Title: The Truth Beneath the Lies
Pairing/characters: Icarus/Pythagoras, Jason, Hercules, Daedalus, The Oracle, OC
Warnings: Occasional language, implied smut
Disclaimer: Not mine. BBC and Urban Myth Films own them.
Word count: approx 20,845 (this part 5781)
Summary: When Pythagoras chooses to spend the night of the festival of Aphrodite, goddess of love, with his friends rather than with Icarus, it sets in motion a chain of events that neither of them could have predicted. Hurt, angry and insecure, Icarus is easy prey for a woman who is not all she seems, and when she offers him a solution to his relationship problems he cannot resist. However, when he told the woman, “I never know what is going on in his head,” he never expected to wake up the following morning with the ability to hear Pythagoras’ thoughts. Icarus knows he must find a way to break the enchantment, but even if he does, will Pythagoras ever be able to trust him again?
AN: Big thanks to clea2011 and celeste9 for the beta.
AN2: Written for smallfandombang, which has yet again given me an excuse to actually *finish* a nice long fic. Also fills the 'Telepathic Trauma' square on my hurt/comfort bingo card.
AN3: Set in a slightly AU early series 2, in which Icarus and Pythagoras got together much earlier, and all the business with Telemon and Ariadne never happened.
fic on AO3
Icarus normally enjoyed breakfast, or, for that matter, any meal, but today he wolfed it down as quickly as physically possible. It didn’t help that while he was eating he had to sit there listening to his father making increasingly embarrassing and inappropriate comments, while smirking at him with a knowing look.
As Icarus had suspected, Daedalus didn’t appear to have a problem with his relationship with Pythagoras, but then, Daedalus had always liked Pythagoras a great deal. And more to the point, the fact that Daedalus was joking about it was probably the best sign Icarus was going to get that he approved. On any other day, Icarus might have taken the jokes in good humour, but not today. Not when, with every passing moment, Icarus was becoming more and more certain that he may have done something rather stupid.
It was a relief when he could finally escape the dinner table and get back to his room to think.
He could hear Pythagoras’ thoughts.
It was impossible, and yet that was the only conclusion he could come to about what he had experienced that morning. True, it only appeared to happen if they were in direct physical contact with each other, but that was beside the point.
First question - how?
Something had happened overnight, because this certainly hadn’t been happening when they collapsed into bed last night. Pythagoras hadn’t given any indication that he could hear Icarus’ thoughts, or that anything was out of the ordinary as far as he was concerned, so apparently it only worked one way.
Actually, that presented another question: Was it just Pythagoras, or could he hear everyone’s thoughts? Icarus tried to think if he had happened to come into physical contact with Daedalus over breakfast, but nothing came to mind, and he certainly hadn’t heard anything odd. Still, that would need to be tested, and sooner rather than later.
But if it was just Pythagoras, well, the only thing that had happened last night was the festival, and lots of eating and drinking and... And a strange old woman with an amber bracelet.
Icarus closed his eyes and banged his head against the door. No. No, surely not?
He tried to think about everything that happened with the old woman. She had been kind, he remembered that. She had friendly brown eyes, and the drink had been warm and spicy and he had... brown eyes? Didn’t she have blue eyes? Icarus screwed his eyes shut and tried to focus on his memories of the old woman. Every time he thought he had an image of her in his mind, it became confused and fuzzy, and all he could think of was the warm, soothing taste of the drink. How safe and comfortable it made him feel.
She had promised him the bracelet would not harm Pythagoras. She had sworn it! What exactly was it she had said? Something about not fearing what he didn’t know? What did that even mean?
I never know what’s going on in his head.
Icarus banged his head against the door again. How the hell had he been so bloody stupid? The old woman had been a witch, she had fed him a potion that dulled his wits or made him more susceptible to suggestion or something, and he had poured his heart out to a complete stranger (who happened to be a witch), and then she had given him exactly what he had, however unknowingly, asked for.
And then he had given Pythagoras a cursed bracelet.
“Shit, shit, shit!”
