Actions

Work Header

The Hero and the Half Gorgon

Chapter Text

There was a legend, a rumor, going around Greece that the son of one of the fierce, snake-haired Gorgons had appeared. The son had vipers as locks and a petrifying gaze as well, but he apparently lacked the tusks or wings or warped features of his mother. So far the boy did not go on rampages through towns or hunt for sport like his parent, but those who went to his lair never returned. He was, after all, a monster, even if he did not redden the flagstone roads of nearby villages with innocent blood. 

 

Oh Sangwoo was in the business of monsters. So had been his father before him, for so long that he’d become one himself- but that’s another story for another day. Sangwoo was known throughout his native Thebes for his bravery- from sirens to satyrs and everything in between, no beast was mighty enough to withstand Sangwoo’s blade- but small time fame no longer interested him. He wanted to rank among the greats: Achilles, Theseus, Jason, but he had yet to find a task insurmountable enough to catapult him to stardom- until he heard whispers of a half-gorgon roaming the southern hills. 

 

The gorgon- Bum, his name was- was a bit lonely, to be perfectly honest. His mother, Stheno, who was killed by some fucko named Perseus that had murdered his aunts as well, wasn’t alive long enough to really form a bond with Bum. He did know that his mother and father met after Stheno fell in love with a potential victim and then kidnapped and made love to him. Bum was unfamiliar with ‘love’– with no siblings or friends or anyone to raise him, he had never received nor felt the feeling. But he was content being alone with the snakes in his hair and garden as his only friends. Anyone who wandered into his lair was only looking for a fight, not a conversation, and Bum was forced to kill them.  It was self defense.  He told himself.  All my challengers were nobodies, anyways. It’s not like anyone missed them. My snakes tell me everything, bring back news from all around Greece. If they were important, my snakes would have told me. 

 

One day, while Bum was tending to the garden in front of his lair, a little plot of land filled with anemone flowers and creeping vines and statues of unfortunate animals who had accidentally crossed Bum’s path, one of his ‘messenger’ snakes slithered up to him and tugged at his tunic to get his attention.

Bum squatted down to the snake’s height, and allowed it to whisper in his ear. “Hmm? Another hero off to slay me? From Thebes? That’s quite a while away. Wait, what? He’s supposedly ‘handsome  and  famous’? My…” Bum smiled. “I’m excited now. Let’s see how this plays out.” 

 


 

The journey to the hills surrounding Athens was more arduous than Sangwoo cared to admit. His faithful horse, Thanatos, was weary and had become uncooperative by the time they reached the little rocky grove where the gorgon was purported to live. Sangwoo dismounted and tied Thanatos to a nearby almond tree before stretching his golden, muscular legs. 

As he looked around, Sangwoo found himself perplexed. This didn’t seem like the sort of place a hideous monster would live. It was sunny, bright, even cheerful. Off in the distance, high on the hillside, he could make out the opening of what seemed to be a small cave, with a…garden in front of it? 

Yes, most certainly a garden. From this distance it was difficult to see clearly, but Sangwoo could make out the faces of bright red and white flowers and the lengths of meticulously tamed vines of bougainvillea that grew along the entrance to the cave. It seemed there were even little stone figurines! Surely Sangwoo had come to the wrong place. He breathed an angry sigh through his nose and turned on his heel to head back to his horse, intent on riding back into the village and cursing out the merchant who’d given him these faulty directions, when he heard something rustle behind him.



“Who’s there?” he demanded, whipping back around. His hand flew to his waist to grip the gilded handle of his broadsword. The overgrown shrubs that grew along the roadside came to life in a flurry of movement, then a sharp, almost squeaky giggle followed. “Show yourself!” 

More movement, and another high-pitched laugh- from behind him now. Sangwoo whipped around quickly, not about to give whatever creature he’d come across the chance to surprise him.  He drew his sword and spread his legs in a defensive stance. His eyes scanned the area quickly, but saw nothing. 

By Hera, you overzealous idiot, he chided himself. It was probably a field mouse, skittering around! Sangwoo rolled his eyes at his own paranoia- years of fighting savage beasts would do that to a man- and sheathed his sword. He made it back to where he’d tied Thanatos and was rummaging through his saddlebag for some water to give the poor animal when he felt it- hands, inhumanly cold, but hands nonetheless, gripping his shoulders with ghostly lightness. There was another little squeak, one that most certainly didn’t come from a mouse, and a puff of cold breath on his neck.



He remembered nothing after that. 


 

Bum sighed and bit his lip as he stared dreamily at the man tied up before him. His little messenger friend was right, the hero  was  handsome. Incredibly so.  I wonder if he’s a relative of Narcissus … Bum wondered has he wrapped a clawed finger around Sangwoo’s pretty blonde hair. He made sure the blindfold- made of cloth from one of Bum’s finest tunics and endowed with the scent of sickly sweet flowers from his garden- was secure around Sangwoo’s pretty little head. Wouldn’t want it to slip and have the hero turn to stone! 

 

“Oh, right!” Bum looked at the sword and shield that he had taken away from Sangwoo once he was unconscious. Taking a small knife that he had, Bum made a little cut on his left arm and let the blood drip onto the sword. Immediately the metal began to sizzle and a large hole appeared in the blade, rendering it effectively useless. He didn’t bother with the shield- he had no use for it.

 

Bum whipped around when he heard a groan behind him. “Ah, you’re awake!” He chirped happily and approached the man. 

 

It was dark when Sangwoo awoke, but it was too warm out for it to be nighttime. His arms felt like leaden weights at his sides; he was as useless to move them as he was to move a mountain, and he couldn’t feel his legs at all. His head throbbed angrily, and throat was horribly dry and tight. He tried desperately to speak, but he could make no sound other than a pitiful clicking in the back of his throat. 

 

“Hello,” a voice above him cooed. “How are you feeling?” There was a hand, cool and rough, against his forehead. Sangwoo felt his heart rate increase tenfold. That wasn’t the touch of a human. 

“Ah, can’t talk yet?” The voice, surprisingly airy and kind despite the fact that it must belong to a monster, tutted sadly. “Can’t move either, I guess. Well,” the hand was back, carding through his hair this time, “The paralysis will wear off soon enough. Then we can get to know each other better.”

 

Oh, gods , Sangwoo thought.  This is it. My end, and it’s at the hands of some scaly handed kidnapper. I won’t even get a hero’s burial!  Death was not something he feared; obsolescence was. He tried desperately to make his muscles move, any of them, and finally succeeded in whipping his neck slightly to the side. His head smacked against the cool stone floor he’s laying on, aggravating his already pounding temples. He grunted in frustration.

 

“Shh, shh,” the voice soothed. Its owner was closer now, hovering just above Sangwoo’s face. He could tell by the ghostly, almost acerbic breath that washed over his skin. Then there was something cold but surprisingly soft pressed against his forehead, followed by a flick of something thin and papery- a tongue? Lips? A kiss? Surely not. Sangwoo must be hallucinating.

 

“Get some more rest, my hero.” Sangwoo hadn’t noticed until now the way the voice drew out every  s  into a long hiss, like a snake. That could only mean one thing. 

 

The hand was back, this time feeling up Sangwoo’s chest. “I can feel your heartbeat.” Something else pressed against it too. A soft hissing filled Sangwoo’s ears, and several scaly bodies slithered up the hero’s chest and neck, tiny thin forked tongues licking at his sweaty skin. “It’s so loud…” The voice purred. “Yes, my dear, I’m the monster you came to kill.” The monster kissed over Sangwoo’s heart, then moved up to nuzzle his neck. “Just call me Bum, okay~? No need to be afraid. I’m not going to kill you. Quite the opposite actually~ ♡”

 

“There are fates worse than death,” was a favorite saying among the old war heroes and the philosophers who taught them- though they never elaborated on the statement, leaving Sangwoo and others like them to imagine what such fates might be for themselves. When Sangwoo lay awake at night as a young boy, his mind supplying him with endless terrible fantasies of all the horrors that might await him some day ‘held captive and molested by a gorgon boy,’ was not one that ever crossed his mind. 

 

The creature currently fondling him like a cheap bathhouse whore was most certainly the monster he'd heard so much about. The hiss in his voice, the coldness of his skin, the distinct acidity of his breath were all dead giveaways. And, as if one tongue licking him wasn’t enough, there were dozens now, obviously belonging to the snakes that made up the creature’s hair. Sangwoo shuddered at the idea- well, as much as he could, given that his body was still as lax as a limp piece of leather. 

 

Bum, the gorgon called himself. Hideous name; befitting of a hideous creature, Sangwoo thought. He swore the moment he was free of whatever wicked spell the demon had put upon him, he’d have the creature’s head. Until then, it seemed he would have to endure a cold, sharp-toothed mouth kissing every inch of his painstakingly honed abdominals, followed immediately by dozens of smaller, scalier mouths that tickled like slimy feathers. A fate worse than death, indeed. 

 

Bum frowned at Sangwoo’s lack of response. “You don’t want to play? I know you’re not dead…” He quickly looked at the hilt of Sangwoo’s sword, emblazoned with his name. “...Sangwoo. Sangwoo! That’s such a lovely name for a lovely person~” He giggled and kissed Sangwoo’s cheek. 

“Did you know my mother met my father the same way? After they… ‘got to know each other’, they had me! Of course  we  can’t have any children, but still…” The gorgon threaded his thin fingers through Sangwoo’s warm ones. “Perhaps… this warm fluttering feeling in my chest… is this  love ? Ahh, I now know why everybody speaks so highly of it. It feels so  wonderful .” Bum shuddered and sighed happily. 

 

“Oh, I just realized! Do you want some water? I have some right here. Don’t worry, it’s not poisoned or will turn you into a snake or anything like that. Just some pure water I got from the nearest spring.” He lifted a cup to Sangwoo’s lips. “You don’t want to get dehydrated. And… maybe it’ll help you speak again as well. Then I’ll get to hear more of your sexy voice~” Bum grinned at the end and couldn’t suppress a high pitched giggle. 

The water was cool and refreshing against his cotton-dry throat and, true to the gorgon’s word, didn’t taste tainted.  My mother and father met the same way,  he’d said, as if his existence was something to be celebrated.  We can’t have any children , he’d said. The implication of that statement made a river of bile climb his lax esophagus.  Is this love?  he asked, as if a monster like him would be capable of such an emotion. This whole situation was as humiliating as it was terrifying. The creature- Bum, he reminded himself, as his father had always taught him that knowing an enemy’s name gave one power over him- would likely have been less terrifying if he’d just bared his fangs and turned Sangwoo to stone with one cold, hateful gaze. Anything, really, would be preferable to this.

 

“What-” Sangwoo’s voice caught on a dry patch in his throat, and he coughed. “What in Hades’ name do you want with me, you  beast ,” he managed to croak out. He tried, and failed, to lift his arms to strike out at the gorgon. Above him, the little creature made a pained whimpering noise. 

“Hey, no hitting!” Bum whined. He nodded at one of the many snakes slithering around in his cave, which promptly came forward and tightly wrapped around Sangwoo’s arms, preventing any more movement. 

The gorgon huffed. “I’m not a  beast . Sure, I’ve got my mother’s hair and eyes, and some scaly patches here and there, but I look more human than monster!” The snakes in his hair hissed in agreement. “I’d let you look at me and see for yourself but, ya know, there’s the whole petrification thing.” He shrugged. “But  can look at you all I want, and as long as our gaze doesn’t lock, I can’t turn you to stone!” 

 

“As for what I want… well, I’ll be honest with you. I’m a little lonely. But then I saw you, and I realized you were the thing I needed!” Bum swiped a comforting hand through Sangwoo’s wavy hair. “I’ll take care of you, my sweet hero. I’ll feed you, give you drinks…” He bit his lip “... bathe  you and  dress  you…” He shivered, already imagining what Sangwoo will look like underneath his tunic. “You’ll need me for  everything~! ” 

 

“You can’t keep me here forever,” Sangwoo blurted, his weakened body struggling against the vice-like grip on his arms. “People will come looking for me!” His heart was racing now, he could feel sweat beading on his brow. This was  not  how he would spend the rest of his life. He wouldn’t allow it.

“Ah,” the gorgon tutted, scraping one of his eery claws along Sangwoo’s collarbone with ghostly lightness. “That’s where you’re wrong. No one ever expects anyone who comes here to return. They’ll forget all about you, and all you’ll have is  me .”

 

Bum’s voice had lost its sweet timbre and was high and half-crazed by now. It was, somehow, the most terrifying thing Sangwoo had ever been witness too- which was really saying something. He’d heard many voices express many things- hatred and anguish and fury- but never obsession like that. 

“My love.” The gorgon leaned down close to where Sangwoo’s pulse was fluttering wildly in his neck, while one of his stone-cold hands crept slowly up Sangwoo’s twitching thigh. “You’ve become a bit too feisty. Perhaps another nap will do you good.” 

Sangwoo felt two sharp points press against his pulse point, followed by a brief burning sensation. He faded away to the sound of hissing in his ears. 

 



Somehow, he’s even more handsome sleeping. So peaceful.  Bum kissed Sangwoo’s nose. One of the snakes in his hair whispered something in Bum’s ear. Bum’s eyes widened. “Oh, you’re right! What will he eat…?” 

 

Bun frowned and worried at his bottom lip. “I can’t hunt very well… I suppose one of you guys could bring back an animal for me, right? Kill it, and I’ll drag it back. Pythie, could you bring some wood so I can start a fire?  Ari, make sure he doesn’t wake up. Jeez, taking care of someone sure is hard work…” 

Half an hour later, Bum was back, dragging a full-on deer behind him, squeezing his eyes shut to make sure he wouldn’t turn it to stone in case it was still alive. Ari was faithfully waiting by Sangwoo’s still unconscious body, ready to strike with paralyzing venom the moment he woke too early. Humming, Bum started up a fire, and began to skin and prepare the deer after checking it was 100% dead. It was almost soothing, doing so much for his hostage- no, no- his soon to be  lover.  Sangwoo would learn to appreciate how much Bum was doing for him. Maybe he’d even fall in love back!  Damn, wouldn’t that be nice. 

 

By the time Bum had finally finished cooking the venison, a delicious smell permeating the air, a soft groan sounded from the corner. “Oh, you’re awake!” 

 

Sangwoo lay perfectly still as the gorgon approached him. Light had stopped filtering through the fabric that covered his eyes; night must have fallen. There was a blustering warmth and a rich, meaty smell radiating throughout whatever rocky crevice the creature had them holed up in. Beside him, he was aware of the presence of something long and scaly- a snake, perhaps? He managed to lift his hand just enough to stroke the creature’s side, confirming its reptilian nature, before it hissed and coiled away from him quickly.

“That’s Ari!” the gorgon informed him. A cool breeze blew over Sangwoo from his captor’s tunic as Bum settled beside him on the ground. “He was just watching to make sure you didn’t try to scurry off while I made dinner! He likes you, I think.” The snake gave an almost indignant sounding hiss, but the gorgon’s voice was bright and cheerful again, perhaps even a bit hopeful. It made Sangwoo’s stomach do flips.

 

“Do you like venison?” Bum asked. There was suddenly a shred of steaming hot meat pressed against his lips. Sangwoo squeezed his mouth shut as tightly as he could manage. There was no telling what the little freak was trying to feed him.

“Ugh!” The gorgon pressed his offering more firmly against Sangwoo’s closed lips. “I promise it’s just a deer, alright? I know you humans don’t like to eat rats. That’s all I’m able to eat nowadays, seeing as I’m not very good at hunting. But I got this deer just for you!” Sangwoo shuddered at the mental image of a hideous gorgon opening its jaws wide to swallow a wriggling, hairy rat in one gulp. The thought made the chewy, fibrous meat even harder to swallow than normal, but, true to the gorgon’s word, it tasted just like venison. 

 

The gorgon chattered aimlessly while he stuffed bite after bite into Sangwoo’s mouth. “I like rabbit, too. Do you like rabbit? Usually I eat it by myself, but for you, I can cook it, and we’ll share!” Bum’s voice grew low and cloyingly sultry. “I read in a book once that humans who are in love take their meals together. I think the custom is called a  date . Is that true?” Sangwoo did not answer, but the gorgon sighed whimsically anyway. “I hope you’re enjoying our date, my beloved.” 

 

No, I am most certainly not enjoying our ‘date,’ you monstrous freak , Sangwoo wanted to hurl. He wanted to pick up his arms that had brought about the end of so many hideous creatures and wrap them around the gorgon’s scaly neck, wringing his wasted breath away, but his arms were still limp by his sides, and lashing out at his captor didn’t seem like a very good way to regain faculty over his limbs, so he swallowed his pride along with the last of his supper, and muttered a grudging  thank you. 

He heard Bum clap his hands together delightedly. “What a gentleman!” he cooed. The cold lips were back against Sangwoo’s face, far too close to the corner of his own dry mouth for comfort. His face cringed up involuntarily into a scowl, and the gorgon set about kissing each wrinkle and fold from his captive’s face, all while Sangwoo’s muscles felt like they wanted to crawl out of his skin.

 

“...Sangwoo. Tell me something.” Bum’s voice was suddenly soft. “Do you have a family? A wife? Children? Be honest.”  If he doesn’t, he’s mine. If he does, I’ll kill them, and then he’ll be mine. 

Sangwoo’s breath hitched. The gorgon sounded worried. What would happen if he said “yes?” Would he be let go? No- that was too much to hope for. An affirmation would probably just anger the beast, and he might even go on a rampage looking for a woman and children that didn’t even exist, killing dozens in his rage.

 

“I…” Sangwoo cleared his throat. “I don’t,” he said, simply, and hoped that would be that.

“Are you lying to me?” Bum’s voice was low.

 

“No.” He wasn’t. Sangwoo had yet to have any interest in a wife, and no time for children. “I have no wife. My parents are long dead. I have…” A realization dawned on him, one he’d failed to see while blinded by fame and glory. “…no one,” he finished, hoping the gorgon didn’t hear. It was a painful truth. There were money and servants and a hoard of adoring fans awaiting his return in Thebes, but none of those things had open arms to run to. They were all cold comforts. Sangwoo’s chest felt heavy, and he sensed it wasn’t a side effect of his paralysis. 

 

Bum bowed his head. “I know how that feels.” He said quietly. “But it’s different for me, right? I’m a monster. I don’t deserve that stuff.” There was a soft sniffling noise barely audible to Sangwoo. “I’d say ‘you have me now’, but that’s not much comfort for you, is it?” Bum squeezed his own scaly bicep in comfort.

 

“No,” Sangwoo replied gruffly. “No, it isn’t.” He was in no mood to address the odd clenching of his heart at the moment. He needed to formulate a plan to get out of here, but his mind was almost as limp as his body. He squeezed his eyes shut behind his blindfold and tried to ignore pitiful whimpering noises coming from the gorgon beside him.

The gorgon sighed. “Sangwoo… if you’re thinking of trying to escape, I can already tell you that’s not going to work.” He said, as if he knew exactly what the hero was thinking. “I may be small, but I’m pretty smart.” 

 

 “I know you’re disgusted with me- but, feel.” He took Sangwoo’s hand and pressed it against his cheek. His cheek was surprisingly soft, and felt human-like, with his scales mostly being on his jaw. Due to the blush slightly colouring his face, his skin even felt warmer- still cool, but not stone cold. “See? Not all scales. Real skin.” 

The cheek was soft, as soft as any woman’s he’d ever felt. The flesh beneath the smooth skin felt pillowy, as if the little face he was being forced to caress was chubby. The cool hand around his wrist forced his fingers lower, past a bumpy patch along a softly defined jawline, then over more smooth skin on a neck, a collarbone, and, finally, a chest. The slow, sensual drag of his fingers over skin was so close to erotic experiences Sangwoo’d had in the past that he felt his stomach begin to curl into a loose, nebulous knot of arousal.  Disgusting

 

He would jerk his hand away if he could, he insisted to himself. He was secretly glad that the choice whether to move or stay was not his to make. Bum stopped Sangwoo’s hand over what felt like a poorly defined pectoral muscle; Sangwoo thought he might even feel the raised flesh of a nipple. Beneath his hand, there was a heartbeat; slightly slower than a human’s would be, but distinctly there, pounding rhythmically against his open palm. 

 

“There’s a heart there too. A bit small, but it’s there.” Bum’s voice was soft. He gently closed Sangwoo’s hand into a fist over his chest. “I… I know I’m not the most attractive person– or monster for that matter– but I still wish you could see me.” His heart stuttered a beat under Sangwoo’s hand.  He still wouldn’t like me though. Maybe he’d like me more if I remained in the dark forever. 

Let me, then.” Sangwoo weighed the words carefully on his tongue. He couldn’t allow the creature to have all the power here. And besides, wouldn’t it be grand, when he got out of here and returned to Thebes, to enthrall his admirers with tales of how he’d laid eyes on a gorgon and lived to tell the tale? “Switch our blindfolds. Cover your eyes, and let me see you.”

Bum huffed a disbelieving laugh. “Sangwoo, you don’t think I’m  that  stupid, do you? Actually, don’t answer that.” He wrapped a smaller hand around Sangwoo’s warmer one. “I know you’d attack me immediately. Even with you being paralyzed, I still can’t trust you not to try something. I’m sorry, Sangwoo. Maybe someday. But right now I know you want nothing more than to harm me.” His voice sounded forlorn, and almost guilty that he couldn’t do what his love asked. 

 

Sangwoo gulped as the gorgon began to stroke the papery skin covering his wrist with the pad of one cool finger.  Maybe someday,  Bum offered, cementing in Sangwoo’s mind the idea that he  had  to get out of here, quickly, or else spend the rest of his life as a blind and immobile toy for a monster. 

“It was worth a try, right?” Sangwoo’s voice sounded far more desperate than he’d intended. He has always relied on a sense of dry humor to carry him through situations that looked hopeless, but it didn’t seem to be working right now.

Bum chuckled lowly.  “Sure. But I think you knew it wasn’t going to work.” He brought Sangwoo’s hand up to his lips and kissed it softly, careful to not let his teeth or tongue brush it. It almost seemed reverent in a way, like a knight kissing a king’s hand.  I’m yours. 

 

The press of the gorgon’s lips to Sangwoo’s awakening flesh sent an electric shock through his body. His hand jerked from Bum’s featherlight grasp of its own accord and fell to the floor of the cave, but not before brushing down the gorgon’s chest and catching over a raised nub of flesh. 

Aah!”  A loud, resounding cry came from the back of Bum’s throat, a kind of guttural noise that sounded suspiciously familiar to Sangwoo’s ears.

 

“S-Sangwoo… Why’d you do that?” Bum asked shakily, obviously flustered.  Why’d you stop?  “That felt nice…”  Please touch me again.  He internally begged. 

Why’d I stop? What was I doing in the first place?  Sangwoo kept his hand as far away from his captor as he could. His skin was beginning to tingle, the way an arm does after it’s been laid on too long. He could hear the gorgon’s breath coming faster, and that sound he’d made...it sounded far too close to a moan for comfort. That couldn’t be allowed. 

“That was an accident,” Sangwoo rushed to explain. “An accident.”

 

“Oh…” The gorgon pouted. “An accident. Of course.” He nibbled on a clawed fingernail. “Sorry. I’m sensitive there.” There was an awkward silence for a moment. “W-Well, that means you have feeling in your hand, right? Is there anywhere else that’s not numb anymore?” Behind him, Ari stirred and stared at Sangwoo, flicking his little tongue out. Bum held out a hand. “Not now, Ari.” 

 

Sangwoo had some semblance of sensation in the majority of his body- the involuntary stirring of his groin was evidence of that- but his muscles still felt like so many strands of unraveled yarn, and he couldn’t move anything below his neck. He debated how much he should tell his captor. Letting on that he was regaining sensation would probably just lead to another bite from “Ari,” who Bum spoke to like an old friend.

“My face,” he offered, finally. “My hands, too.” Much to Sangwoo’s horror, his cheeks grew warm, thinking of the way the gorgon had cried out moments before. “...clearly.”

 

Unfortunately, Bum took notice of the soft pink flush on Sangwoo’s face. “You’re blushing.” He pointed out slowly. He crawled closer, and hooked a leg over Sangwoo’s, barely brushing against his crotch. “Why is that?” 

Sangwoo barely registered the weight of the gorgon as Bum slithered his way into his lap, like the serpent he was, but another twitch from his inner thighs alerted Sangwoo to his proximity. 

 


“It’s-it’s...hot in here?” Sangwoo stammered, feeling like a humiliated teenager fumbling through his first kiss.  You have a lot of fucking nerve, gorgon.

“Really? I don’t think so. I’m attracted to heat- I’m part snake, remember? The only thing that’s hot in this cave is you.” Bum giggled. “And I don’t just mean that you’re attractive. You’re really warm.” Bum breathed hot air on his own hand to make sure it wasn’t ice cold, then pressed it to Sangwoo’s cheek. Sure enough, Bum’s hand was cool against Sangwoo’s heated skin. He fully climbed into Sangwoo’s lap, but paused when he felt something.  Is that…?? No. Impossible. 

 

Sangwoo’s hips jerked upwards reflexively when the gorgon’s body brushed over his groin. On one hand, that was a good sign- his muscles were beginning to work again. On the other, it was terrible. Was he...?  Gods, no. Anything but that. 

“I’m not doing this,” he panted. He hadn’t noticed his shortness of breath until now. Above him, Bum giggled some more. Sangwoo wanted now more than ever to throttle the life out of him, if only to spare himself the humiliation of where it seemed this situation was headed. “I’m not doing this, gorgon!”

 

Bum buried his face in Sangwoo’s neck. He took a long inhale and sighed deeply. “I can smell you, Sangwoo~ You want this. Or at least, your body does~” He grinned, feeling a sense of pride fill his chest.  did this.   turned the great hero Sangwoo on! 

 

“Is this really that bad? You can’t even see me.” Bum lightly grinded back on Sangwoo, and gave another soft, whorish moan. 

The gorgon was grinding his skinny hips down on Sangwoo’s (mortifyingly) swollen groin timidly, but his body was so sensitive after being numb for such a long time that the bare pressure felt much better than it should’ve. 

 


“Don’t flatter yourself,” he grunted, through clenched teeth. A moan rose in the back of his throat to answer Bum’s reckless mewling, and he clenched the muscles of his jaw firmly to keep the sound from spilling over. “This is a natural response to someone grinding on you like a cheap brothel whore .”

Bum pouted. “I’m not a whore!” He retorted.  I haven’t even had my first time yet.  “Besides, you were hard before  I started grinding on you.” He pointed out. And, feeling a bit sassy, he added “How do you know what a cheap brothel whore feels like? Have you been to a brothel before? You don’t have a wife or girlfriend after all, you must feel so lonely… ” He was aware provoking a powerful warrior like Sangwoo was like poking a dangerous snake with a stick, but he was having too much fun to care. 

 

“How dare you!” Sangwoo managed to gain enough control over his lower half to buck his hips up a few centimeters off the ground- to throw his captor off, of course- but the increased pressure between his body and Bum’s was shockingly pleasurable. Bad choice. 

He bit the inside of his cheek viciously and grunted through the groan the gorgon had ripped from him, but it was painfully obvious how much this was affecting him. “Unlike you, I don’t have to-“ Bum leaned down to press his hands flat against Sangwoo’s chest, giving his grinding more leverage. “Gah ! I don’t have to...” Sangwoo panted and curled his hands into fists. “To kidnap people to get laid!” 

