Mythdefied (mythdefied) wrote in tedandbruce,

"Redrawing the Lines" (HtLJ - X:WP, Autolycus/Joxer, hard R)

I'm supposed to be working on RS or a co-authored fic. So, of course, I wrote this instead. It started with just a small idea, a little part of the opening paragraph, and it flowed non-stop from there. This isn't crack!fic -- I think we can all agree that we don't have crack!fic in this fandom; this fandom's canon is cracktastical all on its own -- but it is...weird. Don't expect anything too serious or even any real attempt at justification. Think: fluffy kink. I'll just leave it at that.

Big thanks to spikeface for the lovely beta. This makes a great deal more sense now, both canon and grammar-wise.

Warnings: hard R for sexual situations.

Disclaimers: Did you see the episode where Hercules, Iolaus and Autolycus have a kinky threesome while Joxer yells out instructions? No? Then I guess I don't own them or any part of the shows.

Archive: Joxerotica, my LJ, my site.

Redrawing the Lines
by Erin

If anyone had asked six months ago, Autolycus would've said that he knew all there was to know about living dangerously. He'd reigned as the King of Thieves for nearly two decades now, stolen from royalty and commoners alike, in broad daylight, in the midst of crowds. Nothing scared him off, no security was strong or deadly enough, no guards were fast enough, no trap brilliant enough; he wasn't caught unless he wanted to be. He thrived on danger, and not just in his professional life.

When it came to sex, Autolycus had always been open to new experiences. He’d done everything from plain vanilla romance complete with poetry and flowers, to role-playing and bondage. What was life for, anyway, if not to squeeze every drop of excitement out of it while you had the chance? He rarely passed on anything, regardless of how weird or extreme it sounded, and at pushing forty, Autolycus had though of himself as a worldly kind of guy. He figured he'd been around the block enough to have the street named after him.

Until he'd hooked up with Joxer.

At first sight -- Tartarus, at third and fourth sight, Joxer didn't bring to mind the image of a guy who liked to take serious risks. Autolycus' general impressions of him had been more along the lines of, "Idiot in need of a village." Annoying in small doses, enough to make a good case for justifiable homicide at prolonged exposures. And yet, somewhere, somehow, along about the fifth time they ran into each other, Autolycus had gone from wanting to strangle Joxer to wanting him to get closer and do that harder and get rid of that damn sorry excuse for armor because he couldn't get enough of a grip and sweet Aphrodite on silk sheets, where had he learned to do that? Autolycus still couldn't explain it and by this point, he was thinking that it was better for his sanity if he didn't try.

Because Joxer was a...surprise, in ways that hurt Autolycus' brain if he thought too much about it. It wasn't that Joxer's clumsy idiot facade was hiding a suave genius; the guy still tripped over his own feet and couldn't wrap his mind around the concept that two plus two actually did add up to four every time. But what Autolycus thought he had in experience, he had nothing on Joxer.

Joxer was a Kinky Bastard, capitalization required.

Autolycus supposed he should've bought a clue the night he'd pulled out his best leather restraints and wooden paddles and Joxer had taken one look and said, "That's, uh, nice, Auto, really. But don't you wanna do something a little more...I don't know, exciting?"

That had probably been Autolycus' cue to run, far and fast. But the King of Thieves didn't scare easily and besides, coming from Joxer of all people it'd seemed so harmless, kind of quaint, in a naive sort of way. Except, Joxer hadn't been the naive one.

There were things Autolycus had never considered doing in his career, or in a relationship -- and using that particular word in connection with Joxer was yet another thing he didn't think too much about. It wasn't that he wasn't up to any challenge, no job too hard, no position too wild, after all, but there were some things he'd always dismissed as being too much risk for too little payoff. It was a decision that didn't hold up too well, or at all, with Joxer in the picture.

For a guy who had a habit of fainting at the sight of his own blood, Joxer courted danger like he didn't know the meaning of fear. Or was just insane. Autolycus was leaning strongly in favor of the latter.

