason, Hercules, Ariadne, Medusa, the entire bloody city of Atlantis. Even the reason why he was here in Icarus’ home was for a life or death mission, and not simply a social call. Pythagoras couldn’t remember the last time he had made anything as mundane as a purely ‘social call’ on anyone, without there being an agenda, or a favour, or a need for information.
Right now, he just wanted to pretend that this was for him. And for Icarus.
They parted, and Icarus rested his forehead against Pythagoras’.
“It’s been too long,” Icarus said, his voice barely more than a whisper.
It was. It had been far too long.
Icarus pressed a finger to Pythagoras’ lips before he could get the word out.
“No apologies. Not tonight.”
Icarus pulled away slightly, and Pythagoras barely stopped himself from just following. He missed the contact already, even though he still had his arms around Icarus’ waist.
Icarus glanced down at the blankets, heaped on the floor between them, and then back up at Pythagoras. His lips twitched into that cheeky smile that Pythagoras hadn’t seen in far, far too long.
“So, I take it that’s a no to sleeping on the floor?”
Pythagoras returned the smile.
“Well, not unless you would like to join me down there.”
“I would, but it seems a shame to waste a perfectly good bed.”
This time Pythagoras couldn’t stop himself, and he tugged Icarus back for another kiss. This one was long and lazy, as if they had all the time in the world together. Pythagoras was trying so hard to pretend to himself that was the truth.
He was still reacquainting himself with Icarus’ taste, when he felt hands loosening and removing his belt. Those same hands, such skilful engineer’s hands, moved upwards and tugged at clothing until first Pythagoras’ housecoat and then his tunic were puddled on the floor alongside the abandoned blankets. Pythagoras gave a quiet gasp when Icarus began to explore his chest; touching, stroking, caressing.
“This.... this isn’t fair.” Pythagoras managed to say.
He poked at Icarus’ soft leather top.
“You are wearing too much.”
“Why don’t you do something about it, then?”
So Pythagoras did. Part of him wanted to take his time and commit every second of this to memory, but almost before he knew how it had happened, they were both naked. He took the opportunity to tug Icarus close and kissed him again, and Pythagoras’ hands roamed all over the newly exposed skin. He didn’t even realise he had been advancing on him, pressing him backwards until the backs of Icarus’ legs met with the bed-frame.
“So, about this ‘perfectly good bed’ of yours?” Pythagoras inquired with a faint smirk.
Icarus grinned and deliberately fell backwards onto the bed, pulling Pythagoras with him.
Pythagoras didn’t know how long they spent just lying side by side, just touching and kissing, letting the heat of arousal grow. He never tired of simply enjoying the sight and the feel and the taste of Icarus’ body. Icarus wasn’t as well-built as Jason, but he was tanned and wiry, and there were definite muscles, unlike Pythagoras’ own skinny, pale body. Icarus was beautiful and perfect, and Pythagoras thought he might never understand what someone so gorgeous could possibly see in someone like himself. But Pythagoras didn’t question it. He didn’t dare, for fear that it might break whatever this thing between them was.
He closed his eyes and gasped as Icarus kissed his way down Pythagoras’ chest, his lips lingering in random places, his tongue occasionally flickering out and making Pythagoras shiver in anticipation.
Without warning, Icarus paused and pulled back a little. Pythagoras forced his eyes open and saw that there was slight frown marring Icarus’ good looks.
“What?” Pythagoras managed.
“This one is new. It wasn’t here the last time I saw you.”
He trailed a finger gently across a patch of skin just below Pythagoras’ ribs.
Pythagoras frowned and propped himself up on his elbows to see what had so caught Icarus’ attention.
There was a thin scar, barely visible against his pale skin. Actually, now he looked closer, it was still recent enough that it might be better called a healing cut, rather than a scar.
“What happened? How did you get it?” Icarus couldn’t seem to take his eyes off it.
Pythagoras shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t remember.”
Icarus looked up and met his eyes.
“You don’t know? You got injured badly enough to leave a mark, and you don’t know how you got it?”
Pythagoras felt a sudden stab of guilt that he had been so blasé about it. Icarus’ face was made for cheeky smiles, not such worry. Worry was Pythagoras’ job.
“It must have been on the journey to Aegina. A fight with Colchean soldiers.” He reached up and gently brushed his knuckles across Icarus’ cheek. “It’s fine, really.”
