A/N: I think it's about time I earned that 'M' rating.

Please note, as a result, there will be underage (for us), um, sex.


Inside his father's library the room was lit with several lamps, but Sherlock could not spare even one second to reflect on how fondly he normally regarded the space. He'd passed many an hour of his life in this room, listening to his father, reading his father's scrolls and texts, but so great was his agitation that nothing but the sound of his feet slapping the stone floor beneath him seemed to register.

"You are going to wear a path in the floor," his father said.

Sherlock stopped his pacing and folded his arms, keeping his gaze down. "You have sent Grigórios away, then?"

Septimius walked farther into the room and towards a wall of shelves. "I have."

"Did you tell him?"

His father hesitated. "I did."

Sherlock looked up at this. "And?"

"He asked who I thought would have done such a thing. I told him I could not possibly presume and I urged him not to as well.

Sherlock growled and threw his hands into the air. "You know who did it. You acknowledge that someone snuck into our home to cover their sins. You are wilfully obstructing justice."

"Do I want to know how you obtained this item in the first place?

Sherlock scoffed and looked away. Certainly, he had taken it without Sebastos' knowledge… but the boy would never have freely given it, either. Regardless, that was not the point.

"Sherlock," his father sighed, leaning into the wall at his back. His hands, just beginning to wrinkle with age, came up to rub circles at his silvering temples. His eyes, Sherlock noted, had lost their tightness and, to him, now seemed weary. "The death of that boy is regrettable."

"He nearly killed Jon!"

"And that is also deeply disturbing. Believe it or not, I would love to see those behind such heinous atrocities prosecuted accordingly." At this, he looked up and Sherlock was surprised now to see a hint of fear his eyes. "But sometimes there are things beyond our control. There are people who… they do not care what destruction they cause or the pain they bring to others. It is abhorrent to say this, but, very occasionally, one must look the other way in order to protect the ones they love."

Sherlock took a step back and openly stared at his father in shock. "How can you say such things?"

His father turned back towards his shelf and reached for a golden box.

Sherlock shook his head. His chest constricted with disappointment and sadness creeped into his heart to have seen this side of his father. A man he had once known to be moral and upright. Or, had in his childhood.

"You are still young, my son. One day you will understand that sacrifices must be made when you have a family."

Sherlock's fists were clenching up again and his palms were sweaty. More than anything he wanted to bolt out of that room and go to Jon. He would pull him from Cleitomachus' side if need be and they could go to the river where they played as boys. He would tell Jon how much he loved him. He would kiss his face. He might even cry on his shoulder as he recounted the moment the childhood image of his father had crumbled before him.

Septimius, ignorant of Sherlock's inner-turmoil, reached inside the golden box and withdrew a small, ivory figure. He smiled softly down at the object and ran his thumb over its smooth, polished surface. He turned then to his son and held it out to him. "Here," he said.

Reluctantly, Sherlock reached forward and plucked it from his hand. His eyes quickly scanned over it, noting the history threaded throughout the little figure's soft edges and greyed cracks.

"It is a cockerel."

His father smiled. "It is."

Sherlock's eyes narrowed and he turned the little beast this way and that. "It was given to you. Many years ago."

"I was fourteen," his father said. "This was given to me by a very dear friend."

At this, Sherlock's brow arched and he gave his father a weighted look. His father cracked another smile and laughed quietly.

"More than dear," he amended.

"You had a love affair with him," Sherlock bluntly said.

His father nodded. "He was…" his father's eyes seemed to drift, eyes focussed on long ago memories Sherlock could only imagine. "I suppose he was my Jon."

Sherlock's eyes widened and he unconsciously clutched the cockerel more tightly. He'd known his father had had many friends in his childhood, several he'd kept as an adult. He had deduced that one or two may have had intimate relations with his father in their youth, before his mother, but he'd not ever heard the man speak of someone with the same regard that Sherlock had for Jon.

"Well," his father added, "perhaps not quite as close, but he was especially dear to me growing up. He was the first person I ever loved."

Sherlock nodded and ran his own thumb over the smooth surface. Cockerels were commonly given to one's same-sex partner, and had obvious connotations to homosexuality. Between adult lovers, it was even common to give them as pets. Sherlock had once even entertained the notion of carving his own miniature cockerel to give to Jon in a flight of fancy, but had ultimately scoffed at the overly-romanticised notion and not thought twice about it. Too obvious. Too common. Jon deserved better.

"We were together throughout my youth. Even for a time into my association with my own erastes. Though, these things are to be expected."

Sherlock felt another horrible lecture building, and the back of his neck felt clammy with his unease. It was obvious the man knew something of his son's regard for Jon, and Sherlock straightened his spine and met his father's gaze. Ready for any attempt he might make to dissuade Sherlock's affection for Jon. A part of him was also relieved to hear his father speaking openly of such relationships. It gave him hope that he would not cast his and Jon's aside when they admitted it openly; when they formally pursued theirs.

"I loved him very deeply," Septimius continued, "and he taught me many things. How to love, how to be loved. How to put another person's needs before your own. He taught me the value of friendship. Loyalty." His father reached back for the cockerel, and Sherlock let it slip from his hand into the others.

"What happened to him?"

His father brought the ivory bird to his lips and then turned and placed it safely back into the box. He turned to his son. "We grew up. As children do."

Sherlock closed his eyes and shook his head. "You abandoned him."

