Disclaimer: This story is not intended to violate any copyrights held by MCA, Universal, Renaissance Pictures, or any other entity involved in the productions of Hercules: the Legendary Journeys. No money is being made.

This is my first fanfic ever so feeback is very much appreciated. silvermoon@iolausian.net

Short description: Iolaus gets accused of steeling.

Once a thief...

By Linda "Silvermoon" Svensson

"And then, Hercules just picks one of the monsters up and throws it right at the next one coming. It's so much power in the throw, that they are both dead before they even hit the ground." The storyteller had everyone's attention, and sank his voice before he continued. "But now the first monster regains consciousness, and is approaching to the demigod's uncovered back." The inn was completely silent, all eyes on the man that now stood up on the table so that he had free space for all gestures with his arms. "In the last second, the son of Zeus turns around with sword in his hand and runs it through the attacker's body. It gives up a last roar, and then falls to the ground dead. Hercules has once again saved the day." The bow from the man on the table was followed by applause.

"Hey, didn't you forget something?" The comment made everyone turn to the blond man who had spoken.

"What do you mean 'forget'?" asked the man who had just finished the story.

"Well, that companion of Hercules. He was there, wasn't he?"

"Who? That Yolos you mean?"

Fore some reason, the bigger man next to the blond started to sicker. But the storyteller ignored him. "Don't know, don't care. Why do you ask?"

"Eh, forget that I asked," mumbled the blond annoyed. This just made it harder for the bigger man hold back his quiet laughs. "It's not funny," the light man told his friend.

"Oh, I'm sorry." The man stopped laughing. "You're absolutely right. It's not funny at all." His voice dripped with sarcasm.

The shorter man smiled. "Okay, so it is a bit funny. But just a really little bit of fun then." They got up, laughing, and left the crowded table.

"Another ale here," the blond said to the innkeeper, as he and his friend sat down at an empty table.

"Iolaus, don't you think you had enough?" his friend asked carefully.

"Come on Herc. This is our first day off in a long time now. I think I have deserved this."

"Okay, if you say so. Just don't blame me in the morning."

On the other side of the inn the man had started on a new story.

"He doesn't tell them right," Iolaus complained.

"No, but it probably isn't his fault that you aren't in them. He heard them from someone, who heard them from someone else, who…"

"Yeah, yeah. And somewhere along the way I got lost." He sighed and finished the last of his ale. "But if he only was a little brighter he would realize that demigods can't make a sword of thin air."

"Both you and I know that it was you that threw the sword to me in the last second. Besides if you want you could walk over there, takeover the storytelling and tell them what really happened."

"Na, don't feel like it." Iolaus got up.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm just going out for some air, I'll be right back"

As Iolaus walked out the door, Hercules rejoined the group of listeners.

When the man on the table had finished his second story, Iolaus hadn't returned yet, and Hercules started to get worried for his friend. He got up, planning to go out and look for the hunter. But in the same time Iolaus came in through the door. "That's quite a long time for just going out for some air." Hercules walked up to his friend. "Did anything happen?"

"No, nothing. I just forgot the time, that's all."

Hercules saw that Iolaus wasn't telling the whole truth. But he was to tiered to bring it up now. "Okay, well I'm going to bed now. See you at breakfast." And whit that, Hercules went up the stairs. Iolaus, who also felt that the bed was a good place to be at right now, was soon to follow.

Iolaus woke up by the knock on the door. "Come in."

"Time to go up." Hercules closed the door behind him.

"Just a few more minutes." Iolaus closed his eyes again.

"Then you going to miss breakfast."

"Okay, okay," he mumbled smiling. "I'm coming." He got up, and started to get dress. "Hey, what's that noise?"

"Probably the sound of all that ale you drank last night." Hercules didn't try to hide his smile.

"No, not that. It comes from outside." They both walked over to the window. "Looks like everybody in town is gathered around that scene. Wonder what's going on."

"There's only one way to find out."

"Now, this is one of those times when it's really annoying that everybody else are so tall," Iolaus stated. "I can't see a thing."

"It isn't much to see. They are bringing up people on the stage. I can't hear what they are saying though." Hercules turned to a man on his side. "Excuse me. Can you tell us what's going on here?"

