The air is clean and pure, scented with flowers, a myriad collection of them from all parts of the civilized world, and then some. There are few gardens that rival it in splendour and glory. Certainly the ancient Babylonian one, but few others, besides that.

Greece breathes in the perfumed air, relishing the feel of sunshine upon his face and the stirring of a breeze against his cheek. Birds fill the clean air with birdsong and the quiet rustle of feathers and leaves.

It has been long since he was allowed out of the confines of his chamber and the chambers of his study. He has been kept too busy to acknowledge the loss, but now that he is surrounded by it again, he wonders how he could ever have forgotten.

He hears the clearing of a voice and at once, the spell if broken, and he remembers why he is here.

His shoulders begin to slump, but he catches himself in time, shifting the motion into a smooth ripple of movement the flows down his body as he walks. He has been very good in the lessons forced upon him. He dislikes them, but recognizes their uses.

Quietly, he pads over to the covered pavilion. It is a gleam of pure white, marbled with slender, delicate veins of grey and black. It is so much like his captor, his patron, he muses. So extraordinarily strong, imposing, seemingly so beautiful, even with the spiderwebs of darkness that creep along that fastidious whiteness.

There are no seats in the pavilion, just a mass of artfully and purposefully piled cushions and throws and rugs. There is a low table in the middle of that opulence, and it is covered in too many selections of delicacies for him to count.

Like a large, majestic cat taking its rest—or a spider, Greece thinks, lying in wait—Turkey lies back against the plush silks and velvets and crisp, yet soft, linens. Reclining back, his eyes are hooded, lazy. By his fingers lie a slender, tapered mouthpiece, carved from golden amber and polished to a glossy, waxy sheen. Running from it is the slender, serpentine marpuç, elaborately embroidered with gold threads and hand-shaped glass beads—nothing less than the best for Turkey, of course, Greece thinks.

He wonders if the presence of the nargile is reason for the hazy, languid light in Sadiq's eyes, and his own wander over to the mouth-blown sise, crafted into a graceful flow of jewel-toned curves, with glimmering gold filigree cupping the base of those sensuous curves. The water inside is clear, pure, and the lüle is clean. More telling is the scent of untainted air and the absence of the scent of the sweet tumbâk that Turkey favours. Turkey has yet to indulge.


He steps closer, and before his toes touch the thick rugs, he slips his feet from his house shoes. Eyes lowered, he lowers himself to his knees onto one of the soft cushions before the table, a slow, fluid descend of grace. Lifting his eyes momentarily, he sees the pleased smirk and grits his teeth.

"You have learned well, Heracles. Your tutors report back to me of your progress, and it pleases me."

"Thank you," he replies flatly.

"As a reward, I have decided to allow you a day free of study, and a meal out of your chamber." He waved his hand vaguely, referring to all and nothing in particular. "The sweet air and bright sunshine…do you not miss it?"

"Yes," Greece replies, and forces himself to spit out the following words. "You are kind."

The smirk broadens, and it is all Greece can do not to hurl himself at the smug bastard, smashing the ornately decorated glass of his precious nargile and stabbing the shattered, jagged-edged mess over and over into that smirking face.

He breathes in deeply, the scent of flowers and free air reining back the fury, banking it back for later, for the day he regains his freedom.

"Come," he hears. "I wish for you to sit by me today."

Sighing silently in resignation, Greece rises to his feet, just as sensuously and fluidly as he knelt earlier. His feet make no sound in the plush rugs as he walks over to Turkey's side of the table. He kneels again to sit beside his master. A moment of expectant silence prompts him to shift closer, and another has him gently leaning, ever so slightly, into Turkey, a mere touching of shoulders.

"You do not have to wait on me for this meal. It will be served to us."

Greece inclines his head and tries to smile, tries to relax against the beast lying indolently beside him. He manages, not so much by the easing of taut nerves, but more so by forced practice.

Food is offered, but as he reaches for the platter, a large, rough hand gently rebuffs it. "I wish for you to eat from my hand today."

Feeling his appetite wane somewhat, Greece nods silently, parting his lips obediently when the first morsel approaches. Those callused fingers rest against his lips, and by now, he understands enough of Turkey to know what is expected. Swallowing, he kisses them lightly, seemingly reverently. He feels Turkey's other hand come up to stroke his hair and tries not to cringe.

