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fanfic: Necessary

Well, the inevitable has happened, and the Pythagoras!whumping has really got going in earnest now *rubs hands gleefully*. I even have a shiny new icon for the occasion! Poor Pythagoras, this is price you pay for being one of my favourites, and at the point when I have a hurt/comfort bingo card, no less... *evil grin*

Title: Necessary
Author: Athene
Fandom: Atlantis
Pairing/characters: Pythagoras, Jason (Pythagoras/OMC)
Rating: 18
Warnings: Dub-con, violence.
Spoilers: Vague for 1.8 The Furies and 1.11 Hunger Pangs
Disclaimer: Not mine. BBC and Urban Myth Films own them.
Word count: approx 2271
Summary: The wall is rough against his face, and he tries not to think about what is happening. What is being done to him.
AN: Fills the hc_bingo ‘Prostitution’ square on my hurt/comfort bingo card.
AN2: Thanks to clea2011 for second opinions.

Cross posted to AO3

The wall is rough against his face, and he tries not to think about what is happening. What is being done to him.

Instead, he thinks about home. He thinks about a store cupboard stocked with food, and good meals, and full bellies.

He tells himself this is necessary, reminds himself of all the reasons why his friends cannot do this, why it has to be him.

The stranger grunts, begins to thrust harder, faster, and he closes his eyes and thinks of triangles and tells himself over and over that he must not cry.

Jason woke when he heard the door open, and he rolled over to see Pythagoras creep in and stumble to his room in the dark. Jason frowned. It was the middle of the night. Where the hell had he been all this time?


The only reply was the curtain falling across his friend’s bedroom door. He never closed the curtain to his room.

Jason swung himself upright and sat on the edge of his bed. A deep snore rumbled from Hercules’ room, and Jason frowned. Pythagoras had walked out that afternoon after a blazing row with Hercules, and now he was sneaking back in the dark and refusing to speak to anyone. This wasn’t right. This was not normal behaviour from the man who Jason considered to be the best friend he had ever known.

The fact that Pythagoras had even raised his voice in anger at Hercules had been shocking enough. Oh they bickered, they argued, they took the piss out of each other all the time, but this was the first time Jason had ever seen them truly fight.

“What happened to the two loaves of bread we had in the cupboard?”

Hercules hadn’t even looked guilty.

“I had a little snack.”

“A little snack?” Pythagoras was incredulous. “That was two loaves of bread. They were supposed to last us for the next three days. I had meals all planned out to make them last.”

Hercules had simply shrugged.

That was the moment when Pythagoras had completely lost it.

“Right, so now what? What do you want me to do, Hercules? Go to the market and buy some more with all the money that we don’t have? Make meals out of air and water?”

“Oh, for pity’s sake, stop nagging,” Hercules had shot back.

Pythagoras had given that comment the respect he felt it deserved, which appeared to be precisely none, and started shouting again.

“How am I supposed to feed all three of us when all you ever do is eat, and drink, and take the money that is supposed to be shared and piss it up the bloody wall? I’ve had enough, Hercules. Enough.”

Before either Hercules or Jason had been able to do more than simply stare in shock, Pythagoras had slammed the door and was gone.

And now this. Jason hesitated a moment longer, and then got up and went across to Pythagoras’ room.

“Pythagoras? Are you okay?” he asked through the curtain.


“Can I come in?”


Jason stopped with his hand on the edge of the curtain.

“Pythagoras, you’re scaring me. What’s going on?”

“I’m fine.”

Everything in his voice told Jason that was a lie.

He heard the sounds of water splashing, and then a hiss of pain, hastily bitten off.

“Right, I’m coming in.”

Pythagoras immediately started to protest, but Jason tugged the curtain aside and stepped into the room. Pythagoras stumbled as he moved to put the table between himself and Jason, and it took Jason a second to realise that he was pulling his trousers up. In the dim light from the window he could see a bowl of water on the table, and a cloth. When he looked up at Pythagoras the first thing he saw was the furious glare directed right at him, and the second was a bruised black eye.

“What happened? Who did that to you?”

