General Comments: What would happen if Autolycus tried to put the moves on Gabrielle? I speculated that it would be one of three things: Scenario 1 - Gabrielle would beat the crap out of him; Scenario 2 - Xena would beat the crap out of him; Scenario 3 - which led to this story, is given in the fic itself as the rest of the fic is a continuation of it from Joxer's point of view.
Thanks to atalantapendrag for reading over this for me and letting me know that it didn't fall over the edge into the chick flick abyss.
Warnings: NC-17 for language and m/m.
Disclaimers: No money, no ownership, no infringement.
Archive: my site, my LJ and Joxerotica.
"Well, now, Gabrielle." Autolycus slung an arm around her shoulders. "Since Xena's decided to abandon you, let me be the one to tell you what a mistake she's making. No one with eyes could run off and leave a woman with your beauty on her own."
"Especially when you're around," Gabrielle said, rolling her eyes as he grabbed hold of her hand and brought it to his lips.
"I've never seen such an exquisite example of the feminine form, as when I first beheld you," Autolycus went on, pressing another kiss to her hand. "Your eyes are like two brilliant emeralds, much like the pair I stole from King Midas last month. Your hair is finer than the spun gold I liberated from a sultan last year, your skin is--ouch!"
Autolycus let go of her, stumbling forward, hand flying to the back of his head. His ears seemed to be ringing and his head was abruptly pounding, pain radiating from whatever had struck him.
"Oh, so this is what you meant by 'eternal devotion,' huh?"
The sarcastic tone made Autolycus wince as he turned around.
Yep, there stood Joxer holding what had to be Gabrielle and Xena's frying pan.
"Joxer! What a...great surprise to see you. Thought you were in Egypt with Hercules," Autolycus muttered, still rubbing the back of his head.
"You want me gone? Fine!" Throwing the pan to the side -- which Gabrielle managed to catch, Joxer spun around, narrowly managing to keep his balance has he caught his toe in a rut, and stomped off away from the camp.
Not what Autolycus had intended. "Hey, Joxer! Wait up!" He ran after Joxer. "I'm sorry, babe, really! Wait!"
"Will you just wait a second?" Autolycus' annoyed demand was accompanied by his hand coming down on Joxer's shoulder.
Joxer shook it off and kept right on going. Never mind that it probably wasn't the best idea to go stomping around in the near-darkness of nightfall, he wasn't stopping until he'd lost Autolycus and could set up a camp of his own. The pitying glance Gabrielle had sent him before he stalked off was enough to make him absolutely certain that he wouldn't be joining her or Xena anytime soon. The last thing he wanted was a bunch of "I told you sos." Because they had. Everyone from Xena to Hercules, even Salmoneus at one point had told him what a mistake he was making.
"Come on, it wasn't what it looked like!" Autolycus just wasn't going away. His hand was on Joxer's shoulder again and this time Joxer did stop, just long enough to turn, plant both hands on Autolycus' chest and shove him away as hard as he could.
"Oof!" Autolycus gasped as he stumbled back, but Joxer didn't pay him any more attention, just turned and kept right on walking as fast as he could.
At least for the next three steps, then he ran face-first into a tree.
"Ow," he muttered, taking a couple steps back as he rubbed his nose. Giving the tree a good glare -- what he could see of it in the near non-existent light -- he immediately headed off to the left, certain that's where the path was. The next tree got him on the shoulder but he shrugged it off too and kept on going, this time more toward the right. Maybe the path was over that way.
There was a sudden, sharp whistling sound from behind him, like something flying through the air, coming closer. Joxer would've ducked -- being around Xena and that chakram of hers had taught him about avoiding flying things -- but then something hit him around the ankles, wrapping itself tight. Joxer yelped in surprise and managed to hop forward a couple more steps before he lost his balance utterly and went down.
He got his arms in front of him just in time and his weight came down on his elbows and forearms, saving his nose from taking another beating. It knocked the breath out of him, though, and for a minute all he could do was lie there and try to remember how to breathe.