"No, we grew up. There is a difference." His father crossed his arms and leaned once more into the shelf behind him. "We met our wives and had our families. Friendships, they are… one of the greatest things a man, a person, can have. We need friends. We need relationships. They bring out the best in us. But, there comes a point when childish fancies must be cast aside. Opportunities arise, and we must be wise enough to see them for what they are. To be fearless enough to accept them and to utilise them to our greatest good."

Sherlock scoffed. "And you think that Cleitomachus is Jon's greatest good? That war and battles and blood are for Jon's greatest good?" Sherlock crossed his own arms and frowned at his father. "He is better than that. And moreover, Cleitomachus, if he gets entangled with these… skirmishes up North, can get Jon killed."

Septimius winced. "I regret that I was not informed about his intentions regarding the war. Though, to be fair to Cleitomachus, it appears as if what we learned tonight was only lately presented to him, as well."

"And you approve?"

Septimius sighed and pushed away from the shelf to settle more comfortably at his desk. "For Cleitomachus, yes. For Jon…"

Sherlock held his breath and mentally prayed to Apollo.

"I must admit that Jon is too young, too green, to be introduced to such an atmosphere." He looked up sharply to his son. "But I am certain Cleitomachus knows this as well. He would never willingly endanger Jon."

Sherlock fought the urge to roll his eyes. His skin itched with a need to escape that room and find his friend.

"The man means to court him first. Jon is very nearly at an age when he cannot decently accept an erastes. But he needs this connection, Sherlock." He shook a finger sternly at Sherlock. "Jon needs this. Do not be so selfish that you would block his opportunities, boy."

"And if he does not want this?"

"Then I will, reluctantly, accept his desires. I promised his father."

Sherlock nodded, feeling a great sense of relief soothe his frayed nerves.

"You know," his father continued, "the two of you have been asked for numerous times since you were twelve. Especially you, with your great beauty and intelligence."

Sherlock's head snapped up and his eyes widened.

"Philomenes, and your mother and I, all felt that you were not ready. Particularly you." He arched a sardonic brow. "That does not stop people from asking for you every other month, however. Diodorus, too, had always been insistent that you were not…suited for such an arrangement." He sighed and rolled his eyes to the heavens. "I've no idea what we shall do with you. Your brother and I will have to intervene on your behalf when you decide you are ready."

"Very well. You've made your opinions known, may I go?"

"Diodorus had been insistent," his father said, and Sherlock paused in his exit. "Recently, however, he feels you and Jon have… grown. Emotionally."

Sherlock's face twisted with a sneer. "I have no desire to take an erastes. I want nothing any of them could offer me. I have told you this, numerous times. You know my wishes."

Septimius raised his palms in defence. "I am aware. I merely feel obligated to enquire one more time, but Sherlock. Just because you are so vehemently against this tradition does not mean you should hinder Jon. Do not be selfish and risk holding your friend back."

Sherlock recoiled. "Hold him back?"

"I merely ask that you reflect on how your actions and opinions will affect Jon in the long term. Because they do. You affect him a great deal. And vice versa." His father mumbled with a frown, "Too much."

"Duly noted. Friendships are important, but do not waste your time cultivating them, and if someone tries to bully you, despite their offences, I should turn and look away. Excellent lesson on morals tonight, father, now may I leave?"

For a moment, Septimius appeared stricken and his jaw worked silently. "Is that what you get from our discussion? What you think I subscribe to?"

"What else should I have taken from your lecture? Is that not what you said?" Sherlock spat.

Septimius sat in his beautifully carved chair, at his beautifully carved desk and stared at his son. For a brief moment, he thought he saw a trace of regret flit through his eyes.

Sherlock groaned and waved his hands towards the door. "Is that all?"

His father pursed his lips and folded his hands together. He nodded.

Without another word, Sherlock bolted for the door and immediately tore down the hall and towards the courtyard. He reasoned that Jon could not have gotten far, not with his injury. When he reached the main door leading into the courtyard, he moved as silently as possible, and cleared his mind of all other thought but finding Jon. Various torches were burning in their holders lining the edges of the enclosure, but all Sherlock could make out were the shapes of palms and trees. His ears strained for any sound, any hint of movement, and he went with a gut feeling that suggested they would have walked towards the front of the courtyard's entrance. He picked along a path, avoiding as much crunching gravel and stones as he could, until he finally heard the murmur of voices floating towards him on the wind.

Cleitomachus and Jon were speaking beside the warrior's great horse; a hulking, magnificent beast of pure white that appeared to glow amidst the dark of the gathering night. Jon was laughing at something the man said and Sherlock fought down another spike of bitter jealousy. Was it so wrong to want to be the only person who could make Jon laugh?

Sherlock positioned himself behind the largest in a row of olives, and dared to peek out further to see how they were getting on. Jon should be urging the man to leave by now, and it took all of Sherlock's control not to storm out there and demand he leave at once. But, he had promised Jon that he would behave. That he would be sensible. Which, in hindsight, was a very stupid thing to promise.

Though it was difficult on his straining eyes, he could just make out the darkened silhouettes of the two against the paleness of the horse, which was pawing anxiously at the ground. Cleitomachus reached up to pat the animal in a soothing manner, and then leaned towards Jon. Sherlock watched, heart in his throat, as Jon leaned in to better hear the something Sherlock could not. Then Cleitomachus took his hands. He took Jon's hands, both of them, within his own, and looked down into Jon's eyes.