"Exciting" in Joxer's world usually consisted of something along the lines of pressing himself up against Autolycus and whispering, "Hey, Auto; you know that violently homicidal, psychopathic warlord Ares just elevated to his favorite? I heard he's got this nifty new dungeon in his fortress. Let's go have sex in it! We can play Defiant Prisoner and Evil Jailer. And then you can steal his life savings. All while he's at home!"

Which was, of course, the stupidest idea in the history of stupid ideas, but then Joxer would lick his ear or slide a hand down the front of his pants, or both, depending on just how suicidal the idea was, and suddenly it sounded like the most brilliant, well-thought out plan Autolycus had ever heard.

It might not have been so bad if Autolycus at least got to keep the loot he pulled out of those insane jobs, but Joxer always had plans for that, too.

"Aww, come on, Auto, we don't need all of that," he'd say in a whiny tone that should've been annoying, but somehow wasn't with Joxer's hands busy pulling opening laces and sliding under clothes. "Why don't you donate it to that orphanage in the next town?" Or a village/town that was suffering drought/fire/war/whatever, random poor people, random homeless people, whomever they came across that Joxer thought was more "deserving" than the poor schmuck who'd actually done all the work to get the goods. The poor schmuck being, of course, Autolycus.

But any time Autolycus started to complain, he lost his train of thought. It was hard to muster a coherent argument when Joxer was on his knees, or his back, or stretched out over him, demonstrating to Autolycus that thinking with the head on his shoulders was highly overrated.

Mixing business with pleasure was nothing new to Autolycus; he'd flirted with and picked up plenty of men and women while on the job. He'd even fooled around a little with his ex-wife back in the early days when they worked together, but this...this was so far beyond the norm that normal had lost all meaning months ago. It was one thing to chat up some pretty little bit of fluff while he cased a joint, it was something else to let Joxer bend him over the glass case holding the priceless antique jeweled sword he was there to steal, and then try not to alert the nearby guards by making any loud noises.

This was excitement, danger on a level that Autolycus wouldn't have dreamed of risking before. An existence where no job was too crazy and beds were only used for sleeping. And he didn't know how he'd done without it.

He spent the better part of his time in a state of sweat-inducing fear mixed with mind-bending arousal and he'd never felt so alive. He’d never been so sore or exhausted, either, but dear gods above and below, he couldn’t imagine life without it anymore. Not that he ever said that to Joxer. Joxer wore enough smug looks as it was these days, no need to add to it.

Not every day could be spent in death-defying acts of thievery and exhibitionism, at least not the thievery part. Autolycus did insist on some planning for a job and thankfully Joxer was sane enough to agree. It took days, weeks sometimes, but that didn't mean that they did nothing. Joxer wasn't the type to sit around counting the clouds, waiting patiently for Autolycus to come up with a good plan. He liked to be right there with Autolycus, giving his input -- even if his ideas were so deeply stupid that Autolycus rarely resisted the urge to smack him. Which prompted Joxer to either glare at him or to give him a considering look before offering to drop his pants so Autolycus could give him a proper spanking. It was usually the latter if there were people anywhere near them. Autolycus had taken to whacking him more often these days.

And if it wasn't public propositions, it was Joxer pushing him up against the side of the nearest building, kissing him until it was painful to walk and passersbys were gawking openly. Or sitting right next to him in a pub, close enough that Joxer could slide a hand into his lap, unlace his pants easily; Autolycus was past caring when the serving girls wandered by and gave them knowing smirks. Joxer always grinned back and ordered something in that damn cheerful tone. Sometimes he'd just drag Autolycus off the street into a barely shadowed alley and drop to his knees, smiling brightly up at him as though no one was passing them just feet away. Or, once, in a whisper, "You see that well in the town square, Auto? You'd, um, you'd, you know, look really good naked, holding onto the wall. It''s raining; there's no people out there." His fingers had trailed up inside of Autolycus' vest, grazing a nipple. "Well, maybe just one or two."

That was taking it pretty far and Autolycus had opened his mouth to say just that. "Okay," was what came out.

