Last one before the deadline for hc_bingo round 5!
Pairing/characters: Pythagoras/Icarus, Jason, Hercules, Ariadne, Nestor
Warnings: Language, implied threat of death and non-con, dark!Jason
Spoilers: Series 2 up to 2.11 - Kin
Disclaimer: Not mine. BBC and Urban Myth Films own them.
Word count: approx 3490
Summary: The scene in the throne room was even worse than Nestor’s warning had suggested.
AN: Written for hc_bingo, fills the ‘Begging’ square on my hurt/comfort bingo card.
AN2: Goes AU after 2.11 – Kin (because I wrote it after that episode before 2.12/13 aired, but just didn’t get it edited and posted in time). Not betad because I’m about to run out of time before the H/C bingo deadline for round 5.
AN3: This fic is partly inspired by a conversation with clea2011, who wanted to see Pythagoras begging for Icarus’ life, and also by aislinarchives who made a comment a while ago about how, ‘D1 would totally be up for writing evil!Jason fic’. The two comments melded together and became this fic.
Cross posted to AO3
“Pythagoras! You need to come, now!”
His head snapped up and he saw Nestor running down the corridor towards him. The look on the young soldier’s face was even more desperate than his voice.
“What’s going on?” Pythagoras demanded.
A thousand scenarios were already flitting through his mind. They had won the battle, retaken the palace, Pasiphae had fled, and the city was theirs. But that didn’t mean they were safe.
Nestor grabbed his arm and started back the way he had come.
“Hercules sent me. It’s Jason. He’s going to kill your friend.”
The words were like a kick to the guts.
Pythagoras took off, leaving Nestor gasping for breath behind him.
The scene when he skidded into the throne room was even worse than Nestor’s warning had suggested. There was a lot of shouting, mostly from Hercules and Ariadne, but they were both being held back by soldiers. Everyone else, the servants and the rest of the soldiers, all looked like they were trying to melt into the shadows around the sides of the room and not be noticed.
In the middle of the room, in the bright sunlight streaming in through the windows, Icarus was on his knees. Jason’s sword was at his throat.
Pythagoras launched himself at Jason and shoved him hard. Jason dropped back a couple of steps, but it was probably more from sheer surprise than the force of Pythagoras’ push.
“Jason, what the hell are you doing?” he shouted.
A soldier appeared out of nowhere and grabbed Pythagoras’ arm. He tried to shrug the man off, but instead felt himself being pulled away.
Jason stared at him with an expression eerily reminiscent of the way he had looked for those terrible days after he had found out that Pasiphae was his mother. But he was past that now, wasn’t he? Wasn’t he?
He couldn’t have gone back to that, not now they had defeated Pasiphae and taken back Atlantis.
Jason glanced at the soldier, nodded once, and the soldier let go so unexpectedly that Pythagoras staggered off balance for a second. As soon as he was steady, Pythagoras deliberately stepped between Jason and Icarus.
“Jason, talk to me. What is going on here?”
Jason’s voice was devoid of emotion, and that was far more terrifying than anger.
But really, Pythagoras knew why. He had known what was going on the moment the words left Nestor’s mouth. But he needed to hear it from Jason.
Jason finally looked at him properly.
“He is a traitor. He betrayed us. A lot of people are dead because of him, including my father.”
Pythagoras’ stomach churned. This was exactly what he had feared.
“Icarus also helped us. He assisted me many times, he gave us information. He risked his life to come to our aid in the final battle.”
“And that excuses what he did before? That makes up for his cowardice?”
“He was in an impossible position. Surely you must see that?”
Pythagoras was all too aware of the irony that he was arguing for Icarus now, when he was still far from reconciled with what Icarus had done even in his own mind. But even so, he could not let Jason do this.
Jason all but sneered.
“Oh yes, his father was in prison.” He paused, and held Pythagoras’ gaze for an uncomfortably long time. “My father is dead.”
Pythagoras forced himself to remain calm, to think.
“Jason, I am sorry. I truly am. But this is not justice. This is vengeance.”
“So... So isn’t this exactly what we fought Pasiphae to prevent? If we start indiscriminately killing anyone we don’t like, we’re no better than she was.”
“Jason. Listen to him. He’s right.” That was Ariadne.
Pythagoras had all but forgotten anyone else was even there, he was focussed so intently on Jason.
“Why?” Jason asked. “Come on, Pythagoras. Give me one good reason why I should spare him?”
“Icarus is a good man. He made a mistake, but he is a good man.”