 

“Hmm? That wasn’t my intent~” Bum said innocently, though he was grinning. “I took you home out of love, not out of lust. Though it is an added bonus. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d get this far this soon! It’s been what, 30 hours? I thought it’d be a week before you’d even touch me!” He closed his eyes and pressed down for a particularly slow, hard grind. “But don’t worry~ I’m only thinking about your pleasure, not mine! ♡”

 

Sangwoo snorted. Sure, tell yourself you molest people for their pleasure- whatever makes you feel better.  And love?  What would either of them know about that? He would’ve laughed, but the gorgon had slowed his pace and increased his pressure, and the movement was scraping the fabric of his tunic across the glans of his cock just perfectly. All mirthful thoughts left his mind in an instant. 

Sangwoo could feel a skinny thigh on either side of him, gripping his hips, but between that, there was something else- fleshy and twitching. Unless this particular beast was a three-legged one, that could only mean one thing. “Don’t act so prudent,” he chided, once he trusted himself to speak without moaning. “You’re enjoying this.”

Bum shrugged. “How could I not?” He gave a creepy grin, even though Sangwoo could not see it. “Being so close to my- ah! - love is intoxicating~ ♡” Bum felt like he was going to go mad with lust. “I know you like this too. Don’t lie. I can smell your, hnn , your hormones and hear how fast your heart is going. I won’t stop until you cum, my love.” His voice was filled with adoration and obsession. 

 

If Sangwoo cumming was the gorgon’s goal, he’d meet it soon. Breath was growing hard to come by, and the muscles of his inner thighs were coiling tighter and tighter with each jerk of Bum’s hips. How humiliating. 

At least this would be over soon. Perhaps then the gorgon would be satiated enough to leave him alone for a while. Hopefully he’d stop this madman rambling about love this and intoxicating that. Sangwoo clenched his thighs as tightly as he could to speed his climb towards orgasm, and clenched his jaw even tighter to avoid further embarrassment. Bum gave a particularly quick and firm jerk of his hips, one that went from Sangwoo’s base to his tip, and that was all it took. He forced his breath out in heavy puffs to keep himself silent, while he spasmed and dirtied his tunic with hot stickiness.

 

Bum’s eyes gleamed in triumph, and he cooed praises as Sangwoo rode out his orgasm. As soon as Sangwoo was finished, Bum shoved his tunic up and began to lick the cum off Sangwoo’s stomach, thighs, and even the tip of his dick.

 

“Haa… that was amazing ♡” Bum purred breathlessly, as if he was the one who had orgasmed. On the contrary, he was still hard and leaking, but he’d take care of that later. “I’ll need to get you a new tunic soon, right? Don’t worry though darling, I’ll make sure you’re not cold at night while I’m in the process of making you a new one. I’ll just cuddle up to you for warmth!” Bum seemed absolutely enthralled by the idea. 

 

“You’d better not...fucking...touch me,” Sangwoo panted. His exhausted body had to work too hard for that orgasm; he was utterly worn out. Bum didn’t heed his threat, the gorgon had already climbed further up his now-naked body and was pillowing his scaly, slithering head into the crook of Sangwoo’s neck. 

“Get off, I said,” he mumbled. His mind was growing hazy, the cave felt like it was rocking, as if on a stormy sea. Bum just giggled and cuddled closer. “Get off...”

 

“Nope~!” Bum sing-songed. “Cuddling is good for you, Woo. When’s the last time you cuddled someone?” He asked.  It’s the first time I’ve cuddled someone. Maybe I did once or twice with mother but that didn’t last very long. This feels nice… 

Sangwoo gave a sleepy snort. “I don’t cuddle.” Heroes didn’t cuddle, they swept lovers off their feet and left them pining for more once they’d left. And besides, it wasn’t like Sangwoo had anyone close enough to him to be so intimate with.  The last person who held me like this must’ve been my mother,  he thought.  The only person who’s ever really loved me. How very sad . Sangwoo frowned deeply.

 

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Bum cooed, stroking Sangwoo’s cheek softly. “You’re frowning. Are you okay?” He sat up slightly so he could look at Sangwoo’s face, even though Sangwoo couldn’t see him. “Tell me what’s on your mind, Woo.” 

What’s wrong? Let’s start with the fact that I’m paralyzed, in a snake-infested cave, with a monster who wants to fondle me and says he’ll keep me here forever- that seems like a good place to begin. 


But all those seemed like trivial worries compared to the ones swarming Sangwoo’s mind now.  When’s the last time you cuddled someone?  Gods, it truly was probably back when he was a boy, when he’d still been allowed to feel. 

Heroes didn’t have emotions beyond valor and bravery, or, at least, they weren’t supposed to. Heroes didn’t long for companionship or someone to share their fears with. They weren’t even supposed to have fears. Heroes weren’t supposed to feel alone in the world; not when they were surrounded by hordes of adoring admirers and had kings throwing gold coins at them as payment for ridding their land of beasts. Those things considered, Sangwoo made a pretty shitty hero.



He wasn’t about to spill his metaphorical guts to a perverted, hostage-taking serpent, though- so he just sighed gruffly in response. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

“Yeah, I would like to know. That’s why I asked.” Bum said bluntly. “You know…” The gorgon began hesitantly, “you don’t have to put on a brave face in front of me. It’s just us here. I won’t judge you. I love you, Woo.” He wrapped his arms around Sangwoo in a strong hug, not crushing but firm. Just like the hugs Sangwoo’s mother used to give him. 

 

Sangwoo’s chest felt like it was filling with water. “You don’t know me,” he answered. No one did. “You can’t love me.”

“Well, I want to get to know you better then. And it was love at first sight. I  do  love you. I’ll love you even more the longer we spend together.” On hand slipped into Sangwoo’s and linked their fingers together. “Have you ever been in love, Sangwoo?” He squeezed his hand. 

 

Sangwoo blinked behind his blindfold. His palm was growing sweaty where it rested against Bum’s- or maybe it was the other way around. He hadn’t ever been in love, not romantically. There were very few women in Thebes worth giving love to. He mulled his answer over in his mind carefully. “I’ve only ever loved one person,” he replied, finally. He hoped he made his unspoken point clear-  I don’t have any plans to love anyone else anytime soon.

“Me?” Bum laughed. “Kidding. Maybe I’ll become the 2nd someday.” He sighed dreamily. “But who was it? You said ‘loved’, past tense. Do you not love them anymore?” The snakes in his hair perked up in attention. 

 

Sangwoo scowled. “You ask too many questions.” He managed to yank his hand away from the gorgon’s. “But if you must know- it wasn’t romantic love. And she has been gone a long time.” He never had been able to help the shake in his voice when he spoke of his mother.

Bum huffed and scowled. Behind him Ari hissed, ready to strike in case Sangwoo moved to hurt his master. The gorgon connected the dots quickly. “Your mother then? Or sister. I’m guessing mother.” He sat up and stared at Sangwoo like a hurt puppy. “I lost my mother too. You probably know the story of how she was killed.” He shook his head. “I used to hate heroes, but here we are. You, a dashing hero, are with me, as my lover.” 

 

He softly pressed a cool hand over Sangwoo’s beating heart. “What did you like so much about your mother? Maybe I can be like her.” It was a stretch- Bum was only interested in romantic and sexual love from Sangwoo- but he read somewhere that people are subconsciously attracted to people with similar positive traits to their parents. Weird, but perhaps it could help him now.

 

“You could never be like her.” Sangwoo coughed away the lump in his throat. “No one could. She was...”  Just perfect. An angel. Probably a goddess.  “She was kind. Kind, above all else.” Kind in a way Sangwoo had never seen replicated in anyone else before. Too kind to deserve the terrible fate she met. 

 

“I can be kind!” Bum protested. “I give you food and warmth and– oh!” He shot up. “You need to take a bath! You’re still a bit dirty, aren’t you? I’ll help bathe you. I’ll, um, I’ll try not to touch you inappropriately while helping you.”  Key word being try. You’re so beautiful that I might forget my senses.

Sangwoo wrinkled his nose in distaste. “If that’s what you’re set on, I don’t suppose I can stop you.  Ari  over there won’t allow it, hm?” There was an affirmative hiss from somewhere to his left; it almost made Sangwoo smile. “But heat the water first.” He bit his lip- should he say it? “My mother always did that for me.”

Bum’s eyes lit up. “Oh! Of course! I’ll do that straight away.” Bum got off Sangwoo, and ran out of the cave. Immediately several snakes crowded around Sangwoo. None attacked, but they stood on guard in case Sangwoo tried to do something funny or attempt to escape.

 

It took a while, but Bum finally found the giant pot that his mother and aunt had owned. Something about boiling and eating humans? Well, that wasn’t the goal today. Bum dragged the pot closer to the nearby river so he could get the water in easier. He lit a small fire underneath the pot, and waited while it gradually warmed up. As soon as it was warm enough to be comfortable to a human, Bum rushed back to his cave.

 

“Sangwoo!” He called. “I’ve got your bath ready. I heated it up, just like you wanted.” 

The gorgon’s footfalls pattering towards him sounded like raindrops on the cave floor. The nervous energy that emitted from him was palpable; he seemed more like a frantic bird than a snake. Sangwoo had to admit, it was rather...cute. At the very least, that kind of nervous delicacy was unexpected from a monster. 

“Right. I could hear you struggling with the water. I thought gorgons were supposed to be strong?” Sangwoo chuckled dryly, but the sentiment wasn’t returned. In fact, he could almost feel Bum pouting. “Ah. Well.” He coughed through his awkward stuttering. “And how am I supposed to get to it?” He raised his arms weakly, a few inches from the ground, but couldn’t manage to make his calves to the same.

 

Bum crossed his arms. “Gorgons are strong! I was just… trying to hurry so you wouldn’t have to wait long.” A poor excuse, but a legitimate one. “Maybe I could have Pythie carry you? He’s rather strong. Or maybe make a sort of bed of snakes to carry you along.” He laughed at Sangwoo’s expression. “I’m kidding! Let’s see…” He scratched his chin. “Well, when I first brought you here, I dragged you from my garden to my cave. But you were unconscious then. I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable or get hurt if I drag you all the way to the river while you’re awake.” He looked at his snakes. “What do you think?” They all hissed in unison. “Right! All of them don’t want to do the snake bed thing, so I guess I’ll have to drag you.” He shrugged. “I’m sorry, my love.” 

 

“Fine,” Sangwoo assented. Bum mentioned a river- he was eager to get out of here and breathe something other than the damp air of the cave. “But if you fuck up this gorgeous face,” he tossed his head around for emphasis, “you’ll pay for it.”  You’ll pay for all of this, anyway, in due time.

“Of course, of course! I wouldn’t dare harm you, especially your most beautiful asset- then again, everything about you is beautiful.” Bum reassured. 

 

“Ready?” Bum hooked his arms around Sangwoo’s armpits and hefted him up. “Urgh, I forgot how heavy you are.” He grunted. “Achion, a little help please?” At his call, a snake slithered forward and bit Bum on his skinny ankle. Bum groaned and began shaking like he was having a seizure, nearly dropping Sangwoo. Just as Sangwoo was about to slip from his grasp, Bum pulled him back, and effortlessly picked him up in his arms like a bride. At Sangwoo’s astonished face, Bum explained “Achion’s a bit of a special snake who gives me some extra strength when I’m in a pinch. But it wears off quickly, so we need to hurry.” Quickly he took off to the river, still carrying Sangwoo as if he was as light as a feather. 

 

Once they reached the pot, Bum stuck his finger in the water to make sure the water was still warm. Finding it at the perfect temperature, he helped Sangwoo into the bath. “Is that good?” He asked hopefully. 

 

Just when Sangwoo thought this experience couldn’t get any more mortifying, the gorgon had to turn into a mini-Hercules and tote him around like a blushing bride.  What have I done to deserve this?  he groaned inwardly.  Fuck you, Achion. Fuck you and your magic teeth. Sangwoo took special care to ignore the small voice inside him that was enjoying being carried like this- like a child. 

He was lowered into something whose shape suspiciously resembled a cooking pot. The water was a bit cooler than Sangwoo would’ve chosen for himself, but Bum and his cold blood probably thought it scalding. Even so, it was soothing, and is helping revitalize his muscles. He would have almost been able to relax, if not for the cool hand rubbing circles into his shoulders. Sangwoo huffed in annoyance. “It’s fine,” he grumbled. The gorgon wouldn’t let him forget his situation for a moment, it seemed.

 

“I’m glad ♡” Bum seemed honestly delighted that he made Sangwoo happy (or at least in his eyes, anyways). “Do you want me to get some nice smelling oil while washing you?” He leant forward to kiss Sangwoo’s shoulder blades, but paused.  Sangwoo doesn’t want me to touch him like that, does he? I guess I’ll have to keep my hands to myself… for now. 

“Oil would be nice, yes.” A massage, though disgusting, would increase circulation and hopefully give him back his movement more quickly. He splashed his arms around jovially in the tepid water, and could’ve wept in delight when he found that he could bend his knees, as well. “You’ll-” he’d honestly rather chew his own arm off than ask this but- “you’ll put it on me?”

 

Bum tilted his head. “Well I mean, you’re still a little numb, right? It’d be easier that way.” Plus, the next time we’ll do this you’ll probably be fully paralyzed. The paralysis wore off faster than expected.  Playing right into Sangwoo’s hands, Bum added “I can give you a massage too! I know you’re probably stressed… maybe I can work out the knots in your shoulders and back?” He tried not to drool at the thought of running his hands over those gorgeous golden muscles. 

 

“Whatever would float your creepy little boat, Bum.”  He hadn’t meant to say the gorgon’s name aloud, it just sort of fell out, like an overripe apple falls from a tree. It tasted slimy and curt on his tongue. “Uh- I mean- just…” He heard the gorgon giggling behind him. “Seriously, though.” Sangwoo rushed to fill the charged silence. “You’re like Charon, but instead of taking people to the netherworld, you take them to- I don’t know- the nether regions world. Or something.”

Nice one, Sangwoo, he chided, wishing for nothing more than for the regular Charon to appear and end his suffering. Will you be here all week?

Bum actually laughed at that, high and long and clear, nearly echoing in the ruins around them. “You sure you’re not a secret comedian, Sangwoo?” He teased.

 

“But,” he smiled “I do like it when you say my name. It feels… nice.” He left Sangwoo’s side for a moment to get the vial of oil, then poured some over his hands and began rubbing Sangwoo’s shoulders gently. He applied light pressure as he massaged out the knots in Sangwoo’s broad shoulders and neck, not wanting to go too hard and accidentally hurt him. “Does this feel good?” 

 

It did. The circular rubbing had the fibers of his muscles returning gradually to life with each pass of the Bum’s hands. The slickness of the oil was a nice distractor from the roughness of the gorgon’s palms. “Massages typically do,” he offered, not wanting this to stop, but not wanting to flatter Bum any more than he already had. “I don’t guess you’d know about that.”

 

Bum hummed in agreement. “You’re right, I don’t. Never given nor received a massage. I hope I’m doing well for my first time.” He continued in silence for a little bit, moving down to Sangwoo’s back, then finally spoke. “Sangwoo, what do you think I look like?” He asked tentatively. 

“Ugly.” Bum’s hands stilled on his shoulders. Okay, maybe that bit a little too hard. Not like he hasn’t literally bitten me before, though.  “I mean- that’s your thing, right? That’s what gorgons do. Be ugly. Turn people to stone because they’re so ugly. Right?” Sangwoo assured himself he was only trying to mitigate the offense he’d caused because he wanted his little rubdown to continue. 

Bum bit his lip. “Well, um… Gorgon’s eyes turn them into stone, not how ugly we are. And I’m part gorgon so…” His hands dropped from Sangwoo’s back. “I mean, Aunt Medusa wasn’t very pretty- or at least, from what I remember of her. But I’m… different…” His voice trailed off at the end. 

 

Sangwoo sighed. Dealing with all of this was hard enough as it was- he didn’t need a pouty gorgon adding to his troubles. “Look.” He held his hands up in surrender, not even noticing that he was able to lift his limbs all the way again. “I’ve never seen you and I’m never going to.”  Not while you’re alive, anyway. “So why does it matter what I think you look like?”

“I-I care about what you think!” Bum blurted out. “I know it’ll take a while but… I really don’t want you to hate me, Sangwoo. Because I love you, and it hurts seeing someone you love think so lowly of you!” There he goes again with the love bullshit.

 

Bum sighed heavily. “We should probably finish up with your bath and– wait.” Bum blinked. “You raised your arms just now.” He narrowed his eyes. “Can you move your legs too? Or any other limbs?” He briefly considered calling Ari, but thought better of it. 

Sangwoo dropped his arms quickly, splashing water up around his face. He moved down his body, flexing each muscle he came across as he went. Much to his delight, they all responded to his will- he wasn’t going to tell the gorgon that, though. He probably wouldn’t be able to stand yet. He couldn’t let Bum know that he was well again until his full capability was restored. 

“Not my legs, no,” he lied, biting back a grin. 

“Ah, I see. Then there shouldn’t be any need for Ari to give another quick bite, right?” Bum said cheerfully, not detecting Sangwoo’s lies. 

 

He paused for a moment. “...Sangwoo, would you like to see again for a moment?” He asked. “I can take off your blindfold… just for a little bit. The sunset is really beautiful up in these hills. You can’t turn around though, because I’m standing behind you. Do you want to see the sunset?” He seemed very hesitant, but he wanted to make his human lover happy.

 

Sangwoo hadn’t been able to properly survey his surroundings when he first arrived here- he’d been too miffed, thinking he’d come to the wrong place. I did, honestly,  he thought. I should’ve stayed in Thebes and minded my own business . Getting another chance to plan an escape route would certainly be beneficial and, hey, who was he to turn his nose up at a sunset?

“Yeah, yeah,” he agreed. “I’m getting pretty tired of looking at the back of this blindfold.”

 

There was a breathy chuckle from behind him, then he felt small hands working the knot of fabric behind his head. It fell away and he squinted hard against the blinding light. Even at this late hour, the sun was overpowering to his light-deprived eyes. 

 

“Do you like it?” Bum asked timidly. “It’ll take a little bit for your eyes to get used to the light, but it’s really pretty. I like looking at it before I go to sleep. It’s… peaceful somehow.” 

 

Pretty didn’t really do it justice. Thebes, situated in a valley, didn’t experience sunsets like this- the sun always dipped below the surrounding hills before it had a chance to paint the sky with beautiful shades of red and yellow. Up here, there was nothing to obstruct Sangwoo’s view of the fiery orb, glowing white like a superheated coal amidst a bed of dying red embers. The sky above the place where the sun sank into the Athenian valley below faded into a rich velvety blue, a sharp contrast to the sunset’s warmth. 

It was stunning, but peaceful, just like the gorgon said. Sangwoo never would’ve taken the time to appreciate such a spectacle, even if he’d been able to view it. He moved through life too quickly, hopping from one challenge to the next without even stopping to think. Thinking meant dwelling- on his loneliness, his inadequacy, his past. 

He stared openly at the place where the earth and sky met each other, forgetting entirely that he should be familiarizing himself with the landscape. “Nice,” he whispered, after a moment. Sangwoo was never one for eloquence. He’d sound stupid if he tried to say anything more. “Nice.” 

“It is.” Bum agreed. He gave Sangwoo another minute before saying “You… you should probably put the blindfold on again. I’m sorry. But I don’t want to risk you turning to stone.” Slowly he put the piece of cloth over Sangwoo’s eyes, and tied it in a knot that was a bit too loose. If one really tried, they could slip it off. “Can you still see?”

 

“I can’t,” he answered. The cloth of the blindfold was dyed red, and was much finer than Sangwoo had expected. He had to wonder where the gorgon got it. It was thick enough that only a little of the sun’s light filtered through, and Sangwoo was effectively blind once more, but the knot felt much looser than before, like Sangwoo could wiggle out of it if he pressed the back of his head against something. 

 

“Good.” Bum replied softly. I wish I could take a bath with you. But I can’t. You hate me. He thought bitterly. “...Alright. We should head back- unless you want to bathe a little longer? The water’s probably getting cold.” 

 

“We should finish up. So I don’t have to go to sleep wet.” Sangwoo had no intention of sleeping that night, however. He wouldn’t allow the gorgon to see him in such a vulnerable state again.

“Right, right! Hold on, I have some towels here..” There was some shuffling, and Bum draped a towel over his arm. “Alright, I’m gonna help you out now.” He lifted Sangwoo out of the makeshift bathtub and set him on the ground, then began rubbing him down with the soft towel. Bum’s gaze fell upon Sangwoo’s limp dick, and colour rushed to his cheeks as he remembered what they did a couple of hours ago. Knowing that Sangwoo would get angry if Bum dared to try and rub the towel down there, the gorgon purposely avoided his groin and finished up drying Sangwoo’s legs.

“There. Done and dry. You think you can wrap your arms around my neck while I carry you?” That wasn’t necessary of course, but Bum would certainly delight in the feeling of his crush being so close to him. 

“You trust me not to strangle you?” Sangwoo scoffed. He was only half-teasing. Bum already had him scooped up in his arms in the horrifying bridal carry from before, but he teetered and struggled more this time. Sangwoo was left with the choice of either slipping to the ground, or begrudgingly tossing an arm over the gorgon’s skinny shoulders. The fatigue the simple movement left him with made it clear- there would be no strangling at this moment.

 

“Ugh, I might need to get Achion again… but biting people makes him really drained.” Bum groaned. He eventually got Sangwoo to the cave, with a little struggling but not too much to being annoying. He finally sat Sangwoo down against the cave wall, huffing and wiping his sweaty brow in exhaustion. All the snakes in the caves hissed and swarmed around Bum, happy to see their master again. “Hello again, my dears.” Bum greeted the snakes affectionately. He looked back at Sangwoo.

 

“Well… we both should get some sleep. Goodnight, my hero.” Bum said quietly, then softly kissed him on the cheek. He curled up a couple feet away, and within 10 minutes him and the other snakes were asleep.


Sangwoo waited until he could hear the gorgon’s breathing even out in sleep. He knew there was a hoard of snakes underfoot that could strike at any time, but he figured he could just crush them with his heel if they tried to strike out. 

He practiced lifting his legs a few times, wincing as the movement stirred them to life and made his muscles prickle sharply. Once he was satisfied with their mobility, he snatched his blindfold off with one hand while groping the ground beside him with the other.



After his eyes had adjusted to the darkness of the cave and he had a heavy stone folded in his hand, he began the slow and arduous process of climbing to his feet. He rolled onto his belly as slowly as he could, then pushed up on his knees, having to stop after every movement to catch his breath. He was just about to get his feet underneath him when his calf brushed against something cool and a little rough. Whipping his head to the side, he couldn’t contain a gasp as he came face to face with a peacefully sleeping young man with pale skin, long inky eyelashes, and...snakes for hair?

No. It couldn’t be.  That  was the gorgon, the creature who’d killed dozens of men remorselessly, who was feared and hated by all of Greece? It didn’t add up. 

The creature’s skin was so pale that it glowed in the cave’s pitch blackness, but was decorated by patches of blood red scales, on his jaw, his elbows, and his little knobby knees. The inky black snakes that made his hair were sleeping now, laying limp against the little palette the gorgon had made to sleep on. A few had fallen into his face like little curls, and he had one bronze-tipped hand curled into a loose fist beneath his pointed chin. 

Sangwoo was so powerless to move he might as well have been turned to stone, so confused and shocked was he by the realization that he’d been first hunting, then kidnapped by what seemed to be little more than a boy, barely out of his teen years.



The pouting red mouth he was staring at opened with a soft, wet sound, and the lips moved slowly, like the gorgon was trying to speak. 

Ss, ss,” he murmured, nuzzling into his own hand. The sound could’ve been mistaken for a hiss, until it lengthened. “Sangwoo,” the gorgon whispered, unmistakably.



“No,” Sangwoo whispered back. His heart was pounding so hard he could hear it in his ears. “No!” He pushed himself up into a wobbly kneeling position and raised the stone in his hand, ready to strike, but his blow never made it home. 

There was a burst of furious hissing from behind him, followed by a sharp prick in his calf. Sangwoo’s whole body seized, then he collapsed to the floor of the cave with an oof , smacking his chin hard against the stone.

 

Bum grunted in his sleep, frowning at the noise. One of the snakes- Ari, perhaps- slithered over Sangwoo’s eyes and wrapped around his head like a cold, wriggly blindfold. Ari hissed loudly, and one by one other snakes began to wake up as well.

By the time Bum woke up, all the snakes in the cave were awake and spitting furiously. Bum yawned and stretched slowly, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes like a drowsy little kid, then turned to Sangwoo. His eyes widened, and he shot up. “Sangwoo?!” He yelped. “What are you doing there?” His gaze fell upon the rock that fell out of the human’s hand. “No… Don’t tell me…!” He covered his mouth in shock. “Sangwoo… Were you going to kill me?” 

 

Sangwoo struggled futilely against the neurotoxin quickly coursing through his bloodstream, but it was no use. He could feel each one of his muscles going lax, rendering him useless once again. 

Shit! Fuck! Damn that little snake!  He tried to shake his head to dislodge whichever snake had wound itself around his eyes, but he couldn’t even lift his neck. 

Nnn, nnn,” he grunted, unable to even open his jaw. Beside him, the gorgon was panting, nearly sobbing.  Was I going to kill you? Obviously, dumbass. That’s the whole reason I’m here. But, do me a favor, and don’t kill me,  okay?

He couldn’t reply, though, so he just groaned pitifully in the back of his throat, and hoped the gorgon accepted it as an apology.

 

It seemed Bum did not accept his apology, as even the snakes in his hair started hissing as well. “What the hell , Sangwoo!! I do all this  for you and you still want me dead ?!” He was nearly yelling to be heard over the deafening sound of dozens of snakes spitting viciously. 

“You… you…!” A viper looked up at Bum, eager to kill Sangwoo. But Bum sighed and shook his head, burying his face in his hands. “What if I woke up and saw you and accidentally petrified you? You’d be turned stone and—“ His voice broke “and– and I’d be alone again!!” 

 

Oh, not this bullshit again was Sangwoo’s immediate response. He rolled his eyes beneath their scaly blindfold, earning his head a painful squeeze. But that felt...wrong. He couldn’t get the gorgon’s little murmurings out of his mind. He said my name in sleep. He was dreaming about me. On one hand- creepy. Uncalled for. Weird. On the other...sweet. Flattering. Even in sleep, Bum couldn’t get Sangwoo out of his head. 

His mind reeled with an emotion Sangwoo imagined must be guilt. Killing a sleeping, defenseless opponent would have been a new low for him. He recalled the delicate features of Bum’s face- large eyes, delicate nose, red lips. He had tiny hands that seemed incapable of doing harm to a sparrow, let alone a warrior like Sangwoo. Killing something that looked like that - well, that would’ve been purely subterranean.

He felt remorse for the gorgon- not for his own murder attempt, but for the circumstances of his birth. If not for the curse of his mother, Bum might’ve grown up to be a beautiful boy, the type Sangwoo would have gone for to keep him company on lonely nights. It was unfortunate, to say the least. 

With this newfound sympathy in mind, and a somewhat selfish need to mitigate the emotional turmoil he’d caused so as to avoid becoming a statue, Sangwoo laboriously worked against his paralysis to flip his hand over so that his palm was upturned, inviting Bum to take it. It was the only comfort he could offer. He grunted through involuntarily clenched teeth to gain the sobbing gorgon’s attention.

 

Bum peeked up from his hands, eyes watery and bloodshot. “You… you want me to take your hand?” Bum knelt down to Sangwoo’s height. His hand hesitantly hovered over Sangwoo’s for a moment, before ever so gently placing his hand in Sangwoo’s, as if holding a porcelain doll that could easily break at any moment. His hand was warm and wet from his tears. Eventually he relaxed, and gave a soft squeeze. 