For a long moment it seemed like he was finally alone, that there was nothing out there but the trees, underbrush and the now pitch-blackness of night. Joxer closed his eyes and let his forehead rest on the ground. Pressed against the cool dirt and few blades of grass, he clenched his teeth against the telltale sting in his eyes. That was not going to happen, he wouldn't let it.
Then hands were on him. Joxer tried to jerk away from the touch at his ankles but he didn't have much movement there and the best he could do was an ineffectual kick.
"Look, just stay still and I'll get this off of you, okay?" There was still annoyance in Autolycus' voice, but it was more muted now.
Joxer wanted nothing more than to kick him, preferably in that perfect face of his, but then Autolycus planted a knee on the back of his legs and Joxer couldn't move them at all.
"I can't believe you did that," Joxer said, pushing himself up enough to send a glare back over his shoulder at the space in the blackness where he thought Autolycus' head was. Maybe he couldn't see anything but he could feel just fine and that was metal pressing against the side of his left boot. It had to be Autolycus' grappling hook, and that was rope wrapped around his ankles.
"Well, it's not like you were listening to reason," Autolycus said, and there was a touch of sarcasm in his tone. More than enough to make Joxer even angrier.
"Reason?" Joxer yelled. "I saw you with Gabrielle -- not that you'd have any chance with her. She's too good for you, Autolycus," he said spitefully, lowering his tone.
But there was a snort of mild amusement in response. "Yeah, you're probably right about that." Autolycus sighed and in that moment the rope loosened around Joxer's ankles. "But so are you, Jox."
Joxer would've tried to kick him, even with his legs being held down, but those words stopped him. "Huh?"
The pressure of Autolycus' knee disappeared, but Autolycus was still there next to him, grabbing him by the arm and pulling him up into a sitting position. Joxer couldn't see anything but he thought he could feel Autolycus there, sitting or kneeling in front of him. Well within the reach of his fist if Joxer wanted to do that. And he did. His hands were already clenched and it would feel good, to hit Autolycus. But he didn't make any move to do it.
There was a rattle and clank off to the right, the grappling hook, it sounded like, being tossed aside. Autolycus sighed.
"It really wasn't what it looked like, Joxer."
Joxer snorted, a skeptical sound devoid of humor. "Uh, yeah, Autolycus. You just had your arms around Gabrielle, slobbering over her hand, because you were helping her get a splinter out of her palm, right? Or, no, wait! She was feeling faint and you were helping hold her up. Or -- I've got it -- she wanted tips on how to seduce Xena and you were just helping her out, sharing the knowledge." The sarcasm got thicker with every word he spoke and he just knew Autolycus was wincing by now. It would've felt better if he could've seen it, though.
Yanking off his helmet, Joxer threw it, right at Autolycus -- who really was closer than he'd though because Joxer heard it hit nearly the instant it left his hand, heard Autolycus' hiss of pain and felt some satisfaction.
"How stupid do you think I am, Autolycus?" Joxer demanded, his voice rising again to a yell.
For a moment there was silence, then there was another sigh from Autolycus. "Well, that one's right up there with, 'do I look fat in this?'" he muttered. "Nice aim, by the way. That's gonna leave a mark."
Something was pushed against Joxer's chest, his helmet. He took hold of it reflexively.
"They warned me, they really did," Joxer said, shaking his head in disgust. "Hercules said you'd do something exactly like this, Iolaus said not to trust you, Xena wanted to know how many times I'd hit my head recently, Gabby said they'd be there for me when you...when you.... Bet she never thought she'd be the one you'd try it on." Joxer tossed his helmet to the side, listening to the clanking as it bounced off at least one tree and into the brush.
"I was actually proud that I was with you." Joxer said, speaking over Autolycus, shutting him up. "I never listened to any of them, I--I told them they wrong, that you were never gonna do that to me. I can't believe I was that much of an idiot."