Now he thought about it, he vaguely remembered a glancing blow from a sword. But then he had been too preoccupied with keeping first Dion, and then Ariadne alive. Any injury that wasn’t immediately life-threatening hadn’t warranted his attention. That neglect was probably why such a minor wound had even left a scar at all.
Icarus looked only marginally more reassured.
He reached up and touched the tips of his fingers to Pythagoras’ temple, right at the hairline. Next it was his shoulder, next the ragged claw marks on his left forearm, next his chest. Each touch was almost reverential. Each touch marked a scar. The Minotaur caves, a fall when they had been practising bull leaping, the creature sent after them by Circe, some random bandit attack he didn’t even remember any more. A hundred scars, a hundred tales of bravery and insanity and heroics and mind-numbing fear that he, or someone he cared about, was going to die. A hundred things that Pythagoras did not want to be reminded of right at that moment.
“You never used to have this many scars,” Icarus said, his voice little more than a whisper. “There was a time when you didn’t have any. It’s only since Jason came.”
Pythagoras didn’t reply. He couldn’t.
He had realised some time ago that in Icarus’ mind, Jason was to blame for a lot of things. Jason was a bad influence. Jason was the one who put Pythagoras in danger. Icarus barely knew Jason; they had only met once, in passing, but Pythagoras knew Icarus resented him. He didn’t want to let the word ‘jealous’ enter his head, but somewhere deep down Pythagoras knew that was exactly what it was. Jealousy and fear.
The last time Pythagoras had seen Icarus, in a few snatched hours after the battle for Atlantis and before Telemon and the Coronation Games, Icarus had joked that it had been so long since they had seen each other he had feared Pythagoras had forgotten him. Pythagoras had laughed and kissed him and promised Icarus that he could never forget someone so handsome and amazing. Icarus had laughed as well, but the look in his eyes had told the truth. Pythagoras had seen it then, and tried to pretend he hadn’t. Just as he could see it now, and wanted to pretend he didn’t.
“What you’re planning to do tomorrow,” Icarus said, his voice hesitant. “Please, Pythagoras. Think about it. There must be some other way.”
And suddenly Pythagoras couldn’t let him finish. He couldn’t hear this. Not now.
Pythagoras grabbed Icarus and rolled them both over until he had Icarus pinned beneath him on the bed. He held Icarus’ wrists down on the pillow and kissed him and ground down against him, rubbing their cocks together until Icarus moaned breathlessly into Pythagoras’ mouth.
When he was sure Icarus was sufficiently distracted, Pythagoras braced himself with one arm, and reached down and wrapped his free hand around both their cocks. Icarus writhed and pushed up against him, and Pythagoras kissed him again, and then began to nip and nibble and bite his way down Icarus’ jaw and neck and shoulder and collarbone.
He didn’t want to think about tomorrow. Just for tonight, Pythagoras wanted to forget all about tomorrow. He wanted to forget about Jason, about Hercules, about Ariadne, about Medusa and the terrible, terrible thing she had asked him to do. Tomorrow Pythagoras would have to play his part, be the hero, save the city, and he knew that in doing so he would utterly betray the trust of his oldest, dearest friend.
If he could just have this, tonight, then maybe he could get through tomorrow.
Icarus reached up and wrapped his arms around Pythagoras. He rocked gently against him, whimpering, moaning and finally all but begging. Pythagoras never took his eyes off his lover as he stroked their cocks, building ever closer to the moment of release. He wanted to remember this. He wanted this image in his mind in the days to come. He needed to have this moment for himself.
Icarus came first, and Pythagoras was only a second behind him. He captured Icarus’ mouth and kissed him hard, swallowing his cry so that Daedalus wouldn’t hear them. Finally spent, he rolled sideways and collapsed beside Icarus, and they lay there, breathless and sated.
Eventually, right around the point where he was beginning to find the sensation of damp and stickiness on his stomach and chest uncomfortable, Icarus reached over to the table beside his bed and produced a cloth and cleaned them both up. Pythagoras raised an eyebrow. That was a first, Icarus being the one who cleaned up afterwards. Icarus didn’t meet his eye, though, and Pythagoras didn’t question it.
Once he was done, Icarus dumped the cloth and immediately turned back to Pythagoras and lay beside him. Wordlessly, he snuggled up to Pythagoras, draped an arm across his waist, and laid his head on Pythagoras’ chest. Pythagoras hesitated, slightly surprised. Then he wrapped Icarus up in a hug and turned his head to nuzzle Icarus’ soft, beautiful hair.
There in his lover’s arms, Pythagoras finally let himself forget.