 

Bum’s hand felt so small against his own. Sangwoo had never considered that before. The urge to flinch away from the gorgon’s touch was weaker now that he could picture the hand, clawed and scaly, but distinctly human. It wasn’t hard for his mind to conjure an image of Bum’s youthful face crumpling in despair, wet with tears. What was hard, however, was grappling with the way that image made his heart contract painfully.

 

“Sorry?” Sangwoo managed to mutter, cracking his mouth open less than a millimeter. It was an absurd thing to say to someone after a murder attempt, but nothing else seemed remotely appropriate. 

Bum sighed heavily. “That was really stupid of you, Woo.” He didn’t specify what was stupid exactly, whether it was Sangwoo attempting to murder him or risking being petrified. At least the nickname was a sign he wasn’t furious anymore. With a nod of his head, the snakes in the cave quieted down, though many looked like they still didn’t trust the hero. 

That’s fair , Sangwoo thought. He shouldn’t have tried anything until he was fully able to move again. Even so, he was no longer confident in his ability to slay the gorgon, even if he was ever allowed to return to his peak physical condition, and, judging by his tearful words from earlier; simply leaving would be even crueler than just killing him. 

 

Sangwoo sighed- he was unsure of how to proceed from here. Something he was sure of, though, was that he wanted his sentient blindfold off of him immediately. He pried his jaw open with considerable effort to tell Bum so. “Ge’ ih ahf,” he mumbled. “Snek ahf.” 

Luckily, Bum understood. “Oh, right! Lemme get the blindfold–“ He picked the discarded piece of cloth off the floor, blowing some dust off it. “Close your eyes, and don’t open till the blindfold’s safely on. Now Ari, get off him.” He ordered. Ari slithered off, and hissed something at Bum.

“No, Ari, I’m not going to kill him! Yes, even after this. We’ve been over this.” Bum said sternly to the snake. “Alright, eyes closed? Here we go.” Making sure Sangwoo couldn’t see a thing, Bum wrapped the cloth around Sangwoo’s head and tied the knot deftly, making sure it was snug and in place. “Can you still see? Be honest.” 

What are they hissing about?  It was unnerving, to say the least, like being in a foreign nation where he didn’t speak the language, only a million times creepier. Ari still hovered suspiciously close to Sangwoo’s neck, probably ready to stick him in the jugular at the first sign of movement. At least the blindfold was on securely, and for the moment there was no more risk of being made immobile permanently. “Nuh-uh,” grunted, in response to Bum. 

 

Bum sat back. “Good.” He sighed again, and ran his hand through Sangwoo’s hair. “What am I going to do with you? I don’t wanna keep pumping you with paralyzing poison every single day. But you’ll try to escape if I let you move freely, won’t you?” He slightly tugged on a lock of the hero’s hair. “That’s all you wanted to do since you got here- that and kill me.” He moved Sangwoo’s head into his lap so he could pet his lover better. “I wish it wasn’t that way. That we could be just regular lovers, and that you didn’t hate me so.” His petting stopped. “Maybe one day… Yes, perhaps that might work.” His blank expression made it impossible to tell what he was thinking, even if Sangwoo was able to see it. 

Oh, Zeus. Not being injected with neurotoxins by an angry snake daily- good! Sangwoo liked that idea. The vague intonation in Bum’s voice? Decidedly not good. What might work?  Sangwoo gulped nervously, the cool weight of the gorgon’s hands against his forehead feeling oppressive. “Huh?”

 

No, no, it’s nothing, my love.” Bum soothed. My love. Back to obsessing over love like a lunatic. “Go back to sleep. I’ll be here to make sure you don’t try anything funny again.” He pressed his cool lips to Sangwoo’s temple. “Hopefully the paralysis will have relaxed a bit by morning time.” He eyed Ari. “Though he seemed to bite you pretty hard. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes longer to wear off than last time- but not  too  long.” He pushed Sangwoo’s bangs back from his forehead. “...Do you want me to sing you a lullaby?” 

A lullaby? What am I, five?  Although, a soothing song might do him some good. The paralysis might have relaxed his muscles, but his mind was still racing. And besides, she used to sing him lullabies. Anything reminiscent of her wasn’t something Sangwoo would reject. He only hoped the gorgon’s voice was even half as sweet. “Mm-hm.” 

Bum chose a song he heard a human mother sing to her child one night as he snuck into a nearby town to get supplies. He couldn’t remember if his mother sang him lullabies as a child (doubtful), and even if she did it was probably about evil and killing people- not the type he would want to sing to his love. So he cleared his throat and began to sing. His voice was rather high, clear and smooth, similar to the nightingale who frequented his garden. 

Sangwoo wasn’t sure if the gorgon’s voice was actually that nice, or if the acoustics of the cave just made it seem that way. Each note he sang of the gentle tune reverberated off the high stone walls and echoed around in Sangwoo’s ears until the sounds blended together in a soothing wave. Bum was still stroking his hair, with such gentle pressure that it didn’t even flatten his blond waves against his scalp. Sangwoo was reminded of countless nights where his mother did exactly this- sang and pet him until he drifted off the sleep. Drowsiness settled over him like a thick blanket, and he didn’t try to resist sleep once it came for him. There was no use. 

 


 

“Good morning, sleepyhead.” Bum cooed as Sangwoo began to stir the next day. “You’ve been out for quite a while. I’ve already made breakfast, and I’m working on a tunic for you. How are you feeling?” He asked kindly. He seemed to be in a much better mood than last night. 

 

Sangwoo’s head was throbbing so badly he could barely stand to crack his eyes open beneath his blindfold. Apparently, death-like migraine was one of the side effects of Ari’s venom. His throat was too dry to speak, so he simply grunted in response to Bum, thanking the gods that the gorgon seemed to have gotten over last night’s...incident.

 

“I have some water if you want some.” Bum left to quickly grab a goblet of water, and lifted it to Sangwoo’s lips. “Sorry if Ari’s poison gave you a headache or made you sore. At least he didn’t bite hard enough to kill you! Ari has enough poison to fully shut down the nervous system of a man twice your size, but I made him promise he wouldn’t kill you like that.” He ended his sentence cheerfully, despite his grim words. 

 

Wow, thanks! So generous of you. Sangwoo rolled his covered eyes, but gratefully gulped down the offered water. He swallowed a few times to remove the gravel from his voice before attempting to voice a concern that had only just occurred to him- Thanatos.“‘orse?” he muttered, through tight lips. “My ‘orse.”  He didn’t even try to enunciate- if the gorgon wanted to understand him easily, he’d have to stop pumping him full of poison. 

“Oh… your horse…” Bum sounded guilty all of a sudden.  “Um, well…” He turned back to snakes. “My uh, the snakes sorta killed him…” He gulped. “I was gonna set him free, but after I finished dragging you to my cave, I went back for the horse and found it on the ground dying from poisonous bites from several different snakes. I gave the snakes a stern scolding of course, since it really wasn’t necessary, but they had been getting extremely aggressive lately. They said that they did it so you couldn’t escape- and that they were hungry. I’m really sorry, Sangwoo.” He explained. “It was uncalled for. I had nothing to do with it though.”

Sangwoo couldn’t stop an anguished cry. He’d been given Thanatos as a present when he was only twelve years old, and had raised him and trained him from a hyperactive foal into fierce warhorse. To know that he’d met such a slow and painful end was devastating; too sad to even inspire anger. Even if Thanatos was just an animal, he was Sangwoo’s friend- the only real one he’d had since the death of his mother. His grief was made all the worse by the fact that he couldn’t do anything about it- only lay there, supine and useless, and be grateful that his blindfold hid his waterlogged eyes. 

 

Bum hesitated, then gently rubbed Sangwoo’s back in soothing circles. “I’m sorry, Woo.” He took a deep breath. “But… I may be able to help. Assuming he hasn’t been completely been eaten by scavengers. I could… bring him back.” 

Sangwoo knew the gorgon was delusional before- he had to be, to fall in “love” with him right after seeing the back of his head, and even more so to expect that he’d ever reciprocate the feeling- but this was a new level. Resurrection? Unless Bum was an Olympian in disguise, that was doubtful. 


“Wh-“ his voice hitched on a dry patch in his throat. He coughed, and tried again, and coughed and tried again, until the Bum offered him more water. “What the hell are you talking about?” he managed, finally.

 

Bum fidgeted with his fingers. “Well… my blood can heal anything, even bring back the dead– well, one half anyways. The other half can kill a man painfully or burn even the strongest metals.” He smiled nervously. “I can try, if you want?” 

Sounds like a lot of bullshit. But..it’ll be hard getting out of here without Thanatos, so it’s worth a shot, I guess. Sangwoo raised an eyebrow and bit back his snort, not wanting to offend Bum, and cause him to retract his offer. “If you think you can really do that, go ahead. I’d like to see that.” And you owe it to me, anyway.

 

“AlrightAchion?” The magic snake slithered forward as his master’s call, though he looked like he’d rather not aid the hero by helping heal his horse. But he bit Bum on the calf anyway, and Bum hissed in pain and began to shake again. Once his little spell was over, he went to grab a knife and another piece of cloth, then picked up Sangwoo bridal style without warning. “Let’s go then.” With ease, he carried Sangwoo down to the hill to where the carcass of the dark horse was waiting.

 

Bum wrinkled his nose as the smell of rotting meat hit him. Several flies buzzed around the body, and the stench of decay permeated through the air. “Ugh.” He set Sangwoo down on the grass carefully, and began to tie the cloth around the horse’s eyes. “Do you want to see it when it happens, Sangwoo?” 

Sangwoo grimaced. He could smell the rotting body of what he assumed was Thanatos- the corpse of his beloved companion wasn’t something he was interested in. “After. I want to see him after.” 

 

“Fair enough.” Bum took the knife out of his tunic and held his arm over the horse, then cut a small slit in his right arm. The blood dripped onto Thanatos’ body, and for a moment it seemed like nothing was happening. Then slowly the wounds began to heal, skin smoothing over, dull coat regrowing and becoming shiny and healthy. Finally Thanatos opened his eyes, giving confused snort at the darkness that greeted him.

 

Bum moved behind Sangwoo. “Ready? Remember, don’t look behind you.” He untied Sangwoo’s blindfold and allowed him to look at his resurrected companion. 

 

Sangwoo blinked against the harsh morning sun that flared against Thanatos’ shiny black coat. The horse lay on his side as if he were sick, which was probably to be expected, since he had been unmistakably dead a few moments earlier. His large nostrils flared as he sniffed the air, trying to gauge his surroundings from behind his blinder. 

“Thanatos!” Sangwoo triumphed. Immediately, the horse’s ears perked up, and he rolled onto his belly. “It’s me, old friend!” Sangwoo was still unable to do much besides sit up, but Thanatos found him anyway, and shoved his snout into his master’s face, giving him an adoring lick hello

There’s no fucking way. How did I never know about this?  Sangwoo wondered. You’d think gorgons having the power to literally revive the dead would be something people talked about, and yet, he’d never heard anything about their species other than that they were evil, hideous wenches who deserved their fate. It certainly seemed like the poets who wrote about gorgons liked to pick and choose which characteristics made it into their epics. 

Thanatos nuzzled his master wildly, sniffing him to make sure he was alright, and whinnying happily when it seemed that he was. “Good to see you again, buddy.” Sangwoo managed to ease his neck down to rest against his friend’s large cheek. “How ya feeling?” he asked, like he expected an answer. 

 

Behind him, Sangwoo felt the gorgon fidgeting nervously, like he was expecting something. His stomach fell. “Uh…” He worried his lip and cast his eyes downward, his ingrained hero pride hating what he was about to do. “Thanks, Bum. Thank you.” 

Bum’s face immediately lit up, and he smiled as big and bright as the sun. “Y-You’re welcome!” Never thought I’d be doing something like this. The things you do for love.  He took one step forward, and Thanatos immediately neighed angrily at Bum. Bum squeaked and backed away. “I-I don’t think he likes me…”

 

Of course he doesn’t. He never liked any other beast we fought together. “He only really likes me,” Sangwoo soothed, still feeling grateful. “Be nice!” He bumped his forehead against Thanatos’ in reprimand. 

 

So cute…  “You really like animals, huh?” Bum asked. “Except for snakes, probably.” He joked. 

The gorgon bit his lip in thought. “Feeding him every day is going to be a problem though. He won’t let me get near him, so I can’t hand feed him without getting my hand chomped off. But if I let him go he’ll run away…” Bum scratched his chin in thought. 

“He can eat off the ground,” Sangwoo supplied helpfully. He supposed Bum didn’t have very much experience taking care of animals besides snakes, what, with them turning into statues whenever they wandered into his line of sight, but it was almost (almost!) endearing that the gorgon was worried about taking good care of Thanatos. “Just toss apples at him, and clumps of grass, and he’ll be fine.” 

 

“Oh, yeah! I can do that. At least plants don’t turn to stone when I look at them.” Bum smiled awkwardly. “Only snakes and plants don’t, really. Every other living thing turns to stone.” His voice saddened at the end. He scratched the back of his neck nervously. “We… we should probably get back to the cave. You’re probably hungry, right?” 

“I’m always hungry. Look at me!” Sangwoo gestured to his toned abdominals and powerful legs as best he could. Not sure how much longer those will last, though, if I keep not being able to move.  He frowned as Bum refastened his blindfold and hoisted him up. 

 

Back in the cave, Bum reheated some of the venison from the previous night. It was stringy and had a slightly sour taste to it, but Sangwoo was too famished to care. They ate in silence, the only sound being provided by the hissing and occasional rattling of snakes, until Sangwoo spoke. 

 

“So...how many people have you…” He didn’t really want to say it. Bum didn’t seem proud of his petrifying gaze, and it seemed cruel to remind him of it, but he was curious. He chewed a bite of meat for longer than necessary. “You know. How many?”

“How many people have I killed/turned to stone? I don’t know exactly.” Bum chewed his food thoughtfully. “I mean, everyone that comes here is looking for a fight. Most I turned to stone. I think I only killed like, 2. One of them stabbed me really badly. I almost didn’t make it.” He set his food down. “It’s self defense.” 

 

If someone stabbed him, they had to have seen him, right? How could you stab someone who looks like that?  Sangwoo choked on his food at the unbidden thought.  I mean, just because he’s so small, of course. And defenseless. Except for his eyes. And his claws, too,  he rushed to defend himself in his own mind.  But still! 

 

“So, uh.” Sangwoo had another question, one that was less likely to upset the gorgon, and might even make him feel better. “What was different about me? I came here looking for a fight, too.” 

Bum blushed. “Oh… um…” He curled a snake lock around his finger shyly. “Well, I had heard about you before you came. I have little messenger snakes, and they told me about how a brave, strong and handsome hero from Thebes was coming this way. They told me about how much people adored you, how many girls were in love with you, how heroic you were. And once I saw you, I knew they were correct. You seemed... so perfect. I just had to have you ♡” Bum rambled, unaware of how his compliments were stroking Sangwoo’s ego. 

 

Sangwoo couldn’t help but puff his chest out a little. It had been too long since he’d heard someone gush over him like that- going on a week now! Even so, Bum’s was a pretty shitty reason to kidnap someone. Shallow, too. “So you think you can just take whatever you want, then?” 

No sooner had he said the words, then he realized what a hypocrite he was being. He had been planning on just taking the gorgon’s head. “I mean, you know. Kinda rude.” He bit his lip. 

 

Bum’s pointed ears went red. “W-Well, you think I could just walk into town and find someone that will willingly be my companion? That I could just come out while you’re out hunting me and say ‘Hey, I don’t really want to hurt you and am pretty lonely, so how about you put down your sword and let’s be friends’? Would that work? No! I have to use force! Believe it or not, sometimes I want to talk to something other than snakes or statues of foxes in my garden.” 

 

Sangwoo had never heard the gorgon raise his voice like that. It was a bit unnerving to picture, especially since creatures of his kind were known to be especially hideous when they were angry- their serpentine hair standing on end and their hateful eyes flashing. He wasn’t typically one to shy away from frightening things, but, then again, he wasn’t typically a quadriplegic, either. Sangwoo pressed back against the wall he was leaning against as best he could, and lifted his still-numb hands a bit in surrender. 

 

“Okay, okay,” he soothed. “Let’s calm down, alright? I’m sorry.” Bum’s breath was still coming in heavy pants. Sangwoo searched his mind for something that might calm him. “You...you want someone to talk to? Talk to me! What do you want to talk about?” 

 

Bum exhaled heavily. “What do I want to talk about? Many, many things.” He sighed heavily, trying to calm himself down. “...Let’s talk about something we have in common.” Bum fiddled with his claws, trying to find the best way to phrase it. “...What was your last memory of your mother?” Immediately Bum internally cursed himself. That sounded way better in my head. “I-I mean, I lost my mother too, so…” He trailed off and looked away. 

Sangwoo’s breath hitched. What a question. He’d never told anyone what happened to his mother, or his father, for that matter. Her death was painful to even think of, let alone speak of. He wasn’t sure he could.

 

“My last good memory,” he began, “was of her in her orchard. She grew all kinds of trees: olives and almonds and pomegranates. It was autumn.”  Her last autumn.  Sangwoo could feel his voice starting to shake. “We were picking pomegranates and carrying them in this big woven basket, and there were birds everywhere, singing, and she started to sing back to them. I don’t know why, but she just looked the most beautiful I’d ever seen her then. I loved her more than I ever did.” Maybe because I knew, somehow, that I’d lose her soon.  Sangwoo sucked in a sharp breath, signifying that his story was over. 

 

“That… sounds really nice. I used to grow pomegranates too. For some reason, I could never get them to grow as much as the other plants did. Don’t know why.” He bit his lip in thought, not minding the blood dribbling down his chin. “My last memory… well, I would have been about 5 in human years. I remember Mother and Aunt Euryale panicking and running around our cave. I didn’t understand it at the time, but Aunt Medusa had just died, and her sisters were really angry over it. I remember Mother telling me ‘Stay put, my son. Me and your Aunt will be back in a moment. There’s something we need to take care of. We’ll be back with dinner.’ So I sat in the cave and waited. And waited. And waited. Honestly, I’m glad I waited so long. By the time I ventured out of the cave, I saw the back of a muscular man on a white-winged horse fly off into the sky. If I had come out a minute earlier, I would probably have died with the rest of my family. Even though I was just a kid, something told me the hero would have killed me anyways.” Bum’s voice wavered, like he was trying his best not to cry. “My petrifying powers didn’t even come in till I was 13, and the snakes in my hair were still developing fangs and were basically harmless. He would have killed a child who wasn’t even able to hurt anyone. But that’s just what heroes do. They kill monsters.” He sniffled, then turned to Sangwoo. “Would you have killed 5 year old me?” 

 

Oh, Zeus. What did one say to that? Sangwoo had never killed a child, and he didn’t think he’d start just because said child was a monster, but who could say? If Bum’s mother- from the sound of it, he was the child of the fiercest gorgon of the three, Stheno- had died when he was just a child, it was unlikely that the anguish in his voice came from missing her. He seemed more distressed by the fact that the entire world had wished him dead from the moment of his conception, that the jury of Greece wanted to see him executed for the crime of simply existing.



Sangwoo tried to choose his words carefully. “I’m...I’m sure Perseus-“ There was a burst of angry hissing at the mention of that name. “I’m sure he...would only have hurt you because he knew...” Knew what? “He knew what you’d grow up to be.” A man. One with great and terrible power, but a man nonetheless. Having seen the gorgon face-to-face, it was no longer possible for Sangwoo to separate Bum from his humanity. Whatever monster lived inside him, it wasn’t all-consuming. “But I wouldn’t have,” he answered, finally. “I wouldn’t have killed you.” He meant it. Surely there would have been some way to prevent the child from growing into a monster.

Really? ”and now Bum was crying. “But what I am isn’t a curse. It’s something I was born with. I can’t go to a magic spring and come out a regular human. Even if you kept me in a very docile environment, I still would have grown up into a monster.”

 

“Humans can be monsters, too, you know.” I would know. I kind of am one, I guess. “It’s about… actions.”  Oh, shut up. You sound like some wannabe Aristotle. “It’s the actions that make a monster. Not the birth.” 

Sangwoo dropped his head. He’d done more killing than the gorgon had, he was sure of it, and more often than not, he was the one out looking for a fight. If there was a monster here, it was Sangwoo, not the gorgon boy who sat across from him, sobbing quietly and shaking so hard Sangwoo could hear his teeth chatter. The world had surely been cruel to Bum. He had no choice but to fight back. Sangwoo fought for glory, for honor, for nobility- or so he thought. Looking back, the things he’d done didn’t seem so noble anymore. 

 

Suddenly, Bum surged forward and wrapped his arms around Sangwoo, burying his face in his neck. His hot tears spilled onto the hero’s collarbone, and he shook like he was naked in a blizzard. “I-I-I’m so alone!” He sputtered. “Save me, Sangwoo…” The gorgon mumbled. That’s what heroes did, right? Heroes save people. 

 

The impact of Bum’s hug knocked the wind out of Sangwoo. It seemed the gorgon was still enjoying the benefits of his earlier magical bite. Bum mashed his face hard into Sangwoo’s neck, soaking his skin with tears, all while the snakes in his hair assaulted Sangwoo’s face with flicks of their little tongues. He was still mostly paralyzed,  but with considerable effort he heaved one arm off the ground beside him and tossed it around the gorgon’s skinny back. I’m only doing this because it’s weird to just sit here while he’s on me like this, Sangwoo told himself. 

 

“I can’t- I don’t-“ he stuttered. Save you?  “I don’t know what you want me to do.” 

“Stay with me… Stay with me, Sangwoo.” The gorgon begged. “I know you’re lonely too. I can help you, and you can help me.” He looked up at Sangwoo pleadingly, even though he couldn’t see him. “You had the chance, and you didn’t kill me. That must mean something, right?” 

It means your snake bit me before I could hit you, Sangwoo thought, but he was unsure that he would’ve been able to go through with the killing anyway. His emotions were too tumultuous to make sense of right now. He was no longer certain of his place in the world outside this cave, but he was almost positive he didn’t want to stay holed up here, blind, forever. It was difficult to think clearly when he had a lap full of hysterical gorgon. 

 

“Just...calm down,” he soothed. He managed to pat Bum’s back a couple times. “You aren’t thinking clearly.” 

Bum breathed deeply, trying to calm down like Sangwoo said. “Right… right… I’m sorry.” He moved away and wiped at his eyes and runny nose. “I’ll, um, just… leave you alone. Well, not really. But. Ya know. Stop talking.” When social interaction doesn’t go well, the only other thing to do is sulk. 

 

Sangwoo could feel the gorgon pouting as he slid off his lap to sit elsewhere. They sat in heavy, awkward silence for a long moment, punctuated only by Bum’s quiet hiccups and the occasional sympathetic hiss. 

“You’re not ugly,” Sangwoo blurted, when the awkwardness of it all became too much to bear. He needed something that would pull the gorgon out of his sulk. “I know I said I thought you would be, but uh.” He mulled over the right words. “You’re not. Ugly, that is.”

 

Bum looked up through his veil of tears. “H-Huh?” His cheeks reddened as he realized what Sangwoo said. “Oh… thank you.” He sniffled, a smile creeping its way onto his face. “I, um, was never told that before.” He tucked a snake lock behind his ear shyly. “You really think so?”

 

Sangwoo remembered the gorgon’s pale skin, his little but curvy body, the deep red scales that decorated him like jewels. He had a young face with puffy cheeks that might have been cute in different circumstances. Even the thin snakes that made up his hair were interesting to look at, in their own way. Sangwoo wouldn’t mind seeing more of Bum- maybe touching him, too. God, am I that desperate?  His face felt warm. “I do,” he assured. “You don’t look half bad.” 

 

Bum’s face reddened further. And just like that, a switch inside him was turned on. He began to crawl forward on all fours, until he was but a hairbreadth away. “Don’t freak out.” He whispered, then pressed his lips against Sangwoo’s. 

 

He didn’t register the press of Bum’s lips for a long moment. When he did, he felt that familiar tingle brew in his belly, and sweep upward into his chest. His lips were surprisingly warm, and cushy. The gorgon remained starkly still, with his little hands pressed flat against Sangwoo’s chest and his breath puffing across his face. Sangwoo debated crying out, or wriggling away; but this felt nice, and it wasn’t like other, more inappropriate things hadn’t happened between them. He pushed back against Bum with the barest pressure he could manage, and their lips slid together like interlocking pieces of a gear. 

Bum gave a delighted groan that Sangwoo didn’t push him away, and tilted his head to kiss him deeper. A tongue, similar to a human’s but with a forked end, darted over Sangwoo’s lip. He wrapped one arm around Sangwoo’s neck, and the other hand still on Sangwoo’s muscular chest, both to steady himself and feel the hero up.

 

The cloth of Bum’s tunic was brushing annoyingly against Sangwoo’s still-exposed cock. One of his cool hands was stroking Sangwoo’s chest, catching lightly on his nipples, while the other was caught in his hair. Bum’s tongue against his closed lips felt surprisingly familiar- wet and bumpy, with only a slight indentation at the tip. Sangwoo’s mind was protesting frantically-  don’t do this, what the hell is wrong with you - but that didn’t seem to have any bearing on his actions, because he parted his lips just enough to allow Bum’s forked tongue to ease inside and brush against his own. 

 

Bum was obviously inexperienced, drooling a little and overeager, but what he lacked in kissing skills he made up in passion. He eventually calmed down slightly and decided to mimic Sangwoo’s slow movements instead, improving the kiss by a lot. When he finally pulled back for air, he smiled hazily and said “Haa… that was my first kiss. ♡”

“I figured as much.” 


Bum was an awful kisser- too much tongue, too much strange tasting drool, and all those pointy teeth - but it seemed he had some potential- with the proper coaching. It also seemed, given the ever increasing swelling of his groin, that Sangwoo was more than willing to be that coach.

 

“Teach me then. I’m all yours~” Bum whispered in Sangwoo’s ear, the snakes in his hair hissing softly as if giggling. He made a surprised squeak as he felt something hard press against his ass. “Already?” He teased. 

 

I’m fully nude, what do you expect?  Sangwoo thought, acerbically. The gorgon had an outrageously nice ass- he remembered that from their earlier romp- and it was settled just so over his groin. If not for his lingering paralysis, he would likely be making a fool of himself, rutting against it like a buck in springtime. His erection began to flag, however, when he took note of something hard, fleshy, and far, far too large for comfort pressing against his belly. Sangwoo’s mind couldn’t even begin to fathom that the object was what he thought it was. It couldn’t be, right?



He cleared his throat nervously. “What...is that?”

Bum went scarlet. “Um… well… you can’t expect me to not be affected at all, can you?” He said sheepishly. 

“That is not your dick, Bum,” Sangwoo insisted. There was no way. “Tell me that’s not your dick!” Sangwoo didn’t think he could handle being intimate with a male who was...bigger than him. He’d never done that before. 

 

Bum swallowed thickly and fidgeted with his hands. “Um… yeah, it is.” He scratched the back of his neck nervously. “It can be quite a problem sometimes, haha…” He grabbed Sangwoo’s hands before he could pull away. “But don’t worry. I’m not gonna put it in you or anything like that.”  ...Unless you want to.

 

You’d better not!  Sangwoo had been a bottom rarely in his life, and that had been in his younger years, when he was still learning. “No, no,” he stammered. “I’m on top. Me.” Bum was too small to be effective on top anyway, he told himself. 

 

“I’m fine with that~” Bum purred. “I’ll just ride you so you don’t have to move much.” He stuck two fingers in his mouth to get them wet, sucking on them noisily, then brought them down to his ass. The resulting moan when he stuffed them inside was too lewd to be real. His claws hurt a bit, but it was for his love, so he didn’t mind. 