Pythagoras was going to kill him. Unless Hercules or Jason found out and got to him first. Or possibly even Daedalus (well, Daedalus probably wouldn’t actually kill him, but he might disown him, which was just as bad).
He had to fix this, and preferably in a way that involved as few people as possible finding out. Especially Pythagoras.
Icarus took a couple of deep breaths. Then he headed out into the city.
The old woman had gone. Truthfully, it wasn’t as if Icarus had expected anything else, but just for once it might have been nice if he could have had some good luck in his life. It had actually taken a while to find the right spot where her stall had been, because everything looked so much different in the dark and the crowds, and most of the stalls had not been the regular market traders, they were only there for the festival.
Icarus kicked around the street, looking for... he wasn’t even sure what. The street was littered with the remains of the festival; dropped food and spilled drinks, the occasional piece of broken pot, flowers, scraps of paper. There was nothing to tell him that the old woman had ever been here.
Icarus knew he was clutching at increasingly desperate straws, but his feet took him to the main gate that led down to the port, and he found himself a spot from which he could watch the people streaming out of the city and back to their ships. There were other gates, of course, and if the woman had arrived by land she might well be leaving by one of those instead, but Icarus couldn’t watch them all, and, statistically, this was the best option.
While he was there, Icarus tested out one of his other ideas, and purposely bumped into several people, grabbing their arm wherever possible. Apart from several angry insults and warnings to watch where he was going, Icarus heard nothing out of the ordinary.
So that answered one question, at least. He couldn’t hear everyone’s thoughts. Just Pythagoras’. He wasn’t sure whether that made it better or worse. If this had been something the witch had done to him, then he could have gone to Pythagoras and explained it and Pythagoras would almost certainly help him to sort it out. But the fact that it was just Pythagoras meant that it had to be the bracelet, and that meant that it was Icarus’ fault for giving it to him in the first place, and he wasn’t sure how Pythagoras would feel about that.
That was when something occurred to Icarus. If it was the bracelet, might that mean that it wasn’t just him who could hear Pythagoras’ thoughts? What if everyone who touched him could?
Several thoughts hit Icarus all at once. If other people could hear his thoughts now then Pythagoras might already know about it. He might not know why it was happening, but it wouldn’t take long for him to work it out. More importantly, Pythagoras was a trusted operative of the queen. If enemies of the city were to find out that someone in the queen’s inner circle was broadcasting their thoughts to anyone who got close, it would put Pythagoras in danger.
He had to tell him.
Icarus hopped down from the wall he had been sitting on, cast one last glance at the city gate, and then headed for Pythagoras’ house.
What was going to be the best way to approach this? Truthfully, Icarus still wasn’t entirely certain what ‘this’ actually was, or how it was happening. It was only a guess that it was the bracelet. He could hint around it, test the waters to see if Jason or Hercules had noticed anything strange. Considering how tactile Pythagoras normally was with his friends, Icarus was pretty certain they would have come into physical contact with him by now.
Or maybe it might be better to just come straight out with it. Admit what had happened, tell Pythagoras everything (or, at least, as near to everything as he could get away with, perhaps without admitting exactly what he had told the witch), and enlist their help to sort it out. Yes, it was going to be uncomfortable, but it had been a genuine mistake, surely they would see that? It wasn’t his fault the old woman had given him a cursed item!
He still hadn’t decided what he was going to say when he trudged up the stairs and knocked on the door. It opened a few moments later and Hercules looked at him, and then put his finger to his lips and beckoned him in.
The reason for the strange greeting became obvious as soon as Icarus was inside. Hercules waved in the direction of Pythagoras’ room.
“He’s still sleeping off the hangover,” Hercules explained. “Just how much did you give him to drink last night?”
“Not that much,” Icarus protested quietly. “I didn’t know he’d get drunk on so little.”
Hercules rolled his eyes. “He’s a complete bloody lightweight. It’s embarrassing.”
Hercules wandered off to the balcony room, and after one last glance towards the sleeping shape of Pythagoras, Icarus followed Hercules.