"Tell him no," Sherlock whispered, pleading into the wind. His fingers bit into the rough bark of the tree and he pressed hard against it. Above and around him, cicadas sang out into the night. Their mating calls pulsed in rhythms and Sherlock briefly wondered if the gods were punishing him for spying by making them especially loud.

Obviously, Cleitomachus' words were lost, but from the outline of his posture it was clear he was speaking sincerely. Jon looked away, and how desperately Sherlock wished that he could see Jon's expression. Seconds ticked by, and Sherlock thought the warrior may have mumbled something else, but damn it all he simply could not hear! A small eternity passed, and just when Sherlock thought that surely this time his heart was going to leap out of his throat and into his mouth, Jon finally answered... with a nod. A nod that caused Sherlock's knees to buckle and his breath to leave. A nod, a tiny little movement, a simple response to whatever had Cleitomachus waiting, and all of these simple moments were wreaking havoc on Sherlock's entire existence - and then the unthinkable happened. The warrior leaned down even farther, his bulk all but towering over Jon. Consuming Jon. Absorbing the majority of the dark shape that made up Jon's silhouette within the other's, and Sherlock watched as Jon stood stiffly against that larger dark shape, not even attempting to move away when Cleitomachus brought the dark shape of his mouth towards the dark shape of Jon's lips and oh gods, he was kissing Jon. It was kissing wasn't it? Was it? What was Jon and his dark shape doing?!

With a wave of gratitude that nearly sent Sherlock to the ground, Jon pulled back almost as soon as their silhouette's combined, and then stepped back, and Cleitomachus released his hands and stepped away, too, and Sherlock gripped his tree until the bark began flaking off beneath his fingers. The warrior gave a short bow, his massive, shadowed hand brushed Jon's cheek, and he leapt up onto his great, glowing steed and called goodbye.

Sherlock, collapsed against his tree, stared with stinging eyes as the ethereal horse disappeared into the night and the black shape of Jon remained watching after. When Jon finally turned, he began limping back towards the house, and Sherlock could take it no longer. He pushed off the tree, stumbling on his first step as he ran to Jon.

The other boy's steps faltered as if startled, and he stopped. "Sherlock?"

"Jon." His heart raced as quickly as his feet. Gods above, why had he waited so long?

Jon shifted onto his good leg in the dark. "How long were you there?"

"Jon," Sherlock breathed. His limbs felt heavy and sluggish but he did not stop until his hands took hold of Jon's arms and tugged him close enough to feel his breath.

"Sherlock, what did you—"

"Where did he kiss you?" Sherlock demanded. Desperation was making him feel manic and dim-witted, but he had to know. And Jon had to know.

In the moonlight Jon's face was just visible, and Sherlock was dismayed to note his brows were downturned along with his lips. His face was filled with pity and guilt, and it twisted and clawed at Sherlock's heart, his lungs, his… everything. Pity was not what Jon gave him. Not ever. His sad lips parted on an inhale to speak again but Sherlock was first.

"Please!" Sherlock cried. His body began to tremble and his dry mouth worked with the desire to speak, to say something important. But how does one frame words that feel so meaningless compared to all that Jon was? The very notion was as ridiculous as the one that someone else could physically touch Jon. "Please," he said again, fingertips digging into Jon's biceps.

Jon closed his eyes and placed the tip of one finger to a spot just at the corner of his lips. Sherlock surged forward and pressed his own against the spot so forcefully that Jon stumbled back a step, gripping Sherlock's own arms for support. Sherlock's lips pressed against the offending patch of tainted skin over and over, his breath rolled against Jon's cheek, and his tongue darted out to lick, to reclaim where the intruder had marked. Sherlock's mouth kissed and pecked, and he wrapped the long fingers of one hand around Jon's jaw, holding him in place so that there was no danger of missing even a single inch. His mouth worked frantically from the corner of Jon's lips, to his jaw and back. He slid his free hand up to cup the other side of Jon's cheek and finally firmly pressed his mouth against the other's. Jon's lips parted easily under this attention, and Sherlock whined when he felt a soft, warm tongue slide alongside his. Sherlock sucked it into his mouth, and rather than the exciting, arousing sensation it usually was, it suddenly felt as if their tongues had become weapons to duel against the other. An instrument of battle rather than one of strictly pleasure. Sherlock growled with some strangely primitive response and tugged Jon even closer, mixing in bites with his kisses. His hands slid down to find and grip Jon's. His fingers skimmed every dip between every finger, over his palms and wrists. Every place that Cleitomachus had touched Sherlock determined should be wiped away by his.

Jon pulled back to heave in a gasp of air, and Sherlock let him have it for only a moment before plunging back in to claim that mouth. Jon swayed where he stood and pressed his heated body into Sherlock's, gripping his waist with frantic hands, and Sherlock rumbled his approval deep in his throat. The image of Cleitomachus against him, taking Jon's hands and pressing his lips to Jon's made Sherlock's blood boil, and his limited breath caught again in his throat. He gasped against Jon's lips and threaded his fingers in Jon's hair.

"Jon," he choked against his mouth. He smeared face against Jon's cheek, letting the sensation drive away the hateful memory. Replace it with a better one. Vaguely, he noted his chest ached for want of air, but he could not bear to tear himself away from Jon, even as he grew dizzy.