“Get out, Jason.”

“No, not until you tell me what’s going on. Did someone attack you? Who was it?”

“Jason shut up!”

Jason was momentarily stunned into silence. Pythagoras finished adjusting his clothing, and then leaned heavily against the table.

“I’m sorry. Please, just go.”

“No. You’re really scaring me now. What happened? Why won’t you tell me?”

“Because we will all be happier if you do not know.”

Jason shook his head. He moved closer and reached for Pythagoras. The second he touched him Pythagoras flinched away.

Jason stared at him. This close, he could see that Pythagoras’ eye was a little swollen, and the bruise seemed to be spreading and darkening almost as he watched. That meant it was relatively fresh. He glanced down and in the silver glow of moonlight he noticed dark smears on the damp cloth. It took him a second to realise it was blood.

It was late and he had been dozing on and off for the last few hours, waiting for Pythagoras to return, and that was perhaps why his brain seemed slow to put everything together.

When he finally did, he wished he had not.

“Pythagoras, please, please tell me this isn’t what it looks like.”

“Don’t, Jason.”

“You have been attacked, haven’t you? And I don’t just mean a fight. Someone...” he struggled to find the right word. “Someone... forced you.”

Pythagoras was still leaning on the table, and he let his head drop, his eyes fixed on the cloth.

“No.” His voice sounded hollow. Defeated. “No, I was not forced. I offered. And afterwards, when I asked for the agreed money he refused, and when I argued he became violent.” Pythagoras glanced up and waved a hand vaguely in the direction of his black eye.

Jason gaped at him. He had no words. Never in a million years would he ever have imagined having this conversation with Pythagoras. Pythagoras, of all people.

Pythagoras held his gaze. “See? I told you we would all be happier if you did not know.”

“Why?” Jason managed to ask at last.

“Why do you think? We need the money.”

“Yes, but not like that.”

There was a sudden flash of anger in Pythagoras’ eyes.

“So I suppose right after I walked out, Hercules went off and found himself a job to pay for his own wine and pies, did he? Well? Did he?”

Jason shook his head. Of course that hadn’t happened. Jason felt a sudden flush of shame that he himself had not tried harder to get a job lately. It was just, they always seemed to manage, somehow. When things got tight, Pythagoras always seemed to find a little money from somewhere... oh.

“This isn’t the first time, is it?”

“It’s the first time it turned violent.”

“Don’t be flippant. Not about this.”

“What do you want me to say, Jason? We need to eat. We need money. Not one of us seems to be capable of holding down a regular job. It’s not like it’s every night, it’s only when things are really desperate.”

“Oh, so that makes it all right that you’re putting yourself in danger? That you’re selling yourself to strangers? Because you only do it when it’s really desperate, that makes it okay?”

“Of course it’s not okay. But it is necessary.”

“No. No, it really isn’t.” Jason took a breath and tried to calm himself. He could feel his temper slipping away with every word, and the last thing he wanted to do right then was cause another argument. “Pythagoras, you should have talked to us. If things were as bad as you say, then we need to sort it out together, all of us. It shouldn’t be up to you to deal with it, and especially not if this is your solution.”

“It’s better than all of us starving. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, of all people, what happened last time it got that bad.”

“No, this isn’t about me. Pythagoras, you got a black eye, but it could have been worse.” He suddenly remembered the cloth. “Scratch that, it is worse. You’re bleeding.”

Pythagoras shook his head. “No, the bleeding has stopped, it was barely anything. It’s just,” he paused. “It’s just been a while, since the last time.”

Jason took a deep breath. He couldn’t even imagine it. Hell, he didn’t want to imagine it. Pythagoras had been right about one thing – he really had been happier when he didn’t know the details.

“That’s not the point, and you know it. You could have been lying in an alleyway beaten to death and we wouldn’t have a clue where you were. I’d rather starve than let that happen, and if Hercules was here he’d say the same thing.”

“I doubt that.”

Jason deliberately chose to ignore that comment.

“But you know what? The fact that it turned nasty tonight isn’t the problem. The fact that you were out there at all, selling yourself, that’s the problem.”