Jason was sitting in the other room, leaning on the window and gazing out into the city. Icarus paused in the doorway. He had spoken to these two men in passing a few times, Hercules more often than Jason, but never without Pythagoras being present. All his plans for how to broach the subject of whether or not they could hear their friend’s thoughts skittered out of his mind.
“Stop loitering in the doorway and get in here. We won’t bite,” Hercules said.
That wasn’t exactly the reassurance Icarus had been hoping for, but he moved into the room and sat down at the table.
“So, you and Pythagoras finally stopped gazing at each other like lovesick women and got your acts together?” Hercules said in a tone that suggested it wasn’t exactly a question.
“All I’m saying is it’s about bloody time,” Hercules continued. “It was getting ridiculous watching the pair of you.”
Icarus didn’t think he had been quite that obvious about his attraction. The possibility that Pythagoras’ best friend had known for ages was not entirely comforting.
Jason had stopped staring out into the street and was watching Icarus with an unreadable expression. It made Icarus feel uncomfortable in a way he couldn’t quite put his finger on, and the possibility of questioning them about mind reading seemed even harder to broach than ever.
“Oh, for the love of the gods, stop sitting there looking so worried,” Hercules said. He sounded exasperated, and Icarus couldn’t help wondering if he had picked that tone up from Pythagoras. “What? Did you think we’d disapprove or something? I happen to like you, Icarus, and I know how Pythagoras feels about you, so as far as I’m concerned you’re welcome here as much as you like.”
“Thank you,” Icarus said, trying not to sound as surprised as he felt by that pronouncement.
There was a slightly awkward silence and Icarus tried not to fidget.
“So, is Pythagoras alright? How was he, when he got home?”
“Hungover, mostly. And annoyed that he didn’t manage to get laid.”
Icarus felt the heat in his face at that, as Hercules smirked at him.
“He said that?”
“Not in so many words. If you want my advice, not so much wine next time.”
Now his face was burning so much Icarus was sure he was about to burst into flames. Actually, that wouldn’t be such a bad outcome if Hercules was going to keep talking to him about having sex with Pythagoras.
Jason actually chuckled, though.
“Hercules, I don’t think he does want your advice. And for that matter, neither does Pythagoras.”
“I’m just sharing the benefit of my experience.”
“Really, please don’t.” Jason’s expression suggested he had been on the receiving end of far too many pieces of Hercules’ advice. It was actually the most animated, and cheerful, that Icarus had ever seen him. He wondered if this might be the side of Jason that Pythagoras cared so much for.
Since they were both in such a good mood, perhaps it might be worth trying again.
“But, apart from the hangover, was he okay? You didn’t notice anything... odd?”
Hercules frowned. “What like?”
“Oh, you know... anything...?” Icarus winced at his own ineptitude.
Hercules shrugged. “No more odd than he usually is.”
He was saved from any further awkwardness by the sound of movement from the other room. Hercules got up and went to investigate, and when he heard Pythagoras’ voice Icarus got up to follow. He got one step before he felt a hand on his arm, and turned to find Jason standing right there next to him.
“Icarus, be careful. Don’t hurt him.”
Jason looked utterly serious, and Icarus was too stunned to do anything but nod.
As suddenly as he had grabbed him, Jason let go, and moved past Icarus into the main room where the other two were talking. For a second Icarus could only stand there, reeling at the warning. Had Jason just given him the ‘if you hurt him’ talk? He’d half expected it from Hercules, but Jason?
Icarus was still trying to get his head round it as he went into the main room to join them all.
Pythagoras looked up and smiled at him. He didn’t look a great deal better in spite of the fact that he had apparently been sleeping for most of the afternoon, although he did look quite adorably ruffled, Icarus noted.
“I wasn’t expecting to see you again so soon,” Pythagoras said, although he was still smiling so he probably hadn’t meant it the way it sounded. Probably.
“I just wanted to make sure you were feeling better.”
Icarus was acutely conscious of Jason and Hercules watching and listening to the entire conversation. Maybe Pythagoras was right: there was far less potential for embarrassment if they spent more time at Icarus’ house than here.