"Sherlock," Jon breathed, pulling back with his own gasping breaths. Jon's hands cupped Sherlock's cheeks and he nuzzled his nose. "Sherlock, breathe," he gently ordered. "You're hyperventilating, breathe." Jon ran his fingers through Sherlock's curls and he shook his head. "Possessive thing—"

Sherlock jerked away at his words, eyes wide and pained. "You let him touch you." His voice broke and he looked away to gather himself. His heart and lungs were both racing and he could feel Jon's pulse hammering against his forearms where they bracketed his skull.

Jon stared with wide, frightened eyes, and he nervously gripped Sherlock's chiton between his fingers.

"He," Sherlock continued, feeling his throat constrict, "he asked you. And you..." Sherlock's voice cracked, his throat burned. He dragged his gaze up to meet Jon's and his heart suddenly swelled with conviction. "I do not have his titles, nor his status. I know that I cannot offer you... anything. Not really."

"Sherlock," Jon sighed, broken before him. Jon's fingers twined through Sherlock's curls, tightening rhythmically, but Sherlock continued with dogged determination.

"Please, hear me. I know I cannot offer you anything he can, not for that path. But," he swallowed and took a gulping breath. "I can offer you me." Jon's breath hitched, and Sherlock continued, letting his mouth simply form the words his brain was hurling at him quicker than he could think them through. "For some reason my brain does not always work the way it should when I think of you. Or am simply with you. Isn't that amazing?"

Jon cocked his head and a small, confused smile tugged one corner of his lips.

Sherlock swallowed nervously and his fingers slid down to rest against the base of Jon's neck. "When I look at other people, I can see their history before me, clear as day. Little details flood my sight. I can see where a person has been, what they ate in the morning, how many children they have, whether or not they like honey for goodness sake. And I see you." His fingers flexed against the warm, slightly damp flesh at his hairline. "I see you and sometimes there aren't even thoughts."

Jon's hands curled then around Sherlock's elbows, and that touch, so soft, so very Jon, made his heart jump.

"I think," Sherlock continued, "I think that happens because it doesn't matter."

Jon arched a brow, and Sherlock rushed to explain.

"No, no, it matters, it matters the most, but I mean, oh Hermes how is this so difficult? These are only words; I use them a thousand times a day, but it is you. When you look at me, sometimes I do not even have words, thoughts, because they aren't needed. With you it does not matter how clever I am, or that I am different." Sherlock exhaled and leaned forward. "You are the one person who I can simply be myself around and it does not drive you away."

"Sherlock," Jon murmured. He pulled Sherlock against him, pressed him close. Sherlock sunk into his embrace, resting his cheek at Jon's sweaty temple. His arms slipped around Jon's waist and squeezed, afraid to say his next words while meeting Jon's eye.

"I mean to say… I love you, Jon. I… you are important. The most important and I want to be yours," he whispered. His eyes blurred with damnable tears and he clutched at Jon more tightly. "I want you to be only mine just as I feel that I am only yours."

Sherlock pulled back, desperation making his breath quicken in his lungs. He gripped the fabric of Jon's chiton and nuzzled Jon's nose with his. "Please. I know Cleitomachus has… connections, he is… a good man… but, I can be, too. I will be. I will for you. We are still young, but, I cannot lose you and—"

"Sherlock, listen—"

"No!" Sherlock swiped a tear from his cheek and gripped Jon's arms again. "I do not know what he has offered, but I promise you, I will better it. I will—"

"Sherlock!" Jon cried, gently shaking him until Sherlock ceased his babbling enough to catch his breath. Jon laughed. His eyes softened and he fondly shook his head. "Let me speak," he chuckled.

Sherlock blinked several times, and nodded tremulously. "S-sorry. Yes, of course."

"Shhh," Jon soothed. He carefully smoothed dark curls back from where they'd fallen across Sherlock's forehead, nearly past his eyes. Jon smiled and petted at him, running his fingers through those curls. Sherlock closed his eyes, thinking he could purr if he had the capacity to do so.

"You," Jon said, speaking gently, "obviously did not hear much between us."

Sherlock shook his head and then pushed his face down into Jon's neck. His arms again slipped round Jon's waist and he focused on the scent of his skin. Of the faint pulse along his throat. "I did not hear anything. But I saw..."

Jon huffed and rubbed his fingers along Sherlock's spine. "You daft ox. Of course you didn't." He pressed a kiss to Sherlock's jaw. "If you had, you would not be this worked up."

Sherlock paused, breath stilling, hope blossoming. "What did I not hear?"

Jon hugged Sherlock close, whispering in his ear. "You did not hear Cleitomachus telling me how very much he wanted me to be his erômenos." Sherlock whimpered. Jon kissed the lobe that heated beneath his words. "You did not hear him lament that he feared our timing might not work," Jon nuzzled the spot below his ear, and Sherlock trembled. "That he merely stated his intention, but instead asked to see me again in the Spring." He nipped where he'd pressed a kiss. "That I agreed to remain his friend, but Sherlock," Jon pulled back, and Sherlock's eyes blurred and his heart kicked and sputtered. "There was no formal agreement. I told him, given the directions our lives were going, that it did not seem a wise course. That I was content as I was. Vastly so."

Sherlock's fingers dug into Jon's waist. "For now or at all?"

