Mercury the Messenger trudged through the Pantheon's corridors, mud marking each of his steps.

He drew his cloak higher around his shoulders to ward off the night chill that wafted through the stone passageways, and shut his ears to the sounds of revelry echoing from the Atrium. He rounded a corner and the voices and music faded into a low hum. Mercury pressed aside the heavy curtain of his doorway. "Back already?" Bacchus lounged in Mercury's chair, legs tossed over the edge and an amphora of wine clutched in his hand. His toga hung negligently off his shoulder and honey-colored hair danced in curls across his forehead. Bacchus's lithe, girlish body shifted so a fold of his colorful robe revealed his thigh to where the fine blonde hairs became thicker at his groin. The God of Decadence smiled. "I'd grown so bored waiting." Mercury cast his cloak onto the bed and sat to unfasten the leather straps of his winged sandals. "Best you not wait on me at all." He shook his head to clear the thought of Bacchus's legs, and—Hades help him—the round buttocks he'd spied once while bathing. Against his will, Mercury's body reacted, heating within his thick travel clothes. He sat back farther onto the cushions of his bed, unhooking his outer robes. "Please leave, I must call for a bath." The carved chair groaned as Bacchus stood. A grin in his lovely face, the hedonistic god folded onto his knees at Mercury's feet. He offered up his jug of wine. "Want some?" The messenger swallowed once before nodding his acceptance. Their hands touched as they passed the container, the feel of soft skin heightening Mercury's awareness. He didn't take his eyes off Bacchus as he drained the sweet wine, and tried to shore up his courage when he handed the empty container back to his friend. "Was that so bad?" Bacchus's green-blue eyes sparkled with mischief. He tickled Mercury's bare ankles, and then slid his touch up under his robes. Mercury clapped hands down on his knees, right above the creep of Bacchus's fingers. "What are you doing?" Bacchus rubbed slow circles behind Mercury's knees. His hands were firm and warm, and exquisitely knowing. He pressed his lips to Mercury's knuckles. "I'm doing exactly what you want me to." His hands roamed higher, past Mercury's trembling fingers, up to his inner thighs. "Will you let me kiss you?"

His eyes closed, Mercury shook his head, no. He could not. He opened his mouth to say as much, but Bacchus fumbled with the tied fastenings of his robes, stealing his breath. Mercury's cock strained from under his clothes, seeming to fight its way out as much as Bacchus dug to find it. Cool air hit his flesh a moment before Bacchus's mouth engulfed him. Pleasure seared through his body, his forehead drawing together with the force of his bliss. "Ack Hades—only this one time!" He threaded his hands through Bacchus' hair, felt the god chuckle around his shaft. Bacchus's head bobbed in time with his suction. His restless hands dug into Mercury's clothes, seeking out his hips, his thighs, the tender swells of his testes. The pleasure of the act threatened to unman Mercury within the minute. The eighteenyear-old messenger shifted to relieve a fraction of the pressure building at the base of his body. His fear of discovery by a servant warred with his need to impress his friend. "Are you...I mean, do you need..." He didn't even know what he asked or offered. Eyes clenched, he only felt Bacchus's head lift away. "I want you to fuck me." Mercury's eyes flew open. He blinked, noticing that Bacchus's hand disappeared under his own robes to palm his arousal. The head of it poked from behind a fall of material. "What do you mean?" Mercury watched the slow pump of Bacchus's grip. His stomach knotted with a mixture of horror and sick desire. He whispered, a tremor in his words, "Sodomy?" Bacchus merely laughed and stood up. He turned around, lifted the back of his robes above his ass, and looked at Mercury over his shoulder, an arrogant roll in his eyes. "You act so surprised!" Mercury gasped when the furrow of Bacchus's buttocks, slicked with some kind of oil, stroked his erection. Still, he pressed his friend away. He knew plenty of gods and men played at same-sex relations, but those males were different—they liked women too. Mercury's heart leapt every time he saw Mars; he ran to his room after each glimpse of gladiators in the arena. His passions weren't passing or contained, but rather a shameful inferno that threatened to swallow him whole. "Stop." Bacchus snatched up Mercury's wrists and pressed them down onto the bed. His turquoise eyes grew solemn, an expression so unusual that Mercury felt a lump catch in his throat. "You need this." The lithe god hoisted his robes and turned around again, reaching beneath him to grasp Mercury's cock and position the tip. "Ah," the god

gasped when the head breached his body. He breathed deeply, not moving. "Give me a moment, sweet." Mercury put his hands on Bacchus's sides to hold his friend steady. His eyes feasted on the spot where their bodies joined, the sight of it stealing his breath. Bacchus widened his legs so he straddled Mercury's thighs. Placing both hands on Mercury's knees for support, he lowered until the firm rounds of his ass sat fully on Mercury's lap, the tight clasp of his body strangling Mercury's sex with unbearable pleasure. "Is it how you imagined?" Bacchus stroked his own cock once and leaned back till his head rested on Mercury's shoulder. Blinking back a tear, Mercury shook his head. His cheek rasped the fine stubble on his friend's jaw. "It's so much better." Mercury felt Bacchus's chuckle in the bounce of his body, the fluttering clench of his ass. "I thought it might be." Bacchus rose and fell, wrenching a groan from Mercury's lips. He moved faster. His quick pulses up and down caressing Mercury in a silky embrace. Bacchus's robes fell between their bodies, and though Mercury yearned to feel flesh on flesh, he feared discovery more. As they were, Bacchus could pull away in an instant— layers of cloth hiding all evidence of their activity. He imagined Bacchus stealing down the hallways, his seed a damp reminder between his buttocks, and Mercury surged upwards, suddenly desperate to orgasm within another man. "I'm going to flip you over." Sureness filled Mercury's voice, deepening his tones. He stood, lifting Bacchus in a quick movement, their bodies still attached. Then he pressed his partner into the bed, pinning him in a hard thrust. "I..." Reason escaped him, along with the last of his control. "I'm sorry." Mercury fucked him hard and fast—the raw pleasure of it searing up his spine. He all but ignored Bacchus's groans—the blonde god's hand fumbling to clutch his sex. With final thrusts like a piston, Mercury's orgasm exploded from the base of his body, echoing through his nerves before his seed shot into Bacchus's snug hole. Only once he collapsed on top of the other male, did Mercury realize Bacchus shook, wracked with climax. Bacchus's face looked beautiful in that moment—more breathtaking even than normal. Mercury stroked a hand down his lover's body—from his shoulder to his hip, delighting when Bacchus shivered. "Pull out slowly. It's a little sensitive."

Mercury wasn't sure what Bacchus meant until he felt his softening member begin to slip free. He gasped in time with Bacchus when they separated. "I should go." Bacchus shifted below him, the spell of their lovemaking broken. He rolled onto his back and sat up before touching a hand to Mercury's face. "Congratulations." Mercury's heart filled with affection. He grinned up at Bacchus, not caring if he'd be one of his hundreds of lovers. The hedonistic god hopped up from the bed and grabbed his jug from the floor. He snickered as he walked towards the exit. "Don't entertain those thoughts in your head for too long." Poised to leave, he winked at Mercury, his heavy-lashed eyes all too knowing. "Someday you'll meet a man crafted precisely for you." Mercury shuffled his clothes into place lest a servant enter unannounced. He tried to laugh with Bacchus, but the sound came out sad. "I doubt that." The curtains fell closed behind Bacchus. From the hallway, Mercury heard his friend's called-out teasing. "Of course you will, friend! Everyone loves you!" Bacchus's footsteps faded into the distance. A small grin formed at the corner of Mercury's lips. In the last part, at least, Bacchus was right.

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