“Much better now, thank you. A tonic and some breakfast did wonders, and sleep seems to have done the rest,” Pythagoras said.
There was an awkward pause, and Icarus began to wonder if this had been a mistake.
“Can we...?” he vaguely gestured in the direction of Pythagoras’ room. Pythagoras was possibly more awake than he looked, because he quickly caught on and led the way.
Icarus realised his mistake the moment he entered Pythagoras’ bedroom – there was no actual door, and even if the curtain was closed (which it wasn’t) it was likely the others would still be able to hear. With every passing minute he was sure he did not want to have this conversation right here and now.
Before he could make any move to avoid it, Pythagoras wrapped him up in a hug, and held him tight.
-m hungry again I wonder what food Hercules has left I bet he’s eaten all the cheese again it’ll just be the last of the bread and some olives no doubt I can’t face shopping today mmmmm Icarus is warm and cuddly I wonder if I can just stay like this for a while although really I’ve got way too much to do today I need to make note of that idea about triangles before I forget and we need to talk about the Messenian bandits being so close to the city it can’t be coincidence if they’ve thrown in with Pasiphae we’re all in trouble but I don’t want to worry Ariadne unnecessarily oh this is very nice I wonder why he’s really here I hope he’s not expecting anything energetic I don’t think I’ll be up for that today shit I still need to check Jason’s wound agai-
Icarus patted his back and pulled out of the hug as gracefully as he could with Pythagoras apparently still trying to hold on and nuzzle his hair.
“Is everything alright? You seem worried,” Pythagoras said.
Icarus glanced down at the bracelet, still tied around Pythagoras’ wrist. He forced himself to look up and meet Pythagoras’ gaze.
“No, it’s fine. Well, yes, I was worried. I just wanted to see if you were feeling better.”
At that Pythagoras’ expression melted into a soft smile.
“I will be fine, Icarus. It was just a hangover. And I’m feeling much better than I did first thing. Enough to be slightly embarrassed at how useless I was this morning. And last night, for that matter.”
Icarus forced himself to smile. “We’ll know better next time.”
“I look forward to it.”
Pythagoras moved closer and slipped his arms around Icarus’ waist and leaned closer for a kiss.
-ext time he wants there to be a next time well at least that means I didn’t completely fuck it up last night oh gods I am never drinking again yes this is good I love kissing him he is so pretty I don’t suppose there’s any chance I’m going to have time to work on my mathematical theories today now there’s too many other things to do I was so close to something before we got dragged off on that mission I’m sure there’s something important to do with right angles but if I even mention it Jason and Hercules are going to start with their usual shit and Icarus probably isn’t going to accept triangles as a viable excuse for not spending time with him gods I can’t think right now there’s too much-
Icarus abruptly pulled back and stared at Pythagoras. They were kissing, and that was all that Pythagoras could think about?
-what’s wrong with him now why is everybody behaving so weirdly around me?-
“Icarus, what is it?”
-well that’s a bloody lie if ever I heard one gods I really can’t do this right now if it turns out that he’s just pissed off that he didn’t get laid last night I don’t even know wha-
“Pythagoras, can we talk? Somewhere... private?”
Icarus indicated the open doorway and tried to keep his voice as steady as he could.
“Of course. Did you have somewhere in mind?”
-private? if he didn’t look so serious I’d assume he wanted sex but that is not the expression of a man who wants sex what if he wants to break up already I know last night probably didn’t go like he’d planned but it wasn’t exactly what I’d wanted either surely he knows tha-
“Let’s just go for a walk and see where we end up.”
Icarus managed to untangle himself from Pythagoras’ arms and the thoughts were cut off in mid panic. If his own thoughts weren’t in such turmoil Icarus might have tried to be more reassuring, but then, Pythagoras was showing very little outward indication of what was going on in his head, so how could Icarus even broach it without admitting how he knew? Of course, that was the entire point of having come round here, but Icarus still had no idea how to admit the truth. And after what Jason had said... no, he couldn’t have that conversation here with Pythagoras’ friends listening.