What was too much? Too far? He hadn't found it yet and any lines he thought he'd drawn had long since been crossed. Joxer, clumsy, dorky, frequently brainless Joxer made him go further, explore more than Autolycus ever thought there was to discover about himself, his own desires.

Joxer woke him from a dead sleep one morning with another of his ideas, "Hey! Let's go steal that new golden goblet collection king whatshisname tithed to Cupid's temple." Autolycus gave it all of half a second's consideration before shrugging. "Sounds good."

Which was a definite sign that whatever insane world Joxer so happily occupied, Autolycus was now a full time resident himself. Gods and their temples were two of the few things Autolycus had second and even third thoughts about stealing from. A warlord would just kill him; gods could torture him for years, centuries if the notion took them. It had to be something big -- huge before he’d consider it, and really, goblets? Those weren’t high on Autolycus’ list of things that were worth the considerable risk he’d--they’d be taking.

Even with Joxer leading him around by his...ego, Autolycus couldn't help but voice his concerns while they spent a day casing the temple. Little things, like death, torture, souls being ripped from bodies, kept occurring to him as they strolled through the palace, disguised as temple guards.

"I don't think so," Joxer said when Autolycus finally ran out of dire scenarios. "Cupid won't be angry at us. I mean, he knows me, we're...we're friends! Yeah, him and me and Gabby and Xena had a couple great adventures together!" He grinned brightly. His helmet, made for someone much larger, slid down over his eyes.

Autolycus groaned softly, barely resisting the urge to smack his palm against his forehead.

"Besides," Joxer went on, shoving his helmet back, "when you fence the goblets and we give the money to that couple who wants to escape their warlord fathers and elope, Cupid will forgive everything. Trust me!" His grin widened.

This time, Autolycus didn't resist that urge.

And yet, just two days later, early in the morning to avoid the priests and guards, there he was in the middle of the temple, Joxer "watching his back" as Autolycus checked the altar for any signs of traps. The goblets, a collection of five in different sizes, were displayed prominently in the center of the altar, on top of a white silk cloth. He'd studied the setup at a distance when they'd been there before, but he wasn't satisfied. He always wanted a closer look at things; it never paid to be careless, regardless of how closely Joxer was pressing up against him.

"Hey now, what happened to watching my back?" Autolycus muttered without looking away from the altar. Was that a wire just above the cloth?

"I did watch it," Joxer breathed in his ear. "It's a nice...back."

Autolycus stifled a gasp as Joxer slid a hand between them and squeezed.

“Yeah, well keep watching and do it elsewhere; this is delicate work and I don’t need distractions, kid.” Like that would get him anywhere, but it never hurt to remind Joxer that Autolycus was doing a job here. It might’ve been a wire, but the dim torchlight wasn’t enough to give him a good look.

Joxer chuckled, a soft brush of air against the back of Autolycus’ neck. “You’re funny, Auto. ‘Kid.’” Another amused chuckle and one of Joxer’s arms slid around his waist. “So what’s that make you? A dirty old man?” The hand resting on his stomach slid lower and Autolycus had to stifle a loud groan.

“Love how noisy you are,” Joxer muttered, pressing a kiss to the back of Autolycus’ neck.

“Well that’s great, Joxer, I’m sure the nice guards with the really pointy weapons will agree with you,” Autolycus said, his voice catching on more than one word. And it wasn’t like it made a difference, it never had before. Joxer just made a little humming sound that might’ve been agreement, disagreement, or maybe just a comment on the way the laces on Autolycus’ pants were holding their knots so tightly.

“I--I need some dust, ash, something like that,” Autolycus said, his voice sounding rough to his own ears.

“Huh? Why?” Joxer replied in a distracted tone, the sound vibrating against the side of Autolycus’ neck. “Ha!” a soft exclamation half a second later when the laces gave beneath his persistent fingers.