 

“Hey, I have an idea Sangwoo.” He panted between moans. “Do you want to see me again? I can put on the blindfold and you can watch me.” He squeezed the hero’s hand. “I trust you.” It was a risky decision, trusting Sangwoo so soon after he attempted to kill him, but then again, one does stupid things when they’re in lust love.

“I...yes?” It really wasn’t fair, now that Sangwoo thought about it, that Bum got to look at him all he wanted, and all Sangwoo got to see was the back of some red cloth. And, to be honest, he was kind of morbidly curious about what kind of monster the gorgon was packing. And, no, his acceptance of the offer had nothing to do with how pretty he thought Bum would probably look, riding his cock with wild abandon. “Yes.” 

 

“Okay, close your eyes now, and don’t open them until I tell you.” There was the sound of fabric shifting- probably Bum pulling off his tunic- and then some hands gently untying the blindfold around Sangwoo’s head. The piece of cloth was lifted off, and Bum, who had his eyes closed as well in case Sangwoo had accidentally opened them too early, tied it around his own eyes tightly. He peeked one eye open, and hummed. “Yup, can’t see anything. Wow, this is weird. Okay, you can open your eyes now, my love~” 

 

Sangwoo pried his eyes open warily. The gorgon’s eyes were indeed fully covered, and he was harmless for the time being. His face was every bit as sweet as Sangwoo remembered, perhaps made even more so by the scarlet blush painted across it. The gentle curves and overall snake-like grace of Bum’s body was very much appreciated by Sangwoo’s sight-starved eyes and his sex-starved cock, but then there was... that thing to contend with.

 

Why was it so big? Bum was so small! It was mostly humanoid, with skin that matched the rest of Bum’s pale body, but it had an odd dip in the center, and the tip was curved and more pointed than a human man’s would be. It was...frightening, and strange, but that did nothing to quell Sangwoo’s desire for the body it was attached to. 

 

He lifted his hands slowly and rested them against Bum’s skinny hips. Bum already sat just over his cock; it would only take a slight shift in position from him to be inside. “Are you ready?” 

 

Bum took a deep breath and nodded, then moved his hips to sink down on Sangwoo’s cock. Even with only the tip in, Bum was incredibly hot and unbearably tight inside. He gritted his teeth and sunk down lower. “You… you feel even larger inside than you look.” Bum panted. He was only an inch in and he was already trembling.  What a way to lose my virginity. 

 

Sangwoo sucked in a breath between his teeth. Bum was so tight, tighter than anyone he’d ever been with before- too tight to be pleasurable to him, and certainly not to Bum. There was a distinct lack of wetness around his dick, which told him that Bum hadn’t prepared himself well enough. He’d have to fix that.

 

“Hey, hey,” he soothed. “Get off a second.” Sangwoo was able to find enough strength in his arms to give the gorgon’s body a helpful push. Bum made a sound of protest, but Sangwoo rushed to assure him that this wasn’t over by guiding his scaly head towards his crotch. “Spit on it,” he ordered. 

“Wha–“ Bum looked confused, but he did what he was told, taking a moment to gather up spit in his mouth then spitting on the hero’s cock. And, just for the hell of it, Bum began trailing little kisses up the shaft of Sangwoo’s cock, making sure not to scrape it with his teeth or do anything to hurt the human. “Like that?” He asked when he was done, not noticing how some precum was smeared on his cute chubby cheek. 

 

“Good,” Sangwoo praised. His cock was twitching, eager for more stimulation after Bum’s teasing licks. “Good little monster. Now come on,” he cooed, letting his hands follow the gorgon’s body while he moved back into position. “Take what you want.” 

 

Bum’s face lit up like the sun at the praise, a surprisingly cute smile making its way onto his pale face, and obediently went back to sliding down on Sangwoo’s dick. He was still tight, but it was certainly easier this time. By the time he had gotten to the base, Bum’s eyes were rolled up in his head and drool dribbled from his red lips. “Feels good…” He mumbled under his breath, even without moving. It was painful at first, but the pain was quickly fading away into pure pleasure. 

The slickness of Bum’s spit made the slide of Sangwoo into him much better, and much easier. He could see the thin, sinewy muscles of the gorgon’s thighs twitching while he struggled to hold himself upright through the sensation, but in his weakened state, Sangwoo could do very little to help him. Bum was seated fully on his lap now, and Sangwoo was as deep inside him as he could get. The gorgon was warm inside- surprising since his skin was always so cold- and he was still insanely tight, but not so much that it was painful.

 

“Mmm,” Sangwoo hummed in approval. “Why don’t you show me what those hips can do?” he cooed, craning his neck to give Bum’s scarlet nose a kiss. “Can you move like a snake?” 

Bum laughed lightly, and nodded. Sure enough, he began to roll his hips, a bit unsteadily at first, but slowly working up to a rhythm. His moans and mewls filled the cave, looking every bit as sweet as Sangwoo imagined him to be. 

 

“Sangwoo,” He gasped “Love you…” He linked his fingers with one of Sangwoo’s hands, then brought his other hand to Bum’s stomach. “Feel.” He whispered. When he moved his hips just so, Sangwoo could feel his dick inside Bum, pumping in and out. 

“Oh, fuck.” Sangwoo had never been able to feel, let alone see, himself moving inside a partner before- then again, he’d never fucked anyone as skinny as Bum. The sight, paired with the sensation, had his balls tightening and his vision going blurry, and, judging by the ever increasing frequency of Bum’s moaning, they were both getting close. 

 

“You’re not gonna- nnn!” His voice was cut short when Bum figured out how to clench his hole around Sangwoo’s cock. “Fuck! You’re not gonna, like…” He panted and closed his eyes, struggling to gain enough compose to speak. “Is your cum going to burn me, or anything?”

Bum laughed. “I don’t think so but, ahhn, if you want I can try make sure nothing gets on you.” He pressed his lips shortly against Sangwoo’s. “I love you, Sangwoo. I really do.” Then with his loudest moan yet, Bum arched his back sharply and came, mouth dropping open and tightening harshly around his lover’s cock. Quickly he closed his hand around his cockhead, making sure all his cum spilled into his hand and not on Sangwoo. 

 

Bum’s orgasm had every muscle in his little body spasming and fluttering wildly. He tightened, and tightened, and tightened around Sangwoo’s cock, ripping an orgasm from his hero lover. 

 

Fuck, I may start to love you back if you make me cum like that again, Sangwoo thought, grunting through his orgasm, but being careful to keep his eyes open so he could see the beautiful, flushed mess he’d made of Bum. His cum splattered inside of Bum, coating his walls and making his last few faltering thrusts slide home easily. Sangwoo’s lifelong oral fixation always reared its head after an orgasm, and he found himself overwhelmed with the urge to kiss Bum’s plush, sharp-toothed mouth.

 

“Kiss me,” he ordered, though he sounded more like a beggar. “Kiss me, little monster.”

 

“I’m starting to like that nickname~” Bum joked. “As you wish, darling ♡” He leaned forward to kiss Sangwoo heavily, wrapping his arms around his thick neck. He was much more careful this time, and let his hero have control of the kiss. 

 

Sangwoo allowed the kiss to last until he’d come down from his orgasm, then he pushed Bum away gently. “You’re getting the hang of that,” he praised, still feeling amicable. “But you’ve gotta get off me.” Bum’s warmth and the stickiness of his own cum around his hypersensitive cock was becoming painful. 

Bum blushed in embarrassment. “Right, sorry!” Quickly he lifted himself off, but groaned in pain. “Ow, my ass hurts…” He grumbled. A hiss sounded behind him. “Shut up, not like that!”

 

He turned back to Sangwoo. “Sangwoo… That felt amazing. I’m so glad I could lose my virginity with you ♡” He nuzzled his hero’s neck. “You smell good~” His hand reached down to Sangwoo’s thigh. “Do you want me to clean you up?” 

“It was...pretty nice,” Sangwoo agreed. He wouldn’t go so far as to call it amazing, but he’d cut the gorgon some slack, with it being his first time and all. The visual of Bum, still blindfolded, still flushed, lapping his cum from his overheated skin was wildly appealing, though, and might help catapult the experience into amazing territory. “Sure, go ahead.”

Bum grinned excitedly, and immediately headed down to Sangwoo’s strong thighs. He gave one long lick from his inner thigh to his Adonis belt, humming in contentment at the taste of the hero’s cum. He swirled his tongue over the tip of Sangwoo’s sensitive dick, not stopping till all the cum was gone. 

 

“Good boy,” Sangwoo praised, always a weirdo after an orgasm. Their activities had left his muscles feeling even more unwound than before, and even though it was barely afternoon, he was feeling ready for a catnap. It was chilly in this cave, and he’d yet to receive any other clothes, so that left only one option for warmth- even if it was embarrassing. “Hey.” He reached down to grip Bum lightly under his arms. “Let’s lay down.” 

“O-Oh! Okay!” Bum seemed slightly embarrassed, despite what they just did. He laid down anyways, snuggling up to Sangwoo. For once, his body was actually warm. Some of the snakes in his hair darted out to lick the sweat from Sangwoo’s collarbone, but with a grunt from Bum they stilled and drew away. It seemed Bum’s dick had shrunken when flaccid- back to a much more manageable 5 inches, a little shorter than Sangwoo. Bum was about as cuddly as Sangwoo after an orgasm- then again, he never had anybody to lay with after an orgasm, let alone a handsome hero. 


Bum remained blindfolded as they cuddled together in an overheated, sex-scented heap. He seemed to have forgotten all about covering Sangwoo’s eyes again, and he wasn’t about to remind him. Sangwoo’s body was reawakening bit-by-bit, and if the gorgon stayed blind and docile, in a few hours he might be able to leave, get Thanatos, and go- but not right now. He was too exhausted to think of doing anything other than snuggling against Bum’s neck, as far away from his reptilian companions as he could get, and kissing the sweat-soaked skin he found there, until he drifted off to sleep. 


 

Bum awoke first, blinking sleepily and yawning. But despite opening his eyes, everything was dark. Just as he was about to panic, he remembered what happened just a few hours ago. He remembered kissing Sangwoo, and riding him, and getting praised by him. Plus, he was lying on something distinctly human. Bum sat up slowly as not to disturb Sangwoo, and took off the blindfold.

 

Ari hissed in greeting as Bum rubbed his eyes. “Hey, Ari.” Bum greeted back. “Did I miss anything while I was out?”

Ari shook his little reptilian head, then hissed again. Bum cocked his head. “You think the paralysis is wearing off already?” He smoothed a thumb over Sangwoo’s cheek, gazing at his calm sleeping face. “Perhaps. But something tells me he won’t bolt the moment he wakes up. We’re different now. I think he likes me, even if he doesn’t know it.” He curled a golden lock around his clawed finger. “Yeah, I get what you’re saying Ari. It might have been a heat of the moment thing, but it still happened. Unless he has short term memory loss, he’ll remember it too. I wonder how he’ll react…”

Bum glanced outside. The moon was already shining high in the sky. “Well,” He sighed “Guess the blindfold goes back on. Sorry, Woo.” He draped the red cloth over Sangwoo’s eyes and tied it firmly. “Please don’t be angry, my love. I know you loved it as much as I did.” He whispered, and kissed the hero’s nose. He smiled as Sangwoo’s nose twitched in his sleep.

 

Sangwoo wrinkled his nose and grunted against whatever was disturbing his sleep. His cracked his eyes open irritably, confused when he wasn’t able to see anything, then he noticed the weight of the cloth around his eyes. Oh. Right. Gorgon. Cave. Sex. Sex with a gorgon in a cave. Right. 

 

“Bum?” he groaned, sitting up. He stretched his arms broadly above his head, and straightened his legs out to drive off the stiffness. He would stand up and go find the gorgon himself, but he couldn’t-

 

Wait. He could stand up. He had just sat up on his own, moved his arms and his legs with ease. He decided to try it- moving to kneel first, then to try his weight on one foot, and then he heard little footsteps pattering across the cave floor. He sat back down again quickly, grunting when he landed squarely on his tailbone. 

 

“Sangwoo! You’re awake!” Bum said, and rushed over to Sangwoo’s side. “Good– wait a minute.” The gorgon narrowed his eyes. “You weren’t trying to escape again, were you? I saw you try to stand up.”

 

Sangwoo bit his lip, his eyes darting around suspiciously beneath his blindfold. “I was just- you know, I got some movement back, I just wanted to see-“ he stammered, taking note of the way Bum’s breathing had sped up and his snakes had begun a low chorus of hissing. “I was just testing the water, you know?” He hoped that answer was placating enough. 

Bum’s thin brows furrowed. “You’re lying!” He accused. “After all we’ve been through…” He ran a hand through his snake hair, and the snakes licked at his fingers in sympathy. “Goddammit, Sangwoo!!” Woah. Bum didn’t cuss often. “Do you want Ari to bite you everyday? Or would you rather be tied up?! I don’t want to restrain you all the time. I want to trust you, but you’re not really convincing me to!!” 

 

“I wasn’t, damn it!” Sangwoo, hurled back, purposefully remaining seated to not anger the gorgon further. “What, a man can’t stretch his legs after being fucking immobile for a week?” Yeah- maybe he might’ve left if Bum hadn’t come back when he did. But he didn’t, he was still here, even though he didn’t have to be. That had to count for something, right? It surely made a good case for his theory that he was going fucking insane, but there was no reason for Bum to go all Hera on him like that. 

 

Bum’s nostrils flared. “If you wanted to stretch your legs, you could have told me and I would have went on a walk with you!” He countered. “Just talk to me for once, for Zeus’ sake!” The snakes in the cave were starting to hiss again. “I–I—“ Suddenly Bum clutched his head in anguish. “I need to go. Clear my head. Snakes, make sure he doesn’t leave but don’t bite him. We’re just going in circles at this point.” And with that, he ran off into the night. 

Sangwoo didn’t even have time to get back on his feet before he was surrounded by a hoard of snakes of every size imaginable. There was a massive one that wrapped firmly around his trunk, pinning his arms to his sides, and another, thinner one that bound his ankles together. He could feel dozens more surrounding him on all sides, all ready to stick him should he even think about moving.  Zeus, this is weird,  he thought.  He has some kind of snake army, or some shit. How dramatic. 

 

Maybe Bum was just a dramatic being. The way he’d stormed off like that? Childish, honestly. Sangwoo wasn’t thinking about escaping then- he’d honestly just wanted to see if he was capable of standing again- but the gorgon wouldn’t listen to him. And honestly, the idea that him going somewhere meant he had to escape meant that this relationship wasn’t as peachy as Bum thought- not that there was any relationship there in the first place. Fuck, Sangwoo seethed. Stop overthinking this. He’s a monster. You’re a hero. You need to leave. 

 

You need to kill him did not come to mind. 

 

But did he want to leave? The sex was good. The gorgon said he loved him- it’d been years since Sangwoo had heard that. Bum had proven his humanity time and time again, first with his appearance, then with his forgiveness, and again when he helped Thanatos. The gorgon was strange, a bit overbearing and definitely needy, but he wasn’t evil. He wasn’t bad. Maybe he just needed someone to call his own, someone to belong to him. Maybe Sangwoo needed that as well. He heaved out a weary sigh and slumped back against the cave wall. At his movement, the cave came alive with a cacophony of furious hissing. 

“Hey!” he protested, as if the snakes could understand him. “Calm down, you slimy bastards.” The snake around his abdomen squeezed him, hard, but the hissing stopped. Sangwoo relaxed against the cool stone of the cave, shivering a little from the cold, and waited for Bum to return. There wasn’t much else he could do. 

 

Bum ran out to his garden- where he usually went when he needed to think. He sighed, sitting down in the grass by a random tree and looking up at the moon. He just didn’t understand what he was doing wrong. Sangwoo had clearly warmed up to him in the past couple of days. He no longer called him ‘beast’ or squirmed at every touch. Quite the opposite; he had opened up to Bum and touched him  very  intimately last night. Of course Sangwoo longed to be back with humans like himself, but Bum thought that  maybe,  just  maybe , he was actually getting somewhere with the hero.  Of course not. Just because you had sex doesn’t mean that he automatically loves you back. 

 

His claws dug into his right arm, and he hissed in pain as blood dripped from his arm. “Shit.” He muttered. He got up to search for some aloe in his garden to eb the pain, when something red and shiny caught his eye. 

 

The tree above him was most barren, except for one lone fruit- a pomegranate. Bum reached up to pick it, and turned it over in his hand. It was large and looked perfectly ripe. He suddenly remembered–  Sangwoo likes pomegranates, doesn’t he?  With that he made up his mind. Bum headed back to the cave, fruit in hand.

 

“Sangwoo.” He softly called as he entered his home. The snakes looked up and hissed at Bum. “Leave us alone for a while.” The snakes slithered off Sangwoo, albeit a little bit reluctantly. 

 

Bum came up to Sangwoo, and held out the pomegranate to him like a little kid handing their crush a present. “I got you this. You mentioned pomegranates once, right? This was the last one.” 

Sangwoo furrowed his brow, but held out his hand anyway. Bum placed something heavy and round, with a waxy outer shell, into his palm. He brought it to his nose and gave it a sniff- it was most certainly a pomegranate. He recalled the story he shared with Bum earlier, about his mother and her pomegranates. 

 

“I...thanks. They’re my favorite.” He forced a smile. Bum said nothing, so Sangwoo simply cracked into the fruit, bringing it to his mouth and eating voraciously of its ruby-red seeds, spitting out any pith that he came across. Although he couldn’t see it, he knew his face and arms were covered in dark rivulets of juice that was a shade of red he’d seen in only one other substance before- blood. 

 

He could not shake from his mind the image of the last time he’d ever seen his mother. She’d been wearing this particular shade of red, although her tunic was yellow. He’d never been able to discern what had gone wrong with his father that day. The elder Oh had always been a violent man, but he’d never had a murderous fit of mania like that. Whatever had overtaken his father had taken his mother as well, and Sangwoo did the only thing he could to avenge her. He remembers that day as one of many deaths- not only his parents’, but his own, in a way. The death of his innocence. The fruit tasted bitter suddenly. 

 

“Bum,” he barked, more harshly than he intended. “I never told you how my mother died.” 

Bum jolted at Sangwoo’s bark, the look on  his face morphing from fear and apprehension to confusion and curiosity. “Um… that’s right, you didn’t.”  Did I do something wrong? I thought he liked his mother…  “How… how did she die, then?” 

 

“My father killed her,” Sangwoo replied, curtly. “And then I killed him.” He stared hard at the darkness of his blindfold. “What do you think of me now, Bum? What crime is worse than patricide?” He took a large, angry bite of the dripping fruit in his hands. “Could you still love me, after that?” 

Bum stared at Sangwoo, eyebrows drawn together. “...Sure I can.” He replied slowly. “You had a legitimate reason. I know how much your mother meant to you. I can’t say I know how it feels like to have a father, because my father died when I was just a toddler so I didn’t really know him but,” He took a deep breath “I still love you. I always will. I think there are worse things than patricide, and… well, I don’t know what your father was usually like, but it was pretty awful of him to kill his wife. So maybe he deserved it.” Bum cast his gaze to the floor. 

“He did,” Sangwoo answered, with little more than a thought. “I’ve never told anyone,” he admitted. “I’d be executed. Everyone thinks he left to slay some sea beast and drowned.” He chewed thoughtfully on a mouthful of seeds. 

 

“If not for him, I never would’ve come here,” Sangwoo admitted. “I never would have learned to fight; I never would have run around looking for beasts to slay. I’m not sure that this is what I wanted to do with myself. I never gave it any thought, because it was useless. I only had two choices- I could be a hero, or I could be disowned, and die in the street. You can see which one I chose.” 

Bum did not speak, so Sangwoo continued. “Maybe neither of us had a choice in what we became,” he mused. “Sorry, I know I sound like some prick from the School of Athens or some shit.” He spit out a piece of pith onto the cave’s floor. “Thanks for listening, I guess.” 

 

Bum allowed himself to crack a weak smile. “That’s actually sorta comforting. No offense, but in the beginning I thought that you might be one of those heroes who kills just because it’s fun. They like seeing monsters- and sometimes people- die. I’ve seen some get almost like… a high off getting covered in blood. I… don’t really like those types of people.” He traced a nonsensical pattern on the cave floor. 

Sangwoo chuckled wryly. “There was a feeling of justice after the killings, sometimes,” he admitted. “When the beasts had done a lot of harm. But,” he glanced up at the gorgon and, though he could not see him, could picture him curled in on himself, looking young. “There would’ve been no pleasure in killing you. I’m glad that I didn’t.” 

Bum gasped softly, surprised, then blushed like a schoolgirl. “Oh… thank you.” He smiled shyly as if Sangwoo had just given him a lovely compliment. “I’m, um, glad I didn’t kill you too.” 

 

“Listen to us,” Sangwoo cooed, jokingly. “Like a couple of philosophical lovebirds.” He slammed his teeth down on his tongue as soon as he’d said the words, wishing that he could retract them. He hadn’t meant to say them, they just slipped out of his mouth like they’d been greased.  Blame it on the aphrodisiac qualities of the pomegranate, I guess.  “I mean...you know.” 

Bum’s eyes widened almost comically, even though Sangwoo couldn’t see them. “Lovebirds? ” He breathed in euphoria. He moved closer to the hero. “You mean it??” 

No, Sangwoo insisted, inwardly. Outwardly, he sighed. He could feel Bum’s breath on his face, coming in sharp, excited pants. There was no use in trying to make sense of this situation or of his feelings toward the gorgon. Sense was probably fake, anyway. He shrugged. “Sure.” 

 

Bum’s face lit up like it was Christmas, and if he was a cartoon there would be hearts in his eyes. Immediately he latched onto Sangwoo and snuggled up to him, nuzzling his neck. Just like that, his escape attempts were forgotten and all was forgiven. “I knew it! I’m so happy~ I love you, Sangwoo ♡” He cooed. 

Sangwoo scrunched his face up and attempted to wiggle out of the reach of dozens of tiny, flickering tongues. He knew he shouldn’t have said that, but Bum did seem happy, and, strangely, that made his heart flutter with something that might be happiness as well. He lifted his arms and wrapped Bum in a cozy hug, the first one he’d given in a long, long time. “Yeah,” was all he said in reply. 

 

Bum practically squealed in joy at Sangwoo’s hug, and quickly pecked him on the lips. “Yeah.” Bum echoed. This was probably one of the best moods he had ever been in, right next to losing his virginity. 

 

Sangwoo couldn’t help a grin at Bum’s excitement. He was acting like a delighted girl who’s been allowed to stay up past bedtime. It was endearing, to say the least. He could feel his inhibitions blowing away with the cool breeze that swept through the cave.  Fuck it, he thought. If he was stuck going to be here forever, he might as well enjoy it. He returned Bum’s little kiss with smiling lips. “Yeah?”

“Mmhmm.” Bum murmured. He yawned loudly, and his eyes drooped sleepily. “‘m gonna go to sleep now. Love you.” He closed his eyes, and within a moment was out like a light.

Sangwoo did not say it back, but squeezed Bum's thin shoulder affectionately. He stared at the cave ceiling drowsily, taking in Bum's soft hissing snores and the sounds of crickets outside, before he too slipped into a light slumber. 

Chapter Text

For the next month, Bum ended many of his sentences to Sangwoo with ‘I love you”, and never seemed to get tired of being affectionate with the hero. He now usually left Sangwoo free and unparalyzed, since he was pretty confident he wouldn’t escape at this point. Unfortunately being blindfolded was necessary, but sometimes Bum allowed the blindfolds to switch and let Sangwoo look at him instead. Sangwoo especially liked to look at Bum when they got more intimate. Bum had even grown into a much better kisser, thanks to practicing so much with his hero.

 

One day, while Bum was picking some red anemones when a snake brushed his ankle. “Hmm? Oh hello. What do we have here?” He squatted down and let the snake whisper into his ear. “ Another hero? Particularly violent too? Haven’t had one like that in a while. Well, just send Theos to bite him before he reaches the cave. Theos is pretty small and dangerous, right? I don’t want whoever this hero is to make it all the way here. It could potentially upset Woo.” The snake hissed in affirmation then slithered off, assumably to tell its brethren about the approaching hero. 

 

Night fell, and after a satisfying meal of roasted venison, Bum could be found dozing away underneath Sangwoo’s arm. All the snakes in the cave were asleep too, and all was peaceful and quiet. 

That is, until the crunch of footsteps sounded outside. At first they were light, but gradually they grew louder and louder. Soon, a dark figure holding a sword and shield stood at the mouth of the cave, eyes searching for it’s newest victim- the fearsome half Gorgon of Athens. 

 

Bum had assumed the role of the blind man for that evening, only after considerable pouting and sulking from Sangwoo. It’s not fair, he insisted. I only see you when we fuck. Let me look at you a little, just normally. Please, little monster? The gorgon was a sucker for pet names, so he relented, blindfolding himself and remaining that way for the better part of the evening.

Sangwoo was growing quite fond of his scaly companion. With Bum, there was never any need to build facades or keep up appearances. The gorgon was nice to cuddle and even nicer to fuck, and he’d learned not to gag Sangwoo with his tongue while they kissed. There were times Sangwoo thought he truly could be content with staying here, in this cave, forever. The outside world held little appeal anymore.

Tonight was one of those times. Sangwoo’s belly was full, and his heart was fuller. He had a lapful of cozy, cuddly gorgon and a warm fire crackling merrily a few feet away. The black scales of Bum’s hair-snakes caught the firelight and shone with all different colors of the rainbow, and he looked so peaceful with his eyes covered and his mouth curved up into an involuntary smile. Sangwoo thought he looked beautiful, really beautiful, for the first time. He was about to tell Bum so, when his thoughts were interrupted by the distinct sound of footsteps from the mouth of the cave.



“Bum,” he whispered, whipping around to gaze into the blackness of the cave’s opening. “Did you hear that?”

Bum grunted slightly in his sleep, but did not wake up. He simply cuddled closer to his lover. 

 

The figure stepped into the cave now, the fire illuminating his face. He was a large, muscular man, over 6 feet tall and carrying a bronze sword probably almost half his size. Scars covered his body, including a large one slashed across the bridge of his thick nose. His gaze fell upon Sangwoo and the gorgon. He narrowed his eyes. “...Are you a fellow hero?” He whispered. “Do not worry, my friend. I am here to help you. I have come to slay the monstrous beast and bring back its head for the King of Crete.” He cocked his head. “You look familiar. Who are you? ...No. I know of you– you are Oh Sangwoo of Thebes, are you not? Everyone assumed you were dead! Well done tricking him long enough for him to keep you alive.” He stepped closer. “Ah, you even blindfolded him! Excellent. This makes things a lot easier.” 

 

Sangwoo eased Bum’s lax body off of him and to the ground gently. He stood slowly and advanced towards the intruder, unsure of what he would do. This was his chance- the best one he’d ever have at escape. Bum was sleeping; he wouldn’t even feel his death. There would be no time for the gorgon to dwell on the pain- physical or emotional. Sangwoo could leave on Thanatos and return to his old life of glory and fame.

 

There would be no more assaults by dozens of tiny snakes who couldn’t seem to keep their tongues to themselves. There would be no more blindness, and no more paralysis, ever. There would also be no more fork-tongued kisses, no more comically enthusiastic cuddles, no more earnest late-night talks. So much would be gained by Bum’s death, but so much would be lost. Sangwoo stepped closer to the human. He’d made his decision. 

 

“Allow me, brother,” he pleaded, extending his hand. “Give me your sword. Allow me to slay the beast.” The hero looked wary. “Please. You may carry the honor, brother. I’ve no interest in it. I seek only revenge for my captivity these months.” He pushed his hand out again, more forcefully this time. “Please.”