They left the house with Hercules’ comment about not doing anything he wouldn’t do following them out of the door. Pythagoras rolled his eyes at Icarus and smiled, but Icarus could see it was not a genuine smile.
He tried to walk far enough away to not come into physical contact, while staying close enough to not arouse suspicion. Given how tactile they normally were with each other, even before they had become a couple, this was easier said than done, at least at first. After about ten minutes, though, Icarus realised it was becoming easier to avoid brushing against Pythagoras. It took him another few minutes to realise that was because Pythagoras had moved further away.
Icarus glanced at his face, and the obvious hurt in Pythagoras’ expression was almost enough to make him want to stop and gather Pythagoras up into a hug right there in the street.
This relationship was all Icarus had wanted for a very long time. Just things like this, walking together, talking for hours (although truthfully they had been doing those things together for a long time already), but now they were together there were other, more physical aspects to their relationship that they had barely even started to explore yet. They had been friends for so long that if he had thought about it all, Icarus had believed the transition from friends to lovers would have been easy. And yet, everything had started to go wrong almost as soon as they had actually become a couple.
He couldn’t bear the thought that they were not fated to be together. Not after all this.
Without really knowing where he was going, Icarus’ feet took him to the amphitheatre. When there weren’t any games or rituals taking place, the amphitheatre was open as a public space, and they found seats halfway up one side, away from the few other groups or individuals who were using it as a meeting place or down in the arena engaging in some weapon practice.
“Icarus, have I done something wrong?” Pythagoras said without any preamble.
Icarus turned to look at him properly and found Pythagoras’ blue eyes watching him intently.
“Last night, when I was drunk. If I did something to embarrass or upset you I apologise. I’m afraid I do not remember much of what happened after the first lot of wine, but if I did something that you did not like please tell me.”
Icarus had been trying to decide how to admit the truth to Pythagoras, and was blindsided by Pythagoras’ apparent belief that he was to blame for the situation.
“No. No, Pythagoras, you did nothing wrong last night.”
“Then what is it? Ever since this morning you have been acting strangely, Icarus. You pull away when I am holding you. Sometimes you all but flinch when I touch you. I do not understand, Icarus. If it was not something that I did last night then why are you acting like this?”
It was the perfect opening for him to admit the truth.
Instead he said, “I thought there was something wrong with you. You seemed distracted. You didn’t want to come out with me. I thought perhaps while you were away you had changed your mind about our relationship.”
Pythagoras’ eyes opened wider, and he moved closer and laid his fingers on Icarus’ arm.
“No, Icarus. No. If I gave you that impression I am so sorry. I never meant for that. Yes, I had many things on my mind last night, I still do now, but I did not intend for that to come between us.”
-ank the gods I thought he wanted to end it is that all it was gods he is sensitive if he is going to react like this every time I have something else to think abou-
“Your mission? Is that what you were worried about?” Icarus heard himself saying, trying to drown out Pythagoras’ thoughts before he heard something else he didn’t like.
-obsessed with the bloody mission I have told him it is secret why can’t he accept tha-
“Yes, partly that. And also I must admit I was concerned about Jason’s injury. He was rather more reckless than usual and he lost more blood than I was happy with. That was also why I initially did not want to come out last night. I thought Jason needed rest, and I wanted to keep an eye on him.”
-nd as soon as we have had time to talk to Ariadne properly about the bandits Jason is almost certainly going to volunteer us for yet another dangerous mission to deal with them no matter whether he is healed or not he won’t listen if I object to leaving the city again so soon because apparently his love life is the only one that actually bloody matters-
It occurred to Icarus that last thought might have been something he wanted to pay more attention to, but by that point he was already speaking again.
“Truly? That is all?”
He hated himself a little for pushing, but he had to know.
Pythagoras gave him a soft smile.
“Yes. That is all. I am sorry if I led you to believe otherwise.”