"You don't now? Then I guess you're not from around here," the man said surprised.

"No, we're not. But you seem to be. So, what is going on here?"

"Do you see the people in line on the scene?" Hercules nodded, and the man continued. "Well, lets just say that the one they choose gets something. And today, they want to select the one from blond, short men. So I guess you should be up on that stage." The man pointed at Iolaus.

"Are you sure it's not only for the townspeople?" Iolaus asked.


"Seems like a pretty stupid contest, if that what it is, but I'll go."

Hercules looked after his friend as he made his way to the stage. When the demigod turned around to ask the man further questions, he was gone. Hercules then turned his attention back to the stage.

When Iolaus had climbed up on the platform he was put in line with nearly a dussin other men, all blond and under average hight. "What kind of contest is this," he thought. "Non of them seems very happy to be here."

On the stage there were besides the men on the line, also three other men. Two big guys who obvious were there for their muscles, and one older man, probably the towns-elder.

"That's all?" The old man waited for a nod from one of the bigger men before he continued. "Bring them up."

Now both men disappeared somewhere where Iolaus couldn't see them. A few moments later one of the men came back with three townspeople right behind him. One young woman and two men in his own age. The three of them stopped in front of the line with men.

The elder spoke again. "Let me know when you have make up your minds."

Iolaus felt odd standing there as they watched him and the other blondes over. "What is this? A beauty-contest?"

Finally, after a lot of whispering between the three, one of the men spoke. "We have decided."

"Who?" was all the old man said.

"Him." They pointed at Iolaus.

The hunter smiled. "Okay, what did I wi…" Suddenly he felt a terrible pain from the back of his head. Darkness overwhelmed him.

When Iolaus woke up it took him a while before he realized that he wasn't on the stage anymore. The things he saw didn't make any sense. "Manacles? Shackles? Bars?" He mumbled to himself. Then it came. " I'm in a cell? Great." He stood up and walked to the bars. At least that was what he intended to do. But he had only taken two steps before he had to stop. The shackles were chained to the wall.

The hunter sat down again. It was very dark in the cell, the only light came from a single torch out in the corridor.

What was that? He could hear someone talking and then a door opened.

"Just knock on the door when you want to come out. And don't stay to long. If it was my decision you shouldn't be here at all." The door closed again.


"Herc? I'm here," Iolaus called out.

"Are you okay buddy?" Hercules sat down on the floor on the other side of the bars.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just a little headache that's all." The blond rubbed the back of his head. "What happened? Why am I here?"

"Well, You won't like this." The demigod took a deep breath. "You are accused of steeling."

"What?! Why would they think I'll do something like that?"

"You remember that strange contest?" Hercules didn't wait for the answer. "It wasn't a contest. Apparently they always does this when a crime has been committed and they have witnesses. You must have been the one that reminded the most about the thief."

Iolaus didn't know what to say. He just looked at the chains that kept him so far away from his friend. The bars had to be a least twelve feet away.

Hercules voice brought him back to the present. "I'm sorry it took so long time to get down here. It was just that I first had to find out what had happened, and then get permission, and…"

"Long time? I just woke up."

"Oh, how could I forget that? How's your head? One of the big guys hit you pretty bad. He could probably see that you would be trouble if you weren't unconscious." Hercules smiled.

"My head's fine. How long was I unconscious?"

"Almost all day. It's just a half an hour till sundown."

"That explains it."

"Explains what?" the demigod asked puzzled.

"Why I'm so hungry."

"I'll get you some food," he laughed, "if you promise me that you'll try to sleep when you finished it."

"I've already been sleeping all day," the hunter complained.

"You haven't slept, you've been unconscious th…"

"there is a difference," Iolaus fell in for him. "I know." He smiled. "I heard it before."

"You must rest. Your trial is tomorrow." When the demigod saw his friend's worried look, he added. "Don't worry. You're innocent, they'll not be able to find any evidence so they have to let you go."

Iolaus knew better than that, but he didn't want to worry his best friend. "So, I have to stay the night here?" It wasn't really a question, he already knew the answer.

