The Cuirass Cure
It didn't fit. No matter how much Iphicles pulled and sucked in, it just didn't fit. The buckles, they just wouldn't...buckle!
"Fuck it!" Iphicles threw his leather cuirass to the bedchamber floor. The studs glinted in the morning light, laughing at him. He kicked the offending body armour behind the full-length mirror -- out of sight, out of mind -- and looked at his doleful reflection. Okay, so he had been doing a bit of comfort eating lately, he pulled his tunic tight around his middle and turned in profile, but surely...
"Oh, shit." There it was, that extra little curve at his waistline. Little? Iphicles sucked in his stomach then pushed it out. It was huge. He was a pig. To Hades with the royal chariot, his servants could just roll him around bodily.
"Get a grip, Iph." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It was not as if anyone else had noticed anything. He reopened his eyes and examined his profile once more, taking solace in all those muscular curves so many found so pleasing. No, no one was about to start calling him Cylindr-icles any time soon. And Ares...
"Shit, Ares!" Iphicles whipped around, his gaze darting desperately over the room. Ares would be here at any moment for the sparring session they'd planned. He'd laugh his ass off at Iphicles' inability to wear his own damn armour. Then he'd wonder why he was wasting time with a mortal who couldn't even control his own physical form. Iphicles' gaze fell to the polished tiles at his feet where his reflection blurred into a dull blob.
Iphicles jumped at the disembodied voice and just managed to close his eyes against the bright flash that heralded Ares' arrival.
"I don't have the time to spar with you this morning..." Ares' liquid sex voice went on to tell him about the uprisings in Macedonia but Iphicles paid little heed, his gaze wandering restlessly over the addictive sight of Ares' leather covered length.
"Are you listening to a word I'm saying?" Ares suddenly growled, breaking Iphicles' gluttonous gaze with a wave of his hand. "Have your cooks been feeding you magic mushrooms again?"
"Wha-- no!" Iphicles drew himself up, and his stomach in. "I just get bored listening to you go on about your pet project in Macedonia. And I'm feeling a little rough so I didn't want to spar this morning anyway," Iphicles finished and Ares scowled.
"All right. Fine." Ares worked his jaw, his hand tightening around his sword hilt. "But I suggest you get some sparring in this afternoon with your men. It'll work off that extra weight you've been putting on lately."
Iphicles blinked. "You knew?" He ground his teeth. "You noticed I was getting a little...fuller and you didn't tell me?"
Ares shrugged, suddenly looking extremely bored. "It happens. Mortals who are used to an energetic lifestyle often put on the beef when they settle down for any length of time. Why do you think there are so many fat warlords around? You've been king for a few months now. It's telling on you, that's all."
"But it only happened now. This morning." Iphicles heard the whine in his voice and turned it into a growl. "If I was going to put on 'the beef', I would have put it on before now."
"Not necessarily." Ares cocked his hip and frowned. "I've been in Macedonia a lot lately so I haven't been transporting you around as usual."
"What's that got to do with anything?" Iphicles snapped over the sound of his rumbling stomach.
"It's the nature of the aether." Ares looked like he was fighting a smirk. "When I transport you, you don't re-materialise exactly the same as you were before."
Iphicles frowned; this didn't sound like a good thing.
"To move you through the aether, I convert your body into energy then change it back into its corporeal form the way I remember it."
"The way you remember it?" Iphicles scowled. "What if you 'forget' I have two legs? What if you forget the colour of my eyes, or the size of my cock?"
Ares smirked. "That isn't going to happen."
"And I know this because..."
"I've been doing this for centuries, Iph." Ares reassured him with a downright nasty glint in his eye. "If anything, you benefit from the transporting."
Iphicles felt very uncomfortable in his leggings.
"I always remember you at your best," Ares continued. "Consequently, you've hardly aged at all these past few months."
"But what happens when your memories aren't so rosy? What happens when you look at me one day and think, 'Shit, he's supposed to be old and grey by now'?"
"Then you'll be old and grey," Ares confirmed. "Look, Iph, I've got to go--"
"Oh, no you don't." Iphicles grabbed Ares' elbow. "I'm not letting you just turn up, tell me all this godly mumbo-jumbo then piss off." His fingers dug into Ares' arm as Ares' calm gaze met his own. "I don't want you to alter me, Ares. I don't want to wake up one day and find myself looking as old as Sibylla."
"It can't be helped." Ares' warm fingers stroked down Iphicles' cheek. "That's just how it works."
"I won't do anything detrimental to you by moving you around." Ares moved closer, his body heat melting Iphicles' resolve. "I promise," he said softly.
Iphicles closed his eyes for the expected kiss -- only to have cold air brush against his cheeks when Ares stepped back.
"But I'd get rid of the belly if I were you." Ares began to sparkle as he eased himself into the aether. "Or one day it might register as part of my idea of you and you'll keep getting it back, even after you've worked it off a hundred times." He smiled and disappeared in a cheery blast of light.
"Control freak," Iphicles cursed the empty air before him then turned to face the mirror once more. His eyes tracked to his waistline. "Aw fuck," he sighed.
Ares materialised on the blood muddied Macedonian battlefield and found Strife bouncing over to meet him.
"Hey, Unc. Did shrinking his cuirass work, then?"
"Like a charm." Ares grinned.