Jon bit his lip and his eyes darted away. "For now," he admitted. Sherlock groaned and Jon swiftly pressed his lips to Sherlock's. "He was very insistent. Sherlock, stop. If he plans to do all he means to he will not have time for me. It is a bridge that has not been burnt. You have to agree it is best to keep him in in our good graces, especially if the possibility of war is looming ahead—"

"But you are not his then?" Sherlock interrupted.

Jon smiled. "No. I am not."

Sherlock felt his entire chest deflate in relief. "And you... you understand what I am asking?"

Jon's smile cracked wide and he nodded. "You are formally asking to be mine. And for me to be yours."

Sherlock melted into Jon's body, breathing a kiss into his lips. "Yes, Jon. Yes, yes, yes."

Jon laughed, squeezing his arms tightly about Sherlock's back. "You ridiculous thing. I have always been yours." Their noses bumped and nuzzled. "And I will chase off anyone who tries to come between us."

"Jon!" Sherlock cried and surged against him. His heart was fit to bursting, and he smiled even as their teeth clacked together with the ferocity of their kiss. Their mouths met and their tongues brushed and curled against each other. Hands gripped, frantic and trembling, and Sherlock could not touch enough of him quickly enough. They stumbled together clumsily, swaying back and forth. Their feet tripped the other up, and they laughed as much as they groaned into their kisses. Fire had once again leapt to life inside Sherlock's belly, and his stomach pulled and ached with need for his friend. For his friend who wanted him, too. His lips parted around a gulp of air. "I want... something... you," he gasped against Jon's lips. "I want you so much... Jon, I don't know what to do."

Jon groaned and pulled Sherlock against him, grinding his pelvis into Sherlock's so that his mind went white and then black with surprised pleasure. "We will figure it out." He pulled on Sherlock's lower lip with his teeth and dipped his sweet, hot tongue back into Sherlock's mouth. "Together. We will figure it all out, okay?"

Sherlock herded him towards the cover of the olive trees, breathless with anticipation and shaking so hard he could hardly stay upright. Jon alternated between giggling and whimpering at Sherlock's touches, and his fingers maintained an iron grip on his hips.

Jon whirled Sherlock so that he was slammed up against the nearest tree at his back, and Sherlock's shaking hands rubbed anxiously up and down his sides, not precisely sure what he should do with them. Their mouths met again, and Sherlock groaned, long and low when Jon plastered their fronts together. Their bodies wriggled and writhed, and Sherlock's skin lit up with flame to match that which was burning inside. The feel of Jon's hard muscles twitching against him, of his hands running along his skin had Sherlock twitching with impatience and lust. Tentative fingers crept down to the hem at Sherlock's thighs and paused. Sherlock breathed harshly against Jon's face, and he slid his hands down to cover Jon's.

"Please," he whispered. "You can t-touch me. Please," he kissed Jon's jaw. "Touch me. I want you to."

Jon moaned and hurried to comply, lifting Sherlock's chiton up his thighs and over his hips. They briefly struggled with the fibula, but Jon growled and ended up jerking it solidly up and away. His hands immediately returned to the cloth wrapped around his hips, and Sherlock felt his hesitation like a question asked aloud.

"Take them off."

Jon's fingers worked quickly to unwrap him, and Sherlock cursed the inconvenience of the night because he couldn't see anything. He desperately wanted to see the urgency in Jon's face, to see him equally revealed to him, naked and trembling. And he was trembling, just as much as Sherlock, who likewise reached for Jon's chiton to tug away. For a moment, a giddy smile stretched his lips, and he felt the awe of what was happening slam into him.

Not wanting to miss out on his own opportunity to touch, Sherlock's fingers hurriedly skimmed down to the hem of Jon's fetching chiton. Jon quickly nodded his agreement at Sherlock's actions. Kissed his approval into his jaw, dragged his tongue down his long throat, and Sherlock arched his neck in encouragement. Gods, Jon's tongue against his skin was positively decadent. And when Jon bit down on the juncture of his neck, Sherlock's hips jerked forward in surprise and he choked on his own tongue. His fingers tugged at Jon's hair, keeping his mouth right there.

"Do it again," he growled, and then moaned when Jon's teeth sank back into his skin. He mewled when a hot tongue laved the surface after.

A sudden rush of cool night air at his fevered groin pulled a strained gasp from Sherlock's throat, and with a jolt, he realised he was fully naked and aroused before Jon. A conscious, awake, wanting Jon, for the first time. Embarrassed heat crept up the back of his neck, and for a moment he decided he was grateful for the cover of night. He could feel his erection bump excitedly against his abdomen, and he wriggled with anticipation, and a bit of fear, at the knowledge that Jon would soon know this part of him.

Jon made a sound deep in his throat and Sherlock felt warm palms splay over his chest. "Damn this darkness. I want to see you."

Sherlock nuzzled at his throat and kissed his way to his collarbones. "Next time," he promised. Then, with a flash of bravery, he took Jon's left hand within his and directed it to his straining member. "Please, Jon. Please," he murmured.

Jon's heavy breathing sounded in his ear, raising gooseflesh along his neck, and Sherlock tensed. Finally, at long last, Jon's fingers brushed against the amazingly sensitive flesh of his aroused penis. Sherlock sucked in a shocked gasp, and pushed back into them. "Jon!" he cried.

Jon pulled his hand away in alarm. "What! Did it hurt?!"