"You're not, Jox, I just--"
"So, what was it, Autolycus? Was I just convenient?" Joxer crossed his arms, looking away from where he knew Autolycus was sitting. "You didn't have to say all that, you know, about loving me and wanting to be with me the rest of your life. I'm really easy; all you had to do was say that you liked me and just wanted to--to fuck me. I probably would've jumped right into your bed. You wouldn't have had to lie at all." He dug his fingers into his arms, the pain of jagged nails giving him something else to focus on besides how utterly pathetic he was, and how much he just wanted to cry. "You're not worth it," he said under his breath, as if telling himself aloud would make it true.
"No, I'm not."
The reply, the utter seriousness of Autolycus' tone drew Joxer's eyes back towards him.
"There's only one slut sitting here, Joxer, and it's not you, trust me on that." Autolycus said quietly. "I didn't--I wasn't trying to--oh, Hera's tits!"
Joxer jerked in surprise when a hand touched him, closing around his right wrist unerringly, as though Autolycus could somehow see in the blackness that surrounded them.
"I didn't lie, Joxer!" Autolycus' grip was tight, his voice closer, like he was leaning in. "I do love you and yeah, I do wanna spend the rest of my life falling into bed with you, even traveling with you sometimes." Autolycus chuckled, a sound that seemed devoid of humor. "I'm just not so good at this faithful business."
"Yeah, Autolycus, I think that one's a little obvious." Joxer tried to pull away, jerk his wrist from Autolycus' grasp, but he couldn't. Autolycus was holding on tightly enough that Joxer thought he might find bruises there tomorrow. Then Autolycus' fingers were touching him, his face, sliding over his cheek and that Joxer could pull away from, and did.
"We drive each other nuts, Jox, you know that. We can't be together all the time." Autolycus didn't give up, his fingers returning to brush over Joxer's forehead, nudge strands of his hair back. Joxer reached up and batted the hand away.
As much as he hated it right now, Autolycus did have one little point there. The last time they'd spent more than a month together, Autolycus had dropped him out of the second story of the inn they were staying at while Joxer was busy trying to strangle him. Fortunately, a cart filled with hay had been passing by or they both would've ended up with more than just a few cuts and bruises. At least the make up sex had been fun. It always was.
"I don't go looking for people to sleep with when you're not around," Joxer said accusingly, yanking his head to the side, away from the fingers that were back, touching his cheek again.
"You're a better man than me, Joxer. I don't do alone very well. I just...need someone there. You know, I wish it could be you all the time, but it can't and I can't be alone. I'm not...good, when I'm alone." Autolycus' voice turned soft, almost pleading. "Look, I know it sounds like a big cliché, but none of them mean anything to me."
"Oh, please--" Joxer would've gone on, but Autolycus' hand cupped the side of his face, thumb pressing against his lips, cutting him off.
"I'll always come back to you, Joxer. Doesn't matter who else I sleep with, at the end of the day, heck, the end of our lives, you're the one I'll be thinking about."
Joxer...didn't know what to say to that. But he didn't pull away when lips pressed against his forehead, the brush of Autolycus' mustache rough and scratchy and familiar.
It hurt, so much, thinking that he couldn't be enough for Autolycus, and no matter what Autolycus said, that hurt wasn't going to go away. Not when Autolycus couldn't, or wouldn't, promise him anything more than...loyalty. Which, Joxer had to admit, was more than he'd expected out of this mess.
"I--I don't think I ever really trusted you," he said, lips moving against Autolycus' thumb. "I know what I said to Xena and the rest of them, but when I decided to come find you instead of going to Egypt, I think...I think I knew." The last words dropped off to a whisper and Joxer closed his eyes. They were stinging again.
"I wish I could promise you it won't happen again, that I'll change, but then I would be lying, and I won't do that with you, Jox." Autolycus drew back as he spoke, but not far, Joxer could feel warm breath against his face. "I can't change, Joxer. I'm just...who I am. I'll understand if you--if you can't live with that, but don't think that you mean nothing to me, okay? You're everything."
Autolycus dropped his hand from Joxer's face. Then Joxer felt lips against his, hot and pressing and just for the briefest of seconds before Autolycus drew completely back, releasing him entirely.