The hero’s face hardened in understanding. Revenge was a goal common to practitioners of their trade. The heavy bronze hilt of a sword was thrust into Sangwoo’s hand. He weighed it and raised it carefully, delighted to discover that his strength had not suffered from this months’ immobility. Behind him, several snakes had risen and begun to hiss, but Sangwoo waved a hand behind himself to soothe them, hoping that they understood. 

 

“And what is your name, brother?” Sangwoo inquired of the ghastly hero. 

“I am Aeneas of Crete,” he replied, looking smug. “Slayer of beasts, bringer of justice, defender of the crown of Crete!”

Sangwoo snorted. He’d forgotten how pompous some of his fellow heroes could be. “Yeah, yeah.” He raised the sword. “Thank you, Aeneas of Crete.”

 

He brought the blade down on the hero’s thick neck in one swift, smooth motion, that felt as natural to Sangwoo as breathing. The flesh severed cleanly- this particular hero kept a fine blade- and his helmeted head fell to the cave floor with a resounding clang .

 

Bum jolted up, violently awoken from his sleep. “What was that noise? Sangwoo?” He felt around himself, only to feel cave ground. “Sangwoo?!” He repeated, sounding on the verge of panic. “Where are you? What happened? Sangwoo??” 

 

Sangwoo gave the hero’s severed head a kick and watched it roll to a far corner of the cave. It was immediately followed by a hoard of snakes, while the rest of the body was descended upon by even more- mostly the larger, hungrier ones. 

“It was nothing, my little monster,” Sangwoo assured, heading back over to where Bum sat, looking around frantically despite his blindness. “Just an unwelcome guest, but I’ve taken care of it.”  

 

“Oh…” Bum breathed a sigh of relief at Sangwoo’s appearance. “I thought you had left for a moment. I was about to take off my blindfold! Thank Zeus I didn’t.” The gorgon leaned against the human. “Wait– an unwelcome guest??” His thin eyebrows furrowed. “Did someone come here?” He got up unsteadily, and followed the hissing of the snakes until he came across the headless body of Aeneas. He bent down, and started when he felt a leg. “Ah! That’s– oh. That’s a body. And–“ He slid his hands up the fresh corpse until he got to the severed neck. “That’s a headless body.” The snakes hissed in agreement. Bum turned to Sangwoo, or at least tried to, considering he was blind. “Did you kill this man, Sangwoo?” He asked, staring a little to the left of his lover. 

 

“I did,” Sangwoo affirmed. He settled his hands on Bum’s shoulders. “He was…” Sangwoo took a moment to mull over what he’d just done. Aeneas wasn’t the first human he’d killed- far from it- but he was the second human he’d killed in defense of someone he loved. The first time, it had been too late for Sangwoo to save the one most precious to him. Luckily, this time, Sangwoo had prevailed. “He was going to kill you.” He pulled Bum to his feet and pulled him back against his chest. “I did it for you.” 

Bum blushed. “Y-You did? You defended me…” He turned around in Sangwoo’s arms and reached up to give him a quick kiss. “Thank you, my hero. But,” His face smoothed out into seriousness. “Why didn’t you leave? It would have been the perfect opportunity to escape, yet you stayed. Why?” 

 

Sangwoo sucked in a deep breath. He ran a trembling hand across Bum’s face, so open and earnest despite his eyes being covered. “I don’t want to leave,” he admitted. “I don’t want to be without you.” He bent down to press a line of kisses from the gorgon’s mouth to his ear. Once he reached it, he kissed its shell lightly, and spoke in a breathy whisper, so quiet it was almost inaudible: “I can’t leave you. I love you.” 

 

Bum’s mouth dropped open in shock, and his entire face went scarlet. And just like that, he began to cry, though they were happy tears. He hugged Sangwoo as hard as he could, and the hero could almost picture Bum’s eyes sparkling with delight and happiness. “I-I-I love you too, Sangwoo!” He sobbed. “I love you so, so much!” He stood on his toes and gave his hero a long, passionate kiss, trying his best to convey his love through it.

 

Sangwoo, tired of leaning to return Bum’s kiss, simply grabbed him beneath his plump ass and hoisted him upwards so that the gorgon could wrap himself around his waist. His body was still awash with adrenaline, both from the killing and from his confession, and Bum was light as a feather anyway. He ran his own words over and over again in his mind- I can’t leave you, I love you - trying to discern if he meant them or not. 

 

Surely he had to. He wasn’t the  type to throw that word around carelessly; he’d only ever said it to one other person. He’d just killed a fellow human, both to protect Bum and to preserve their relationship. Wasn’t that love?

 

Bum was growing over-eager in their kiss, nipping Sangwoo with his sharp teeth and coating his chin with spit. His cock had grown to massive proportions once again, and was trapped, twitching, between their bodies. 

 

“Excited, my little monster?” Sangwoo teased, pulling away. He grinned slyly at his gorgon, though Bum could not see him. 

“Ah– I’m sorry!” Bum rushed, embarrassment working its way onto his pretty face. “I can’t help it. I-I just– ahhh .” He tried to explain, but was cut off with a moan as Sangwoo grinded against him. Bum buried his face into the hero’s neck, trying to muffle his noises. He found Sangwoo’s pulse in his neck, and sucked a hickey over it.

 

Sangwoo pried Bum’s mouth off him when his skin began to get sore, and brought his face back up for another quick kiss. “Hey,” he mumbled against Bum’s lips, carrying him over to the palette where they usually slept. “Why don’t we try something new tonight?” He dropped Bum onto the mound of blankets and pointedly brushed his hand over the obscene bulge beneath Bum’s tunic. 

Bum blinked in surprise. “Something new? Like what?” He couldn’t help but twitch his hips as Sangwoo fondled him. Are we doing oral now? I don’t want to accidentally hurt him with my teeth, and there’s no way in Hades he could swallow me down. 

 

Sangwoo wasted no time peeling his own tunic off, then Bum’s, and tossing them aside. He kissed a line down Bum’s chest and stopped just above his cock, staring at it like the alien thing that it was, and mulling over his idea. “It’s a shame this thing never gets put to good use,” he began, flattening his tongue against the base of Bum’s massive cock and licking upwards. The skin of it was silky soft and warm beneath his tongue. “Maybe we should change that.” His ass was already clenching in protest at the thought, but he wanted this- and he’d have it. He was no coward. 

 

Bum could feel his face burning up. Woah, okay, definitely going into foreign territory here. “Wh-What are you suggesting, Woo?” He stammered, desperately wishing he could see Sangwoo right now. 

“I think you know exactly what I’m suggesting,” he cooed, crawling up Bum’s body and making sure his stomach dragged along the length of Bum’s cock as he went. “You don’t wanna fuck me, Bum?” 

Oh, Zeus. “O-Of course I do! But… I’m not sure it’ll fit. I mean, I have some olive oil but have you ever even bottomed before? You seem like you’ve always been a top.” Bum replied. His hands settled on Sangwoo’s hips. “...It would be nice, though.” 

 

Sangwoo scoffed. “What, you think I’m so deep in my machismo that I can’t handle a dick up the ass?” He nipped playfully at Bum’s chin, then rolled off of him. “Besides, you’re a special case. So why don’t you switch the blindfold and go get that oil?” 

 

Bum laughed at his joke. “Alright, alright. You know the drill. Close your eyes.” Bum gave Sangwoo one last kiss before taking the blindfold off and tying it around his lover, blinking at the sudden light. He stood up and walked to the corner of the cave, digging around for his bottle of olive oil. “Here it is!” He walked back to Sangwoo and handed into the hero. “I think you should prepare yourself. Your fingers are thicker than mine, and besides, I don’t want to accidentally claw up your insides.” 

 

Sangwoo sucked nervously on his bottom lip. “Right, right. Well- give me some, then.” He held his fingers out to Bum, who promptly poured a generous amount of oil over them. “Lay down, okay? On your back.” When it seemed Bum was in position Sangwoo knelt over him, and steadied himself with one hand on the cave floor. “Don’t- don’t laugh, alright?” he warned, his face growing hot. Bum snorted beneath him anyway, probably out of nervousness, and Sangwoo was laughing too, suddenly. 

“Shut up!” he chided, through laughter, as he attempted to work one oily finger into his ass. He bit his lip to avoid any more schoolgirl giggles, and forced one thick finger past the outer ring of muscle. He drew it in and out experimentally, delighting in the rough drag and the fiery sensation sweeping across his nerves. “Oh, yes,” he groaned, forcing a second finger in. The stretch was even better this time. He wasn’t able to reach his prostate from this angle, but he knew that Bum would hit it without any problems. With this in mind, he stuffed another finger inside himself and shoved his hips down against his hand with wild abandon in order to reach his goal sooner. 

 

Bum was growing even harder, if possible. “Yes, just like that. Can you add a fourth finger for me, baby? Just stretch yourself out real good– yes, perfect. You’re perfect.” Dirty words spilled from Bum’s mouth without even realizing it. He reached up to give Sangwoo a long kiss. “You ready, baby?” He whispered. “Don’t rush it. Go slow.” 

 

Sangwoo added the fourth finger, as instructed, and fucked himself on it until he could take them all with ease. He wasn’t quite sure his ass would ever be truly ready to take Bum, but he figured the stretch would be half the fun. He slipped his fingers out of himself with a wet sound, and groped the floor beside him until he found the vial of oil. He gripped Bum’s cock with one hand- it was so thick is fingers barely met around it- and poured oil over it with the other, working in each new stream as it fell. Once the gorgon was sufficiently coated, Sangwoo replaced the oil and pushed himself up on his knees, guiding Bum’s cock back to his entrance. He let the head mash bluntly against his hole a few times, but didn’t move to take him yet. Sangwoo drew several long, steadying breaths before gazing upwards at Bum, feeling distinctly that their eyes were meeting even though he couldn’t see. 

 

“Breathe. If you want to stop, tell me.” Bum reassured him. He squeezed Sangwoo’s hips lightly, then helped him slide down till the head was in. “You okay?” 

 

The initial penetration was jarring, and Sangwoo’s muscles all clenched in protest, but there was enough oil both inside him and on Bum to make the slide easy. He took several deep breaths, willing his teeth to unclench and his muscles to relax. Once he was able, he shifted the position of his hips and shoved himself down a few more inches, wincing in surprise at how intense the stretch was. “Fuck,” he grunted, reaching down to white-knuckle the fabric of their palette. 

 

Bum rubbed soothing circles on Sangwoo’s back. Sangwoo wasn’t even halfway down but he already looked like he was reaching his limit. Meanwhile, Bum was two seconds from giving into his instincts and just fucking the shit out of his lover. Sangwoo was so tight and hot , and he felt so fucking good. Accidentally Bum bucked his hips, right into Sangwoo’s prostate, and immediately apologized. “Sorry– sorry, that was an accident!” 

Sangwoo gave a strangled shout at the firecracker burst of pleasure that shot through his discomfort. “Gods,” he groaned, rocking his hips wildly, in search of that spot. “Gods, Bum, do that again!”

The gorgon obliged him, bucking up shallowly into his lover’s ass, trying his hardest not to thrust too forcefully. While their movements were working Bum deeper inside Sangwoo little by little, both were climbing towards orgasm rapidly, and it seemed improbable that Sangwoo would manage to take all of his lover before the end. 

 

“Bum,” he chokes. “Bum, I can’t- I’m gonna- please…” he choked, tossing his head around at the dizzying pleasure. 

“Yeah? You’re gonna cum? Me too– shit! ” Bum gritted his teeth, and forgetting to be gentle, began fucking into Sangwoo’s tight hole, every thrust of his hips getting faster. Bum forced his eyes open and gazed at his lover. So fucking perfect. The hero was flushed and sweaty, dick pressed against his stomach and moaning Bum’s name. The gorgon decided to help him out a little, and began to jerk the hero off, all while slamming into him.

 

Bum was slamming into him too hard to be truly pleasurable, but there was just so much stimulation, from the stretch to the drag to Bum’s sweaty hand around his cock- it quickly became too much, and before Sangwoo even had a chance to brace himself, he was coming, clamping down impossibly tighter on Bum’s cock while his own spasmed and squirted. 

 

“Ah, shit ,” he groaned, his knees giving out from under him. He caught himself on his elbows, so as not to crush Bum, but couldn’t find the energy to move any further. Bum’s hips were still pistoning wildly in and out of him, and Sangwoo was so relaxed from his orgasm that the penetration was only mildly uncomfortable. He pressed his face against Bum’s boney chest, nuzzling him and breathing deeply of his cool, citrusy scent. “Love you,” he mumbled. 

Sangwoo’s words were the final thing that pushed Bum over the edge as he came in Sangwoo’s ass, some cum squirting out onto Sangwoo’s back and thighs. He let out a truly animalistic growl, eyes clenching shut and heart beating wildly in his chest. Once the orgasm ended, with some difficulty he slipped out of Sangwoo, leaving his ass stretched and full of his cum. “Ahh… love you too, Sangwoo.” He muttered back. He had never came so hard in his life, let alone pump out that much cum. He was truly blissed out after that orgasm, smilingly hazily at the cave ceiling. He ran a hand through Sangwoo’s tousled hair, lazily combing through it. 

 

Sangwoo had never felt so thoroughly wrecked in his entire life. His legs had turned into limp slabs of gelatin; he could barely find the energy to breathe, let alone care about the cum dripping out of his ass. Mustering the last bit of his willpower, he rolled off of Bum and onto his back, curling up into the gorgon’s slide and hiding his face, content to never move again. 

 

Bum chuckled. “Tired?” He wrapped his arm around Bum’s waist. “Sorry if your ass hurts. That’s just the life of a bottom.” He kissed the top of Sangwoo’s head. “I’m sorry if I went too rough. I… couldn’t control myself at the end.” He nuzzled Sangwoo. “I love you, darling.” 

Sangwoo tried to say something coherent- really, he did- but nothing more than noncommittal groans would come out of his mouth. He gave up and simply gave Bum’s neck a sloppy, open mouthed kiss, hoping that it conveyed everything he wanted to say. He fell asleep to his lover’s soft humming, accompanied by a chorus of soft, contented hissing.

 


 

 

When Bum woke up, his senses were assaulted with many things at once. He groaned and sat up, rubbing his eyes and wrinkling his nose. “What’s that smell…?” He looked around the cave. First, he saw a partially eaten headless body, and in the corner, a decapitated head that had once belonged to a great warrior, also half eaten. Then there were two hastily discarded tunics, and a bottle of olive oil on top of the clothes. He finally looked down to see his lover peacefully sleeping besides him, which wasn’t a new sight, until Bum’s eyes fell upon Sangwoo’s backside. “Holy Hera.” He whispered in awe. There were bruises on Sangwoo’s hips, and dried cum all over him- his own on his stomach and chest, and what must be Bum’s on his back, thighs and ass. How the hell – then the gorgon remembered last night. How Sangwoo had killed one of his own kind to protect Bum, how he confessed his love, how he let Bum fuck him for once. Bum slowly lay back down. Last night was probably the best night of my life. He stared at the sleeping Sangwoo lovingly. And now it’s official. He’s all mine. 

 

Sangwoo wiggled his head away from the tickling fingers that carded through his hair. He shifted his hips around, trying to move away from the gnawing ache between them. “What the…” Oh . Right. He was a switch now, apparently. He was also in love, if he remembered correctly. Sangwoo became suddenly very aware of Bum beside him, probably gazing down on him and smiling. His cheeks grew warm. “Um. Good morning?” 

“Good morning, my love.” Bum cooed. “How are you feeling? We had… quite a wild night last night.” 

 

Sangwoo breathed a laugh. “I’m alright. My ass, though…” He was kind of glad to be blindfolded- at least that way he couldn’t see the mess that had been made of him. “My hips aren’t doing too great either.” He felt Bum tense beside him. “But I’m good! I’m good,” he assured him. “Really...last night was...great. Truly.” He pecked whichever part of the gorgon’s face was closest to him- he couldn’t really tell which. 

 

Bum giggled at the peck. “That’s good. But… well, I’m not gonna sugar coat it. You look like a fucking mess.” A snake hissed next to him. Bum laughed. “Apparently we were so tired we both slept for 10 hours.”

 

Another snake hissed, and the smile immediately dropped from his face. “ What? Theos is… Theos is dead?” His face got even paler. “He beheaded Theos? That’s– that’s just cruel! He was so small! True, I sent him there to stop him but… oh no, poor Theos…” Bum covered his face. 

Sangwoo frowned at his lover’s sudden drop in mood. Theos? he wondered. Who…? A snake, probably. Snakes were slimy, scaly creatures who never failed to creep Sangwoo out, even if only a little, no matter how much time he spent around them. Even so, it was clear that this Theos meant a lot to Bum, and Bum meant a lot to him. He reached up to rub his lover’s back gently, searching for words to comfort him. He remembered Thanatos- his own grief at losing his companion, and his joy when he’d been brought back. Of course! Bum could just go find his little snake friend, do whatever little voodoo he possessed, and problem solved! No need to be sad. 

 

“Hey,” he said, soothingly. “Why don’t we go on a walk and find him? You can heal him, just like you did Thanatos!” He gave his lover a chipper smile, even as his sore ass twinged in protest at the mention of a walk. 

“That’s… that’s actually a good idea–“ But another snake hissed. “He burned Theos?! Why?” The snakes in Bum’s hair were beginning to get angry, judging by their spitting and snapping, though Bum seemed more anguished than anything. “He didn’t wanna risk anything, huh? That’s smart.” Now Bum sounded depressed. He glanced over at the body. “Gods, I wanna burn him now.” 

He turned back to Sangwoo. “Theos was one of my smallest snakes. I had actually heard that there was a hero out to get me, but I sent Theos to stop him, and he had never failed me before, so I was confident that there was no risk the hero would actually get past Theos. Now with Theos decapitated and burned, it’d be extremely difficult to locate him and bring him back.” He explained. 

 

Sangwoo worried his lip. “I’m sorry, little monster.” He sat up slowly and pulled Bum into a warm embrace. “I wish there was something I could do. I love you.” He kissed his lover’s temple sweetly, trying to think of anything he could do to help. 

That seemed to help a bit, as Bum relaxed slowly, and buried his face in Sangwoo’s strong chest. “Thank you.” He whispered. “I–I need to pull myself together.” He took a deep breath. “Thank you, Woo.” He said again. 

Sangwoo rubbed his back in soothing circles, his brow furrowed in thought. “They really mean a lot to you, huh? These little snakes.” He looked around the cave as if he could see in anything. He didn’t need sight to know that the floor was littered with dozens of reptiles of all sizes and colors. “They’re like...your family or something.” It made sense- according to Bum he’d had no one else since he was five years old. 

 

“Mmhmm. I have you now, though.” A chorus of hisses sounded behind him. Bum chuckled. “Don’t worry guys, that doesn’t mean I’m giving you up.” He pecked Sangwoo on the cheek. “It just means we’ve got a new member to the family!” He leaned in to whisper in Sangwoo’s ear, “Thank you for staying with me, Sangwoo. Thank you for loving me back. You’ve made me so happy. I owe everything- my life, my happiness, my heart- to you.” It sounded cheesy as fuck, but it was all true. 

Sangwoo gave a lopsided grin, chewing on one side of his lip to keep from smiling embarrassingly wide. “You precious little monster, you,” he cooed, tackling Bum onto their palette and ruffling his hair. He attacked Bum’s face- sweet and beautiful even if he couldn’t see it- with sloppy kisses, earning him a song made of happy sighs and sharp laughter. He stilled after a moment and pushed himself up over Bum, his face taking on a serious edge. “Listen,” he began, sitting up fully and taking one of Bum’s little bronze-tipped hands in his own. “I know you think I’m doing you some kind of favor, staying here and all, but to tell you the truth,” he brought the hand to his lips and kissed it, “you’ve made me far more rich than any king ever could. I really do love you.” His eyes grew waterlogged, and he was grateful that his blindfold hid them. 

 

Bum blushed deeply, and smiled with both embarrassment and happiness. “Tha–” Sangwoo is probably tired of me saying thank you. “I’m so glad, my love. Now I– no, now we won’t have to be alone anymore.” He kissed Sangwoo’s forehead in return. “I wish I could look into your eyes, just once.” He admitted. 

 

“Oh.” Sangwoo pressed his lips together. He’d never really thought of that- of the experience of looking into his lover’s eyes. He’d always been too preoccupied with not being turned to stone to miss any loving glances that might’ve existed between them. “I mean...that’d be nice. Maybe there’s a way.” 

 

“Do you know what color my eyes are? They’re green. And they turn red when I petrify people… I think. Actually, I’ve never had the chance to take a long look at myself. I’ve glanced at my reflection a couple of times in the river but other than that I… don’t really know… what I truly look like.” His voice got very quiet at the end, and he looked very troubled and almost sad in a way. “I mean, I know I have black snakes for hair and bronze claws but other than that… Sangwoo, what do I look like exactly?” He asked.

 

“You’re beautiful,” Sangwoo told him. Bum laughed. “Don’t laugh! I mean it!” He reached out and shoved his small shoulder. “Your face is precious. You almost look like you should be a woman!” He kissed Bum’s apple-colored lips. “Aphrodite has blessed you, little monster, even if Athena didn’t.” 

Bum smiled shyly and blushed. “Is that why you like me? Because I look like a woman?” He teased. “Come on Woo, be descriptive! I’m not just fishing for compliments here. Do I have any marks on my face? Pimples or moles or something?” 

 

“Who do you think I am, Sappho?” Bum huffed in annoyance- clearly he wasn’t letting this go. “Okay, okay. Let’s see…” Sangwoo tried to recall every detail of the gorgon’s face. “Your face is very round. Pointy chin, and red scales on your jaw. Your cheeks are chubby.” Bum gave an offended snort. “They’re cute, though! So cute!” Sangwoo rushed to defend. “Little, stubby nose that I could kiss all day long.” Sangwoo leaned it to do just that, earning him a delighted squeal. “I can’t tell if you blush easily, or if you just look that way because I only see you when things are heating up.” Sangwoo grinned lopsidedly. “I can’t do you justice, my little monster.” 

 

“I think I just blush easily.” Bum replied, doing exactly what he just said. “I know my body is extremely different than yours. I need a magic snake just to pick you up! Then again you are really heavy.” He poked Sangwoo’s side in jest. 

“You are a bit on the twiggy side, babe,” Sangwoo admitted. “But you’ve been up here living off rats and gardening your whole life, so that’s to be expected. And besides,” Sangwoo eased an arm around his beloved’s waist. “I like my men smaller. Easier to hold, you know?” He trailed both hands downward to the smallest part of Bum’s waist and squeezed, delighted when his fingertips touched. “You aren’t lacking where it counts, though,” he assured him. His hands trailed lower to drive his point home. 

 

Bum grinned and winked even though Sangwoo couldn’t see it. “Yeah, I’m smaller than you except for that thing. You couldn’t even get halfway, remember?” Bum loved teasing his hero like this. 

Sangwoo pouted. “First of all, snakes-for-brains, I was talking about your ass. Second of all, I’d like to see you take that thing! That shit’s the size of an arm!” His ass twitched painfully in remembrance. 

 

Bum giggled. “I could totally take it. If I had something the size of it, I’d take it, right here, right now.” He boasted. “Second, you really like my ass that much?” He grabbed Sangwoo’s hand and led it down to his ass, then let him squeeze the thick flesh. “I’m flattered. ” 

“You’d better watch your mouth before I hold you to your word, babe,” Sangwoo teased, making a fist and slapping it against Bum’s ass a few times. “Not really,” he rushed to amend. “That’s some real freaky shit; I don’t do that.” Yeah, because having sex with a half-human with a massive monster dick totally doesn’t qualify as freaky. I’m as vanilla as they come. Sangwoo rolled his eyes behind his blindfold and flopped back down on the palette. “In all seriousness- are we going to lay here all day, or are we going to do something?” 

 

“Aww, really? That’s too bad~” Bum wrapped a snake-lock around his finger. “There goes my fantasies then.” He laughed. “I dunno, can you even move ? Your ass looks pretty fucked up. If we did anything I’d probably have to carry you like a pretty pretty princess~” He cooed. “Ah, but maybe we should take a bath. It should be warm enough outside that the water shouldn’t be ice cold.” 

Sangwoo hummed in agreement. “But just know I’ll crawl before I let you carry me anywhere.” Bum gave him a playful smack on the arm, but helped him stand on his sore, shaking legs anyway. They made their way slowly to the river, still naked, with Sangwoo stifling a grunt with every step he took so as not to worry Bum. 

 

Despite Sangwoo’s protests, Bum helped Sangwoo into the water as gently as if one was helping a frail old lady. The river was rather calm today, only a slight breeze making it move. To Bum’s cold blood the water felt like warm bathwater, but to Sangwoo it felt mildly cool but refreshing. “How’s that?” Bum asked, lowering himself till his chin touched the water. 

 

“Yeah, yeah,” Sangwoo said noncommittally, settling against a large rock whose coolness felt nice on his sore back. He chewed thoughtfully on his lip. “You said you’d seen yourself in the river, right? Your reflection?” Bum hummed in affirmation. “Do you think that...I could?”

 

Bum bit his own lip. “It’d be risky as hell. I’m not…” He sighed. “Alright. Eyes trained on the water, okay?” Bum swam over to Sangwoo, and pulled up to sit on the bank. Taking a deep breath, Bum stared at himself in the clear water. Though it wasn’t the best, he could still see his reflection. Bum tilted his head, examining his features. What Sangwoo described was true– though Bum wasn’t that attractive as his lover claimed. “Huh… interesting. I’ve always been too afraid to stare directly at the reflection but it seems the water acts as a buffer of some sorts so I don’t petrify myself.” He mused. “That’s helpful to know.” 

 

Sangwoo brought his hands around to the knot that secured his blindfold. “Can I look now?” 

 

He pulled the piece of cloth away at Bum’s affirmation, and gazed fixedly down at the water. His movement had created a disturbance on the water, but once the ripples cleared, he found himself staring into a pair of wide, mesmerizingly green eyes, set deeply in the plump little face he adored so much. 

 

Sangwoo’s face split into a grin like a boulder splitting in the wake of an earthquake. He hadn’t had any expectations for this moment, because, frankly, he never thought it would come. Even if he had, he wouldn’t have been disappointed. Bum was beautiful, every part of him. “Hey, little monster,” he whispered after a long pause. His voice was a reverent whisper. “Nice to see you.” 

A new thing Sangwoo learned about Bum today: His blush spread up to his temples, and when he smiled his eyes crinkled. “Hello, my handsome hero.” He whispered in reply. “I had forgotten how brown your eyes are. They’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.” 

 

Sangwoo didn’t reply to that- he knew he looked good. He spent a few more moments gazing into Bum’s eyes in the water’s reflection, imagining a life where they wouldn’t have to do this, where they could be just normal lovers. The fantasy brought him no joy, however. To change even one thing about Bum would be to change him entirely. Sangwoo loved him just as he was- snakey hair and flashing eyes and all. To tell him so, he squeezed his eyes shut and surged up to kiss Bum, grateful that for once their faces could meet unobscured by cloth. 

Mmm!” Bum made a muffled squeak of surprise, eyes wide in surprise before snapping shut as he realized was happening. He eagerly returned the kiss, wrapping his arms around Sangwoo’s neck and tilting his head to kiss him better.

 

Sangwoo pulled away after a moment, laughing at the string of saliva that pulled between them. He slapped one hand over his eyes quickly, the other groping around for his now soaking wet blindfold. “Eyes shut, Bumie?” 

Bum flushed and nodded. “Yeah. I like that nickname…” He mumbled. For some reason, kissing his lover without any blindfold separating them felt different than a regular kiss with the cloth. His lips tingled slightly. 