"I tried to make them change their minds about that, but they didn't listen.

"It's okay. I guess one night can't hurt." It was a lie and he knew it. But he also knew Herc didn't.

The demigod stood up. "I got to go now, or else they may believe we're making escape-plans," he said with a smile. But then, his face suddenly became serious. "You don't want to, do you? Escape I mean."

"No." Iolaus shook his head. "That would make me a criminal for real."

Hercules sighed with relive. "I'll send someone with the food."

"Thanks." Iolaus replied as the son of Zeus left the dark dungeons.

Iolaus didn't know how much time had past when he heard the door open again.

"See you in the morning, Naxelos."

"Yeah. By the way, we have a new guest. I hope you and your men will take good care of him."

"Don't worry I will welcome him personally." Both men laughed in a way Iolaus didn't like at all. He had known this would happen, it always did.

Three men stopped outside his cell. "So, you're the new one." The man who obvious was the leader had spoken. "Not much, but you'll do." A cruel grin was on his lips.

As he locked up the door and went in, his men following him, the blonde hunter stood up.

"Oh, think you're tough, huh?" The prisoner-guard aimed a blow at Iolaus stomach. But the light warrior was too fast for him. The move sideways made the man's fist, miss its goal and instead connect with the stonewall. "Ahoo!"

Iolaus grinned. "You really should be more careful."

"You'll pay for that, runt!" He shook his hand in pain. "Grab him!"

The two men behind him walked forward and grabbed the blonde's arms, pressing him up against the wall. He couldn't move. He closed his eyes and waited for the blow he knew was coming. He felt the fist in his stomach, the pain shooting through his body. But he didn't scream. He wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of hearing him cry out his pain. A kick to his chest followed. More pain.

As the blows and the kicks kept coming, the hunter could feel his strength run out of him. It's space being replaced by even more pain. He gasped, but didn't scream.

Suddenly, the grip on his arms loosed and he fell to the ground. When he opened his eyes the first thing he saw was the anger in the eyes of the man that had kept sending the blows. "Just wait runt, I will make you scream." He threw the keys to one of the men. "Take his west of." The leader walked out of the cell, but Iolaus had a feeling that he wouldn't be gone for long.

One of the restoring men bent down and locked up the manacles. Then, when they forced him up in a sitting position to be able to pull his west of, he definitely could tell that at least one rib was broken. When the west was of, the manacles went back on. Then he was forced to sit on his knees, his back to the bars. This way he couldn't tell when the head-guard came back, and the strike of the whip caught him with total surprise. His cry of pain filled the air together with the cruel laughers of the prisoner-guards.

The whip hadn't stopped strike his back until he could feel blood run down from the many gashes. Now two of the men had return to their posts and the leader was about to lock the door to the cell. "Oh, I almost forgot. Your friend wanted me to give you this." He came in with a tray with a bowl of stew and a pot with water on it. "I'll just put it here by the bars." An evil grin played at his lips. "Hope you enjoy it, shorty."

Iolaus knew he couldn't reach it, but he had to try. He was so hungry, he hadn't had anything to eat nor drink on the entire day. His whole body ached when he laid down on his stomach and stretched all he got. Still there was a space on a half a foot between him and the tray.

He gave up and crawled back to a corner of the cell. There he fell asleep with his west as a pillow.

Iolaus woke up by the sound of the door in the corridor. As he forced himself up to a sitting position, the pain from the broken rib hit him. But he realized that at least the worst ache in his stomach had gone away, if you didn't count the nearly as painful hunger.

Hercules shadow fell on him, but he didn't look up.

"Iolaus, you haven't touched your food, what's wrong?" Concern filled the demigods voice.

The hunter still didn't look up. "I can't reach it. I'm too short."

Hercules didn't think that the last statement was supposed to reach his ears, but it had, and it worried him. But what worried him even more was the condition his friend must bee in. "You haven't had anything to eat nor drink since that night at the inn?!"

Finally Iolaus looked up. "No." He now saw that Hercules had a new tray with food with him.

The big warrior sat down, and to his relief both the bowl and the pot were small enough to make it between the bars. He put them down on the tray that already was inside and pushed it as far as he could. "Do you think you can reach it now?"

