This is a sequel to "A piece of parchment", and I don't think this will make much sense if you haven't read that one.

A little warning for those of you that are really, really, extremely homophobic. There is some subtexty/slashy talk, but nothing graphic. And nothing really happens, so if you made it this far with out wrinkling your nose and going "ehuuu" I think you'll do just fine. :)

Renaissance Pictures, Studios USA and MCA/Universal unfortunately own the characters, yada, yada, yada.


Scrolls, Hair and Roses, Oh My

By Linda "Silvermoon" Svensson

Hercules and Iolaus were walking down the road towards Corinth. The hunter was chattering about as he always did, but the demigod barley noticed. He was lost in his own thoughts, just occasionally offering an 'Oh', 'Uhm' or a 'Really?', in order to encourage his companion.

The words ran through his head for what felt like the hundred time. Iolaus said my hair smells like roses. Why did this bother him so much? Was it the roses part? No. He paused. Well, if he had said manure instead of roses there wouldn't be a problem, but it's not about the roses, the demigod confessed to himself. The 'Iolaus part' then, he sighed. But why was it a problem at all? Hercules knew he was jumping to conclusions, but he couldn't help it. If it hadn't been for that piece of parchment he wouldn't have thought twice about it, but now…

Was it a joke? No, he hadn't laughed; and Iolaus always laughs at his own jokes. A small smile appeared on his face. But if it wasn't a joke… His features at once turned serious. This was the part he didn't want to think about.

Iolaus likes girls, a lot, a reasonable voice told him.

Maybe it's a cover-up, an other part of him suggested.

Well, that would be some cover-up all right.

What if Iolaus had written the note himself, and this was some kind of signal… He immediately stopped himself and sighed. Iolaus said my hair smells like roses…

"Okay, how 'bout this one. What did the satyr say to the amazon when they met at the bridge?" Iolaus asked, already chuckling at his own creativity.

"You smell my hair." Hercules didn't realize he had spoken until the words were already out. He stopped dead in his tracks and tried to figure out whether it had been a question or a statement, and why on Earth he had said anything at all.

"Eh? No…" came the uncertain answer.

"What do you mean 'no'? You said it yourself earlier." Hercules surprised himself when he noticed how angry he sounded.

"Hey, just because I'm accidentally telling you the same joke twice there's no reason to get all upset," the hunter replied annoyed. "Besides, you obvious don't remember it very well. Why would the satyr want the amazon to smell his hair?"

Satyrs and amazons? "What are you talking about?"

"What are you talking about?"

Hercules mentally shook his head, took a deep breath and decided to start over. "You said my hair smells like roses," he said looking up and down the road as to have a good reason to avoid Iolaus' eyes.

"Yeah," Iolaus agreed carefully while trying to figure out what Herc was getting at. "So what?"

"Why?" the demigod asked feeling more and more awkward for each second.

"I don't know," Iolaus shrugged. "Maybe you spent to much time in your mother's garden?" he offered with a grin.

"That's not what I meant," Hercules sighed.

Iolaus could see that the man in front of him was starting to feel really uncomfortable. And when his friend began mumbling and searching for the right words, he finally realized what was going on in Herc's head. Oh, great, he thought, just stopping himself from rolling his eyes. Not that Herc would notice. The demigod seemed to be very interested in the ground at his feet and was still stuttering inaudible words. He thinks I'm interested in him?!

"Well, you know, every night after you've gone to sleep, I sit by the fire not taking my eyes off you and now and then crawl closer and smell your hair," the hunter announced folding his arms over his chest.

A terrified demigod with wide-open eyes and a dropped jaw was not what Iolaus had expected as a response. "Re-really?" came the stumbling reply.

"No!" Iolaus exclaimed throwing his arms out in frustration. "Herc, what's the matter with you?! Aren't you getting enough oxygen up there, or what?"

As far as the blond could tell the next words from his friend was: "Gaaha gakl."

"This is ridiculous!" Iolaus informed the speechless man. "Herc, look, I'm not in love with you."

"You would say that even if you were…" the suppose-to-be brave hero said, not able to hid the nervousness in his voice.


"Because you haven't said anything in the past twenty years." His voice was barley a whisper.

"That's because I'm not!" There was very little left of the hunter's patience. He took one big step towards the demigod so that his face was just a couple of inches away from the tall man's chest.

This did not make Hercules any less uncomfortable; it did however encourage him to speak. "Eh, Iolaus… What are you doing?" he asked nervously. Please don't ask me do kiss you. Please don't ask me do kiss you.

"Smell my hair."

"No!" The demigod pushed him away.

"I'm just trying to make you understand that it isn't big deal," Iolaus sighed and tried his best to lock eyes with his friend.

A noise made them both suddenly turn to the thick bushes at the side of the road, ready for an ambush. They relaxed as they recognised the familiar figure, all evidence of their discussion gone.