“And to think, I thought you’d been paying attention all these months,” Autolycus said sarcastically, although it had less of a bite when he was starting to pant like that. “Look, it’s really simple: if there’s some sort of wire trap here, I can’t see it, but a little dust in the air and all will be revealed. Tricks of the trade, Joxer. You know, it’s not often that the King of Thieves hands out valuable advice, so pay attention.” Which, again, would’ve sounded much better if he hadn't been leaning back against Joxer. That armor wasn’t as uncomfortable as it looked.

“I always pay attention to you, Auto,” Joxer murmured, lips against his ear now. Then his hand stilled, laces dropping away and Joxer drew back just a little. “Hey! I think I’ve got it!”

“Well, don’t give it to me,” Autolycus muttered, a little put out at the sudden lack of touching.

“Cute, Auto,” Joxer said sarcastically, giving him a light whack on his arm. But his tone changed immediately, turning excited, and just a shade too loud. “No, I mean, I see something you can use!”

“You wanna say that a little louder?” Autolycus whispered. “Maybe we can get the guards and the priests in here.”

The speculative look Joxer gave him while stepping away really shouldn’t have been such a turn on.

“Now just hold it right there,” Autolycus said firmly. “There’s no good escape route here and I don’t want to end up in the local slammer demonstrating my flexibility for our new best friends, Bubba and Tiny.”

Joxer gasped sharply, pupils dilating and Autolycus’ response to that was predictable enough. If he weren’t certain it would’ve set off some sort of alarm, he would’ve started banging his head against the top of the altar. There was always the off chance that he could knock something resembling sense back into himself. But then, he supposed, Joxer would just take advantage of the position.

Instead, he held up a hand, cutting off anything Joxer might’ve said. “I don’t wanna hear it,” he said with absolute certainty, because if he listened, there was a good chance he’d do whatever crazy thing came out of Joxer’s mouth.

Joxer sighed and gave him an exasperated look. “You don’t even know what I was gonna say.”

“I think I could make a good guess,” Autolycus said sardonically.

“Oh really?” Joxer raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms.

“Yeah, really. Look, as fun as it would no doubt be, I’ve got a job to do here and--”

We have a job to do,” Joxer corrected.

“--and when I’m in the middle of knocking over a god’s temple, I want to concentrate,” Autolycus finished, ignoring Joxer’s words. “Of course, I’m more than good enough to work under any kind of conditions; after all, I am--”

“The King of Thieves,” Joxer said in an exaggerated bored tone, rolling his eyes.

Hand frozen midway towards smoothing out his mustache, Autolycus glared at him before moving on.

“That’s right,” he jabbed a finger in Joxer’s direction, making the point, “and it’s not just any old empty title, you know. I have to back it up with deeds worthy of the great legend my name has become.”

Well, at least Joxer was laughing quietly.

Autolycus gave up, dropping his hand with a roll of his eyes. There was a reason he never put up more than a few token objections in these situations anymore.

“Okay, fine, be that way,” Joxer somehow managed to sound petulant through another muffled snort of laughter. “I was just gonna show you something.” And he dropped to his knees.

Autolycus looked down at him. “You know, that’s really not helping.” At least not with anything job related.

That got him another eye roll. “And you say I have a one track mind. Here.” Joxer scooped a handful of something off the floor, right next to the altar, and held it up to Autolycus.

Autolycus automatically held out his hand and when Joxer opened his fist, a fine white dust trickled out into Autolycus’ palm.

“Well, well, well,” he whispered, a grin slowly turning up the corner of his mouth. “What have we here?”

“It’ll work?” Joxer asked, wiping his hand off on his pants, leaving a stark white powdery smear on the brown leather.

“Yeah, you did good, kid.” Autolycus said distractedly, ignoring the glare that got him.

Someone hadn’t been cleaning up the temple the way they should’ve. It looked like the top of the altar had been abraded and polished before it’d hosted the goblet collection, and no one had bothered to do a thorough cleaning afterwards. It was marble dust he held in his palm; perfect.

Autolycus carefully blew the dust in a wide enough swath to cover the top of the altar. A hazy white cloud filled the air and slowly began settling over everything on the altar, including--

“Oh-ho!” Autolycus clenched his fist, grinning widely in triumph.