-why the hell has he suddenly got so possessive and needy? he was never like this before when we were simply friends why does it have to be so complicated I don’t think I can do this if I’m going to have to spend all my time feeling like it’s a choice between Icarus or Jason and Hercul-
It was probably a good thing Pythagoras moved his had from Icarus’ arm at that moment because it was all Icarus could do not to jerk away from his touch.
Last night he had wished to know what was going on in Pythagoras’ head. Now he understood just how foolish he had been. He wondered if the witch was laughing at him.
“Icarus?” Pythagoras’ voice was all concern and worry.
Icarus couldn’t help thinking that what was really going on behind his words was no doubt something to do with wanting to get back to Jason.
“Icarus? You do not look very reassured. Is there something else?”
“No.” He hesitated. “Yes. Yes, there is.”
If he didn’t do this now it was only going to get more difficult.
He forced himself to meet Pythagoras’ worried gaze.
“I am sorry, Pythagoras, but I think I have done something stupid. It was a mistake, a terrible mistake, and I would never have... if I had known I promise you I would not have done it.”
“That bracelet with the amber bead. Can you take it off, please?”
Pythagoras’ face crinkled into a frown. He looked down at the band around his wrist and then back up at Icarus.
“You want to take it back?”
He sounded far more hurt by that than Icarus had expected.
“Yes, but not in the way you are probably thinking.” He paused and forced himself to breathe. “I believe it may be cursed.”
Pythagoras’ eyes widened and he stared at Icarus for a moment. Then his attention focussed on the bracelet and his fingers began to tug at the knot.
“Cursed? How? Why? Where did you get it?”
“An old woman gave it to me. I didn’t know at the time but I have since come to believe that she was a witch.”
“What will it do?” His voice was remarkably steady, but Icarus could hear the first hint of panic.
Pythagoras was still fiddling with the knot tying the leather band around his wrist. He made a sudden frustrated sound.
“How tightly did you tie this, Icarus?”
“Here, let me do it.”
Icarus batted his hand out of the way and worked at the knot himself. It would be easier with two hands, and Pythagoras’ panic was probably making him clumsy. As his fingers brushed skin he caught fractured thoughts about somebody named Medusa, and a box, but mostly all he got was fear.
“Icarus, what are you doing? Hurry up.”
“I can’t untie it,” Icarus said the moment he realised it. The knot refused to yield even though he knew he had not tied it particularly tightly the night before. Icarus hesitated and then pulled out the small knife he carried.
“Keep still. I think I need to cut it off.” He glanced up at Pythagoras and tried to give him a reassuring smile. “I will be careful.”
Pythagoras nodded and held his arm out, his fist clenched.
Several minutes of sawing and working at the leather band and the thin cord that tied the ends produced no noticeable effect. By the time they admitted defeat Icarus was beginning to panic almost as much as Pythagoras.
“It truly is magical,” Pythagoras said, staring down at the leather band. He looked up at Icarus. “What curse do you believe is upon it? What... what is it going to do to me?”
“To you, technically nothing.” Icarus paused and breathed before he made himself say it. “It allows me to hear your thoughts.”
There was a moment of silence.
“That is not possible,” Pythagoras said.
“It is the only explanation I have been able to come up with to explain what I have been hearing. It... It doesn’t work all the time. It only works when we are in direct physical contact with each other.”
For a moment nothing happened. Then Pythagoras very deliberately moved his arm away from where he had been holding it out towards Icarus.
“You can hear my thoughts when you touch me?”
Icarus didn’t like the way his voice sounded. He had never heard that tone in Pythagoras’ voice before. It sounded like he was precariously balanced on a thin line between calm and rage.
“I believe so, yes.”
“Why? Why would you do this to me?”
“I didn’t do it on purpose. I didn’t know what it would do. The old woman... I didn’t know she was a witch. She tricked me. She told me it would help me to understand you better, that was all. I swear I didn’t know what it would do.”
“You have been able to hear my thoughts ever since you put this on me.”
“No, only since this morning.”
“If it truly was an accident, why did you not tell me as soon as you realised? Why have you waited this long to say anything?”