His companion nodded and started reach out for it.

Then Hercules noticed something. "Hey, how did you manage to get your west off?"

Iolaus froze in his movement, but didn't answer the question. Then, when he bent a little more to take the tray, his rib made itself reminded. He groaned, lost his balance and fell to the ground.

The demigod was immediately on his feet. "Iolaus, what is it?!" Then he saw his friend's back, it was covered with dried blood. "Are you all right? What happened to your back?"

The hunter pulled himself up, took the tray and went back to his corner before he answered. "Just the guards way to say 'welcome to our magnificent dungeons, please feel as home'. He tried a faint smile.

Hercules relaxed a little when he heard his friend's joke, it showed that it wasn't as serious as it looked. Then he remembered the words of the joke. "The guards did this to you?!" Iolaus looked away, but the son of Zeus had caught a glimpse of his eyes before he did. "You knew this was going to happen?!" Hercules almost yelled. "You knew, and you didn't tell me?"

The blond looked up. "No, I didn't," he tried.

"Iolaus, you have never been able to lie to me. It doesn't work now either."

"Okay, so maybe I did know about the kicks and the blows. But I didn't expect the whip."

"But why didn't you tell me?"

"Herc, I know you. And it is only two ways that you could possible react. In the first, you would simply walk up to the guards and try to explain for them that I am innocent, and that they didn't have the right to hit me. This would naturally just encourage them to beat me up even more. And in the other way, that is more likely, you would have insisted to spend the night here with me. Of course they wouldn't allowed that, and then, when you try to convince them by kicking some guard-butt, they would have a reason to put you in jail too."

"I would not react like that!"

"No? So what would you have done then?"

"I…, I would…"


"Okay, you're right," the demigod admitted. "Maybe I would have reacted like that. But I'm still speaking to the towns-elder about this."


"They don't have the right to hit you, if it's someone that's going to jail it should be them." Hercules was surprised by how easily Iolaus seemed to take this.

"Sorry to disappoint you Herc. But they do have the right to do it." The blond sighed.


"Believe me, I don't like it more then you do. But as long as I am on this side of the bars, I belong to the prison and those who control it, and they have the right to do whatever they want to me. That's the law."


"I know it's a stupid law, nearly all laws are." Then Iolaus remembered the food. He intended to pick up the tray and place it in his lap, but the move was to quick. "Oh, my rib!"

"Your rib? You have a broken rib? When were you going to let me know?"


"Wait, don't answer that." The demigod sighed and stood up. "I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere."

"Funny," the hunter muttered rolling his eyes.

Iolaus had just finished both meals when he heard the sounds of a conversation getting closer.

"I have my orders."

"Just let me in."

"The only way you could be in that cell is if you were locked up too."


"Okay what?"

"Then do it. Put on shackles and manacles if that's what you want."

Hercules and the guard were now right outside Iolaus' cell.

"What do you think you're doing?" the hunter addressed his friend.

Both the men ignored the man in the cell. The guard hesitated. "If I let you in, you can't come out until it's time for the trial."

"Fine with me."

"Suit yourself." The guard took a pair of shackles from his belt and put them around Hercules' ankles. Then he locked up the door to the cell and chained the shackles to the wall, just like Iolaus'.

After the guard locked the door again and then disappeared, the smaller man again asked his friend. "Herc, what are you doing?"

"This was the only way I could get close enough to treat those gashes and check that rib." The demigod put down a basket that Iolaus had been too upset to notice before.

"What's in the basket?"

"Bandages, clothes, water and iodine." He nearly whispered the last one, but the hunter heard him.

"Iodine! Oh no! Uh-a!" Iolaus backed away from his friend. "No way!"

"Iolaus listen to me. Those gashes on your back have probably already started to get infected. I don't think just ordinary water will do." After a look at the stubborn face, surrounded by golden curls, Hercules continued. "Look, we can do this either the easy way or the hard way. I am stronger then you, so it is going to happen. You choose how."

"It isn't fair." Iolaus mumbled, as he sat down on the ground with his wounded back to the demigod.