“There’s something there?” Joxer asked excitedly.

“Ah, you bet there is. An entire lattice of wires stretched across this baby,” he nodded at the altar. “And touching any one of them would probably set off some sort of alarm -- bells, I’m thinking. Hundreds of bells, no doubt hidden somewhere in the walls.” He nodded decisively, giving the innocent looking frescos along the wall a close once-over -- and then quickly looking away, eyes wide. Frescos in Cupid’s temple: not so innocent. “And,” he cleared his throat, regaining his metal footing, “and this would be one Tartarus of a challenge,” Autolycus looked down at Joxer and gave him a wink, “if I weren’t--”

“The King of Thieves,” they both said at once, but this time Joxer was grinning happily.

“So? How long?” Joxer asked, rising up on one knee.

“This? Oh, please. You wound me.” Autolycus dismissed it with a snort of contempt. “One minute, tops.”

Joxer licked his lips, slowly. “That long?” he challenged, his grin taking on an all-too familiar edge.

“Now, don’t start.” Autolycus pointed a warning finger down at him.

Joxer’s grin only widened as he pulled his helmet off. At least he was careful to set it down quietly instead of just tossing it like he did too many times. He ran a hand back through his hair, mussing it even more than that ridiculous helmet had, giving him that debauched look that never failed to get a response out of Autolycus.

“Twenty seconds,” he heard himself say, eyes caught by the way Joxer was biting his lower lip, leaving it red and swollen.

“Wow, Auto, that sounds really fast,” Joxer said, his tone suddenly so deep, soft.

“Yeah, uh...but the, um, the technique is still first class,” Autolycus managed to get out with only a slight waver in his voice as Joxer placed a hand on his thigh.

“Okay, show me,” Joxer said in a perfectly reasonable tone. Then dug his fingers into the muscle of Autolycus’ thigh.

Autolycus couldn’t hold back a groan but had the presence of mind to slap a hand over his mouth before any nearby guards or priests started wondering if the temple was haunted.

“Bastard,” he breathed, and even if it was muffled by his hand, Joxer snorted in response and slid his hand higher and--

The temple doors swung open.

Autolycus and Joxer had come in through a window in one of the back rooms not only for secrecy, but because the main doors were too huge for even the both of them to force one open enough to slip in. That wasn’t a problem for the man currently pushing them open like they were made of feathers.

“Hercules,” Autolycus said with a resigned sigh, dropping his hand and trying, under the circumstances, to look normal. Or maybe the circumstances were normal enough on their own. He was standing over one Tartarus of a haul, after all.

Joxer, Autolycus was grateful to see when he glanced briefly down, quickly yanked back his own hand and slid himself between Autolycus and the altar, completely hidden. He pressed himself back against the marble, looking equal parts worried and annoyed. Not the most common of expressions, but it worked on him. It worked too well and Autolycus quickly looked back up, pasting on his most ingratiating smile.

“Hey there, Hercules,” Autolycus greeted, crossing his arms. “Fancy meeting you here.”

Hercules sighed, a long, drawn out, overly patient sound as he strode into the temple. “Autolycus. Why am I not surprised?” Stopping just a few feet from the altar, he regarded Autolycus with something close to resignation. “I’d say I was disappointed, but really, you never fail to live down to my expectations.”

“Hercules, I’m shocked!” Autolycus clasped a hand over his heart -- and jerked involuntarily when another hand settled back on his thigh. He couldn’t risk a glance down this time, so he opted to ignore it. “You always expect the worst of me,” he finished, giving Hercules his best wounded look.

Hercules just rolled his eyes. “And I wonder why that is?”

“Disappointing childhood?” Autolycus offered, gritting his teeth when fingers tugged the laces of his pants the rest of the way open. He couldn’t ignore that, but there wasn’t anything he could do about it, either, not without giving the game completely away. Having strangers know was one thing, but it would be just a little too much on the humiliating side to have Hercules of all people figure this out. Risking it, though...he wished he could say it didn’t do anything for him.