Sherlock immediately brought his hand back to his cock. "Gods no, do not stop. K-keep... ohhhh," he exhaled. Jon's warm fingers wrapped around his length, and he gave Sherlock a careful stroke. Sherlock's body positively melted into Jon's and his mouth fell open at the glorious rush of sensation. He breathed against Jon's throat, arms draped over his shoulders, and revelled in the new sensations of Jon's hand working up and down his erection. The feeling was so incredibly different than it was on his own. So much amazingly better. He licked his lips, tasting the salt of Jon's skin, and mindlessly sucked that skin into his mouth.

"How is it?" Jon whispered with a catch in his voice.

Sherlock hummed and lightly scratched his nails along Jon's upper back. "You can... c-can squeeze me tighter OH, oh yes, like that, Jon." Sherlock breathed through the pleasure for a moment, and swallowed around his dry throat. "'S'incredible," he mumbled.

Jon moaned and squeezed his fingers, rhythmically, around his heated flesh, and Sherlock couldn't wait to do it to Jon. To have him experience such a feeling for the time at his hands. He shook himself and leaned back up. Why couldn't he start then?

With shaking hands, Sherlock worked at the cloth around Jon's hips, and Jon paused for a moment to help him get free. "Can I?" Sherlock whispered into the dark. That seemed to be their default speaking volume. As if afraid that anything louder might shatter their bubble of intimacy.

"Yes!" he cried instantly. Sherlock grinned and licked at his jaw, letting his fingers trail delicately down Jon's firm abdomen. He smiled to feel his muscles shiver in response.

"Jon," he sighed, pressing close to his heated skin. Desperate for as much contact as possible. Jon slipped his free arm round Sherlock's back. His broad palm settled boldly over the plush curve of his arse and he squeezed. Sherlock gasped and nipped at Jon's skin, and when his own fingers bumped into the moist, hot tip of Jon's erection, he felt his gut tighten even further with lust.

Sherlock dragged his fingers gently down its length, and he marvelled at the difference of Jon's penis as compared to his. Jon was much thicker than Sherlock. His length was also impressive. Not quite as long as Sherlock, but very, very nearly. Sherlock felt saliva gather in his mouth, and he was shocked at the desire he suddenly felt to want to taste him. To feel how he would fit against his tongue, inside his mouth. But he also felt shy about such things. He dimly resolved to try that at another time, but for that moment, Sherlock firmly wrapped his long fingers around Jon's length and smiled to feel Jon's muscles flutter against him. Jon's own hand ceased its movement around Sherlock's prick, and instead gently held him within the heat of his palm. His breaths puffed roughly against Sherlock's chest, and his hips moved in jerky snaps into the circle of his fist. A wicked grin curved Sherlock's lips, and he squeezed. Jon yelped and pulled back, and Sherlock released him in alarm.

"Too much," Jon gasped.

Sherlock flushed, and apologised with a kiss. Nevertheless, Jon was quickly back in his grip, and Sherlock took care to go more gently with his explorations. He moved his hand slowly, up and down, from root to tip. Jon moaned quietly into his chest, and Sherlock's stroke faltered when he felt Jon grip him back to continue his ministrations with Sherlock's cock.

As they learned how to touch, the boys both groaned, twitched, jerked, writhed against the other, until Sherlock's stomach was bubbling with lust. Heat swirled and pulled deep at his inner muscles, and his mind lit up with joy at the fact of what they were doing. Together! No one had ever touched the other in this way before. They were each other's firsts, which was precisely how it should be. And Eros be praised, but nothing had ever felt more marvellous in his life! He thought the way the crown of Jon's penis slipped from his fingers to his palm and back was one of the most erotic things he'd ever yet felt. The way Jon shivered and whimpered against him was more beautiful than any music he'd ever heard.

After knocking wrists a few times, they ultimately found a rhythm that had them mutually panting and moaning. Their pricks were both steadily leaking, slicking their hands as they slid over heated, straining flesh, easing the rub of friction. At one point, Sherlock's knees wobbled, and he soon found himself pressed back against the tree with Jon smeared up against him for support.

"Sherlock," Jon choked, "I am... oh gods, are you... I cannot... I am going to soon," he gasped.

Sherlock nodded, feeling the tingling coil of his own orgasm building in his spine, gathering in his testicles. "You feel...so good," he panted, speeding up his strokes.

Jon moaned into his neck, and Sherlock arched when he felt teeth once more biting into the flesh at his shoulder. His hips jerked and without warning the sharp, clear punch of orgasm exploded from his core, and he fucked up into the tight heat of Jon's hand with a cry. His other hand clawed against Jon's back as he rutted against his friend, dimly registering Jon's own excited thrusts coming faster and faster. Pleasure raced through his veins as the first pulse of ejaculate shot from prick. His skin tingled at every point as warmth washed over him again and again. His eyes had slammed shut and Jon jerked and cried out beside him while Sherlock shook apart in his arms.

With a final, weak thrust, Sherlock collapsed into Jon. He felt the thick, wet drip of Jon's emissions sliding down his chest and hand. He heard Jon giggle. His friend wrapped his arms around Sherlock and then they were gracelessly tumbling down to the cool grass in a tangle of sweaty limbs. With a grunt, Sherlock fell atop Jon, breath gusting raggedly, and smiling like the world's most lovestruck fool. His thighs bracketed Jon's heated body and it was bliss. Jon's ribs expanded and contracted beneath him, and Sherlock pressed more fluttering kisses up his chest to his throat. He darted his tongue out to taste the salt of sweat gathering in the dip of Jon's throat. He hummed with contentment when Jon's strong arms again wrapped round his back, encircling him in a warm, snug embrace.