There is a soft laugh and hot breath by his ear.

The beast has awoken.

"You attempt to fool me, Heracles, but I am not easily deceived. I mean for you to enjoy your meal. There is no need to remain so alert, so…tense."

He hears and feels the rustle of silk behind him and then hard, solid warmth pressed against him. Willing himself not to tremble, and failing, he stiffens even more.

"Lean back against me, Heracles," comes the dark whisper.

He does as he is told, though the nerves refuse to leave him, and he leans back like, and for all intents and purposes, a stiff doll.

"Close your eyes, my pet." Darkness and fear begins to assail him, bringing to his minds eyes all manner of images and illusions. "Tell me what you smell."

The first thing that comes to mind is the musk and sandalwood and vanilla from Sadiq's clothes. Without meaning to, he blurts it out loud. He feels more than hears the rumble of laughter.

"And?" Sadiq prompts.

The scent of the rose bushes by the pavilion. Sweet, almost cloyingly so, if not for the harmonizing scent of the other bushes planted by it.

Turkey likes his roses, Greece knows. He likes their scent, obvious from his collection of oils and perfumes. He likes their multitude of colours and forms. He also likes to run their blooms down Greece's bare skin, sometimes contrasting winter-white against sun-kissed olive skin, sometimes allowing the blush of the red and pink roses to rouse a similar flush all over his body in embarrassed passion. He likes the way their thorns, when gently scored against his skin, bring up fine, rosy welts in the shape of whatever he wishes to adorn Greece with.

Unknowingly, he licks his dry lips, cheeks just barely kissed with pink. The nervous tension begins to shift into something less terrified, but far more delicious and his muscles relax in degrees.

"What do you hear?" Comes that sweetly insidious whisper.

The steady thump of a heart too strong, beating. The rhythm almost begins to feel comfortable. And the bright sound of birdsong, as they call and sing to each other. From trilling calls to deep warbling notes to cheerful, golden melodies. And beneath it all, the faint buzz of the insects in the garden; the crickets and grasshoppers.

Something warm and sticky touches his lips, and he parts them with willingly, accepting the offered gift.

"What do you taste?"

An explosion of sweet honey and the slight bite of cinnamon and cloves. Light, flaky pastry, like baked air and clouds, melt in his mouth, releasing even more of that honeyed sweetness. The faintly uneven contrast of nuts, ground to minute pebbles, but not yet into powdery specks. Unheard by him, he makes a faint noise of pleasure, and his lips, earlier pressed into a grim line, relax and almost curve into a smile. Greece loves his sweets, and his fondness is well known.

Sticky fingers caress his lips, and he accepts them into his mouth, softly suckling them clean with quietly wet passes with his lips and tongue, feeling every callused ridge of skin. He feels the other hand in his hair, gently stroking and petting, caressing. That spot. There! His breath leaves him in a long purring sigh as he melts bonelessly into the warm heat behind him.

The liquid chuckle in his ear rouses him slightly. "Feel better, pet?"

He opens his eyes dreamily to view the world from behind a heavy-lidded daze, only managing to hum his assent.

Almost like a waking dream, he continues his meal in a gently seduced haze, his sense heightened, but no longer on tense alert. He eats, fed by hand, casually cleaning the fingers that bring him food. Chilled glass brings him sweet juice and warm porcelain delivers slightly spiced, honeyed tea. For the first time in months, perhaps ever since entering Turkey's service, he feels relaxed, free of tension and expectations and demands.

He feels almost cherished.

Greece feels the press of warm amber against his lips. He closes them around the blunt tip and sucks slowly, sleepily. He breathes in the smoke shallowly, and then exhales it, smiling dreamily at the faint bubbling of water.

He stops noticing when the flow of food and drink slows, and then tapers off entirely, no longer caring about much in particular.

When strong hands begin their wandering, he finds himself uncharacteristically unperturbed, arching languidly into the rough touch, making soft yearning sounds. Thrilling tingles race along his spine at the scrape of teeth against his ear and the rumbling whispers of encouragement. They trail from his ear down his jaw, and the rough scrape of stubble against his over-sensitised smooth cheek has Greece whispering Turkey's name, without the obstinacy and venom, for a change.