Joxer didn't say anything for long moments, wasn't sure what he could say. He hated knowing that Autolycus would keep going after whoever looked good whenever Joxer wasn't around, but the thought of leaving Autolycus, never being with him again...gods help him, but Joxer hated that even more.
"I hate this," Joxer said, and his voice was trembling.
"I know." And there was resignation in Autolycus' tone, hurt, like he expected Joxer to leave him.
Joxer sighed, opening his eyes. "But I love you." It was so hard to say that, because it was like some sort of forgiveness where Joxer didn't want to offer any. "I don't...I'll never like it, Autolycus, and I never wanna see it again! Don't ever tell me anything about it, I'll just--just pretend like it doesn't happen, okay? I'm good at pretending." Bitter and filled with self-disgust and Joxer almost lost the near-continuous battle with tears when Autolycus' arms slid around him, pulling him close.
"Is...that gonna be enough, you think?" Autolycus' voice was a whisper against his ear. "Love, pretending. Should I just go?" The way he held Joxer, arms so tight, fingers digging into Joxer's back, it belied his offer. He didn't want to let go any more than Joxer wanted him to, not really.
"No, stay," Joxer said, muffled against Autolycus' shoulder. Because Autolycus was the only one who'd ever loved him enough to try and keep him. Even if the whole thing was fractured, flawed, it was still more than Joxer had ever thought he'd have. He could live with that. Gods, he hoped he could.
When Autolycus drew back, not letting him go this time, Joxer wasn't surprised when the kiss came. Autolycus' lips covered his, gentle and coaxing, trying to get Joxer to open for him.
This was so very familiar, the way Autolycus responded to any sort of problem or argument they had. To him, sex really did solve everything. He'd never been comfortable talking things out and if Joxer pushed, it usually degenerated into something that involved one of them storming away in anger. Joxer preferred to avoid that, and really, what was there left to talk about now? It would feel good and that was better than feeling like...this.
So, he let Autolycus kiss him, opened his mouth when he felt the slick wetness of Autolycus' tongue sliding over his bottom lip. And when Autolycus' hands began tugging at the laces that held Joxer's armor together, Joxer pulled open the clasps that held Autolycus' shirt closed. Autolycus' belt stopped him from pulling the shirt open entirely, but it was more than enough to let Joxer slide his hands inside.
Autolycus moaned at his touch, the sound muffled against Joxer's mouth and his hands worked faster. Knots came undone faster than Joxer had ever been able to manage himself and in moments his armor was cast aside with a loud clank. Autolycus had him on his back seconds later.
It was a comfortable thing, familiar, again, spreading his legs to let Autolycus settle between them, on him. And how many other people felt that same familiarity with Autolycus? Joxer quickly shoved that thought away.
Everything had an element of that comfort to it, the way Autolycus never quit kissing him, the rock of his hips against Joxer's that had them both hardening quickly, the constant soft moans, growing in volume as Joxer moved his hands from Autolycus' chest around to his back. Autolycus was nothing if not vocal. How many others out there knew that about him? Something else not to think about.
Joxer wasn't exactly quiet himself, at least not normally, but this time he just couldn't seem to make more than a gasp or two, faint and half choked off. When Autolycus drew back, some indeterminate time later, stopped kissing him, Joxer was almost expecting it. Autolycus always had been an attentive lover.
"What?" Autolycus said, panting for breath.
Joxer shook his head, realized that Autolycus couldn't see it and sighed. "Nothing. I just...I can't stop thinking...how many others have you--" Autolycus' hand over his mouth cut him off.
"It doesn't matter," Autolycus said firmly. "It could be three or it could be all of Greece plus Caesar and half the Roman army; they don't matter, Jox. You're the only one who does, okay?"
Joxer didn't nod straight away, it took a few moments. He thought Autolycus was telling the truth, it sounded like it, and gods, did he ever want to believe that. In the end, he had to, because he didn't want to believe anything else. So he nodded, and the pressure of Autolycus' hand disappeared to be replaced by Autolycus' mouth over his.