Beneath him, around him, Sherlock felt Jon's pulse throughout his body, and he pressed his ear against the rapid beating of his heart. Sherlock glowed with pride at having done that to Jon. At having given him such pleasure. He buzzed with happiness, his body lax in blissful lassitude, and he nuzzled Jon's neck and jaw. For a beautiful moment, everything was utterly delightful. Utterly perfect.

"That," Jon breathed, "was... amazing."

Sherlock shook with laughter atop him, and scooted up to be face to face with his beloved. "It was rather."

"We," Jon continued, running the fingers of one hand along Sherlock's flushed cheek, "will be repeating this in future."

Sherlock eagerly nodded, squeezing Jon's sides with his thighs and dipping low for a kiss. Jon sighed into his mouth, and his lips moved gently against his in stark contrast to their earlier, frantic desperation. Their mouths met and retreated only to meet again in sweet pecks and lingering presses. Something pulsed warm and deep in Sherlock's chest at this tender affection, and he ducked his chin to press his face into Jon's warm neck. The scent of him, of salt, and musk, and damp earth pulled a shiver from his frame, and Jon tightened his hold around him.

"You cannot possibly be cold. I'm the one lying in the dewy grass, getting bits of things stuck all over me," Jon teased. He shook hard with a quick laugh. "I imagine we must look a mess." He pressed a kiss to the top of Sherlock's head. "We will need to enter quietly and clean up, else your father will know what we... erm, have been up to."

Sherlock slid his arms underneath Jon's, wriggled his hands to cradle the back of Jon's head in his palms and snuggled in further. "Let him. They will figure it out eventually."

Jon stroked the tips of his fingers lightly over Sherlock's damp, rapidly cooling back. "Is that... do you want them to know?"

Sherlock licked again at the dip in Jon's throat and shrugged. "We can tell them." He paused in thought, then, "I want everyone to know. If you want people to know, Jon, I would tell everyone we see."

Jon quietly chuckled and continued stroking Sherlock's back again. Sherlock subtly arched into the touch and closed his eyes.

"I am glad," Jon whispered. "However, perhaps it would be more... prudent to delay."

Sherlock made an enquiring sound and listened while Jon filled his lungs with air to reply.

"Your father wants to see us... growing up. Finding more associations."

Sherlock frowned in the dark and unconsciously squeezed the long limbs caging Jon's body. "He all but gave us permission earlier."

Jon froze beneath him. "What?"

Sherlock sniffed. "He told me about his own 'childhood friend' and admitted that they are beneficial associations." Sherlock pointedly left off the bit about how they should also be temporary. Just because Sherlock's father was not brave enough to buck social obligation did not mean that he would. Jon was what and who he wanted. And as long as Jon continued wanting him, he felt there was no need for either to discuss separation. Sherlock swallowed at the thought and nuzzled again into his friend. Not ever.

"It was not a public blessing," he continued, "but it may as well have been."

Jon was quiet beneath him. Contemplating.

"Well," he finally said, "I would feel more comfortable if we were discreet. At least at first." Sherlock arched a brow when he felt Jon shiver beneath him. "Your father may turn a blind eye now, but I fear he will not always do so. I do not want to antagonise him and risk being forced apart."

Sherlock frowned even harder. "I would never let that happen. I do not care what he says; he does not control everything."

"He is your father."

"Be that as it may, Jon, I am yours for as long as you will have me."

Sherlock felt Jon go still, and only the momentary twitch of his stomach tensing beneath him was his warning before Jon was curling up, cupping Sherlock's face and meeting his mouth in a searing kiss. Sherlock moaned into those lips, widening his mouth to accept the tongue that slipped inside. His arms twined about Jon's neck, his long legs wrapped around trim hips.

"Sherlock," Jon sighed as if directly into Sherlock's soul.

They kissed for long, glorious moments while night continued to fall around them. Wind rustled the leaves of the olives. The occasional bird cried; the cicadas sang on. Fingers gently explored and lips followed. Romantic as it was, though, eventually the practicality of their situation became problematic, and soon they both began to shiver at the chill surrounding their naked bodies.

"We should go inside," Jon murmured against the skin he was tasting between Sherlock's scapulae.

"Boring," Sherlock sighed. He pressed his back into the warmth of Jon's front. Thick thighs were wrapped around him, and Sherlock melted back into his friend, twining their fingers together before him.

Jon chuckled against him, and he pulled his friend close to mouth at his ear. "You know," Jon rumbled, "if we go inside, there will be lamps. And soft beds."

Sherlock thought about this. Jon was brilliant, of course.

"I agree to these terms," Sherlock announced. "But I cannot possibly move on my own. You're far too comfortable."

Jon laughed outright at that and playfully bit at Sherlock's neck. He pushed himself back, and Sherlock grumbled at the sudden loss of heat behind him. Jon reached a hand down to haul him up, and then pulled him back into his embrace. Now that they knew each other it was almost physically painful to separate. How Sherlock had ever lived before with Jon's body against his so often, yet not known the true pleasure it could bring him was ludicrous. Knowing what he did then, intimately so, he could not imagine ever going back. And still there so much more to learn! Sherlock shivered in anticipation.