"I feel like a mummy." Iolaus complained. His back was cleaned, both with water and iodine, and Hercules had just finished warping the bandages. It covered him from waist to armpits, and was supposed to have double effect. Both protect the gashes and steady his rib. "I can't bend."

"Good, your not supposed to." The son of Zeus smiled at his stubborn companion, which still was a little sulky about that iodine. The sound of the door in the corridor reached his ears. A look at Iolaus showed that he also had heard it. He put one hand out and helped his friend up.

"Oh, isn't that nice. Large helps Little." The head-guard grinned.

Hercules expected the hunter to reply with a sharp comment, but his friend just looked down at the ground.

"Time for trial, runt."

"Hey, you don't treat Iolaus like that!"

"And what are you going to do about it, huh?"

The demigod bent down and ripped off his shackles like they were nothing more than spider web. He started to walk forward, but stopped when he felt his friend's hand on his shoulder. "Herc, don't. This side of the bars, remember?"

The son of Zeus looked down at his companion, but didn't answer.

The guard, obvious shocked of what he just saw, kept quiet and locked up the door to the cell. After a nervous look at Hercules he bent down and freed the blond from his shackles, but he left the manacles on. "The trial will be hold outside, on the stage," he informed them.

The both friends blinked when they left the building, adjusting their eyes to the sun. Upon the stage they were placed together with some other men and women, the witnesses and victims. When they saw Iolaus they backed away from him like if he had the pest. Hercules saw the hurt look in his friend's eyes but didn't say anything.

"Bring the accused forward." It was the same elder as on the 'contest', who had spoken. Iolaus was caught by the manacles and dragged over the scene to where the old man was standing. "Stand up." He ordered. He waited until the accused thief was on his feet before he continued. "You are accused of steeling money and gold from three different houses on the night before yesterday. What's your name and do you confess?"

"Talk about getting straight to the point," Iolaus thought, aloud he said. "Iolaus of Thebes, and no, I don't confess."

"I didn't think so." The elder sighed.

"Excuse me." A woman had spoken, Iolaus recognized her as one of the witnesses. "I lived in Thebes once. It is many years ago now, but I remember a boy whose name was Iolaus. He was a well-known thief."

All the people that were gadded around the scene started to whisper to one and another. But the whispers were abruptly cut off when the former thief raised his voice. "Is that why I'm here?! Because of my past?!"

"So, that boy she mentioned, it was you?"

"Yes, and it is true that I once was a thief. But that was a long time ago. I haven't been steeling since I was fifteen for Zeus' sake." Anger filled Iolaus.

"Like we would believe that," a man from the crowd cried out. "Once a thief, always a thief!"

"No, that isn't true." Hercules couldn't stand this anymore. "Iolaus changed. He would never steel today."

"And who are you?" The old man asked.

"I'm Hercules." The whispering started in the crowd again.

"The Hercules?"


"And you know this man." He pointed at Iolaus.

"His my best friend." The whispers got louder.

"That doesn't change anything. He's still accused of steeling." The elder stated.

"He can't have been the thief." The demigod said calm.

"And why is that?"

"Because he was with me at the time of the theft. We arrived at this town two days ago, we took in on the inn and spend the night there listening to stories and drinking ale."

"So you're saying that you were with him all that night." The old man didn't sound too convinced.

"Yes." Hercules said with satisfaction.

"That's not true," a man called out somewhere from the crowd.

"Do you call me a liar?" When the son of Zeus located the voice he recognized the man as the innkeeper.

"No." He seamed a little bit nervous. "I'm sure you just forgot about him going out a few minutes." (You don't call someone whose relatives can turn you into a frog, that he is a liar.)

"So, you weren't with him all night?" The elder addressed Hercules.

"He just went out for some fresh air…"

The old man cut him of. "How long was he gone? Long enough to break in to three houses?"

"I don't now." The demigod hesitated. He couldn't lie. He looked down at the ground. "Maybe."

The trial had continued with the witnesses telling everyone what he or she had seen. Iolaus had a long time ago abandoned the thought of being declared innocent. But Hercules hadn't.

"It is all coincidences. How many times do I have to tell you? Iolaus is not a thief!" the demigod cried out. "Besides," he added in a calmer voice. "Where is the gold and the money?"