 

The pair stayed in the water for a while longer, splashing and throwing stones. Sangwoo’s aim was thrown off a bit by the fact that he was completely blind, and Bum had to dodge more than a few wayward tosses. Their play was interrupted eventually by a loud grumble from Sangwoo’s stomach. 

 

“Guess I’m hungry,” he blushed. His nose wrinkled at the thought of their lunch selection back at the cave- venison, venison, and...venison. Not terribly appealing anymore. An idea came to mind, one almost too hopeful to be entertained, but hey- you drop 100% of the discii you don’t throw, or something like that. “Hey, Bumie?” he swam towards his companion. “You ever had barley bread?” 

Bum blinked. “Um, no? What is that?” He pulled up on the bank. “I assume it’s some food– how are we gonna get it? I don’t grow barley.” 

 

“Well, obviously.” Sangwoo laughed at the idea of Bum, with a scythe and a wide-brimmed hat,  tending fields of grain. “I thought...you know- if Thanatos was feeling up to it, of course- I could ride into town and grab us some things.” He put on his most charming smile and hoped he was projecting it in the general direction of Bum. 

 

Bum raised an eyebrow. “Into town? Hmm… Well…” He nibbled on his claw. “I trust you, but my snakes probably don’t… You don’t mind if one comes with you, do you? It won’t be Ari or any poisonous snake.” 

Sangwoo pursed his lips. If he was going to run off (he wasn’t!), what could twelve inches of non-venomous scaly lapdog do to stop him? He understood that Bum saw the snakes as an extension of himself, and that sending one with him probably made him feel like he was accompanying Sangwoo, but still. “Horses are spooked by snakes, you know,” he tried to reason, but relented at Bum’s worried squeak. “But as long as I carry it in a bag or something, there should be no problem. Which one were you thinking?” 

 

Bum tapped his chin. “Um… Soph, maybe? He’s usually pretty docile. And he’s small enough to fit in a bag. How much money do you need? I have… a couple hundred drachmas? All from the heroes that, uh, ‘visited’ me.” 

Sangwoo stumbled blindly as he made his way out of the river. “I knew you had a hoard of riches holed up here somewhere,” he teased. “All monsters do.” Bum followed him out of the water and threw himself against Sangwoo’s side in a half-hearted attempt at a tackle. “Nice try, Bumie.” He wrapped the gorgon in a snuggly headlock. “Really, though- one drachma will be enough to get us all the bread we could eat in a month.” 

Bum squealed at the headlock, and tickled Sangwoo’s side, trying to make him let go. “Wait, really? That’s so cheap! I’m surprised. Then again, I don’t really know how things are usually priced, since I’m holed up here all the time.”

 

Bum was an oddity. He had immense knowledge of things like plants and wildlife, and he knew all of the quintessential stories that made up Grecian religious mythos, but he knew almost nothing of things like money or etiquette. Sangwoo made a point to ask him where he’d learned the various things he knew- but that could wait. He busied himself putting on the tunic and the cloak Bum found for him, and shouldering the little leather satchel, heavy with silver coins and a scaly, squirmy coil Sangwoo could only assume was Soph. Bum lead him carefully to the mouth of the cave, and Sangwoo noticed a distinct shake in his step. 

 

“I’m going now, Bumie,” he said, once he could feel the warmth of the sun on his face. He took Bum’s face in his hands and felt it blindly until he came across a plush mouth, then he replaced his fingers with his own lips for a quick kiss. Bum’s lips trembled. “I should be back before nightfall.” 

 

Bum bit his lip. “Just… be careful, okay? And, um, obviously take off your blindfold when you’re far away enough.” He was radiating nervousness. “I trust you.” Don’t make me regret this. He thought, but didn’t say it out loud. He squeezed Sangwoo’s arms like a worried mother. “I love you.”

 

Sangwoo would tell his lover not to worry if he thought it would do any good, but he knew words would do nothing to calm Bum’s frantic nerves. “I love you,” was the only parting he gave before turning and snatching his blindfold off. 

 

The sun was bright, glaringly so, where it shone off of the fool’s gold that littered the ground in this area. Sangwoo squinted off in the distance until he saw the almond tree where Thanatos was tied, and broke into a brisk run towards his horse. 

“Hey, buddy!” he called, wrapping his arms around Thanatos’ neck once he reached him. The stallion neighed happily, relieved to hear a familiar voice, and licked Sangwoo’s face in greeting. Sangwoo was grateful to find that the patch Bum had chosen for his friend had plenty of grass for grazing, and was near enough to the river that Thanatos could drink at will. “You miss me?” Sangwoo carefully removed the thick piece of linen draped over the horse’s head to blind him while patting his nose soothingly, so he wouldn’t spook. Thanatos blinked and snorted at the sunlight that assaulted his eyes, kicking irritably at the ground and shaking his head. “Easy,” Sangwoo soothed, moving to the tree trunk to untie the rope. “Wanna go for a ride?”

Thanatos’ black ears perked up immediately at the word ride . He shook his head around wildly and gave a disbelieving neigh. “Yes, really ,” Sangwoo assured, using a small boulder as a stool to swing up onto his horse’s back. His ass twinged almost unbearably at the sudden movement, but it felt so good to finally be back in the saddle that he simply grit his teeth and ignored it. Thanatos shared his excitement, it seemed, because the moment he felt Sangwoo’s thighs at his side, he reared up on his hind legs and took off in the direction of the nearest road, nearly bucking his master off and sending his leather satchel flying about wildly. Sorry, little snake , Sangwoo thought.

 

It seemed Thanatos knew where he was going as he galloped furiously down the ragged trail towards Athens, so Sangwoo spared a glance back towards home. He could make out the shape of Bum’s form in the mouth of the cave, and raised his hand to wave at his lover. At this distance, there was no chance of their gazes meeting fully, so Sangwoo stared back until Bum returned his wave, although the motion was reluctant. 

 

“I really hope he’ll come back…” Bum mumbled to himself. Ari hissed comfortingly, and wrapped around Bum’s ankle. 

 




The nearest town was small, but had a fairly good-sized market. The people were friendly enough, but many on the poorer side. This season, there were several more booths in the market than usual, not only selling food, but also seeds, clothes, and jewelry. 

 

A man manning a table full of necklaces and rings called out to Sangwoo. “Hello sonny! Care to look at some of my wares? I’ve got the perfect necklaces for your spouse!” 

 

Sonny? Who the hell does he think he’s talking to? Sangwoo seethed, his old hero pride stung out of hiding by the man’s disrespect. He calmed himself quickly- he’d kept his cloak drawn up around his ears, making him far less recognizable. He spared the man a passing glance, having no intention of buying whatever he was hawking, until he processed the man’s final word- spouse

I’ve got a spouse , he reminded himself. Well, sort of. And wouldn’t it be grand to surprise Bum with something beautiful, like a necklace? The gorgon was no doubt on the verge of hysteria, awaiting his return with bated breath. What better way to calm his love’s nerves than with a gift?

 

“What have you got, sir?” Sangwoo inquired, stepping closer. The formal title- sir- addressed to someone lower than he tasted bitter in his mouth, but he forced himself to smile. The man grinned the kind of grin only a merchant was capable of and swept a wrinkled hand across his table. 

“Gold, silver, bronze! I’ve got rubies and emeralds, I’ve got onyx, I’ve got ivory. Take your pick, young man!” 

Sangwoo appraised the offerings. One looked particularly appealing- a large collar-style necklace with golden fringe, dotted with gleaming rubies. It would offset Bum’s scales beautifully. He reached for it, intent on purchasing it, when the sensation of scales climbing up his arm caused him to jerk back.

 

“What in Hades?” Sangwoo whispered acerbically, drawing his cloak over his satchel to conceal the pale pink snake currently crawling out of it. The snake, Soph, hissed at him and shook his head in a gesture that was surprisingly human. “What? What, you don’t like my taste in jewelry?” Another shake of the little flat head. 

Sangwoo’s eyes darted around frantically, praying to every god he knew of that no one saw him whispering to the literal snake in his pants- no euphemism here. Luckily, the vendor was preoccupied with heckling other wouldbe customers, and Sangwoo was left unnoticed. “Alright then,” he whispered. “Which one do you think he’ll like?” 

Oh, Zeus , Sangwoo anguished, when a moment passed with no reply from Soph. I’ve really, truly lost my mind. I’m hallucinating a snake nodding at me. I’ve got to- but he was able to breathe a relieved sigh when the reptile continued to slither down his arm, towards the table. He flicked his little tongue out towards a thin piece of gold, fashioned into a coiling bracelet meant to be worn up the arm. Unsurprisingly, it had at each end the head of a snake, and a shining ruby at its center.

 

“Vain, much?” Sangwoo scoffed, quickly yanking the snake back up into his satchel like a piece of rope. Although, the bracelet might be a good choice. It would look beautiful, accentuating Bum’s stick-thin arm, and the ruby would match his scales. The snake design would show that Sangwoo had thought about it- not simply grabbed the first pretty thing he saw. He hoped the snake wouldn’t snitch and tell that he’d had some help with shopping.

 

“I’d like this one, please,” Sangwoo demanded of the vendor. He thrust the snake bracelet beneath the man’s hooked nose, and fished in his satchel for a few silver coins. The reptile within gave his hand an approving lick. 

“Sure thing, sonny!” Again with the nickname . “Good choice- ruby and gold, both very precious. I’m sure it’ll make your lover very happy!” He accepted the coins, and Sangwoo stuffed the bracelet in his satchel. “I’m here all week, so if you need to exchange it or need another one you know where to find me!” The vendor called after Sangwoo as he walked away. 

 

The woman behind the booth selling bread and other baked goods smiled when Sangwoo approached her table. “Hello! What’s a handsome young man like you doing here shopping all alone at a place like this?” She cooed, apparently attempting to flirt with Sangwoo. Her face looked very much like the loaves of bread she was selling, and her arms were about as thick and lumpy as dough. She smiled, showing off her crooked teeth and missing canines. 

Sangwoo wrinkled his nose in distaste as the woman shimmied coyly out from behind her booth. She leaned heavily on the table, the folds of her tunic gripping her lumpy body unflatteringly. He quickly scanned the marketplace in search of another bread seller- after all, bread was the only reason he’d come here in the first place- but he grimaced when he found none.

“Actually,” Sangwoo replied, dryly, stepping towards her. “I’ve come here in place of my wife .” He put extra emphasis on his final word and bit back a grin as the woman’s saggy face drooped even further. “She’s ill, you see,” he continued, selecting a few weighty loaves of barley bread and one honey cake for good measure. “I just love her so much, of course,” he cooed, tossing the loaves on the counter. “It pains me to see her unwell, so I’ve come to do the shopping for her, to save her the strain.”

The woman scowled. “Fine,” she spat, gazing hard at the ground. “That’ll be two drachmas.”

Two drachmas was far more than what a half-dozen loaves was worth, but he knew the woman was just attempting to spite him. Little did she know that’d he’d be willing to pay ten times that if only to be rid of her and back in the loving arms of his poor, sick wife sooner. Sangwoo had forgotten his disdain for interacting with other humans. 

She handed Sangwoo the loaves and honey cake with a huff. “Have a nice day.” She said, forcing a smile. It seemed Sangwoo had ruined her nice day– not that he cared. 

 

Other vendors beckoned to Sangwoo, trying to lure him in with claims of the softest tunics in all of Athens , or a silver cup that keeps your water cool, even in the sun! 

Sangwoo rolled his eyes at their pitiful salesmanship- he felt confident most of these vendors couldn’t sell water to a fish. He headed toward where he’d tied Thanatos in a beeline, when he saw something strange out of the corner of his eye.

 

Is that a...dick? Surely not. Who would be brazen enough to hang a painting of a penis over a market booth. He glanced back behind him and, sure enough, there was a massive, black painted dick on a terracotta sign hanging over a shadowy booth, tucked into a corner. Sangwoo blinked in surprise. What on earth could the booth be selling?

Dicks, probably. Sangwoo stepped closer cautiously, craning his neck a bit to see inside the booth. Dicks, indeed. Large ones, small ones, even larger ones- all painstakingly carved out of smooth, white marble. Sangwoo felt a distinct pull towards the table, and the shadowy, veiled woman who operated it. In his mind, Bum’s earlier words echoed: If I had something the size of me, I’d take it right here, right now. He grinned slyly. We’ll see about that, my love. 

 

Sangwoo drew his cloak more fully over his face and approached the booth. “Ahem,” he coughed, to draw the attention of the owner. “Give me the largest one you have.” He kept his gaze pointedly trained on the flagstone beneath his feet.

“Ah, feeling adventurous, are we?” the woman cooed. 

Oh, no , Sangwoo thought. I’ve already had my adventure . It’s someone else’s turn

“Very well,” the woman agreed, laughter in her voice. She reached beneath the table, grunting as she heaved a massive cylindrical piece of marble onto the table. “I wouldn’t have taken a strong man like you to want something like this.”

Sangwoo scowled. “It’s not for me,” he insisted. I’ve got the real thing. 

“Sure!” More laughter. Sangwoo’s skin began to crawl with embarrassment. “Three drachmas. And-” She grabbed a bottle of oil from behind her. “You’ll be needing this.” 

“Thanks.” Sangwoo muttered. “Do you, uh, have a bag?” 

“Oh, of course!” The woman got out a leather bag, luckily big and dark enough to conceal the contents of it, and placed the dildo and oil inside. She took the coins from Sangwoo. “There you go– one bottle of olive oil, and a 10 inch dildo to match! Have fun now, young man!” She cackled as Sangwoo left, face burning with embarrassment. 

 

Soph poked his head out of his satchel to stare at Sangwoo quizzically. “Don’t look at me like that.” The hero grumbled. 

 

Sangwoo made his way back to Thanatos with the leather bag dangling heavily from his shoulder. Once there, he strapped the covered dildo onto the horse’s saddle, who grunted impudently at its weight.

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Sangwoo soothed, mounting. “I’ll sure have a lot of fun with it, though!”

He gave Thanatos a sharp kick in the side, and they were off, galloping at a breakneck pace despite the probably-painful pounding of the marble against the horse’s ribcage. They reached the cave just after sunset. Sangwoo tied Thanatos back to his almond tree and kissed the sore spot he’d made on his pet with his... present ...in apology. He kept the bag hidden behind his back as he walked to the cave, and stashed it just inside the entrance once he reached it. He wanted it to be a surprise for later. 

 

“Honey,” Sangwoo called as he refastened his blindfold. His voice echoed through the caverns. “I’m home!” 

Immediately Bum came running up and tackled Sangwoo in a hug, nearly knocking him over. “Sangwoo! You’re back!!” He shouted as if Sangwoo had been gone for several years instead of several hours. “It was past sunset and I thought– never mind. You’re here now!” Bum reached up to give Sangwoo a big kiss.

 

“How’d everything go? Did anyone recognize you?” He asked once he pulled away. 

“No, thankfully.” Sangwoo squeezed his lover tight. “I did, however, have a few...admirers, if you will.” He waggled his eyebrows, teasing Bum. 

 

Bum, predictably, flushed with jealousy. “Wait, what? Admirers? Who? Were they pretty girls or– or prostitutes, or something?” His voice went up an octave. He wasn’t at full anger yet, more like desperation, but the snakes in his hair were starting to stir. 

Sangwoo grinned slyly, but cuddled the gorgon closer. “Sure, there were some lovely maids there,” he lied, neglecting to mention the ugly bread seller. “But,” he pecked Bum on the top of his scaly head, causing a commotion among its inhabitants. “None as pretty as you, my little monster.”

 

The blush on Bum’s face turned from jealousy to embarrassment, and he giggled. “Gods, Woo! You nearly gave me a heart attack there!” 

 

He kissed right above Sangwoo’s heart. “Thanks for, you know, not leaving me. Not that I didn’t trust you of course, but you were taking a while and…” At that moment, Soph slithered out of Sangwoo’s satchel and hissed. Bum’s head whipped towards Sangwoo. “ Presents? For me?”  

 

“Ah, just a little trinket. Nothing fancy; I just wanted you to know that I was thinking of you.” Bum’s excitement didn’t seem deterred by Sangwoo’s downplaying; he whipped out of his lover’s arms and ran to the satchel, picking it up and digging through its contents until he found a little parchment-wrapped package. 

“Go ahead, open it,” Sangwoo urged, hearing the crinkling. His heart was pounding. He couldn’t fathom why he was so nervous- maybe because he’d never tried to do anything nice like this for anyone else. He stepped closer to Bum, listening intently for his reaction. 

 

“...Oh!!” Bum gasped in delight as he unwrapped the arm bracelet. He held it up to examine it better, the ruby catching the light of the cave’s fire and almost glowing. “It’s…” Bum had no idea what it was. He knew it was a piece of jewelry, but it seemed too small for a necklace and too big for a ring or earring. Nevertheless, Bum’s heart swelled with love and adoration just gazing at it. “It’s soo pretty! Thank you, Sangwoo!! I love it!!” Whatever it is. “It even has snakes on it too! I’m so happy you thought of me! ♡” He stood on his toes to give Sangwoo a big kiss. Luckily for the hero, Soph kept his mouth shut and did not give away that he actually picked it out. 

Sangwoo gently grabbed each of Bum’s thin wrists, frowning when he felt no cool metal adorning them. But he said he liked it… Sangwoo frowned. “Aren’t you going to put it on, Bumie?” Bum made a confused noise. “You know- on your arm? Where it’s supposed to go?” 

Bum blinked. “Arm? It’s supposed to go on your arm??” He began to slide the bracelet up his arm until it sat nicely on his bicep, glittering softly. “Oh, like that! That makes more sense!” He giggled, slightly embarrassed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know where it was supposed to go! I didn’t know there was jewelry for your arm!” He apologized sheepishly. His innocence was more endearing than aggravating. 

 

Sangwoo grinned down at the gorgon. “You’re cute,” he commented, able to picture his lover’s scarlet face even if he couldn’t see it. “Go grab the other packages. I brought us some dinner.” 

Sangwoo went to settle by the fire, and Bum joined him after a moment, carrying cloth wrapped loaves of bread with him. “I got us six loaves- should last us a pretty long time. And the round thing is a honey cake.” He kissed Bum’s cheek. “I thought I’d pick up something sweet for my sweetheart,” he cooed, laughing at his own sappiness. 

 

“You’re so cheesy!” Bum accused, but he was smiling. “Thanks, darling. I love you.” He would never tire of proclaiming his love to his hero, even over small things like this. “So do we just eat it with our bare hands? Like fruit or something?” 

“Well, sure.” The fact that Bum had never eaten bread before was absurd to Sangwoo. Had the gorgon ever eaten anything besides meat or fruit? “You just tear off a piece and eat it. Normally you put on butter or cheese- now that I think of it, I should’ve grabbed some.” Sangwoo grimaced as he popped a disappointingly dry piece of bread in his mouth. “Sorry.”

“I think one hero I came across with had cheese with him once. It rotted really quickly, so I threw it out.” Bum shrugged. “I can’t really have any livestock to make my own products, so I’m sorta forced to just eat the stuff that I grow and hunt.” He tore off a piece of bread as Sangwoo instructed. He chewed thoughtfully. “...I’ve never eaten something like this.” He said finally. 

 

Sangwoo shrugged. “It really would be better with something on it. Maybe tomorrow night we’ll make a stew or something to go with it. And the cake is really good. But,” Sangwoo reached out to take Bum’s hand. “I have another present, outside.” He grinned a sly grin. “Let me go get it.” 

Bum tilted his head. “ Another present? Woo, you’re spoiling me!” He joked. “Okay, go get it. I’m excited!” I wonder what it could be? Maybe another tunic? But that grin was sorta weird… Well, only one way to find out! 

 

Sangwoo hurried to the mouth of the cave, feeling his way along the stone walls and muttering apologies to any snakes he tripped over. He lifted his blindfold a bit to locate the leather bag, and heaved it up onto his shoulder, snickering as he carried it back to the fire. 

 

“Alright, Bumie,” he cooed. He dropped the bag on the floor with a loud thud . “Open it up!” Gods, I wish I could see the look on his face when he opens that. Sangwoo bit his lip to stop from giggling like a schoolgirl. 

 

“Wow, it looks heavy!” Bum said before opening up the bag and heaving out the 10 inch phallic-shaped slab of marble. His mouth dropped open in shock. Immediately all the colour drained from Bum’s face then went bright red. “S-S-Sangwoo!! Wh-what is this?!” He sputtered. 

 

“What’s it look like, Bumie?” Sangwoo reached out and grabbed the dildo at its widest part, giving it a few suggestive strokes. “If I recall correctly, this morning, someone in this cave was bragging about how easily they could take a ten inch dick. Said it’d be ‘no problem,’ as a matter of fact.” Sangwoo grabbed Bum’s hand and guided it to the dildo. “So- I thought we’d put that to the test.” He bit his lip and raised his eyebrows, anticipating Bum’s reaction. 

 

“I– I see how it is. Trying to make me eat my own words, are you?” Bum opted for false confidence. “Well, I-I can do it! You’ll have to warm me up first, though.” No backing out now. My hubris will be the death of me someday. 

 

“I’m sure you can, little monster,” Sangwoo obliged. “Eyes closed, now.” He squeezed his own eyes shut just in case Bum hadn’t heeded his warning and undid the blindfold, transferring it to Bum’s eyes and daring to look only after he’d tied a secure knot behind the wriggling mass of snakes on Bum’s head. 

 

Bum looked as beautiful as ever, with his scarlet-blushed face and embarrassed grin. The bracelet had been an excellent choice- Sangwoo would have to hiss a thank you to his little snake friend. It fit perfectly and glittered against Bum’s pale skin. “Alright, baby,” Sangwoo instructed, grabbing the bottle of oil and generously coating his fingers with it. “Head over to the bed. Tunic off; on your hands and knees, okay?” 

 

Bum gulped nervously, but nodded. Quickly he stripped himself of his clothes and got on his hands and knees. He even did a little butt wiggle to tease his lover. “What are you waiting for, then? Come on.” He grinned cheekily, but inside his heart was beating fast. 

“I’m waiting on you to calm down,” Sangwoo answered, his voice taking on a serious tone. He moved behind Bum and gripped his hips lightly. “I can tell you’re scared. You’re shaking, and you’re not even hard.” He kissed Bum’s naked spine gently. “We don’t have to do this if you don’t want. I was just teasing, little one.”

 

“I’m not scared!” Bum insisted, though it sounded like he was telling himself that more than anything. “Just…” He rolled over onto his back. “Maybe a little foreplay first?” His voice went up at the end as if it was more of a question than a demand. 

“Obviously, Bum,” Sangwoo snorted. “I’m not a barbarian who goes around shoving battering rams in people.” Bum squeaked nervously, apparently not amused by his joke. 

 

“Right. Well, here we go, okay?” He massaged the soft mound of Bum’s ass with one hand while the other- the slick one- stroked his still mostly-flaccid cock. “Feels good, baby?” Bum hummed in affirmation. 

 

“How’s this, then?” He removed his hand from Bum’s hardening cock and pushed the gorgon’s legs apart, bending his knees. Sangwoo located Bum’s tiny, puckered entrance and traced slow circles around it with an oily finger, then began to dip the end of it in and out in a steady rocking motion. Bum’s muscles began to unwind in relaxation, and Sangwoo was able to slip his finger inside his lover more fully. He twisted and pulled and hooked his finger just the way he knew Bum liked, making sure to hit his prostate every couple movements, delighting in the soft sighs his ministrations earned. Keeping with the adventurous spirit of the night, Sangwoo leant down and placed kisses along Bum’s shaft, which was mostly hard by now, and added a few sopping wet licks as he neared the pointy head. 

 

He stilled his finger for a moment, appraising the landscape of Bum’s cock. There was no chance he’d be able to fit it all in his mouth, but he might could squeeze the tip in. He cleared his throat and rolled his jaw around a few times, stretching it. Then, with no warning to Bum, he spread his mouth open as wide as he could, and sucked the shining tip of his lover’s massive cock into his mouth. 

Bum nearly shrieked with pleasure. “S-S aaahh ~” He couldn’t even finish his lover’s name without moaning. “What are you- nnn- doing?!” This was the first time Sangwoo had sucked him off, even if it was only the head, and hooo boy with the finger inside him and the soft suction of Sangwoo’s mouth at his head, Bum wasn’t sure if he could last much longer. “Sangwoo, if you keep doing that, I might- oh Gods - cum!” He warned. 

 

That’s exactly what Sangwoo wanted. An orgasm would relax Bum considerably; loosen his muscles and make him more receptive to whatever Sangwoo chose to slip inside him. He worked another finger inside Bum’s increasingly tight hole and forced another inch or so of cock down his throat. Bum gave a whorish moan and bucked up against the roof of his mouth. Sangwoo’s jaw twinged in protest and he gagged, so he pulled off entirely in order to avoid disaster. He instead focused his attention on flicking his tongue over the oozing little pinhole at the top of Bum’s dick- it wasn’t quite a slit, like would be found on a human penis- and brushing his fingers over Bum’s prostate against and again, until Bum moaned so loudly that it echoed through the cave and Sangwoo’s lips and chin were being coated in milky fluid. 

 

“Good job, good boy,” Sangwoo cooed, like Bum had just accomplished some great feat. “So sweet,” he praised, even though Bum’s cum was on the bitter side- not quite what Sangwoo would consider a delicacy. He withdrew his fingers, but kept stroking Bum’s twitching cock, not wanting him to think that their fun was over. Between his thighs, Sangwoo’s own cock was full of blood and throbbing, but it would have to wait. It wasn’t the star of tonight’s show. He gave Bum’s belly a few kisses. “Love you.” 

 

Bum squirmed from his oversensitive cock, but managed to smile at Sangwoo anyways. “Love you too.” He replied breathlessly. “You think I’m ready yet?” 

“Not a chance,” Sangwoo replied. He’d only used two fingers. “I think you’ll need something a bit bigger.” He tapped the head of his cock against Bum’s slick hole. Sangwoo knew the idea was a little selfish, but he was pretty sure he’d go insane if he had to finger Bum until he was stretched enough with no stimulation of his own, and besides- it wasn’t like Bum’s hole would be in much condition to be fucked after they’d used the dildo. He eased his tip into Bum gently to set them on the right course, then reached up to take both his clawed hands. “Ready?” 

“Oh!” Bum wasn’t expecting that- he only thought he’d be fucked by a 10 inch, not 6 inch dick tonight, but more the merrier right? The gorgon swallowed heavily and nodded. “Ready.” He confirmed. 

 

Sangwoo pushed inside his lover in a long, slow motion. Bum was slick inside from the oil, but there was still enough friction to provide a slight drag, that Sangwoo hoped was as pleasing to Bum as it was to him. Once he was fully seated, he rocked his hips gently, not pulling out, but just moving inside Bum, savoring the sensation and the closeness. Bum looked beautiful, as he always did, splayed out beneath him, pale skin and red scales glimmering in the fire’s light. He squeezed both of his lover’s hands gently. “How’s that feel?” he asked, like they hadn’t done this dozens of times before. 

“Feels good. Really good.” Bum’s toes curled. “Keep moving. Faster.” He demanded, then added on a desperate “ Please.” 

 

Sangwoo obliged him, rocking faster until the cave was filled with the sound of their thighs slapping together. As he moved, he pointedly avoided pulling out far enough to hit Bum’s prostate, earning him more than a few anguished cries- but he had a purpose. His stomach was growing tighter and tighter. He wouldn’t last much longer. Bum, obviously confused as to why Sangwoo was torturing him like this, howled and kicked his legs around, causing his hole to tighten around Sangwoo, and that was all he needed to spill inside his lover- who was still very hard, very aroused, and very frustrated. 