“Look, Hercules, I can explain, really.” Autolycus tried for honest, but the way his voice rose a little at the end didn’t help, but nor did the large, warm hand currently working its way into his pants. At least from where Hercules was standing, the altar was high enough to hide a great many things, including the way Joxer’s other hand was tugging Autolycus’ pants down more.

Another roll of his eyes and Hercules crossed his arms. “As fascinating as I’m sure whatever explanation you’ll invent is--”

“Hey, Herc!” Iolaus’ call distracted Hercules, making him glance behind him -- which was fortunate because Autolycus doubted he could’ve explained why his eyes crossed right at that moment or his sudden inability to breathe. He would’ve kicked Joxer, but considering where Joxer’s mouth was right now, Autolycus just braced his feet, dug his fingers into his arms and bit back the loud, deep groan that wanted to work its way out of his throat.

Iolaus jogged into the temple a second later, looking a little out of breath. “I said wait up! I--oh. He is here, huh?” Coming to a halt beside Hercules, taking deep breaths, Iolaus gave Autolycus a look of amusement touched with annoyance.

“Blondie,” Autolycus greeted him, impressed with how level he managed to keep his voice while trying to fight the urge to pant.

Iolaus didn’t rise to the bait, just rested his hands on his hips. “I knew it. The instant we heard about these goblets, I just knew we’d find you here.”

Autolycus tried to laugh, project the appropriate amount of fake amusement and very real scorn, but he ended up coughing hard to cover up Joxer’s name almost slipping out because Joxer was humming. Not audibly, but merciful Fates, could Autolycus feel it.

Hercules was frowning now, giving him a narrow-eyed, suspicious look. Iolaus just rolled his eyes.

“Glad--glad to see you two have such concern for your friends,” Autolycus said his best snide tone before clearing his throat.

“What is this ‘friend’ thing he keeps talking about?” Iolaus said, raising an eyebrow.

“Got me,” Hercules replied with a shrug.

“Yeah, you two are a real...a real comedy d--duo.” Autolycus swallowed back the moan that tried to come out after the words. “Listen, guys, Big Guy,” he smiled condescendingly at Hercules. “It’s really not what it looks like. Trust me on that.” He dug his fingers even harder into his arms; sweat was breaking out all along his body.

“Trust him?” Iolaus chuckled. “Um, what d’you think, Herc?”

Hercules looked at Iolaus and raised an eyebrow.

“Nah,” they both said at the same time.

Autolycus would’ve said something appropriately scathing, but Joxer suddenly decided that he’d been taking things too slowly; Autolycus had to lock his knees when they threatened to buckle.

“I--I’m not here for the gob--gob--those things.” Autolycus nodded shakily at the sparkling golden goblets and it was true enough. Right at that very moment, that wasn’t what was on Autolycus’ mind in the slightest.

“Oh, this should be good.” Iolaus gave Hercules a knowing look.

“Yeah, laugh it up, Shorty.” That came out far breathier than Autolycus cared for, but it was the best he could do.

His shirt was beginning to stick to his back; a single bead of sweat formed at his temple and began a slow slide down. He was starting to feel lightheaded, all his blood rushing south, faster and faster it seemed. And Joxer definitely had faster down to an art form. Autolycus seriously hoped those wet slurping sounds weren’t as loud as they seemed. Or maybe it was his own focus narrowing, heightening everything, every deep, throbbing sensation.

He grabbed onto the first semi-plausible explanation his rapidly overloading brain could come up with. “Is it h--hard to believe that I’m just here to--to worship?”

Okay, so semi-plausible was stretching it. Hercules and Iolaus’ twin incredulous looks confirmed that, but Autolycus was coming up blank for anything else. He was barely standing upright as it was and considering his...position, he thought he deserved some sort of award for not being sprawled on the ground, gripping handfuls of messy brown hair while he profusely thanked various and sundry gods for Joxer’s ability to overcome his gag reflex.