Just the thought of it made Jason feel almost physically sick. The thought of anyone doing that was bad enough, but Pythagoras? Sweet, gentle, innocent Pythagoras. Or, apparently, not so innocent.

“Jason, please. If we’re just going to continue to argue over the same point, I would appreciate it if you would leave me alone, because right now all I want to do is get clean and go to bed.”

Where before there had been anger in his voice, now Pythagoras only sounded exhausted. Exhausted, and in pain.

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

Pythagoras shot him a look as if to say, are you serious? Then he said, “No. Thank you, but no.”

“Fine. We’ll finish this tomorrow, when Hercules is up.”


Jason was shocked by the vehemence in his voice.

“What?” But Jason had a feeling he knew what this was about.

“Hercules must never know about this. I couldn’t... He wouldn’t... Please, Jason. He cannot find out.”

The last time Jason could remember seeing that much fear and desperation in his friend’s eyes, they had been in the caves in the desert, and Pythagoras had been begging them to leave him to the Furies. It took Jason a second to really understand what was going on here, why Hercules finding out was so much worse than Jason himself knowing what Pythagoras had done.

It wasn’t just that Pythagoras was ashamed, although Jason suspected that was at least a part of it. Pythagoras and Hercules had been friends for a long time, and, much as he did his best to hide it under all the bluster, Hercules was protective of Pythagoras in a way that he wasn’t with Jason. If he found out that someone had done this to their friend, there was no telling what he might do in a fit of righteous anger and vengeance.

But it was more than that. Pythagoras had undoubtedly made his own choice to do what he did, but he would never have needed to if it hadn’t been for Hercules’ greed and selfishness. If Hercules knew, or even suspected, that Pythagoras had come to harm because of his thoughtlessness the guilt would tear him apart. By keeping it secret, Pythagoras was protecting Hercules as much as he was protecting himself.

Pythagoras was right; Hercules must never know about what had happened tonight.

Still, Jason hesitated to give Pythagoras his answer. It was never as obvious, but Jason had learned over time that Pythagoras could be just as stubborn as Hercules when he wanted to be, and Jason knew that if it came to it, if Pythagoras thought the situation was sufficiently desperate, he would go out and do the same thing again under the misguided belief that he was protecting his friends. Jason needed to find a way to stop that from happening, and, much as he disliked the thought of manipulating his friend, Jason could see an opportunity when it presented itself.

“All right,” Jason said. There was a flash of relief on Pythagoras’ face, but Jason held his hand up to stop him from speaking. “But you have to promise me something first. Promise me you won’t do this again. Swear to me this is the last time. If you do that, I give you my word that Hercules will never hear about it from me.”

Pythagoras held his gaze for several seconds, and Jason saw the moment when Pythagoras realised he had been beaten.

“I promise,” he said in a quiet voice

Jason nodded. That was good enough for him.

He almost turned to go, to give his friend the privacy he so obviously wanted, but something stopped him. With those last two words the fight seemed to have gone out of Pythagoras, and with it the tension and strength that had kept him going since he got home. He turned away, but not before Jason saw that he was shaking.


He stepped closer, reaching out again, but tentative, ready to back off if his friend showed any sign of discomfort.

“I’m fine.”

“No, you’re really not.”

Jason slipped an arm around his thin shoulders and tugged him closer. Pythagoras resisted for a fraction of a second, and then he turned to Jason and let his head drop to rest on Jason’s shoulder. Jason wrapped him up in an embrace and soothed him like he would a frightened animal, one hand stroking Pythagoras’ back while the other came to rest on the back of his neck.

“It’s okay now, you’re safe.”

He knew that was probably not true, but right then it was what they both needed to believe.