 

“Sangwoo, I…” How do I complain to my boyfriend that I still haven’t cum and he missed my prostate without sounding like a whiny bitch? “You, um… are we going to have a round 2, or something? I haven’t, ya know…” He reached down to jerk himself off– he needed some stimulation to keep from going insane. 

 

Sangwoo caught Bum’s little hand before he could even get it wrapped around his cock. “I know you didn’t cum yet, baby,” he soothed. “I did that on purpose.” Bum raised an eyebrow and frowned deeply. Sangwoo laughed, rocking upwards to give Bum’s pouting mouth a quick kiss. “We’ll save your orgasm for the grand finale, okay? Let me just grab it.”

Bum gave a half-worried, half-annoyed aah as he remembered the dildo. Sangwoo heaved it over to where they lay, the stone making a metallic scraping sound as it dragged across the cave floor. He poured a generous drizzle of oil over the head and began to smooth it along the length of cool stone. It was freezing cold underneath Sangwoo’s hands, something he hadn’t considered, and he didn’t think Bum would like the feeling of icy marble inside him, so he took his time massage the oil in, warming it up. His hands made an obscene, slick sound that made Bum blush. 

 

Once he was satisfied with the temperature, Sangwoo removed his hands and pulled Bum upwards onto his knees. “You’re gonna ride it,” he explained, at Bum’s confused grunt. “Just like I did.” He held his blinded lover by the waist and helped guide him so that his stretched, cum-slicked hole was positioned over the dildo’s thick head. “You ready?” 

 

Bum shivered and nodded. He was still a little nervous, but much less so than before. Luckily the dildo was only a little thicker than Sangwoo. Slowly Bum lowered himself down, and gritted his teeth at the slight stretch. He was able to make it down a little over 6 inches before he stopped to catch his breath. “Hold on I– I need a moment.” He took a deep exhale. Come on, you can do this. You don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of Sangwoo, do you? Of course he was worrying about Sangwoo at a time like this. 

 

“It’s okay, sweetheart,” Sangwoo soothed, rubbing Bum’s biceps lovingly. “You’re doing great, and, hey,” he took Bum’s chin in his hand and kissed him softly. “You don’t have to take it all, alright? I promise it’ll be okay if you don’t. Understand?” Bum gave him a wan smile, but nodded. 

 

“You look gorgeous right now,” Sangwoo praised, hoping to encourage Bum. “You’re so full, your belly is even bulging out.” More than it does when I’m inside you, he thought, a bit bitterly. “Is it feeling good?” 

Bum nodded. “I’m not going back on my words. I’m gonna take it all.” He said stubbornly. He let go of the ground, and sunk down 2 inches, letting out a surprised strangled gasp. 8 ½ inches out of 10. He bit the inside of his cheek. “It’s gonna be hard to lift myself up and down off of this.” He grunted. By the time he finally got to the base, there was a significant bulge in his thin stomach. “See? Told you. I took it all.” Bum grinned, though it looked a bit pained. 

 

“Good job.” Sangwoo leaned it to kiss the worried wrinkle from Bum’s forehead. “You’re sure you feel okay?” Bum nodded frantically, but Sangwoo was still skeptical. He massaged Bum’s stomach and the large, hard protrusion in it gently, biting his lip. “You said you needed help getting up and down?” He moved his hands to each of Bum’s hips. “Want me to help you?” 

“Yeah, I think I need your help. It’ll be hard–“ He lifted himself a couple of inches up, sinewy thigh muscles trembling, and froze when he hit his prostate, stars bursting behind his eyelids. He dropped his hips down, and his lips made a little ‘o’ shape. “ Ohh.” 

 

“Like that, baby?” Sangwoo gripped Bum’s hips hard enough that he was able to lift him a few more inches, then brought him back down quickly. Bum shrieked, but the sound was happy. Sangwoo continued, raising Bum up a little higher each time. His eyes were trained on his lover’s ass, where it was stretched wide around the dildo, and he followed the motion of Bum’s body to watch the bugle reappear each time he thrust Bum downward. The gorgon was panting and wiggling his toes, with beads of sweat dripping down his forehead and beneath the blindfold. “Are you close?” 

“Ye-Yeah, really close, really close–“ He rested his forehead in the crook of Sangwoo’s neck as he continued to bounce up and down. “Please, ahh shit! Please, touch me Sangwoo.” He pressed sloppy kisses to his lover’s neck. “I need it baby.” He leaned in to whisper in the hero’s ear, low and sultry, “I need you. ” 

Sangwoo shivered and his cock, despite just being emptied minutes before, twitched in interest. “Whatever you need , my love,” he soothed. He removed his hands from Bum’s hips and let his lover fuck himself shallowly on the dildo. He gripped Bum’s cock with the kind of pressure he knew always got him off and stroked, swiping his thumb across the head on every upswing. Bum was mewling and whining now, rutting his face against Sangwoo’s neck and clawing up his back. Sangwoo knew he needed just a little bit more and he’d reach the top of that mountain- and he was happy to give it. “I love you so much,” he said, his voice loud and confident. “I want to be with you forever.” 

 

That was enough to push Bum over the edge, who screamed Sangwoo’s name and came all over his chest and stomach. He vaguely realized was crying under the blindfold, but was so exhausted after his orgasm that he could just mumble “Love you too.” and bury his face deeper in Sangwoo’s neck. There was a moment, then “Um, Woo? Please help get it out. My legs feel like jelly.” 

Sangwoo snorted, but tried his best not to outwardly laugh at his trembling wreck of a lover. He put his hands back on Bum’s hips- which would surely be bruised in the morning- and tried to pry him off, but Bum had clenched down around the dildo, and he wouldn’t budge. 

“Alright, baby, relax,” Sangwoo willed, but Bum just squirmed and cooed in response, leaving Sangwoo with no choice but to toss Bum’s belly up onto his shoulder while gripping the dildo with one hand and lifting Bum’s ass with the other. Blessedly, Bum released the marble with a wet squelch , and it fell to the floor with a loud clang. Sangwoo kept Bum cradled to his chest as he moved to lay down on his back, spreading Bum’s legs out on either side of his hips so that the gorgon could get some cool air on his abused hole- which Sangwoo was, frankly, scared to look at right now. 

 

Bum looked like an absolute wreck, but there was a hint of a hazy smile on his face. “I’m not gonna be able to move for a month.” He complained. “You’ll have to carry me everywhere~” His arms felt like lead, but he tried to beckon to Sangwoo anyways. “Remember when I carried you like a princess? You were paralyzed so I had to help you around. You were so embarrassed!” The gorgon teased. 

“Don’t remind me,” Sangwoo huffed. “You have any idea what that does to a man? Being toted around by his girlfriend? ” Bum’s mouth audibly snapped open at that. “Joking, little monster!” Sangwoo apologized, kissing Bum’s cheek. “But still- I think you’d make a fine maiden. I stand by that.” 

 

Bum snorted. “What, do you want me to wear dresses or some shit? Wear a pretty little veil so you can’t see my hair or eyes and walk around like a pretty little damsel? ….Sangwoo, why aren’t you saying anything?” 

Sangwoo blinked a few times, swallowing the lump that had formed in his throat. “Because, uh…” he chewed on his lip, unsure if his idea would offend Bum. “Because that’s exactly what I want? I mean- we could go on a real date like that!” 

 

Bum’s eyebrows shot up so high they nearly touched his snake-hairline. “Oh, really now? You wanna go on a date with me, but only if I look like a girl?” He was mostly teasing, but inside he jumped at the idea of a real date. “I’m not sewing my own dress. You want me to crossdress, you gotta buy the dress and veil yourself.” He crossed his arms and tried to cross his legs, but immediately groaned in pain. “Also, do you think we could wait a week or so?” 

“You say that like it’s an inconvenience,” Sangwoo cooed. “I can’t wait to dress you up like a little doll.” He snuggled Bum close and pet the top of his head, wondering if the gorgon could even feel it through the snakes. “But rest for right now. And maybe for the rest of the month.” 

 

Bum fell asleep quickly, but Sangwoo stayed awake for hours longer, more content than ever. 

 


 

When Bum awoke the next morning, his ass still felt sore as fuck. He moaned in discomfort and turned to cling to his lover, only to end up clinging the air instead. He frowned and tried to sit up, then immediately sat back down. “Sangwoo?” He called out. “Gods, I wonder if my healing blood works on ass pain?” He grumbled to himself.

 

Sangwoo was hunched over the fire, poking at the bird eggs he’d managed to find outside and was attempting to cook on a hot stone, when Bum woke up. 

 

“Hey, babe,” he called heading over to the bed. “How’s that ass this morning?” 

Bum snorted. “You say the most eloquent things sometimes, you know that Sangwoo?” He leaned up to give Sangwoo a peck on the lips. “And this ass feels horrible. Why did I think that was a good idea??” He groaned. “But that means you’ll have to take care of me!” His face brightened up at that. “I’ve always wanted to be taken care of by someone I love ♡”

 

Sangwoo’s heart clenched at the realization that the gorgon probably had no memories of being taken care of- if he’d ever been taken care of at all. He’d have to fix that. “Don’t worry, little monster.” He returned Bum’s quick kiss. “I’ll take good care of you.” 

 

And he did. The eggs he’d meant to fry wound up scrambled, but he scooped bits of them up on bites of bread and fed it to Bum lovingly anyway. He and Bum had a lively discussion about the culinary ethics of eggs. You eat the birds’ babies, Sangwoo? Bum asked, horrified. There’s no babies in them , Sangwoo insisted, though he couldn’t explain how. Moral concerns aside, Bum seemed to thoroughly enjoy this new food. Once breakfast was done, he heated some water in a clay jar until it was just warm, and used it to clean around Bum’s abused hole with the utmost tenderness he could manage, then he tucked Bum, still naked, beneath layers upon layers of soft blankets from their palette, and lay down beside him for some cuddling. 

 

“So tell me,” he inquired, once they were settled. “Do you feel taken care of?” 

“Mmhmm. Yeah, I do.” Bum hummed back. “Feels really nice.” He snuggled closer. “What did I ever do to deserve you?” He mumbled softly to himself. 

 

Sangwoo worried his lip. Well, you kidnapped me and held me here against my will, for starters , he thought- but he’d never even dream of saying something so cruel to the gorgon. And besides, Bum wouldn’t have had to kidnap him just to find companionship if the Fates had been a little kinder to him when they were choosing the circumstances of his birth. It was sad, really. The only person to be pitied here was Bum, not himself. 

 

“You deserve far more than this,”  Sangwoo said, finally. He gestured around to the isolated, snake-filled cave, even though Bum could not see him. 

Bum smiled bitterly. “Thanks, love. But I don’t think I’ll ever have more than this. I’ve accepted my fate, living up here in a cave on a mountain with no real friends or family except for my snakes.” Some snakes hissed in sympathy. “Though the gods blessed me with having you with me, so that’s at least something, right?” 

 

“Maybe you could,” Sangwoo insisted, his voice brightening. “Maybe we could leave here, together, and go back to Thebes. I could keep you in my home- I have a walled courtyard with a garden- and you could be my concubine, my mistress. You could even bring your little friends!” He stroked Bum’s cheek hopefully. 

Bum raised an eyebrow. “ Concubine? ” He said dryly. “Choose a better word next time. And besides,” He sighed “Thebes is in a city. Even if I stayed inside the house all day, it’s too risky. Do you not have servants or people that come over? They could accidentally see me, and either they’d be turned to stone or escape and tell others of a monster living in the hero’s house. Pick your poison.” He pointed out. 

“Ah, sorry.” Sangwoo’s face grew hot. “You know what I meant.” He kissed Bum’s face a few times in apology. “And I’m happy living with you, here; but there’s so much more I want you to experience. I feel like you’re missing out.” He rolled onto his back, but kept Bum pressed to his side. “But you do seem to know plenty about humans, their customs, all that. Where’d you learn it all?” 

 

Bum tensed and began to play with his claws, something he always did when he was nervous. “...Um, well, sometimes I need materials that I can’t make myself so I, uh, have… snuck into town before… at night…” He trailed off, barely audible at the end. “And sometimes I just, ya know, observed humans. I never approached one, just watched the humans mill about at night, drinking, dancing and talking.” He looked away from Sangwoo, as if he was ashamed. “One time there was this vendor that had all sorts of books with him. So every night, I snuck off with one or two, read them as quickly as I could, and placed them back before sunrise. Then I went back home. That’s it.” 


“You’re too sweet for your own good, you know that?” Sangwoo laughed. “Wouldn’t even steal a book.” I can’t believe I, and so many others, were set on murdering him, when he’d never even hurt a fly. Sangwoo cuddled his little monster closer, suddenly very thankful that he’d survived all those attempts to have his head, and that they were together now. He hoped they could stay that way- forever.

Chapter Text

Over time, Bum got more and more used to Sangwoo going off to town to get supplies every now and then. Soph still went with him occasionally, but didn’t bother him. Quite the contrary, whenever Sangwoo tried to get gifts for Bum, Soph would point him to the best one. Luckily no one had recognized him as the hero from Thebes yet, though there were two or three girls who tried to flirt with him only to be promptly shut down. His heart belonged to Bum and Bum alone. 

 

One day, as Sangwoo was perusing the market with his arms full of bread and cheese and books, he stumbled across a booth that was draped heavily with cloth of all colors. Sangwoo recalled the idea he’d presented to Bum many weeks before- dressing him as a woman, and taking him to town. With this in mind, he stepped closer to the table, eyeing its wares carefully. 

 

His gaze settled on a lovely, deep green tunic made of linen, with an accompanying white veil adorned with a crown of dried flowers. The green would look lovely against Bum’s pale skin, and the veil was sheer enough that Bum could see the world around him while preventing anyone from truly meeting his eyes. It was perfect. 

 

“I’ll take this one,” he informed the vendor, reaching into his satchel to retrieve some coins. 

“Ah- a gift for a wife? A lover?” The woman inquired, wrapping up the cloth. 

“Indeed,” Sangwoo triumphed, grinning widely behind his cloak. 

 

He wasted no time mounting Thanatos and making a beeline for home. Once he reached the mouth of the cave, he tied his blindfold securely and beckoned Bum, still smiling from ear to ear. 

 

“Welcome back, Sangwoo!” Bum greeted cheerfully. He kissed Sangwoo chastely on the cheek. “What did you get today? You came back pretty late.” 

 

Sangwoo, guided by Bum, carried their packages into the cave. “Just the usual stuff- food and a couple books. I did get you one little surprise, though.” He gestured to the pile of goods. “See if you can figure out what it is.” 

Bum tilted his head. “Um… let’s see.” He went over to the pile and felt it up. “It’s squishy and soft– hmm, maybe some clothes? Did you buy me a new tunic?” He unwrapped the clothes, and gasped. He held up the dress. “...Um, Sangwoo? I think you got the wrong size. This is a bit, er, long for a tunic don’t you think?” He picked up the veil. “What’s this? It looks like a sort of cloth, but not a blanket…” He looked back at Sangwoo. “What are these, Woo?” 

 

“A new outfit for you, darling!” Sangwoo took the bundle of cloth from Bum’s hands and shook it out. His lover gave an audible gasp. “Why don’t you try it on, and let me see it?” 

 

Bum’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion, but he slowly nodded and stripped out of his tunic and into the dress. “It’s a dress.” He stated the obvious. It was a fashionable cut, very trendy nowadays. “Sangwoo, why am I wearing a dre-–“ He paused, and thought back to something Sangwoo said weeks ago. “Crossdressing? You want me to crossdress?” 

“We’ve talked about this, Bum. We could go out together! And I even got you a veil.” He picked up the other, thinner piece of cloth and held it out towards Bum. “No one will know that you’re anything other than my beautiful bride.” Sangwoo grinned a little too widely at that. 

 

Bum sighed, but relented at Sangwoo’s smile. “There’s no guarantee that it’ll be thick enough that I won’t petrify people.” He pointed out, but put the veil on anyways. The snakes in his hair hissed as they were covered, but the thicker, opaque top of the veil made the bumps on his head look more like curls than living organisms. The sheer veil settled nicely over his face, and stopped a little after his chin. Like this, he almost did look like a woman. 

“Um, okay. I’m wearing them. I guess you can look, but I’ll keep my eyes closed.” Bum assented. He looked very embarrassed, but he didn’t seem like he hated it. 

 

Sangwoo stripped off his blindfold and gasped at what he saw. Bum was truly a vision like this, draped in finely dyed cloth, with his pretty face peaking teasingly through the sheer cloth of the veil. Not that he wasn’t beautiful all the time, but even statues of goddesses looked better when they were decorated. 

 

“You’re gorgeous ,” Sangwoo sighed. “I could look at you all day.” He stood and walked to Bum, bowing low over one of his delicate hands and kissing it regally, just as if Bum was the daughter of a powerful king. “But I want you to look at me, too.” 

Bum couldn’t help but blush at the kiss. “ Sangwoo, ” he said bashfully. “Stop it.” Though he certainly sounded like he didn’t want to stop. Bum peeked one eye open to look down at his lover, and couldn’t help a wistful sigh from escaping his mouth. “You don’t look so bad yourself, my love.” 

 

“Come on, darling,” Sangwoo urged. “Open up those eyes- both of them. Let me see them; it’s been so long.” Bum shook his head frantically, both eyes still shut tight. Sangwoo sighed irritably, trying to think of a way to ease Bum’s worry that he would petrify his lover. “What if I went and caught, like, a rabbit or something? Or a rat, and let you look at it through the veil. If it turns to stone, we’ll know the whole veil thing isn’t safe.” 

Bum considered what Sangwoo said. “....Okay. Catch some kind of animal and we’ll see if I petrify it. But try to hurry cuz my snakes are getting restless.” He reached up to fix the veil, and one of his snake locks snapped at him playfully. “Hey! Be nice.” 

 

Catching a small rodent was far easier said than done. Sangwoo left a bit of bread and cheese at the base of the shrubs outside the cave and waited, making as little noise as he could. Two rabbits, a mouse, and a long-nosed little creature he could only guess was a shrew scurried by and out of his grasp, usually causing him to fall on his chin after he lunged to grab them, before a fat, lethargic rat came lumbering by.

 

The creature stopped to wrap its greedy little paws around the morsel of cheese, and Sangwoo pounced, grabbing it by its disgusting, wormy tail. It squeaked furiously and clawed at his arm while he carried it back into the cave to where Bum sat, still dolled up and looking pretty. He clapped a hand over his eyes. “Alright, Bumie. Here goes.” 

 

“Oh! Okay.” Bum stood up and came closer, then opened his eyes wide and stared at the rat. The rat was still struggling in Sangwoo’s grip, but eventually his gaze fell upon Bum. There was a beat, then the rat went back to squirming and scratching at Sangwoo’s arms. 

 

Bum gasped. “It’s– It’s not stone! It’s still alive! Oh Sangwoo, it worked ! I didn’t petrify it! I guess the veil is a thick enough barrier after all.” He seemed quite excited. “And I can actually see my surroundings!” He looked up at his lover. “I guess you can look at me now, Sangwoo.” 

 

Sangwoo let out a triumphant whoop and flung the rat away, uncaring that it was almost immediately snapped into the jaws of a particularly large and hungry-looking snake. He grabbed Bum up into a joyful hug and spun him around, coaxing a grin and a laugh from his lover. When they stopped spinning, Sangwoo set Bum down on shaking legs and gripped his chin, gazing down at his face; obscured slightly but still so beautiful. “Hey, green eyes,” he cooed. He was so happy- this was it , the solution to the only problem in their otherwise perfect marri- uh, relationship. 

 

Sangwoo’s smile was infectious, as Bum found himself smiling ear to ear as well. “Hey.” Bum replied, not knowing what else to say. He was still a bit nervous, but joy had mostly overtaken his heart. He lifted up the veil enough so his apple red lips were exposed, and leaned in to give Sangwoo a kiss. “Love you.” 

 

“I love you more, more, more,” Sangwoo insisted, punctuating each word with a kiss to the fabric that covered Bum’s face. “So, what do you say to the date tomorrow, hmm?” He beamed down at Bum expectantly. “I can’t wait to show off my fair maiden,” he teased. 

Bum huffed a laugh. “Show what off? You can barely see my face. Only my body is visible, and even then I don’t have breasts or curves or cleavage.” He shrugged. “There’s not much to show off in the first place. And you know I’m not good with people. In fact… I don’t think I’ve ever talked with more than one person at a time- not counting my snakes, of course.” 

 

Sangwoo laughed. “Believe me, dear, you’ll draw plenty of attention- the good kind, of course.” He sat down by the fire and drew Bum into his lap. “But remember.” He took Bum’s chin firmly in his hand. “No matter how many men flirt with you, you’re mine . No one else’s.” This was the first Bum had seen of Sangwoo’s possessive side- after all, it was the first time he’d faced with the prospect of sharing the gorgon with others. 

Bum raised his eyebrows, surprised at Sangwoo’s possessiveness. “...Of course my love.” He lifted the fabric again and drew Sangwoo in for a kiss. “Gods, you almost sound like me in the beginning.” He giggled. “Afraid that other men will try to steal me away?” 

“Clearly.” Sangwoo snuggled Bum close. “I’d be more worried if I thought they’d last ten seconds with you, though.” He nuzzled Bum briefly, then set to digging through the other packages for their food. “We should eat, then get some rest. You’ve got a big day tomorrow, little monster.”

 

“Alright.” Bum kissed Sangwoo’s nose. “Do you have an actual plan in mind as to where we’re going to go?” He let Sangwoo feed him a bite of cheese. “Or are you just gonna wing it?” 

 

“Well, we’re definitely getting you some more veils. Some without the top part, so your snakes don’t get angry.” Sangwoo stuffed a dried date in his mouth and chewed thoughtfully. “You can pick out whatever books you’d like, too. And, if we’re lucky, there might be a show going on at the theatron. Would you want to see a play?” 

Bum tilted his head. “What’s a ‘play’?” He asked innocently. “I thought it was something you do. You say it like it’s a thing. What do you mean by that?” One of his hair-snakes hissed in his ear. “A little while longer! I’ll take it off when I go to bed. Let me enjoy this, okay? It’s not every day I can look at someone without them turning into rock!” He whispered back, a bit irritatedly. The snake narrowed its little eyes but quieted down. 

Sangwoo quirked his eyebrow at Bum’s irritated hissing, directed at seemingly nothing. “Well, uh.” He cleared his throat. “It’s just where people put on masks and they, you know, pretend to be other people or animals to tell a story. Usually, there’s a chorus too, they sing the narration part. I promise it’s not as stupid as it sounds.” 

 

Sangwoo noticed the fabric covering Bum’s head beginning to squirm, and laughed. “Guess you should take that off,” he offered, reaching for his blindfold. “Before you get bitten by one of your own.” 

 

“Yeah, thanks.” Bum gave Sangwoo one last kiss before taking his white veil off and putting the red blindfold back on. “That sounds weird. But if it’s with you, I guess I’ll go and see it!” He smiled sweetly. “I’ll do anything for my love ♡”

“Oh, come on, babe,” Sangwoo laughed. “It’s not going to be that bad. You’ll like it, I swear!” He reaches up cautiously, running his fingers through Bum’s slithering locks with care, smoothing them out where a few had gotten tangled together. “Now come on, love.” He scooped Bum up like the beautiful bride he was. “Let’s get some rest.” 

 

Sangwoo fell asleep with his arms full of gorgon and his heart full of love. He dreamt of a life where Bum really was his wife- where they didn’t live in a cave and Bum didn’t have to hide. When he awoke, he wanted nothing more than to make those dreams a reality. 

 


 

Bum opened his eyes slowly, frowning at the darkness of the blindfold. He had a lovely dream of Sangwoo proposing him under a pomegranate tree, them making love (Bum hoped to Zeus he didn’t have a case of morning wood, but thankfully it seemed like he did not) and living together forever. A common dream of his, but it always made him feel warm inside. Speaking of Sangwoo, where was he?

 

“Sangwoo?” Bum called, sitting up and wincing as his back cracked loudly. He smelled something delicious, and heard the crackling of fire. Sangwoo must be cooking breakfast, then. 

 

“Good morning, sunshine,” Sangwoo cooed. “I made some more eggs, since you seemed to like them so much yesterday.” He eased the two (slightly less scrambled than before) eggs onto pieces of bread and carried them to the bed. “Did you have sweet dreams?” I did . He wanted to tell Bum about them, but they’d probably just upset him. 

 

“Yeah, I did! Really nice dreams.” Bum replied. “Dreams about us.” He took the piece of bread from Sangwoo and immediately began to eat it, apparently really hungry. “So when are we–“ He stopped. “Oh, shit.” He dragged a hand down his face. “I forgot.” 

Sangwoo was glad to hear that Bum had also had dreams of them. He hoped they were of the same caliber as his. At Bum’s frustrated tone, he raised an eyebrow. “Forgot what, my dear?” 

 

“We’re riding on Thanatos, right? He sorta hates me. Even with me feeding him and being as nice as possible, it’s only natural that horses dislikes gorgons- my aunt was an enemy of Poseidon, and Poseidon is the god of horses so… even the gentlest horse would get spooked by me.” He scratched the back of his neck. “I’ll have to walk then. You can still ride him, though. I don’t mind.”

“Of course not, Bumie! What kind of husband would I be if I let you walk while I rode?” Sangwoo scoffed. “Besides, Thanatos knows I love you, and he’d never disobey me.” He puffed his chest out pridefully, thinking of his well-trained horse. And you can’t walk all the way to Thebes when I take you back with me, so he’ll just have to get used to you. 

 

Bum bit his lip. “I just don’t want to cause you any trouble.” He had to admit, his heart still skipped a beat whenever Sangwoo said ‘husband’. They weren’t really married, and Sangwoo hadn’t proposed ( He never will  whispered a voice in the back of Bum’s mind, but he ignored it) but it was nice he thought of them that way. 

 

“You could never cause me any trouble, baby,” Sangwoo cooed in reply, leaning in to kiss Bum’s breakfast-coated lips. In reality, he’d probably have a hell of a time convincing Thanatos not to buck the gorgon off, but it was worth it, for Bum. “Now, go get ready.” He gathered Bum’s long tunic and veil. “You’re about to make your big debut!” 

 

“Right, right. I’ll be ready in a second.” He stood up and took the clothes in his arms, then went to the corner of the cave with his back to Sangwoo and began undressing. His movements were odd, like he was embarrassed or trying to hide himself even though Sangwoo had seen Bum naked too many times to count. Quickly he slipped on the green dress and exchanged the blindfold for the veil. His hair-snakes hissed in protest, but he batted them away and stuffed them under the opaque part of his veil. He took a deep breath. Don’t worry. Sangwoo likes you like this. If it’s necessary to go out on a date with him, so be it. He squared his shoulders, then turned around for Sangwoo. “Do I look okay?” 

“You look beautiful, as always,” Sangwoo assured. He pulled Bum into a hug and gazed down at his lover, relieved to once again see his beautiful face unobscured- well, as unobscured as he’d ever see it. Though he was gorgeous, Bum had an air about him- nervous and overly self-aware. “Is everything alright, my darling?” he inquired, smoothing a hand over his covered hair-snakes. “You know we don’t have to go if it would make you unhappy.” 

 

“I’m not unhappy!” Bum assured him. “A bit nervous yes, but if you’re with me it should be fine, right?” He tried his best to smile. “I’m sure I’m relax once I’m actually there. I’m probably just psyching myself up about it.” He took his hand in Sangwoo’s. 

 

“I understand,” Sangwoo assured. “First times are always scary, but they’re easier with someone you love, right?” He brought Bum’s hand to his lips and kissed it a bit too deeply. “Remember our first time?” he whispered suggestively. 