Autolycus lifted up just enough to slide a hand between them. A tug at his pants and Joxer pulled a hand out from under Autolycus' shirt, moved it down to work at unlacing Autolycus' pants. The knots in the leather laces were tough though and Autolycus had Joxer's pants were open long before Joxer was done, then his hand was pushed away and in seconds Autolycus had his own pants open.
Skin against skin, the feel of Autolycus' cock brushing against his, then pressing as Autolycus gathered them both in one hand. That was more than enough to still any lingering thoughts Joxer may've had. He gasped and pushed up into Autolycus' hand, shivering when the movement slid them together. Autolycus groaned, low and deep, a rumble Joxer could feel in his own chest as Autolycus began to move.
Smooth, long thrusts, a rhythm Joxer easily picked up, easily remembered. Clothed wasn't their usual, but they'd been in places, situations before where it was the best they could do and oh yeah, he remembered. He slid his hand around Autolycus', tightened his grip and forced Autolycus to do the same, drew a muffled cry from him.
Autolycus' kisses were harder now, as close to bruising as he got, tongue sliding over Joxer's, the tip skimming the edges of his teeth, the back of his throat. Constant moans, not all Autolycus' anymore, the sounds increasingly harsher as Autolycus moved faster.
Joxer planted one booted foot flat on the ground and used the leverage the push up harder, thrust faster. Their hands were growing wet, precome slicking the way, lessening the friction if not the heat. And it was getting hot; the night air was cool enough, cold against Joxer's heated skin now. He was sweating, they both were. Joxer felt it beading up under his shirt, sticking his pants to his thighs, and he could smell it on Autolycus, sharp and musky and gods, yes, he wanted this.
He pulled his mouth away from Autolycus', one hand moving up to grab hold of Autolycus' hair, pulling his head further down, holding him there. Cheek to cheek, Joxer licked him. One long, lingering stripe up the side of his neck, tasting the saltiness of his sweat. Autolycus sucked in a sharp breath, then let it out slowly at Joxer's next lick.
"Yeah, do it like that, babe," Autolycus said breathlessly with a roll of his hips that made Joxer gasp -- and bite.
He'd never had that impulse before and it shocked him, finding his teeth sinking into Autolycus' neck. Not hard enough to break skin, but there'd be a mark there for days. Joxer liked that thought. He bit harder.
It was close to a scream, the sound Autolycus made, too close to Joxer's ear for it not to hurt, but Joxer didn't let go either, because there was no pain in that cry. He wondered if he would've let go even if there had been.
Joxer felt the shudder that went through Autolycus' body, the jerk of Autolycus' cock against his, the heat of come spilling over their hands.
Hanging onto Autolycus with his teeth, Joxer tightened his grip even more, nearly painful now, and thrust twice more. He had to let Autolycus go then, lose the taste of him just so he could breathe, short, sharp gasps as he came, pushing again and again into their hands.
It took a while, what felt like half of forever before the aftershocks had finished rolling through him, before he could draw in a breath without it ending on a moan. By that time Autolycus had slid halfway off to the side, one leg still draped over him and Joxer could hear the soft, wet sounds as Autolycus licked his hand clean. Joxer would've just wiped his on the ground, but before he could move, Autolycus had hold of his wrist and seconds later his tongue was sliding up Joxer's palm. It wasn't a taste Joxer had ever cared for, but Autolycus seemed to love it. So, Joxer let him.
When Autolycus released him, Joxer reached out and touched where he thought Autolycus' shoulder would be. It was a good guess and he followed the line of bone and muscle until he found what he was looking for.
Autolycus hissed but didn't pull away as Joxer traced the still-damp indentations his teeth had made.
"Real subtle there, Jox," Autolycus said, and there was amusement in that still breathless tone.
"What're you talking about?" Joxer asked, quickly pulling his hand away, but not quick enough to stop Autolycus from grabbing hold of it.
Autolycus chuckled. "Yeah, okay. We'll play it that way, if you want."