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16 comments or Leave a comment
clea2011 From: clea2011 Date: July 20th, 2014 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Py!
I still think Jason should do the honours next time 😀
(Think the AO3 link might be broken)

Edited at 2014-07-20 09:48 pm (UTC)
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: July 20th, 2014 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
But Jason is far too noble to do something like that! Plus, he isn't half as pretty when he's broken as poor Pythagoras *evil grin*

The AO3 link works now. You were a bit pre-emptive - the link didn't work before because I was still in the middle of creating the post on AO3!
fififolle From: fififolle Date: July 21st, 2014 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
GAH! I hate that Pythagoras felt he had to do that. Hercules is so selfish sometimes!! But what a great fic!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: July 21st, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
What???!! But I was expecting more squeeing, lol! Besides, this fic is at least partly your fault - I was going to do something entirely different for the 'prostitution' square, but then you started jumping up and down and squeeing about hooker!Pythagoras in the comments to my bingo card!

Anyway, thanks! Poor Pythagoras, he is being thoroughly beaten with the angst stick now. Hercules would be horrified if he knew what he had caused.

Edited at 2014-07-21 07:15 pm (UTC)
fififolle From: fififolle Date: July 21st, 2014 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd like to think he would have enjoyed his prostitution a bit more *g* And whether he did or didn't, that we would have got to see more of it :p Oh dear, I am so bad. Maybe next time he whores himself out, his customer will be a bit more obliging :D
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: July 21st, 2014 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lol! So basically you're complaining that there wasn't enough sex in the prostitution fic! ;-)

next time he whores himself out

Poor Py! Jason would be so unhappy if he caught Pythagoras whoring himself out again possibly because Jason gets very jealous at the thought of anybody else touching his favourite mathematician.
fififolle From: fififolle Date: July 21st, 2014 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suppose I am!! LOL. Sorry!
And now you've given me a bunny.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: July 21st, 2014 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee, never mind. Although worryingly, that's actually the most sex that has occurred in any of my Atlantis fics yet. Perhaps I'm slowing working up to actual smut?

Ooh, bunny? Excellent! \o/
fififolle From: fififolle Date: July 22nd, 2014 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're definitely going in the right direction for my reading tastes :D
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: July 22nd, 2014 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lol! ;-)
stealingpennies From: stealingpennies Date: August 15th, 2014 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poor Pythagoras thinking of triangles. :( *g* You really do know how to do hurt/comfort for maximum physical and emotional whump. As usual with these three the dynamics of the triangle are interesting - that Pythagoras cares more about Hercules' reaction than Jason's, not because he trusts Hercules less but because of how Hercules will react. I feel sorry for Jason here. He's going to be find it a hard secret to keep. And of course Hercules will never forgiven any of them should he find out. Satisfied sigh.
Congrats also for finding a believable reason for Pythagoras to be selling himself. They really do seem hopeless at holding down a job for more than one ep at a time!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: August 15th, 2014 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
You really do know how to do hurt/comfort for maximum physical and emotional whump.

Awww, thank you, you say the nicest things to me *evil grin*.

Well, to be fair Pythagoras didn't want Jason to know either, he just found out by accident. But yes, he was definitely far more bothered about the possibility of Hercules knowing.

I did have to try quite hard to find a plausible reason for Pythagoras to be up to something like that! I blame Fifi. I had been intending to do something entirely different with this square, but then Fifi started squeeing about hooker!Pythagoras, and the idea somehow wormed its way into my brain.
stealingpennies From: stealingpennies Date: August 15th, 2014 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

*g* Fifi is a feeelthy enabler (said with huge admiration) but I've read the comments and know just how hard you fought back! I would certainly agree that Pythagoras needs his friends good opinion and would do a great deal not to lose that. And both his friends idealise Pythagoras to a certain extent albeit in slightly different ways. I get the idea that Jason would be fundamentally more concerned about the danger than the prostitution itself - though clearly that's also a concern - because modern viewpoint finds it easier to separate the act from the person.

(Hope, btw, that you managed to get your fic chapters finished to deadline. Fingers crossed for you.)
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: August 17th, 2014 09:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Fifi gets blamed for many, many thing around here. I'm sure *some* of them aren't actually her fault, but she gets blamed anyway ;-)

And both his friends idealise Pythagoras to a certain extent albeit in slightly different ways.

Ooh, now that's an interesting point. Care to elaborate?