"Gabrielle!" Iolaus greeted her with a smile and a big hug. "How great to see you!"

"You, too," she replied smiling as he released her from the embrace.

Hercules who had been scanning the area in search for Xena remembered that if the warrior princess wanted to be seen he would have spotted her by now. "So, where do you have Xena?"

"She's at the stream catching dinner so I thought I just take a little walk and maybe get some inspiration for my latest poem."

Gabrielle mentioning her scrolls made something click in Iolaus' mind. He quickly reached down his money pouch pulling out the now wrinkled piece of parchment he'd found earlier that day. "You wrote this?" he asked handing it over.

The bard took the parchment and blushed slightly as she read it. "Hm, yes." The two men just stood there silent, starring at her, so she decided so continue. "So, what do you think?" she asked smiling. "It's a part of my so far personal collection…"

"There's more?!" Iolaus burst out, interrupting her at the same time as Hercules went red exclaiming: "You're going to publish these?!"

Not quite knowing what to make of her friends' odd behaviour she first turned to Iolaus. "Yes," then to Hercules, "and yes." She made a short pause before continuing. "Unless of course you think there's something wrong with it," she said looking them both deep in the eyes.

"Ye- eh no, or yes…" Hercules tried. "It's just… that- that…"

"…it's not true," Iolaus finished for him.

"Yes it is."

"No, it isn't. Don't you think we would now."

"Actually I do. It's not like Xena and I are hiding it or anything." The bard was a little surprised to see both men go very red. "Iolaus, are you blushing? I didn't think you knew how," she teased.

"Oh, would you look at the sun. We better be going if we wanna make it to Iphicles' before nightfall," the hunter stuttered out, already starting to take little steps backwards.

"Hm, there's no way you're going to beat the sun to Corith," the bard said trying to hide her smile as she watch the two men's obvious discomfort.

"All the more reason to get going then," Iolaus stated logically. "Well, it was nice seeing you."

"Yes," Hercules agreed. "And say 'hi' to Xena for us," he added in the last second, also adding an other layer of red on his cheeks, before both men turned and started walking down the road with a fast pace, keeping their eyes straight forward.

The walked silent for a long time until Iolaus couldn't take it anymore. "Eh, about Xena and Gabrielle…" His voice trailed off.

"U-hum," Hercules said keeping his eyes on the road ahead.

"That's… nice."

"Yes, very nice," the demigod agreed.

"But, of course I- I've suspected it all along."

"Uh, yeah… me, too."



As the sun was setting, the conversation was back to normal and the two travellers had just finished putting up their camp.

"Gods, it’s cold," Iolaus muttered, holding his hands out towards the flame that was struggling to stay alive in the hurling wind.

"It’s not that cold," the demigod informed him while rolling out his blanket on a safe distant from the fire.

"Well, I don’t have first class blood in my veins."

The demigod sighed as he lay down. "Just try to think warm thoughts."

"’Warm thoughts’, hmf, yes that will keep me from freezing to death."

Hercules rolled over to face his partner. "Iolaus, it isn’t that cold."

"I’m glad that you think that,” the hunter said standing up. He knew this wasn’t a perfect day to do this when Hercules had acted the way he had. But Hades, it’s too cold to worry about what Herc might think.

Hercules watched Iolaus take up his blanket from the ground and move to stand between the demigod and the fire. "Iolaus, what are you doing?"

"Move over."

Hercules did as he was asked, but with suspicion written all over his face. Iolaus answered his unasked question. "If you’re feeling so warm and fuzzy it isn’t more than right that you share," he said matter of factly as he plopped down on his blanket that now low right next to Hercules'.

Iolaus could see the worry creeping into the demigod’s features. "Herc, don’t go there. I’m cold, that’s all there is."

Hercules turned on his side with his back towards Iolaus and mumbled something inaudible.

"Sorry, I didn’t catch that."

"Nothing. Good Night." As Hercules closed his eyes he could feel Iolaus move around to find a comfortable position. Suddenly the demigod scrambled to his feet making the hunter do a roll to grab his sword and coming to his feet ready for an ambush.

After quickly scanning through the area, not finding anything to explain his friend’s odd behaviour, he turned to Hercules. "What?" he demanded rather annoyed.

"You breathed me in the neck," the demigod said just realising how lame it sounded.

"Herc," Iolaus complained.

"Well, I thought you might be smelling my hair."

"By the gods," Iolaus muttered as he sat back down on the blankets. "We’ve switched places you know; usually it’s I who need my head straighten out."

"Oh." The tall man was dumb founded as the meaning of the words struck him. Then a sly grin entered his features. "I’m that bad, am I?" He easily caught the flying blanket that was aimed at his head.

"Now would you please come back here before I turn into ice."

As the night grew darker it found the two friends nestled closely together by the dying fire. And the last thoughts went through Hercules’ head before sleep overtook him. Apples. Iolaus’ hair smells like apples

~ The End

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