Jason took a step forward, right into his personal space, and Pythagoras was forced to take a step back.
“Not a good enough reason.”
“Go on, think of another. Why him, Pythagoras?”
There was something else in Jason’s voice now. It almost sounded like he was mocking. Goading, even. Pythagoras wouldn’t have believed it if he wasn’t witnessing it himself. He wanted to look round for support, for Hercules, but he didn’t dare take his eyes off Jason.
“He is a traitor,” Jason spat the word like it was a curse. “He betrayed us. He betrayed you. Give me one good reason, Pythagoras.”
“Because he is my lover.”
The words seemed to echo around the suddenly silent room. Somewhere behind him, Pythagoras heard a sharp intake of breath, but he had no idea if it was Hercules or Ariadne, or even Nestor. It didn’t matter. Right now there were only two people in this room who mattered, and he was standing between them both.
Jason still seemed to be trying to make sense of what he had said. Abruptly his mouth twitched into a something like a smile. It was not a pleasant one.
“You and him?”
Pythagoras nodded. His heart was racing, blood pounding though his body. He had just lied to the future king of Atlantis, the man who was supposed to be his best friend. Sort of lied. On a technicality. He and Icarus had not actually done... that... together.
It was true he and Icarus had spent the previous night together in a room somewhere in the palace. And it was also true that Pythagoras had woken to find Icarus lying next to him in the bed. But they hadn’t... they had just talked. Talked and held each other and taken comfort from each other because everything was such a mess and neither of them wanted to be alone in the aftermath of the battle.
But even if he wanted to tell Jason any of that, how could he possibly explain what it meant? The lie was easier and plainer for everyone to understand.
Pythagoras swallowed and found his voice again.
“I love him, Jason. Please. I know how you feel about Icarus, about what he has done. I understand that. But I am not asking for Icarus. I am asking for myself.” He hesitated, gathered his thoughts. “Jason, you know I have followed you on every mission. I have supported you, no matter whether I agreed with what you were doing or not. I have done everything I could to keep you safe. And I have never asked for anything in return. I am asking... I am begging, now. If our friendship means anything to you, please do not take him from me.”
Jason just watched him, his eyes giving nothing away. The silence stretched too long for Pythagoras.
“Jason, please. Haven’t we all already lost enough?”
He felt a stab of shame at the way his voice cracked. That wasn’t good. Showing weakness wasn’t good. And, damn it, this was Jason, this was Jason, his friend, his family, but right at that moment Pythagoras’ fear was only outweighed by his desperation and anger.
Jason took another step closer, but this time Pythagoras stood his ground and they were suddenly almost nose to nose.
“We?” Jason’s voice was low and angry and threatening. “Hercules has lost Medusa. I have lost my father. What have you lost, Pythagoras?”
Pythagoras’ heart hammered in his chest. He breathed once. Twice. Stared right back into Jason’s cold eyes.
“Right now, I am beginning to think that I have lost my friend.”
Of all the things that Pythagoras had said since he arrived in the throne room, that was the first one that actually got a reaction out of Jason. There was a flicker of... something. Hurt, maybe. Pythagoras couldn’t even tell any more, and that scared him far more than he wanted to admit.
“Jason.” Hercules’ voice was low and quiet, but it carried more weight than the loudest shout. “Are you really going to do this to Pythagoras?”
Jason’s eyes flickered closed. Abruptly he turned and walked away, back towards the throne. He stopped before he got that far, and half turned back. He wasn’t looking at any of them when he spoke again.
“Get him out of my sight.”
For a moment Pythagoras wasn’t entirely sure whether Jason was talking about Icarus or whether he meant Pythagoras himself. He backed up until he found Icarus and tugged him to his feet without taking his eyes off Jason. Even now he didn’t dare.
Pythagoras ushered Icarus to the door, past Hercules and Ariadne, past Nestor, all the time keeping his eyes fixed on Jason. Even when they got out of the throne room he couldn’t relax. He continued to hurry Icarus away, a hand at the small of his back, and more than one backward glance.
They finally stopped halfway across the palace. He hadn’t even realised it at first, but now he looked, Pythagoras realised it wasn’t very far away from the random guest room they had slept in the previous night.
He turned to look at Icarus properly for the first time.
“Are you all right?”
Icarus nodded. He still looked tense, but that had been an almost permanent feature for the last few days, especially if they were around other people.
“He didn’t actually hurt you, did he?”
“No. He didn’t get the chance.” Icarus paused, and then laid a hand on his arm. “Pythagoras, thank you.”
