They arrived home just as the sun began to set. As they handed their horses over to a couple of the servants, Rhodes looked at Ortanos. He bit his lip wanting to say something but he was scared to talk in the end he took a deep breath and murmured, "Ortanos?"

"What?" asked the general giving him an icy look.

"I'm truly sorry," Rhodes grasped his arm and looked down at the ground.

"I know," Ortanos said. "But I'm not ready to forgive you."

"Oh," Rhodes didn't dare look up.

"Let us go to the hall and see what has been prepared for dinner," Ortanos began walking away towards the hall.

Evander bowed low as his lord and master strode into the dinning hall. The assembled household stood as their lord moved to the usual position. Sinking into his seat Ortanos waved a hand signalling for the household to resume their places. Rhodes sank into his place his head held down not making eye contact with anyone. Ortanos gave a snort of annoyance. The young man was annoying him simply with his presence. But just as he was about to say something a cup appeared in front of him. Glancing up he saw Evander standing beside him, his face blank, the soft features set in his formal work expression but his eyes softened a moment and leaning in the small slave murmured, "Relax."

Ortanos glowered at him but Evander moved back before he could say anything. Within moments the hall was filled with the aroma of dinner. As the dish was placed in front of Ortanos he couldn't help smiling and capturing Evander's wrist as the small slave moved away he looked and smirked, "Chicken stew?"

Evander smiled at his master chuckling, "I told you I would have the kitchen prepared your favourite dish my lord. There are even honeyed figs for dessert."

Ortanos smiled for the first time that day. Releasing the smaller slave he nodded and ordered, "Perfect.," he took a mouthful adding loud enough for those surrounding him to hear, "Attend me after dinner I want a report on the prisoner."

Evander bowed lowed murmuring, "As it please my lord I will obey."

Ortanos ate his meal in silently knowing Evander and the kitchen had worked hard to make sure his favourites were on display for him to eat at will after a stress filled day. Every so often he would glance at Rhodes. Seeing the young man had barely touched his food much made him feel strangely satisfied.

Lifting his head after eating most of his meal Ortanos turned to Evander. "Bring my figs to my room I wish to eat them in peace."

"Of course, I shall do it now," Evander moved quickly to get a tray placing the items on it. Ortanos rose from his seat and walked in front of the table stopping in front of Rhodes.

"I will be busy all day tomorrow but I shouldn't have to tell you to wear your absolute best for tomorrow night's dinner," he glared.

"Do you not need my assistances with anything tomorrow?" asked Rhodes, hoping Ortanos would say yes however all there was a cold no.

Ortanos walked away from the table knowing that Evander would be about ten steps behind him with the figs. He really just wanted to be alone but he was sure Evander would be the one person that could change his mind of that.

Striding through the villa he suddenly stopped and without turning around, he barked, "You've fed the prisoner?"

"Yes my lord," came the soft business-like reply.

Ortanos nodded then slowly looking over his shoulder he regarded Evander a moment before asking, "Did you discover anything?"

Evander raised his head a moment then nodded before dropping his gaze again. A clear signal he had information that was not for public airing. Ortanos smiled faintly then set off heading towards his chambers.

As Evander closed the door behind them Ortanos caught his wrist and pulled him closer. Regarding the smaller man keenly he rumbled, "Tell me."

"He expects to die," replied Evander fighting hard to keep the emotion out of his voice. For some reasons he hated the idea of the blond barbarian being killed.

Ortanos gazed down at him then asked, "Does that bother you, Little One?"

Evander nodded knowing better than to lie to his lover. Ortanos smiled faintly and brushing a kiss over the crease marring Evander's forehead, he rumbled, "Life is cruel Little One remember that."

Evander nodded then risking his master's wrath he asked, "Will he die? He seems so unlike the barbarians I have heard of in tales he..." he bowed his head stammering, "...he seems likeable."

"Only the gods know his fate," Ortanos gave Evander the most positive answer possible. "If he is co-operable and begins giving information I would be more likely to see if his life can be spared."

"Really? You would," Evander looked up his eyes shining with hope. "Try for me?"

"You ask so little of me," Ortanos cupped Evander's face. "For you I will try just keep trying to get information from him and we will go from there."

"Thank you," the small servant stepped back and bowed before the general, his lover.

"Enough of that talk come sit with me and help me relax," Ortanos led him over to a small table by a window. Looking out of it, the pair saw that thunder showers had started to pour down on the estate.

"How was the capital?" Evander set the plate of honeyed figs on the table before sitting.

"Awful," Ortanos took a fig eating it quickly. "It was just to see what information I had found out and what would happen to Rhodes if I failed.

"I really don't care what happens to him. Poor Maeto is still feeling the effects of what he down," Evander glared out the window at the rain.