It is when those fingers rub him through his robes that Greece notices, vaguely, that he hasn't even been undressed yet. And more surprisingly, that he wants to be.

As yet, the thought doesn't faze him as much as it should.

Large and yet nimble fingers slip his buttons free, slowly, teasingly baring him to the warm, scented breeze. He shivers slightly, both from the faint chill of drying sweat and from the sensation of the stirring air on his skin. The former is remedied by the hot, seemingly electrifying strokes while he takes pleasure from the latter.

Even without so much as a touch there, Greece knows he is hard. Achingly hard and already beginning to issue clear, slick, stickiness. The amused chuckle that rolls its way into his dazed consciousness tells him that Sadiq has already noticed it. He knows Turkey likes to touch him there, to tease him and torment him, and he waits for the first electric touches.

They do not come.

He voices his displeasure and sulks as he presses up, in the hopes of rubbing against his tormentor, but Turkey anticipates this, and is faster.

"Not yet," he hears, and Greece scowls in frustration, even while he moans his pleasure from where Turkey's hands do touch.

He feels hands against his knees and parts his thighs obligingly. His breath catches when they probe him and slide the squat, well-oiled cylinder of carved ebony from his opening.

"Good boy," he hears, letting the murmured praise wash over him. "You have taken to your lessons and your duties well. The pleasure without pain will be your reward."

Greece feels the sudden emptiness like a phantom ache and reaches out to Turkey, silently demanding that promised prize. His moan is long and satisfied as he feels the faint burn of stretching muscles, but more pleasure than actual pain, as Turkey penetrates him.

"Like the sweetest of songbirds… Sing for me, Heracles," he says as he rocks slowly at first, and then with increasing speed and force. Greece clutches at him, small hands fisting in the silk of his robes as he cries out in counterpoint to the pleasurably rough strokes. Turkey is so large, feeling even more so inside him, and there are times when Greece wonders how he can possibly accommodate him without being split apart. But as Turkey moves above him, against him, so deep within him, he is glad for that bruising largeness which wrenches so much pleasure from him.

"More!" He cries out, whimpering demands bringing a fierce gleam to Turkey's eyes and sharpening the predatory edge to his ever-present smirk. "Deeper!" He begs, panting so hard as to be almost sobbing.

Turkey yields to Greece's demands, and keeps him balanced upon that precarious point of ecstasy, never allowing him to teeter over. His smile widens, almost becoming a snarl when finally, he hears the wavering plea from Greece's lips.

"Please, oh please. Please let me come." The tears are hot in Greece's eyes, cooling as they slip down his cheeks. His hands scrabble to pull Turkey closer to him, to rub himself against the large, hard, imposing body until orgasm pulls him over the edge. "Please!" He cries, no longer sure if his tears stem from frustration, desperation, or deep shame. "I beg- I need you-"

He darts forward and presses his lips against Sadiq's in a fierce, desperate kiss. "Let me come, Master, I beg of you!"

The smirk is triumphant, and Greece hates himself for it, for putting it there. But for now, he hardly cares.

"Such pretty words, pet." The smirk widens and Greece fancies that he can almost see the edge of fangs, feral canines. "As you wish…"

The rough hand on his long-neglected cock is enough to bring him over the edge in a screaming, clawing frenzy, crying out with enough force that his throat is hoarse from it. The strength of his orgasm is enough to sink him into unconsciousness, and when he wakes, he finds himself wrapped up briefly in his robe, alone save for a single slave to help him back to his chamber.

Greece takes a different path back to his chamber, now. The new route is longer, and there are more turns to navigate through the labyrinthine corridors. But no matter how exhausted he is after his lessons, he refuses to take the shorter path.

It leads past a window with a glimpse into that lovely marble pavilion. He cannot walk past it without remembering that lazy, drowsy afternoon. And the mind-shattering pleasure he was given.

And his shamelessness.

As he walks past an archway into a small courtyard, he hears, oh-so-faintly the chirping of the birds in the ornamental trees, and he smells the fragrance of the ever-present bushes laden with roses in bloom. The warm wind caresses his cheek and he feels the heat of blood rushing to his cheeks as he grows hard beneath his robe.

Hurrying past the entrance, he doesn't notice Turkey with a book, seated at the stone table in the middle of the courtyard, smirking.