That was the question Icarus had been dreading. He had hoped Pythagoras would not think to ask it, in amongst everything else that must be going through his mind right at that moment.
He remained silent too long, and it gave Pythagoras time to realise something else Icarus had hoped he would not.
“All those questions about the mission. You were deliberately trying to lead my thoughts, Icarus. You... this wasn’t an accident at all. You wanted this. You have been using this power all day to pry into my mind.”
His voice was starting to shake.
“No,” Icarus shook his head. “No, please believe me I did not intend this.”
“Do you even understand what you have done?” Pythagoras’s voice was becoming louder with every word. More angry. “You went inside my mind, Icarus. No one should be able to do that, not to anyone. Certainly not to someone they claim to care about.”
“Now you are the one who doesn’t understand,” Icarus heard himself saying before the line of reasoning had fully formed in his head. “That was the reason why I did it. Because I care about you. Because I don’t know what you want. I don’t know how to make you happy. I just wanted to make our relationship better.”
He knew it was a mistake as soon as the words left his mouth.
“You could have asked me. You could have talked to me.”
“I tried, Pythagoras. And every time I tried you cut me out and fobbed me off and gave me half truths and blatant deflection.” Now Icarus could hear anger in his own voice as well.
“So instead you use witchcraft on me?”
“No! Not on purpose.”
“If that is true why didn’t you tell me this morning? Why didn’t you tell me when you came round to my house? Why wait until now?” He hesitated. “Icarus, you have no idea how much I want to believe that it was an accident. But that would be so much easier to accept if you had told me straight away.”
“I didn’t understand what was happening at first. And then I tried to find the witch. I thought-” he stopped when he realised he had absolutely no idea what he would have done if he had actually found the old woman.
That was when Pythagoras’ brain came round to the thought that it had taken Icarus several hours to realise.
“Is it just you? Or can anyone hear my thoughts when I am wearing this bracelet?” His voice was now quiet, controlled. It sounded far more dangerous than the near shouting.
“I think it’s just me.”
“When I was talking to Hercules and Jason they didn’t mention anything odd, and I’m sure you must have come into contact with them when you got home.”
“But you don’t know for sure.”
“I tried to ask them. That’s why I came round to your house. I had the same thought and needed to find out if it was just me.”
Pythagoras rested his elbows on his knees and put his head in his hands. Icarus started to reach out, an instinct reaction, but caught himself at the last moment.
“Do you have any idea what you have done, Icarus?” Pythagoras looked up at him again. “I am a trusted operative of the queen. If this gets out, it will put us all in danger. Me, you, Ariadne, Jason.”
Icarus felt a sudden surge of anger.
“Of course, we mustn’t let anything happen to your precious Jason.”
Pythagoras became very, very still.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Like you don’t know?” The words tumbled out before Icarus could stop them. “You say you want me, but all the time you are thinking of him. When we are together, even when we are kissing, Pythagoras, your mind is thinking about Jason, and Hercules, and your missions for Ariadne, and even bloody triangles. The only thing you are not thinking about is me!”
“That... that is not true!”
“It is. I’ve heard it, remember. What am I, really? Am I just a... a pretty boy that you enjoy kissing when you’re not too busy with all the other more important things in your life?”
“If that is what you think then this thing really is cursed, because you are not hearing what is truly in my head.”
“Why should I believe that when I know you have been lying to me all day? Why should I trust you when you say you want me?”
“You dare talk to me about trust after what you have done?”
Pythagoras stood up and looked like he was going to say something else. Then he just shook his head and walked away. Icarus was so surprised he had to run to catch up. He caught Pythagoras’ sleeve, and the man whirled round and snatched his arm away.
“Don’t bloody touch me,” Pythagoras snarled.
Icarus stepped back. He had never seen Pythagoras look at him with such anger, hatred, in his eyes.
“No. I don’t want to listen to you any more. I don’t want to see you. Stay out of my way until I work out how to fix this mess, Icarus. Just... just stay the hell away from me.”
He walked away, and Icarus let him.
Link to part 3