“So, um, Autolycus,” Hercules was the first one to speak and he wasn’t bothering to hide his smile or the deep amusement in his tone. “You just woke up this morning and decided to...get religion?”

“Oh, believe me,” Autolycus breathed the words out on a trembling sigh, “I’m a--all about the religion. Get--getting it right now, in fact.”

“In Cupid’s temple?” Iolaus was grinning widely. “You’re in love, Autolycus?”

Joxer’s other hand slid up between Autolycus’ legs, fingers slick with saliva and pushing and was he totally insane? Autolycus couldn’t handle--couldn’t stand--he couldn’t-- Oh gods; suddenly everything was so abruptly, brightly clear.

“Yes,” he said, and somehow his voice was steady.

Iolaus’ eyebrows flew up, Hercules frowned and -- and Joxer went very, very still.

It was suddenly so quiet in the temple; there was only the faint sound of a horse and cart passing somewhere out beyond the walls and it did nothing to break the weight of the silence inside.

Autolycus swallowed and unclenched his hands from his arms; he’d have bruises there soon. “Yeah,” he said, his voice rough, “I am.” He met both Iolaus and Hercules gazes without blinking, but wished so much that he dared to look down at Joxer. He wanted to know what Joxer was thinking; he’d see it all in those wide, expressive brown eyes.

“Oh.” It was Iolaus who finally spoke, frowning now. Then, “Oh!” His eyes widening before he looked pointedly at Hercules.

Hercules looked back at him shaking his head once. But then Iolaus raised an eyebrow and inclined his head towards Autolycus.

“Oh,” Hercules said with a nod. Whatever that “oh” meant, it had him smiling slightly when he looked back at Autolycus.

“Well, congratulations, I guess,” he said. “And we’ll...leave you to it.” He started to turn away, but stopped mid-motion, looking back at Autolycus with a knowing expression.

“We’re here to help out a couple who wants to elope; shouldn’t take more than an hour. Those goblets better be here when we get back.”

“And you’d better be gone,” Iolaus added.

“No problem,” Autolycus said, and that was true enough. With those guys taking care of Joxer’s latest pet cause, then there was no reason to steal the goblets. Well, other than to say that he’d done it, but it wasn’t worth getting on Hercules’ bad side. Again.

“Uh-huh.” Hercules didn’t look like he quite believed Autolycus, but he turned anyway and walked back towards the doors, Iolaus at his side.

Autolycus’ attention was drawn from their retreating backs by a firm tap on his thigh, bringing his gaze downward.

Joxer’s mouth was a little too...occupied to manage a smile, but his eyes glittered with it. A grin big enough to draw an answering one from Autolycus, to make something warm and bright grow in Autolycus’ chest, and if he wanted to be honest about it, it had been there for a while, unacknowledged.

Then the glitter in Joxer’s eyes turned to something more approaching mischievous and that was all the warning Autolycus got before Joxer moved. Fingers and tongue and mouth and all at once and it hit Autolycus like a speeding chariot and he couldn’t stop it, couldn’t keep it bottled up--

“Gods!” It was loud enough to echo through the temple. More than loud enough to bring Hercules and Iolaus to an abrupt halt right on the threshold. They stared at him.

“Uh...just...getting into the praying...thing,” he managed to get out, teeth clanking together as another wave rolled through him.

“Right.” Iolaus drew the word out.

When, too-long moments later, they turned and stepped out of the temple, Autolycus finally let his muscles unlock and dropped to the floor.

Joxer pulled away just in time, a hand clamped over his mouth to stifle his laughter as Autolycus sprawled out in front of him.

“You--” Autolycus had to stop to take a deep breath; his heart was pounding so loud he could barely hear himself speak. “You are going to pay for that,” he promised.

“Good,” Joxer replied, the word muffled by his hand but still perfectly audible.

Autolycus rolled his eyes and stretched out the leg that had twisted to one side when he fell -- and kicked Joxer’s helmet. It went clattering across the floor, the metal spikes on the helmet ringing sharply against the white stone.

