Pompey lay listening to the receding footsteps, feeling the light breeze that cloaked their retreat ruffling his hair as it carried the wisps of breath from his lips. Gaze flitting from one startlingly bright star constellation to the next, he continued to lie on the cold sand until he could no longer hear his father's soldiers' movements, no longer feel their boots vibrating the earth around him. Then he smiled.
"Well, surprise, surprise, that actually worked." Pompey froze at the rich, unfamiliar tones. "Just goes to show that you never can tell."
Turning his head to the voice, Pompey slowly leaned up on one elbow to get a better look at the shadowy warrior standing a few yards away.
"Lying down in front of a deserting army?" The dark head shook with a chuckle as it tipped, considering the sand sifting through the dextrous fingers below. "That is a classic. You're lucky they didn't trample you to death."
"They wouldn't have dared." Pompey rolled nonchalantly onto his hip to stop his breastplate digging into his stomach. "They respect me too much...Lord Ares."
"Oh, very good. I am impressed. You know who I am and you didn't even wet yourself." Ares dusted off his hands and strolled towards Pompey, the metal studs of his black leathers glinting in the starlight. "But they respect your father, boy, not you."
"You know that's not true!" Pompey jumped to his feet, ignoring the flash of a grin that crossed Ares' face. "If that were the case you'd be in my father's tent right now asking him what happened to his army instead of standing here with me. I'm the one who stopped the men deserting." His fingers rapped against his breastplate. "I'm the one they respected enough to obey."
"Obey?" Ares laughed, his black eyes suddenly brighter than the stars. "They refused to march over you, that's all."
"Or around me." Pompey stepped forwards with only the slightest hesitation. "It is me isn't it, Ares? It's me you've come to see this time." He searched the shadowed face that immediately lost all expression. "It's an honour to be in your presence, my Lord." Too close to bow properly, Pompey bowed his head and waited.
"It is an honour, yes." Ares moved closer, sheltering Pompey from the breeze. "Are you even shaving yet?" Pompey almost jerked his head away from the warm fingers that caressed his jaw. "It doesn't feel like it."
"I..." Pompey looked up into Ares' face and his words died in his throat. Then, somehow, his lips continued to move as Ares' fingers stroked down his neck. "When will I become a great general? When will I lead Rome?"
"Someday. Maybe." Ares shrugged, the small movement freeing a sword-shaped silver earring from his tangle of black curls. "You do have potential." Strong hands moved around to cup the back of Pompey's neck, easing him against Ares' hard body, forcing his mouth open for Ares' soft lips. The lightning bolt touch of Ares' tongue only deepened with the kiss until Pompey couldn't taste anything, feel anything, except Ares' intoxicating aura. He reached his arms around the leather-covered ribs, ready to pull Ares even closer, ready to be one with the god rocking rhythmically against him. His lungs bursting, Pompey tightened the embrace around -- nothing. He stumbled to stand alone, blinking in the darkness, the breeze petting his flushed cheeks with coolly mocking fingers.