Ortanos cocked his head. He had never heard Evander sound so bitter so angry and if anything it made him feel slightly proud that his lover had such strength. As if suddenly realising what he had said Evander bowed his head in submission, murmuring, "Forgive me my lord, I should not speak about the young lord like that."

"Evander," rumbled Ortanos reaching over and slowly easing Evander's head back up, "We are alone Little One you know you may speak freely with me." He let his thumb lingers near Evander's' lip. It was so tempting to run the pad over the soft flesh but he resisted. Instead he favoured the smaller man with a soft smile before confessing, "He will be punished. Believe me he will be very sorry for he did."

Evander frowned but then sensing something about the way Ortanos said the word punished he didn't asked. He nodded nuzzling his face against his master's hand before asking, "Will you not eat the figs My lord. They grow cold."

"Always looking after me," murmured Ortanos as he turned his attention to the sweet treat. He devoured the fruit, then realising Evander had not joined him he tilted his head rumbling, "Little One?"

When Evander didn't return his gaze, Ortanos frown depend and wiping his fingers on the cloth he snapped, "Evander, what is it?"

"The feast," murmured Evander avoiding his master's gaze, "Tomorrow night." He paused then finally looking up he looked Ortanos dead in the eye and confessed, "I'm scared."

"You will not be allowed out of my sight, no matter what happens, I promise you," Ortanos picked up a fig and offered it to Evander. "Please I swear on my life nothing will happen to you."

"Alright," Evander accepted the fig slowly eating it while Ortanos licked his own fingers clean.

"So do you remember what we discuss the other night about you and my furs?" Ortanos smirked smugly.

"Yes I do," Evander helped himself to another fig.

"When can I see it?" asked Ortanos running his tongue slowly over his top lip. "See you perform on my furs?"

"I don't know if I can tonight, I'm still shaken about tomorrow," Evander watched as Ortanos frowned. "I'm sorry," he added hating that fact he had said no to his lover.

"It's alright I understand," replied the general with a hint of sadness. "Will you still lie with me tonight?"

"Of course," Evander smiled pushing the last fig towards Ortanos.

"You eat it I've had my fill," a smile crossed Ortanos' face. Evander picked up the stick fig and licked at it before popping it into his mouth.

Ortanos watch as Evander then sucked his fingers clean knowing how the soft texture of that tongue felt.

They settled into a strange sort of silence. It wasn't uncomfortable but there as an edge to it and that bothered Ortanos. It bothered him a lot. He took a sip of his wine. He could tell Evander was worried, there were lines visible around the normally smiling eyes and that saddened Ortanos. He meant it when he said he would protect Evander with his life. But he knew too that at the feast there would be times when Evander couldn't be with him, when his lover would be left at the mercies of the elite and that thought plagued him. He didn't realised he was growling until Evander touched his cheek the deep brown eye staring up at him as the smaller man asked, "You're growling. What troubles you, My Lord?"

Ortanos held the gaze but didn't reply at once. Instead he cupped Evander's face with one hand, his fingers caressing the side of his face. Not breaking the eye contact he leant over and brushing his lips over Evander's he rumbled, "Just thinking what I would do to any man who caused you pain."

Evander smiled against Ortanos' kiss then slowly opening his mouth he allowed his master access. He had never been able to deny Ortanos for long. Even in the very early days of their relationship when he had been scared of reprisals and the consequences of their union he could never refuse him access to any part of him. Kissing his lord and master back Evander reluctantly pulled back. He gave Ortanos a sad almost apologetic smile – he was too concerned with the feast to be able to respond as fully as he wished - he murmured, "You should sleep, My Lord. Tomorrow will be here all too soon and you ..."

"Shh," soothed Ortanos, offering a wolfish smirk as he pulled Evander onto his lap, "The night is young Little One," he rumbled, his hands sliding down to cup Evander's' backside, "and I have many hours before dawn to remind you I will never let anything happen to you."

Ortanos pulled Evander closer groaning with delight as the smaller man settled onto his lap, the strong thighs gripping his waist. Shifting his grip on Evander's backside, Ortanos pushed up his own hips up partly grinding against his smaller lover. Pressing another slightly more demanding kiss to Evander's lip Ortanos growled, "I mean it I will never let them hurt you. You mean too much to me."

Evander bit his lower lip torn between his growing need for his lover and the residual fear about the forthcoming feast.

"Maybe you should show me how much I mean," murmured Evander finally giving in to his growing lust.

"Oh I will," the general moved his mouth along his lover's jaw line. His hands massaging Evander's rear through the thin fabric covering it.

Evander slipped his hands over Ortanos arms so he could feel the strong muscles under the bronze skin. He felt Ortanos tug at his tunic pulling it up and over his head leaving him stark naked. He let out a small moan when Ortanos' finger slide down and teased his opening. "You're not playing fair," Evander pushed away sliding to his feet to end standing between Ortanos spread legs. He gave a slight smirk pouting playfully, "You're all dress and I'm not."