Both of them froze, looking wide-eyed in the direction of the helmet. Maybe the guards hadn’t heard that. They hadn’t seemed to hear all the talking, after all. Cupid really needed to invest in better guards...not that Autolycus was going to be the one to tell him that.

“Okay, I give. How did you know, Iolaus?”

Autolycus shut his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. That was worse than the guards.

Iolaus’ chuckle carried from the doorway. “Herc, don’t tell me you didn’t you hear that ‘armor’ squeaking?”

“Guess I’m not as attuned to that kind of thing as you.”

“Or, here’s a thought, maybe you’re just getting old.” Another chuckle.

“Hey, I’ll show you old.” And their voices faded, Iolaus’ reply inaudible.

Autolycus opened his eyes and turned his head to look at Joxer. Joxer met his gaze with a shocked expression that Autolycus was certain mirrored his own.

“You do know we’ll never be able to look them in the eye again, right?” Autolycus said dryly, recovering some of his composure.

Joxer nodded with a long sigh. Hand dropping, he shrugged. “Yeah, but it was worth it.” He smiled.

Autolycus snorted. “Only you, Joxer.”

“Only me what?” Joxer frowned, then reached up to wipe something off the corner of his mouth. He licked his finger clean.

Autolycus was certain that sound he made wasn’t a whimper. Fairly certain.

Shaking his head, he pushed himself up on his elbows, happy to find that they were able to support him instead of having all the muscle consistency of limp paste, as he’d half suspected.

“I can’t figure out half of what goes through that ‘mind’ of yours,” Autolycus said, sparing a hand to smooth out his mustache. But he smiled, his tone affectionate.

Joxer grinned back. “Oh, come on, Auto, sure you can! Hey, I bet you could tell me exactly what I’m thinking right now.” As he spoke he got to his feet, armor indeed squeaking with every tiny movement.

Autolycus stared up at him for a long moment, frowning. Then Joxer’s grin widened and it suddenly became so obvious.

“You have got to be kidding!” Autolycus protested, sitting up fully.

“” Joxer brushed off more marble dust before unhooking the straps that held his armor on.

“Fates have mercy on me,” Autolycus muttered as Joxer carefully lowered the armor, making sure there was no noise when it piled on the floor. Apparently the Fates weren’t listening, though, because Joxer was unlacing his pants now. Autolycus’ mouth went dry; his heartbeat, just starting to calm, sped right back up.

“Oh, to Tartarus with it,” he cursed under his breath. His responses were too predictable now and Joxer had to know it, so why fight?

Rising up on his knees, he started to reach for the waist of Joxer’s pants.

“Wait a second, Auto,” Joxer said, holding up a hand.

Autolycus looked up at him, raising an eyebrow in question.

Joxer looked...thoughtful. Not a good sign.

“Let’s make this a little more...exciting, huh?” he suggested.

“Exc--? What?” Autolycus stared up at him in disbelief.

Joxer didn’t answer, just grinned widely -- and leaned back against the altar.

The twang of wires snapping seemed deafening, but it was nothing compared to the sudden peal of bells ringing through the air. All around them, from every side, every wall, and it was good to know that at least Autolycus had been right about that.

“Better hurry,” Joxer advised with a slight laugh, bracing his hands on the sides of the altar. More wires snapped. The bells grew louder.

This was...this was nuts! Autolycus spared a second to marvel at the sheer stupidity of this, alarms going off around them, the faint, growing sound of agitated people coming their direction, and him on his knees, like an utter fool.

“You are insane!” Autolycus spat out, right before he yanked Joxer’s pants the rest of the way open. “Totally, completely, out of your godsdamned mind!” And he wasn’t sure if he was talking about Joxer or himself. Why in Zeus’ name was he doing this? Why?

“Love you, too, Autolycus.”

Autolycus’ gaze snapped up and Joxer was just...looking at him. Smiling softly.

Oh. That was why.

Autolycus found himself smiling back.

So it was crazy. But it was worth it.


X-posted to mythdefied and all_joxer.
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