Pythagoras shook his head.
“I should have got there sooner. I shouldn’t even have left you alone to be put in that position to start with.” He made a frustrated sound. “I should have seen this coming.”
Now that they were out of immediate danger, his fear was giving way to anger. How the hell had this even happened?
Icarus grabbed both his arms and moved right into his personal space, forcing Pythagoras to stop fidgeting and look at him.
“You couldn’t have known he was going to do that. From the way Hercules and the queen were reacting, I think it blindsided everyone.”
Pythagoras closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Forced himself to calm down. Forced himself to think the entire situation through.
When he finally opened his eyes and looked at Icarus he was back in some semblance of control.
“Icarus, listen to me. I will not let Jason kill you, but... you might have to face justice in some way. I know there were reasons for what you did, and I will argue for you as much as I can, but Ariadne might decide you still have to be punished.”
Icarus’ eyes widened but he did not interrupt.
“What Jason wants right now is vengeance. But Ariadne is the ruler of Atlantis, not Jason. Ariadne is fair. She knows that you were put in a terrible position, she knows that in the end you risked your life to help us. If she does decide to pursue it, I promise you I will do everything I can to mitigate the sentence.”
If Ariadne could find it in her heart to pardon Melas after everything he had done, surely she could do the same for Icarus? Pythagoras just needed to get her away from Jason long enough to talk to her.
“Icarus, you have to trust me. You have to keep your head down and not do anything rash. And for now, at least, I think you need to stay as far away from Jason as you can. Let things calm down. But I promise you, Icarus, whatever happens I will not let Jason kill you.”
He waited to see Icarus nod. Then Pythagoras pulled him close and hugged him.
He had no idea if he was even capable of keeping any of the promises he had just made, but he did know he would not stop fighting to keep Icarus safe, no matter what, or who, it cost him.
Pythagoras was all too aware that only a few days ago he would have said the same thing about Jason. But now, after what he had just seen... now he didn’t know any more.
Even after Aeson had got him back from the arena, Jason had not fully returned to the man he once was, and they all knew it. Where before he had been merciful and trusting, now he was hard and ruthless. Pythagoras had tried to convince himself that it was just because Jason was so driven to defeat Pasiphae and take back Atlantis. That if they won and everything settled down again, Jason would relax, and return to the man they had known and loved for so long.
He had to believe that. It was too painful to consider the alternative.
Icarus was the one who pulled out of the hug first but he did not move far and he did not let go.
“Are you all right?” Icarus asked, his soft brown eyes full of concern.
“Me? Of course.”
“You just faced down your best friend to protect me. I’m not sure I would be fine if I were in your position.”
“No, no. I’m good.”
More lies. ‘Good’ was not a word Pythagoras would use right now. His loyalties were being ripped apart at a time when they ought to have been celebrating. He was afraid of his best friend. No, he wasn’t all right in the slightest. But he didn’t dare to let any of that show.
Pythagoras took another couple of deep breaths and tried to look reassuring.
Icarus looked down for a moment, and when he glanced back up there was a soft smile twitching at his mouth.
“Pythagoras... what you said in there. About how you felt. What we were to each other.”
Pythagoras felt a flush of warmth spread throughout his body. With everything else, he had almost forgotten about that.
“I um... I didn’t... I mean, I had to say something to stop him. I didn’t mean. I don’t want you to think...” Pythagoras closed his eyes and forced himself to stop talking complete rubbish. He opened his eyes and held Icarus’ gaze. “I don’t expect anything. I would never presume.”
For a moment nothing happened. Then Icarus’ smile grew, and despite everything his eyes held a sparkle of amusement. He moved closer, so close that Pythagoras could feel Icarus’ breath against his mouth. Icarus hesitated. Pythagoras finished the movement, and they shared their first kiss.
Icarus... Pythagoras’ eyes closed and his senses flooded with Icarus, his touch, his taste. Icarus. His heart was racing, his thoughts even more so. Too soon... We can’t... We shouldn’t...
Icarus opened his mouth and pressed closer and Pythagoras’ thoughts stuttered to a halt altogether.
It was over far too quickly. Pythagoras couldn’t prevent a small sound of disappointment when Icarus stopped. The look Icarus gave him in return was entirely too smug.
“Pythagoras, do you have any idea how long I have been waiting for you to presume?”
Pythagoras’ eyes widened, and he felt another flush of warmth. This time he was entirely aware it was not at all about embarrassment.