"Yes," a man from the audience called out. "I want my gold back. Where is it, runt?"

A cold look from the son of Zeus silenced the man.

"Well, I guess we should look for it," the towns-elder thought aloud. "Innkeeper, show the guards where the accused spend that night."

"I'm coming with you," Hercules stated.

The inn was of course empty; it seemed like every single person in town was outside to follow the trial. The group went across the main room, up the stairs, and stopped in the corridor. "Which room?" one of the guards asked.

Hercules pointed at the room Iolaus had slept in. "That. Not that you will find anything," he added.

The guards entered the room, the demigod and the innkeeper stopped in the doorway so they shouldn't be in the way.

The guards had searched a long time when the son of Zeus spoke. "I told you, you wouldn't…" He stopped himself when a glimpse of reflection caught his eyes.

One of the guards followed his gaze to a girder in the ceiling. He moved the only chair in the room so that it was placed underneath the girder. Then he climbed up on it and brought down the source of the reflection. "We wouldn't find anything, huh?" In his hands he held two candlesticks and a challis, all of gold.

"All this just because of my past," Iolaus thought. "All the people in this town think I did it, not because of the 'evidence', but because of what I have been. 'Once a thief, always a thief.'" The phrase kept repeating itself in his mind over, and over again.

Then he saw the guards and Hercules, they were on their way to the stage. But something wasn't right with the demigod, that he could tell even at this distance.

When they got closer, Iolaus eyes connected whit those of his friend's. The son of Zeus immediately looked away, but the hunter had still seen the truth. He had seen sorrow and, and… He nearly couldn't think it. He took a deep breath. He had seen disbelief. Hercules doubted his innocence!

Hercules hadn't want Iolaus to see his eyes, he knew his friend could read them so well. But their eyes had met. The pain in the hunter's blue orbs, when he saw the thoughts of is best friend, was all the demigod could see.

He really wanted to believe that Iolaus hadn't done it. But it was so much that spoke for the opposite. The witnesses, the gold, but most of all the knowledge that his companion hadn't told him the truth when he came back after that 'fresh air'.

The son of Zeus was lost in his thoughts when the voice of the elder addressed him and brought him back to the present.

"I'm sorry, Hercules. But we have too much evidence." In a louder voice he spoke to the crowd. "I declare the accused guilty. Now we should decide his punishment."

The people around the scene started to give their suggestions. "Flogging! Penal servitude! Jail!" But one man yelled higher then everybody else. "Death! Death!"

Everybody else became quiet and starred at the man.

"Don't you think that's a little to much," the elder said hesitating. "We did get the gold back."

"The gold maybe." The man answered. "But what about the money? And he didn't give us the gold back, we had to find it ourselves. And he hasn't confessed. Besides, we got to state example. We don't want this to happen again, do we? I say we hang him!"

"Hang him! Hang him!" the crowed started to yell.

The old man, who wasn't a big fan of killing, decided to give Iolaus one last chance. "You heard them. If you confess you go to jail, and if you don't…" He didn't finished the sentence.

The former thief knew what he had to do. He looked at the man that always should be his brother by heart. "I'm sorry Herc." Then he turned to the audience. "I can't confess something I didn't do."

"Iolaus, what are you doing?!" Hercules tried to run up to his friend but a big guy stopped him firmly by putting his hand on the demigod's shoulder. The son of Zeus could easily tossed the man aside, but instead he just stopped and starred at his stubborn lifetime-friend with despair.

Two men climbed up the stage, one of them had a rope. They were walking towards the thief when a flash of light cut the air. The flash turned into a man.

"Hermes!" Iolaus and Hercules looked at each other. "You're behind this?" Iolaus didn't sound too happy.

"I'm offended. Here I come to help you and then you accuse me for starting it all," Hermes said in the most innocent way. Then he turned to the audience. "Look, I just came by to tell you that you are making a mistake. Iolaus is innocent, he didn't do it."

"But…" the man with the rope tried.