Now you mention it, I think also a lot of fic writers tend to 'idealise' him as well. A lot of the fic latches onto him as this kind, gentle, relatively innocent guy, but I think in canon he is often a lot more hardened and pragmatic and sarcastic than a lot of fic writers portray him as (me included, unfortunately).

I did get the chapters finished in time (yey!), and am now hitting the research in order to attempt to write the rest of the novel. Meep! Although now that is finished, when I'm not researching, I can now get on with several outstanding birthday and gift fics, yours included!
stealingpennies From: stealingpennies Date: August 17th, 2014 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Always a pleasure to chat about Pythagoras! Idealise? Um, well with Jason it's easy because he knows that Pythagoras is (going to be) this mythical maths genius who will be remembered forever. So that image is always there alongside Pythagoras the real man who likes honey cakes and is scared of spiders or whatever. Pythagoras is certainly aware that Jason admires his intellect. But that's something that isn't going to be affected by finding out that Pythagoras has been prostituting himself - although clearly he'd prefer not have been caught. It is, however, ultimately a safe disclosure. Hercules is a bit more complex in that he - I think - admires Pythagoras the person in a slightly myoptic way - as innocent and good. And Pythagoras needs to be thought a good person by Hercules in a way that confessing to hookerdom would puncture. I don't honestly think that, deep down, Hercules has many illusions about himself but he does about Pythagoras. Their relationship would be fundamentally altered which your story totally picked up on. (*g* The triangle dynamics make for great fic but do impede the pwp and slash somewhat!)

Yes, yes, sometimes it's a bit of a shock to go back to canon because you get so wrapped up in certain characterisations. They're all quite laddish in Atlantis.

Good vibes for the writing. You've done novel length before so that's one barrier out of the way. As for the fic pile - everyone knows unbirthday fics are the best!
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: August 18th, 2014 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, good point about Jason knowing what Pythagoras is destined to become. I sometimes forget that Jason is from the future (but I think the writers of the show do as well sometimes, so never mind!).

Also, I think Jason's view is very much influenced by what happened when they first met. Pythagoras grabbed him off the balcony and saved his life, and then risked himself by hiding Jason from the city guards. He followed this up with providing medical assistance, taking Jason to the Oracle and then apparently waiting around long enough to make sure Jason was okay when he came out from seeing the Oracle. Pythagoras then provided yet more support and sympathy when Jason was lost and confused and in shock over finding out his father was dead. And after all that, Pythagoras offered him a home as well.

No matter what else happens between them subsequent to that, I think what Pythagoras did in those first few hours is going to permanently colour Jason's perception of him.

Hercules and Pythagoras, on the other hand, is... complicated. And fascinating. All those times that Hercules jokes about Pythagoras having no interest in women or love or relationships, I wonder if he actually believes that, or if it's just an old recurring joke between them?

I'm torn between wanting to know just *how* they came to be living together like that, and how long they have been friends, but at the same time I suspect if they did ever address that in canon it would completely joss my own headcanon backstory for them.

They're all quite laddish in Atlantis.

Lol, yes. They do sometimes come across as an Ancient Greek version of Men Behaving Badly! I'm currently rewatching the episode with the baby (possibly for wallpaper screencap research - I don't normally do mpreg, but the h/c prompts made me do it!), and I often forget just how laddish they are, even when they're looking after the baby. Or possibly *because* of the baby, to prove they are still manly men ;-)

I'm sure it can't be that difficult to construct an argument about Pythagoras' need for approval and need to impress his friends going back to his childhood, and what appears to have been a quite difficult relationship with his father. He's very definitely *not* looking for a substitute father figure, but he does seem to need to be appreciated, and he cares what people think about him and wants to make a good impression.

It's interesting to note that whenever anyone makes a comment about the three of them being messy or troublemakers or whatever, Pythagoras is always very quick to distance himself and point out that it isn't *him* who is like that, it's the others (usually Hercules). There's a couple of instances of that in the baby episode alone (but then for some reason which I have yet to work out, Pythagoras spent much of the baby episode being very, very bitchy, so that may not necessarily be a representative example!).
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