“In fact,” Icarus said, his voice dropping in a way that went sent much of Pythagoras’ blood rushing south. “Just so you know, I would have absolutely no objection if you were to presume as much as you like.”
This was not sensible, or logical, or safe. Not now, not here. And right at that moment Pythagoras did not give a shit about that in the slightest. For the first time in a bloody long time he was tired of being sensible.
His insides were twisting themselves into knots and he had no idea what he was doing. Pythagoras reached up and touched Icarus’ face, traced his thumb over the soft skin of his cheek. Icarus sighed and his eyes closed. Pythagoras kissed him again.
This time it was more forceful, more needy, more desperate, more intimate. He felt Icarus gently probing, encouraging him to open his mouth. Pythagoras moaned aloud, and couldn’t even bring himself to feel embarrassed at the neediness in that sound. He wanted this. Had wanted it for longer than he dared to admit, and now he had it he had no intention of denying himself any longer.
In a moment of recklessness, Pythagoras gave in to a fantasy that had invaded his dreams more and more over the last months; he burrowed his fingers into Icarus’ hair. The sensation of the soft curls against his skin was more than he had dared to imagine, and he tightened his hold. This time Icarus was the one who whimpered out loud.
They eventually parted, forced apart by the need for air.
“I think we need to take this somewhere more private,” Pythagoras said, his voice little more than a whisper.
Icarus’ answering smile was brighter than the sun.
“I can see why they say you’re the genius.”
It was dark in the bedroom. The candles had burned out long ago, but moonlight slanted in through the window and illuminated the two men sleeping in the bed.
Jason was not used to seeing Pythagoras without clothes. Even at home before everything had gone to hell, he had very rarely seen Pythagoras without a shirt on. But here, now, the haphazard sheets couldn’t disguise the fact that they were both at the very least shirtless, and maybe more. Pythagoras’ arm was curled possessively around Icarus’ waist. From what he could see of the shapes beneath the thin sheet, there wasn’t a part of them that didn’t seem to be touching in some way.
In that moment, Pythagoras looked happier and more relaxed than Jason had seen him for a very long time.
Something curled in Jason’s belly. Something that was not in the least bit pleased that his friend had found happiness.
His hand closed around the hilt of the dagger and he took a step further into the room.
Pythagoras stirred, mumbled something. Jason froze. Gripped the blade tighter.
Pythagoras shifted a little, and then curled back around Icarus, who remained utterly oblivious to everything. Jason made a mental note that Icarus was a heavy sleeper. It might be useful.
He remained silent and still until he was certain that Pythagoras was asleep.
Once the initial shock had worn off, he had to admit he was not entirely surprised that Pythagoras had turned out to be gay. The signs had been there all along, now he knew. If only he had worked it out earlier, Jason suspected he could have had a lot of fun.
He absently wondered what it would be like to fuck Pythagoras. He wondered if Hercules had known all along, if Hercules had slept with him as well before Jason came into their lives. Probably not, he was far too protective. That said, though, Icarus didn’t look like the kind who would be dominant, so maybe Pythagoras was the top in that relationship. Jason felt his lips twitch into a ghost of a smile. He couldn’t see Pythagoras as a top either. No, Pythagoras was made for being held down and fucked.
Now the image was in his head, Jason intended to find out.
Jason slipped the dagger back into his belt. He would not kill Icarus tonight. They would know it was him. Pythagoras would never forgive him, and maybe even Hercules would turn against him. He couldn’t let that happen.
No, it would be much better if Icarus were to die in battle. In the confusion of the moment, no one would know how it happened. Pythagoras would grieve, no doubt. But he would get over it, and then he would return to Jason and Hercules and it would be just like old times. Or perhaps not entirely like old times. Not if he really could get Pythagoras into his bed. And what better opportunity than when Pythagoras was hurt and vulnerable and needed comfort?
Besides, this was Icarus. Sooner or later he was destined to die in some ridiculous wing-related incident, and it would only hurt Pythagoras more if he had become too attached. Really, getting rid of Icarus before they had chance to get properly serious would save Pythagoras from a great deal of pain.
And then, when Jason was king and there was no Icarus, no Medusa, no Ariadne, then it would be just the three of them again. Like the old days. The way it was supposed to be.
Jason had been happy then. At least, he remembered being something like happy. Now... now he felt nothing.
Icarus could wait. There would be other opportunities, and if not he would simply have to make opportunities.
Jason slipped out of the room and closed the door.
Soon. Soon he would feel again.