"Yes, I know he is a thief, or was, like he want to put it. He could have been an excellent thief today, if it wasn't for Hercules." His voice drifted off, and he seemed to be talking to himself more then to the audience. "Maybe even as good as Autolycos. Well, actually, he still can. Once you have it…"

"Excuse me." Iolaus cut him off. "Did you say you came here to help me, cause it doesn't sound like it."

Hermes gave the hunter a cold look. "Anyway, the point is that he didn't do it."

The elder seemed a little confused. "Do you know who did it then?"

"Of course I do. I'm the god of thieves."

"Well, who was it?"

"Did you really think I was going tell you that?" the god asked laughing. "This thief has obvious the ability to go far. I mean, he made you all believe that you should look for a blond, short thief, and he isn't. And then when you accused Iolaus, he found out where he had spent the night and hides the gold there. Gold that he couldn't sell anywhere near because all of you know whom it belongs to. And now you want me to tell you who this brilliant thief is. I don't think so." The god stopped talking for a moment, but continued when nobody did anything. "Well, are you going to free him or not? Maybe you think I'm lying when I say he is innocent?"

"No, of course not." The elder hurried to say. "Free the falsely accused."

When the guard with the key freed Iolaus from the manacles, Hermes vanished with another flash of light.

"I think we should get going too." The golden hunter addressed his companion.

Hercules looked at his friend's warped body, and was about to protest. But then he saw the look in that stubborn face, and realized he would just waste his time. "Let me just go get our stuff," he sighed.

The two companions had now put some distance between themselves and the town. Until now they had walked in silence.

"My past is always going to hunt me, isn't it?" Iolaus kicked the pebbles in his way.

"I'm afraid so. But I shouldn't wish it never happened if I were you."

"Why not?"

"The gods can make it come true," Hercules simply said.

"And where is the bad part in me not have being a thief?"

"Think Iolaus."


"When did we become such good friends?"

"At the academy. What does that have to do with it?" The hunter started to get annoyed.

"And why did you come to the academy?" The demigod said, his voice still calm, opposite to his friend's.

"Because I… Oh, I see. Thanks Herc."

"For what?"

"For making me see things clear."

They were both silent for a while, then the son of Zeus spoke again. "And I'm sorry." Seeing the hunter's questioning look, he looked down at the ground and continued. "For doubting you being innocent."

Iolaus understood how much this must bother his friend. "It's okay Herc. With that much 'evidence' against me, I really wasn't sure myself," he said with a smile.

But he didn't fool Hercules. "You know I can read your eyes as well as you can read mine. I hurt you." The hunter didn't know what to say, so he didn't. Instead the demigod continued. "I really wanted to believe you. It was just that it seemed like you didn't tell me the whole truth when you came back from 'the fresh air'."

"Oh, that…"

"So, you didn't?"

"Well, no," Iolaus mumbled to the ground. "The reason I wanted to go out was that I could feel that I was going to be sick. And I thought that maybe some cool air could prevent that. Well, it didn't. Then I had to find some water to wash away the horrible taste and smell, because I didn't want to go back hearing you say 'I told you so'."

"Why would I say that?"

"I had had more then a few ales. And you had already warned me."

"Yeah, that's true." Hercules smiled as he remembered. "Well, now it seems unnecessary to say it."

"Say what?"

"I told you so."

"Really funny, Herc." The hunter stopped. "I just remembered something. I never got to thank Hermes…" A flash of light cut him of.

"No need to thank me, lets just say that you owe me one."

"Well, I don't like owing things to the gods, but rather that then being dead. I think." The blond sighed. "But that can't have been your only reason. You wouldn't bother coming rescue me just so that I would owe you one."

"Iolaus, how can you believe such things about me," Hermes said with a hurt voice.

"Because you're a god."

"Okay," he said sulky. "Maybe I had a second motive."

"Witch was…" the light warrior encourage him.

"If they would've hanged you, I would have to escort you to Hades, again. Then, Mr Hero here, would come after you, again. And probably convince Hades to let you go back to life, again. And then, who do you think is stuck with the paperwork that demands for several weeks? That's right. Me! Have you any idea how much paperwork you have been giving me every time you died?!"

Laughter filled the path.

~The End

Return to Silvermoon's Scrolls or New Greeceland's heroes or Greklands hjältar.