Lips pressed against his palm, a soft kiss. Joxer sighed.
"Why don't you ever say any of those things to me?" he asked without meaning to. He'd thought it, but he hadn't wanted to say it. At least he didn't think he had.
"What things?" Autolycus sounded genuinely confused, but he didn't let go of Joxer's hand.
"Those, um, those things, all that stuff you were saying to--to...Gabrielle." Joxer winced at his own tone, the hurt there. More than he'd wanted to show.
"What, the 'eyes like emeralds,' 'skin like Chin silk' stuff?" Autolycus laughed, rubbing his cheek against the back of Joxer's hand at the same time. He needed a shave. "They're lines, Jox. Empty, pointless lines. Words like that are cheap, and I'd never use them on you, babe."
It sounded good, it all did, and Joxer wanted to believe every word, but.... "Yeah, well, how's calling me, 'master moron," or 'the clueless wonder,' or any of those other things 'better?'"
Fingers laced with his. "It's not." Every trace of humor had vanished from Autolycus' tone. "I get frustrated and annoyed, Jox, and so do you. Remember your 'King of Idiots' one, or the one about me screwing my own reflection? I never mean any of it, do you?"
"No." Joxer sighed again. Well, maybe he meant it at the time, but never the next day. "We're, um, we're not very good together, are we?" Nothing but blackness in front of his eyes, but he knew Autolycus was frowning.
"What, are you kidding? We're great together!" Autolycus' leg rubbed against his as a reminder.
"Yeah, but we're not good for each other." Joxer smiled, a faint, sad expression he was glad Autolycus couldn't see.
But maybe Autolycus didn't need light either, because he let go of Joxer's hand and then his fingers were brushing over Joxer's cheek, a soft, slow stroke.
"Don't, Jox. So, we don't get alone all the time. So what? Not everyone does. Doesn't mean we give up, right?"
Give up? No, Joxer wasn't ready to do that, not if there was the faintest hope. He didn't answer, though, because he wasn't sure about that hope. They were great together like this, that much was true, and Autolycus could talk his way into, around and out of anything, but Joxer...wasn't sure. Maybe he couldn't ever be.
"Hey." Autolycus was leaning over him now, Joxer could feel it, the closeness. "How many people do you think the King of Thieves goes crawling after? I'm practically groveling here, Jox."
And for Autolycus, yeah, this was pretty close to being on his knees, begging. Joxer knew him well enough to know that, and to be very familiar with Autolycus' pride and ego, the two being so closely entwined. There really wasn't much that would get him to push aside either. But...he kind of was, for Joxer.
"Okay." Joxer said softly. "Auto."
The sigh of relief Autolycus gave was quickly followed by a hard kiss, just lips against lips, no tongue.
"C'mon," Autolycus said as he pulled away. "I'll help you with that armor and we can get back to the camp."
"No," Joxer said immediately, pushing himself up. He wasn't going back there to have Gabrielle look at him the rest of the evening, maybe even question him later. His tone invited no argument and for once Autolycus didn't give him one, didn't even ask for an explanation.
"Okay, then. I'll just build us a nice fire right here. Work for you?"
"Sure, whatever," Joxer said as he tucked himself back into his pants and relaced them.
Maybe it was cool out, but Joxer was comfortable with the darkness now, with not having to see anything. He would've been happy enough just to sleep on the ground without a fire, but then he'd probably end up sick or something.
There was a dull clatter, the sound of thin branches being dropped somewhere nearby. "You got anything to eat?" Autolycus asked.
"I'm not hungry. I just wanna sleep," Joxer said, and while he hadn't really thought he was tired, suddenly, he felt it. Exhausted, inside and out. He brought his knees up and wrapped his arms around them.
There was no response for a few moments, then Autolycus was touching him, hand on his shoulder, probably kneeling beside him. "Whatever you want, Jox." A gentle kiss pressed to his temple. After a second or two, Autolycus pulled back his hand and was gone.
Joxer rested his forehead on his knees, and closed his eyes.