Ortanos started to reply then seeing the mischievous look in Evander's eyes he could tell his smaller lover was finally in the mood to play, which was good considering how concerned Evander had been moments prior.

"Do you forget your place, slave?" asked Ortanos, with zero malice in his voice.

"Maybe you should remind me my place?" offered Evander seductively.

"On your knees," came his lord's order as he striped of his clothing. Evander obey lowering down onto his knees licking his lips as he saw his lover's thick cock come into view. Ortanos placed his hand on the smaller man's head and tip it back.

"Open your mouth."

Evander stared up and him and looking his eyes with his lord and master he slowly opened his mouth. It took all of Ortanos strength not to groan as he pushed the thick head past the open lips and straight into Evander's warm welcoming mouth. Lacing a hand through the dark hair Ortanos held Evander's head in place as he firmly pulled back before driving forward again.

Evander closed his eyes relishing the feeling as Ortanos filled his mouth. The large cock was already nudging the back of his throat and he knew he master had barely started. Taking a deep breath though his nose he gasped then started to choke as Ortanos built his rhythm. It was a brutal almost vicious rhythm but it was nothing Evander hadn't taken before. They both knew he could take it, both knew that he loved the feeling of chocking on the thick erection. Ortanos threw his head back staring up at the ceiling thanking the gods once again for sending him Evander all those years ago.

As he felt a hand curl around his calf he looked down and nearly came on spot. Evander was staring up at him, his nose buried in Ortanos' groin, his mouth stretched obscenely wide and his eyes shining with pure and utter love. In other words - he looked perfect.

Ortanos grip on Evander's hair became slack but he continued pushing forward and Evander's mouth met each thrust. Evander wiggled his tongue as the cock slide in and out of his mouth adding to his lover's pleasure. Over and over the tip hit the back of his throat Evander swallowed hard trying hard to not gag any further.

Ortanos pulled his shaft out of Evander's mouth with a loud pop. Spit ran down Evander's face as he gasped for air. Ortanos smirked and swiped the moist tip of his cock over Evander's cheek. "Enjoy that?" Ortanos knelt down so he could tilt his lover's face up.

"Of course," Evander began to rise off of his knees to face his lord. Stepping in close to him he wrapped his arms around the large frame. "I always enjoy you in me."

"Is that a hint, Little one?" Ortanos chuckled as he began walking them back towards the bed.

"Hmm maybe," Evander ran his hands over the toned muscular back.

"Well I'm taking it as a yes," the general pushed Evander back onto the bed. Evander pushed up on the mattress till his head reached the pillowed before making a come hither motion with his finger.

Ortanos' expression morphed into a playful predatory look. Slowly crawling onto the end of the bed he stalked his way up the bed until he was covering Evander's frame with his own. Staring down into the open trusting face he paused before ordering, "Give me entrance, Little One, let me sheath my sword in your heat."

Evander swallowed hard, the words should have been ridiculous, they should have made him groan and swat the general but they didn't. They had the desired affect almost without realising it he widened his legs angling his hip giving Ortanos full access to any part of his all too willing body.

Within moment Ortanos was seated deep inside him and all thoughts of the banquet and the elite generals fled leaving Evander with the single perfect thought – he loves me.

X x x x x x x x x x

Ortanos woke with a start something had pulled him from the deep slumber and as he sat up he frowned. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. Glancing to the side his forwent deepened when he realised his bed was empty. Evander never left his side without saying goodbye first. For a moment panic started to rise then a brief glimpse of movement had his head snap to the left and the panic settled. Evander was still there. He was naked standing at the large windows bathed in moonlight and looking like an inhabitant of Olympus. Unable to stop his body responding to the sight, Ortanos smiled as he pushed the sheet aside. Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he stretched his body awake and called, "What's wrong? What drew you away from my bed?"

"I couldn't sleep," confessed Evander without turning around.

"What are you doing?" asked Ortanos, chuckling slightly.

"Looking at the city," replied Evander his voice sounding disturbingly hesitant. Slowly he turned and fixing Ortanos with a desperate gaze he asked softly, "Must I really serve you at the banquet tonight?"

"I have no say in the matter people with a lot more stroke than me have ordered you be there," Ortanos said as he took long stride until he was at Evander's side. "If I had a choice you would be staying right here and I would take any other slave, in fact I would take all my slave in replace of you if I could.

"I'm just so scared," Evander turned and buried his head into the generals chest. "I know some of them have been eyeing me up for years, and you might get called away and I will be alone with the wolves."

Ortanos couldn't fight those word because he knew it could very well happen and he was scared to but he couldn't let it show. He need to be strong so Evander wouldn't feel so afraid but he knew it probably wouldn't work.

The older man wrapped his arms around Evander holding him tight offering him the only comfort that he could think off. They both gazed over the city knowing it was only a few hours till dawn when a very difficult awaiting them.