"We should find our clothes."

Sherlock's eyes widened in the dark and he momentarily stopped thinking of carnal pleasures. "My fibula," he croaked. "If I have lost that, mother will commit filicide."

Jon's laugh abruptly broke off. "She will, too." He stepped back and Sherlock heard the shuffling sound of his feet in the grass. "We had better hope we did not ruin these garments, either. I do not look forward to making her cross again."

"Nor I," Sherlock agreed.

They each fumbled about in the darkness, patting along the damp earth. More than once their hands smacked into each other which prompted a round of love-drunk giggles. It took several more minutes of accidental, and purposeful, fumbling, interspersed with more kissing and gentle, eager touches, before they were dressed as well as could be hoped for. The night covered all but the palest outline of the white in their chitons. They looped their fingers together, and made their way back to the villa. Though, halfway there, Jon ended up taking advantage of Sherlock by using him as a crutch because as soon as the endorphins ran out, Jon's hip began rather insistently throbbing.

"Actually," he winced, "perhaps we should just sleep tonight."

Sherlock frowned, easing him carefully up the steps to their vestibule. "Naked, though," he countered. He could all but see Jon rolling his eyes.

Jon turned his head and pressed a quiet kiss to his shoulder. "Obviously, genius."

-*- φιλία -*-

Inside, it was quiet, save for the singing of a thousand cicadas searching for a mate.

Jon was curled up next to him, bare, warm, soft. After he had told his parents of what he and Cleitomachus had spoken of, Alcestis quickly swept them away from Septimius, before he could say anything, and off to Jon's room. Quietly, subtly, she had rejoiced with her son at the fact that they would be keeping Jon much longer. His mother had flitted about, cooing over Jon's twinging injury and settling him down for sleep. She had kissed them both goodnight, smiled softly at them once more, and left with a quiet reminder to let Jon rest.

After, they had lain together, legs gently tangled, curious fingers skimming over skin and cloth, and listened to the sounds of the house go still, and then silent. When they had deemed it safe, Sherlock carefully undressed them both, mindful of Jon's hip, and arranged two burning lamps beside the bed in order to better see. Shy, tentative fingers skimmed over Jon's flesh, which was even more amazing for his being able to touch so freely. In the light, Sherlock had felt a slight embarrassment at touching Jon so intimately; having Jon watch him do so. Granted, they had brought each other to orgasm mere hours previous, but it had been dark then. Still secretive.

As Sherlock had continued to map new places, Jon had eventually reneged and said he was fine with more daring touches after all. Sherlock had smiled, leaned forward, and brushed his lips against the youth's, murmuring, "We have all the time in the world." For the moment, it was enough to simply touch. To explore.

Jon, too, had eagerly returned Sherlock's touches. His dark eyes had flicked to Sherlock's repeatedly, searching for reassurance that what he did was all right. Sherlock had run his fingers over Jon's firm biceps, nodding his encouragement, had sighed his contentment as his beloved curiously learned his body. Never in his life had something felt so intimate. Had felt so exposed, and yet trusting, as he lay bare for Jon. Time passed, achingly slow, but soon enough, they grew drowsy with affection. Heavy eyelids drooped, creeping fingers had slowed, and Jon finally turned to him to sleep.

Within, it was quiet, but Sherlock lay with Jon's head on his chest and listened to the cicadas sing their final songs of the day for want of a mate. Sherlock smiled into the dark. The fingers of one had were buried in his best friend's golden hair, the other lay warm against his back. He closed his eyes.

He had found his mate. And they had all the time in the world.

-*- φιλία -*-


A/N: WOW. BOOK I IS COMPLETE.

This is the longest thing I have ever finished! And written! I am so freaking proud of myself, heh. So! Precious Greek babies found love. This is quite a different setting, so how do you think it held up? I am already firmly working on the next book in the Greek Song 'verse (There will be at least one, possibly two more books for this series because they have a lot more story left.) and can't wait to start sharing it with you all. In my opinion, the next one is even better than this one. Granted, I'm biased because I just love this story, and I have no qualms in admitting so. ;) For once, it's nice thing to realise how much I love a finished product.

I would also like to deeply thank the lovely, lovely followers who have kept up with this story, and who have given such wonderful, encouraging comments. You are all just the best, and I really, really thank you. I also hope to see you in the next round. 3

Speaking of, I've mentioned in comments before that I will not be strictly following the canon timeline because 1) it's been done literally thousands of times and ffs let's move on, and 2) that's the fun of AU! Some things will be vaguely recognisable; in an Hellenistic Greek setting, rather, but don't expect any pink suitcases. Like at all. Or Chinese acrobats. Or hounds. None of that.

Do, however, expect the following:

-Multiple, different character POVs. Including Jon's and Alcestis'!

-Re-introduction of familiar characters (Princess Iris, anyone?)

-Porn

-Ships

-EGYPT

-More porn

-Angst

-Greek Academy

-Actual stolen hearts

-Lots of filthy gay porn

-Camels. Probably.

-Really, so much angst. I apologise in advance.

-And more porn

Anyway. I will probably take some time to get several chapters written and finished before I even think about posting, so it may be a while. Please subscribe, mark for later, bookmark, or whatever your little heart requires (all of it! your heart requires all of it!) so that you may be in the know. I do have a tumblr, as well.

See you in Athens!

xoxo,

Nom