Bum’s ears turned pink. “Y-yeah. You didn’t like me very much– or at least you didn’t love me–“ He added quickly at Sangwoo’s face “but I liked it a lot. Honestly I felt honored someone like you touched me… I still sorta do, actually.” He rubbed his bicep. 

 

Sangwoo frowned. “Don’t, Bum,” he soothed. “Don’t talk like that. I thought you were beautiful from the first time I saw you- long before I loved you.” He wasn’t sure if that was true, but it seemed appropriate to say. Bum cast his eyes down and fiddled with his sleeve nervously. “Alright then.” Sangwoo took Bum gently by the shoulders and led him to the mouth of the cave. “Thanatos is tied right down there. Let’s go get you two properly introduced, eh?” 

 

Bum scoffed at Sangwoo’s compliment. Not true. “I already know Thanatos. I brought him back from the dead , remember? You owe me for that.” Bum pointed out. “But whatever. Let’s see how many hours it takes before your horse will even let me touch him.” He said sarcastically. 

 

“Hey, no need to bring out the claws,” Sangwoo snipped. “I think you need to get to know him. I got to know your friends, remember?” Sangwoo threw Bum a sharp glance as they made their way down the hill. “Now,” he instructed, once they were about five feet away from the horse. “Just go up to him real slowly, make sure not to move in front of him, and just pet his neck, alright? Maybe let him smell you.” He gave Bum a gentle but encouraging push towards the large horse. 

 

Bum looked nervous as hell, but he did what Sangwoo instructed and approached Thanatos as slowly as possible. At 3 feet Thanatos reared up and neighed, making Bum flinch, but he stood his ground. He held his hand out, trying his best to stop shaking, and gently touched the horse’s neck. For a moment, it seemed as if Thanatos was fine. Then suddenly, he reared up again, knocking Bum to the ground. Luckily Bum was not bruised and did not dirty his dress, but he certainly looked more mentally hurt than physically. 

“Are you okay?” Sangwoo rushed to Bum’s side and pulled him to his feet quickly. Bum nodded, but looked like he was on the verge of tears. “Hey, hey,” he soothed. “Don’t cry, okay? We’re just gonna try again.” 

 

Sangwoo placed himself between Bum and Thanatos, holding his hand out to the horse soothingly. “Listen, buddy.” He put his hand firmly on the horse’s neck to calm him. “This is a friend of mine.” He gestured to Bum. “That means he’s a friend of yours. So you’re going to let him on, and you’re going to behave. Understand me?” Thanatos gave a defiant whinny and shook his mane around. “ Understand? ” Sangwoo said again, pulling warningly at Thanatos’ reins. The horse lowered his head and pawed at the ground, but his muscles tensed, and he remained still. 

 

“Okay, Bumie, come on.” He held his hand out to the gorgon, who placed his own trembling one against Sangwoo’s palm. “Okay, just stay calm, okay? He can smell fear.” He hoisted Bum up in his arms and set him atop Thanatos’ back. The horse’s urge to buck his new passenger off was palpable, but he stayed starkly still and rigid as his master climbed atop behind Bum. 

“Good horse, nice horse,” Sangwoo praised. Thanatos just grunted impudently. Bum shivered in the saddle in front of him. 

“That just makes it worse.” Bum said through gritted teeth, but tried to even out his breathing. He closed his eyes, and tried to picture him and Sangwoo riding off into the sunset. The image almost made him chuckle. 

 

“O-Okay… I think I got it now.” He softly pressed his palm against Thanatos’ neck in front of him. The horse snorted but did not buck him off. “Nice horsey.” He gave the horse a few gentle pats, who still didn’t look like he trusted Bum very much. “... Um, Sangwoo? When we actually ride into town, can I maybe sit in the back and hold onto you?” 

“Sure,” Sangwoo agreed, giving Thanatos a kick in the side and setting them at a gentle trot. “But you don’t have to be afraid baby.” He brought his strong thighs up around Bum’s and squeezed. “I’ve got you.” 

 

“If you say so.” Bum muttered, but didn’t protest. Thanatos did a couple of laps around Bum’s garden, and by the time he stopped Bum seemed to have relaxed considerably. “I’m not getting on him alone, though.” He said when Sangwoo helped him down. “He might not bite my hand off immediately, but he still scares me.” Thanatos made a proud snort at that, and Bum scowled. 

“Of course not- not right now, anyway. But I know my two favorites will become fast friends, won’t you?” Sangwoo beamed. Thanatos snorted and Bum rolled his eyes. “Fine- whatever.” He tied Thanatos to a nearby tree and tossed him an apple for “good” behavior. Bum had taken a seat against a boulder in front of the cave, so Sangwoo went to join him, draping his arm across his beloved’s shoulders. “When do you think you’ll be ready to go, babe?”

 

“I’m just trying not to get too anxious. I’ve never done anything like this before so ya know.” Bum shrugged. Ari wrapped around his thin ankle and squeezed sympathetically. “Maybe in, I don’t know, half an hour? How much does this ‘play’ you speak of cost? 10 drachmas?” 

Sangwoo snorted. “Bum, Thanatos didn’t even cost ten drachmas. I really need to give you a lesson about currency values or something. And, hey.” He wrapped both arms around Bum and have him a comforting squeeze. “Don’t let yourself get worked up about it. I’ll be right beside you the whole time; I’ll never leave your sight. I love you, more than Aphrodite loved Adonis, and I’ll slaughter the whole city of Athens if I have to, to protect you.” He kissed Bum’s veiled cheek. “Got it, little monster?” 

 

Bum blushed a soft pink and nodded shyly. He loves me. “Got it.” He leaned into Sangwoo’s hug. “Wait, if I’m your ‘wife’, what are you gonna call me? Bum is more of a masculine name.” 

“I thought you could just be my Bumie, like you are here at home- if that’s alright?” Sangwoo studied Bum’s face. It didn’t seem right to give Bum a totally new name; he couldn’t think of any other that would suit him. 

Bum smiled encouragingly and nodded again. “Yeah! It’s easier to respond to, too. If you gave me a name like Megara or something, I might forget you’re talking to me. Bumie is perfect.” He gave Sangwoo a light kiss on the lips. 

 

“If I was interested in killing you in a fit of rage, I’d name you Megara,” Sangwoo joked, standing and untying Thanatos. Bum smiled wryly and tiptoed his way over to the horse, careful to keep away from his hooves and mouth. Sangwoo grabbed him around the waist and swung him into the saddle- on the back this time. Thanatos shook his head, as if to say no , but Sangwoo ignored him and climbed in front of Bum anyway. Bum’s skinny arms slid around Sangwoo’s middle and held on for dear life, squeezing so hard it was almost painful, but Sangwoo didn’t mind if it made his love feel better. “Ready, Bumie?” he asked, turning around slightly. 

 

“Ready as I’ll ever be.” Bum confirmed, though he looked slightly apprehensive that Thanatos was still going to knock him off. “You’ve got your bag, right?” I’ve also got some extra baggage with me, but Sangwoo doesn’t need to know about that.  

 

“I do,” Sangwoo affirmed, building Thanatos up to a steady lope. He could hear Bum making a steady oof sound every time the hooves hit the ground. “I brought all the money we’ve got, since you seem so convinced that everything is worth the price of gold,” he teased. 

Bum’s cheeks colored. “Oh, sh-shut it!” He swatted Sangwoo’s arm. “I just don’t know about how much things regularly cost! All the heroes that come up here have a lot of money in their pockets and bags, so I always thought that therefore average things must cost many drachmas!” He defended himself with a huff. 

“I’m teasing you, baby.” Bum shrieked and clutched Sangwoo’s middle tight enough to make his ribs groan in protest as Thanatos jumped across a thin stream that blocked the road. “Men in our profession-“ Sangwoo bit his tongue, realizing it probably wasn’t the best idea to be lumping himself in with heroes right now- “ their profession tend to be very wealthy, you know.” 

“I know, I know. Just gave me the wrong idea, that’s all.” Bum complained. He didn’t seem to notice Sangwoo’s slipup, or at least chose not to comment on it. 

 

By the time they finally got to town, Bum was shaking again, and this time it wasn’t because of the horse. He kept re-adjusting his veil and making sure the dress covered his scaly patches, as if he was a young girl going to an important event and needed to look perfect. 

 

Sangwoo rode up to the tying post where other visitor’s horses were tied. He immediately realized his mistake- every horse along the post tensed and lay its ears back. He rode Thanatos out to the edge of the post and tied him quickly, taking special care to keep Bum away from the other horses as he lifted him off the saddle and into a bridal carry. 

 

Bum shook in his arms as they hurried away from the horses. Sangwoo set him down on trembling legs once they reached the edge of the market square, and smoothed out a few wrinkles from his tunic. “How do you feel, Bumie? Everything alright?”

“My heart’s beating fast… but other than that, I’m alright.” Bum took his hand in Sangwoo’s and squeezed. “I feel better standing next to you already. How do I look? Any stray snakes or scales peeking out?” 

“Not a bit,” Sangwoo assured. “You look beautiful! I bet every eye here is on you.” Bum made a sour expression. “That’s a good thing, though! People like to look at things that are beautiful!” Another face. “I’m just digging you deeper in your little nervous hole, aren’t I?” Bum nodded. “Okay, okay. Sorry, love you.” He pecked Bum on top of his veil, and felt his snakes squirm beneath his lips. “So,” he swept an arm through the air. “Which booth do you want to visit first?” 

 

“Um…” Bum squirmed under the pressure. “What are those?” He pointed to a pair of wind chimes, glittering in the sun. “They look and sound so pretty.”

“They’re called wind chimes,” Sangwoo explained, hooking an arm around Bum’s waist and leading him through the crowd towards the booth. “The little metal bits hit together when the wind blows to make music. Do you want some, for your garden?”

Bum nodded frantically. “Yes! I’d love to have them there!” He looked up at the sign displaying the price. “...2 drachmas? I was expecting a 1 in front of it.” He shrugged. “Do you um, think you could do the talking for me, Sangwoo?” 

 

Sangwoo nodded. The pair approached the booth and Sangwoo pointed at the various chimes until Bum nodded his head. “Excuse me,” Sangwoo called, getting the attention of the vendor. He held out two silver coins. “My wife would like that chime there, please.” 

The vendor glanced at Bum, who curled in on himself slightly like a shy violet. The vendor accepted the coins and plucked the chime off its perch, making it tinkle softly. “Here you go then.” He held it out to Bum. Bum blinked at him owlishly, but took the wind chime from him. He held it up to the light, where it shimmered. Bum smiled softly. “Thank you.” He said, to both the vendor and his husband. “It’s lovely.” 

 

“You’re lovely.” Sangwoo tapped Bum on the end of his nose gently. Bum’s cheeks flushed scarlet beneath his veil. “Now, there’s a clothing booth over there.” He pointed off in the distance, past a large fountain. “Let’s go pick you out some more of these.” He tugged gently on the hem of Bum’s veil. 

“Can we get one in red? It’ll hide my scales better.” Bum patted his jawline, though they really weren’t that visible under the white. 

 

As the two approached the booth, the vendor smiled widely and greeted them. “Hello again young man! You came here yesterday, correct? I assume this is your wife. She looks absolutely gorgeous!” Bum smiled shyly and blushed at the compliment. “I assume you are here to buy more clothes for the little lady?” 

“This is her,” Sangwoo affirmed, sweeping an arm in front of Bum’s body. “The prettiest girl in all of Athens.” Bum pressed his lips together and looked away, shaking his head. “And the most humble,” Sangwoo joked. “We’re here to get some clothes fitting for a woman of her beauty.” Sangwoo stepped forward and began to rifle through the piles of cloth on the table, shaking his head at most of what he came across. “Show us your finest,” he demanded of the vendor. 

“Finest? It’ll be more expensive.” The woman said. Bum glanced worriedly at Sangwoo, and mouthed a three-digit number at him. Sangwoo shook his head and laughed. 

“Here’s a very trendy cut. White chiton, and it comes with a red robe with gold embroidery on the bottom. You can wrap it in many different styles– Cover most of your body up, or show a little skin for your lover.” She winked at Bum, who turned a similar shade of red to the cloak. “We also have similar robes in different colors. As for veils, we have longer ones that go down your front, ones that are sheer around so you can see her hair,” One of Bum’s hair snakes hissed at that, but she didn’t hear it over the crowd, “and ones that are more opaque. We also have comfortable shoes…” She went on and on, gesturing to her different wares. 

 

“Get whatever you want, Bumie,” Sangwoo urged, gathering a few robes that Bum seemed to be eyeing more than the rest.

“Bumie?” the vendor echoed. “Such a unique name! I’ve never heard that before.” 

 

Bum blushed impossibly deeper, but didn’t reply. Instead, he grabbed a pair of leather sandals with an intricate pattern of straps and pretended to study them closely. Sangwoo grabbed every piece of robe, tunic, and veil that Bum gave even more than a passing glance, and by the time he was satisfied that his wife’s wardrobe had been diversified enough, his arms were piled so high with fabric that his face was barely visible. 

 

“Alright, my dears,” the vendor chirped. “Quite a load you have there! It’s worth twelve drachmas.” Sangwoo groaned, but didn’t protest. 

“Grab the money out of my satchel, would you, Bumie? My hands are...otherwise occupied.” 

“12? Okay.” Bum ruffled through Sangwoo’s satchel and pulled out the money. “Don’t worry Sangwoo. We’ve got plenty more.” He assured the hero. 

“M-May we get a bag, miss?” He asked the vendor, congratulating himself inside for only stuttering once. 

“Oh my, so polite! Of course you can, my dear.” The vendor chuckled, and helped Sangwoo put all of the fabric into the bag. “Thank you for the business! Have a nice day, you two!” She called as they walked away. 

 

“I’m sorry I made you spend so much. You really didn’t need to get me all that.” Bum apologized. 

“Don’t be ridiculous, Bum,” Sangwoo snorted, struggling to see over the pile of clothes in his arms. “Nothing makes me happier than giving you things.” He ducked and swerved through the crowd back towards Thanatos, eager to put down their goods. “If I had my own money here,” he mused, “I’d buy you everything in this whole damn market.” But I don’t. It’s in Thebes, along with everything else I spent my whole life working for , he thought, with just a hint of bitterness. 

 

“That’s not necessary!” Bum insisted. “I’m um, gonna wait a little away from the horses, okay? I don’t want to get trampled to death.” He gave a nervous smile. “I’ll be waiting for you.” 

“Chicken!” Sangwoo teased over his shoulder. He found Thanatos and heaved the pile of clothes up onto his backside, covering it with a bit of burlap and struggling to get it tied down. Thanatos, displeased with the extra cloth in the hot sun, snorted and bucked lightly. 

“I know ,” Sangwoo acquiesced. “I’ve changed, buddy.” He finally succeeded and securing the goods. “But it’s for the best, don’t you think? You haven’t met the right mare yet- or stallion, if you’re like me- so you don’t know what it’s like to be in love.” He retrieved a cucumber he’d grabbed from a produce stand and offered it to this horse in apology. “Maybe one day you will.” Once I convince Bum to come back home with me, that is.  

 

He made his way back over to Bum, who was cowering by the edge of a date seller’s booth. “It’s nearing noon, they should be starting a play soon.” He took Bum gently by the arm and pulled him in the direction of the theatron. “But I think we should get some refreshments before we go, eh?” He gestured to the very crowded wine vendor. 

 

Bum stared at the wine vendor in confusion. “What is that? It smells… odd.” His eyes widened as he saw the color. “It’s red! Is that a potion? Or blood? ” He lowered his voice at the end. His innocence was pretty funny, in a way.

 

Sangwoo snorted. “It’s wine, Bumie!” Sangwoo pushes his way to the front of the line and held up two fingers to the vendor. “It’s like grape juice, but it makes you happy.” He tossed a coin at the vendor and made his way back to Bum with an earthenware cup in each hand. “Give it taste,” he urged, offering one of the cups to Bum. 

Bum stared at the wine like he was afraid it was gonna poison him, but at Sangwoo’s urging he took a sip. He wrinkled his nose. “It’s sweet!”

“It is,” Sangwoo agreed, tossing his own back in one long sip and holding his cup out to the vendor for more. He grinned. It’d been far too long since he’d had a stout drink. “And just give it a minute- you’ll start to feel it soon.” 

“A-Alright.” Bum took another sip. “How many sips does it make you to feel good, Sangwoo?” 

Sangwoo quickly downed his second cup, feeling no buzz. “Depends, really. For you? Probably just a couple.” He got another refill. “Keep drinking.” His third cup was quickly drained. 

“Hey, just give me that jug,” he called, throwing another coin at the vendor. He was only just beginning to feel the warmth in his chest. The vendor grumbled, but passed him a paint jar, full of wine. 

 

“Sangwoo, don’t you still want to see the play?” Bum tugged on Sangwoo’s arm. He glanced at an ugly man with a very red face nearby that was absolutely shitfaced, and was leering at all the women that passed. “If you drink too much, you might not be able to focus.” That’s what Bum assumed was causing the man’s odd behavior. 

“Yeah, we’re gonna go see the play!” Sangwoo took Bum by the arm and pulled him away from the crowd. “Don’t you worry about me, darling. I’m well known for my ability to hold my liquor.” Sangwoo had to stifle a burp.

 

From somewhere behind them, there was a long, suggestive whistle, and then there was another pair of hands on Bum, trying to pull him from Sangwoo. 

Bum jolted and looked behind him to see a man standing behind him, also drunk and grinning at him lecherously. “Hey baby.” He slurred. “You’ve got a nice body.” He leaned closer to look at Bum’s face. “And green eyes. That’s rare. Not only do you have a hot body, but also a pretty face~”

“I-I–“ Bum stuttered. “I-I’m married!” He squeaked. But the drunkard ignored that, and grabbed Bum’s arm in a bruising grip anyways, as if Sangwoo wasn’t even there. 

“So what? He doesn’t have ta know.” The drunkard’s grin grew, and the more Bum tried to squirm away the harder he held on. 

 

“Hey, asshole,” came Sangwoo’s furious voice. “I know.” The man stuttered and dropped Bum’s arm, but didn’t leave. “She said she’s married.” Sangwoo stepped defensively in front of Bum. “To me.” 

“S-so?” The drunk stuttered. “Obviously you’re not satisfied with you if she’s walking around looking like a who-“

Sangwoo didn’t give the man a chance to finish. He took the clay cup, still full of wine, and smashed it against his ugly face hard enough that it shattered. The man cried out in anguish and gripped his bleeding nose. 

 

“Fuck you!” he howled, lashing out ineffectually with his free arm. “I’ll have you arrested! Do you have any idea who I am?”

Sangwoo grabbed the man’s arm to still it and shoved the man further away from Bum. “I wouldn’t give a fuck if you were Zeus himself! A dirty fucker like you doesn’t even have the right to look at my wife, let alone touch her.” He gave the man another shove, and spit on him once he fell. 

 

Bum was behind him suddenly, jar of wine clutched in one arm and the other around Sangwoo’s waist, trembling. A small crowd had formed to watch the spectacle, but Sangwoo couldn’t be bothered with them- he was only concerned about the terrified sniffling sounds coming from his bride. 

“S-Sangwoo… stop it. I don’t want you to get arrested. Let’s just go.” Bum whimpered. “He’s not worth it.” He squeezed Sangwoo’s waist lightly. “Please, love? We really should go.” 

Sangwoo turned around and raised his eyebrows. “O-of course, Bumie.” He wrapped a protective arm around Bum’s shoulders. “What are you looking at?” Sangwoo shouted at the crowd of onlookers, who averted their eyes quickly. “Come on.”

 

He lead Bum out of the marketplace and through the streets to the hillside, where the theatron was built. A small crowd had already gathered in the stands, and there were a few cast members milling in and out of the buildings offstage. 

 

“I’m really sorry about that, baby,” Sangwoo cooed as he and Bum took their seats, near the back. He pulled Bum in for a hug and lifted his veil to peck his lips. “Sometimes alcohol brings out the worst in people. You’re not hurt, are you?” Bum shook his head timidly. 

“Good. I’d have killed him if he’d so much as scratched you.” Sangwoo settled down in his seat, but refused to move his arm from around Bum’s shoulders. “The man at the entrance said they’re playing Oedipus Rex today- it’s my favorite!” he gushed, trying to lighten the mood. “It’s about a kind from my homeland. Have you heard of it?” 

 

Bum shook his head. “The name sounds familiar, but I do not know of this play- or any play for that matter.” He smiled. “Hopefully this one leaves a good first impression!” He cuddled closer. “You are from Thebes, correct? Isn’t that a big city? I’m not sure how well I’d fare in a city with lots and lots of people.” He shrugged. “But you’re from it, so it can’t be all bad, right?” Even if you originally came to kill me. 

 

Sangwoo puffed his chest out proudly. “I tend to be quite proud of my home city, yes,” he agreed, but then his tone quieted, and grew soft. “I really think you would like it there, darling. I hope to take you someday.” Bum began to frantically shake his head, but Sangwoo stilled it with a kiss. Beneath his lips, dozens of serpents squirmed irritably. “Shh, now,” he instructed, as the chorus began to file onto the stage. “It’s starting!” 

“Oh! Right.” Bum’s snakes quieted down, and he sat up straight, eyes trained on the stage. He watched the play with rapt attention, though he seemed to grow more and more confused. “...Why did he marry his mother?” He whispered to Sangwoo, who shushed him.

When the play finally ended and they began to walk out, Bum turned to Sangwoo. “That was an… interesting play. Very dramatic ending.” 

“Yeah…” Sangwoo agreed, reluctantly. “There’s a sequel, you know, about his kids,” he rushed to mitigate. “It’s called Antigone. Maybe we’ll watch it another day.” Bum still looked a bit disturbed. “I promise not everyone in Thebes is into incest, babe.” 

“Uh-huh. You sure about that?” Bum said, unconvinced, but then broke in a smile. “Kidding!” He kissed Sangwoo’s shoulder. “At least you’re not into incest. You’d never fuck your mother!”

 

He looked up at the sky. “The sun’s setting already. We should probably start heading back before it gets too dark.” He slipped his hand in Sangwoo’s. 

“You’re right,” Sangwoo agreed. 

 

Bum tensed as they approached Thanatos, but luckily most of the other horses had already left with their owners. Thanatos was irritable and jumpy from standing still all day, and he thrashed about wildly when Bum first mounted him, but a few rough smacks to his hip from his master solved that rather quickly. Some of the wine had spilled from the jug during Thanatos’ tantrum, but it was still mostly full, so Sangwoo held it between his thighs while Bum gripped onto him tightly. 

Sangwoo gave Thanatos a sharp kick, and the pair, with their wine and their mountain of clothes, rode off into the sunset-red Athenian hills. 

 

Bum was slightly sleepy by the time they arrived back at the cave, but when Thanatos stopped he insisted getting off by himself. “That was… quite an adventure. Definitely not what I expected.” Bum admitted. He glanced at Sangwoo, who was carrying the mountain of clothes. “...Do you want me to help you with that?” 

“It’s not a problem, baby,” Sangwoo insisted, even has he stumbled across a rock since he couldn’t see over the pile. “Just grab the wine, okay? Don’t wanna lose that.” 

 

Once in the cave, he dropped the pile of clothes next to their bed and picked up the blindfold from the floor. “Want me to put this on? I’m sure your snakes are furious, being under there all day.” 

“That would be good. Unless you want to wear my veil?” Bum joked. After Sangwoo put on his blindfold, Bum took off his veil, and immediately there was a burst of hissing from his snakes. “Ugh, shut up! I’m sorry I left you under that all day. You’re free now, so stop complaining!” Bum snapped at his hair-snakes.

 

He sighed and leaned up to kiss Sangwoo. “Sorry about that.” He apologized. “I hope you had at least some fun, despite that one incident.”  

“Ah- of course I did! I loved sharing all that with you,” Sangwoo assured. “I am sorry about that man, though. I know that probably put you off humans even more than you already were.” He sat down on the bed, and pulled Bum into his arms. “We’re not all bad, babe, I promise.” 

Bum smiled sadly. “Well, I’ve had negative experiences with nearly every human I’ve met… except for you. And that clothing lady seemed nice. Otherwise, I still don’t really trust them. But… I’ll try to be more, ah, open-minded. For you.” He nuzzled Sangwoo’s nose. “I’d do anything for you.” 

 

Bum sighed again. “That man’s probably gonna bug me at the back of my mind, though. He said I looked like a whore… I wish I could forget that whole affair.” His snakes hissed in sympathy. 

“You aren’t a whore, my darling,” Sangwoo assured his love. “Even if you moan like one, I know you’d only share yourself with me.” He drew Bum further into his lap, returning his nuzzle and deepening it into a slow, sucking kiss. “But...if you want to forget about it,” Sangwoo reached for the wine. “This could help.” He held Bum’s face in one hand, and lifted the jug to his lips with the other. 

“You think drinking wine would help me forget? I don’t think that’s a very good method.” But Bum took a sip anyway, to please his lover. 

 

Since he was so tiny and had never drunk any alcohol before, within a couple of sips he was feeling warm inside. “Sangwoooo~ Did I ever tell you I looove you before?” Bum asked, slurring his words slightly, draping himself over the hero like a blanket. 

 

Sangwoo bit his lip to keep from laughing. “Yes, little monster, I recall you mentioned it.” Bum brought the jar to his mouth for another drink, and shoved it in Sangwoo’s face as an offering. “I love you too, you know,” he said, pushing Bum’s hand away gently. 

 

“You dooo? I’m so happy~” He wrapped his arms around Sangwoo’s neck and nuzzled his jawline. His face was really red, and even the snakes in his hair seemed happy and lethargic. Suddenly he surged up to give Sangwoo a long, passionate kiss, not stopping till he was forced to take a breath. 

“Mmph,” Sangwoo grunted as they separated, smacking his lips at the wine-soaked taste of Bum’s lips. A little clawed hand had sneaked beneath the hem of his tunic and was dancing upwards, dangerously close to his groin. “What’s that all about, little monster?” 

 

“I’m sooorry~” Bum said, not sounding sorry at all. “You’re just really hot, you know that?” He giggled. “I just can’t keep my claws off you~” 

Sangwoo grinned- he knew he was hotter than Hades, but it was still nice to hear it. “Who said you had to keep them off me?” He pushed Bum away just enough to remove his tunic, then lay down on their palette, stretching his arms above his head seductively.  

 

Bum bit his lip. “Sangwoo… If you keep acting like that, I don’t think I can control myself…” He got down and licked a long stripe up from Sangwoo’s Adonis belt to his chest. “Was this–“ He pressed sloppy kisses to the hero’s neck. “–your plan? Get me drunk so you can get laid?” Bum nipped gently on his earlobe. “Naughty boy. But, luckily for you, it worked.” 

 

“I don’t have to get you drunk to get laid, meanie,” Sangwoo protested, but he had to admit, he did enjoy the new, sluttier side of Bum the alcohol had brought out. That, and there was something grotesquely arousing at hearing Bum call him a naughty boy . “But, hey, if you’re in the mood,” he grabbed Bum by his slender hips and flipped their positions quickly, making sure his stomach came in contact with Bum’s covered dick, “then so am I.” He pulled the lobe of one of Bum’s pointed ears between his teeth and breathed against his neck hotly.

Bum snorted. “You’re always in the mood. I bet if you could, you’d fuck me nonstop for an entire day.” He circled his arms around Sangwoo’s back. “Not that I would mind~” It seemed alcohol also did wonders for his confidence. 

 

“Is that a challenge?” Sangwoo inquired, stroking the backs of Bum’s tender thighs. “We’ll have to try that out for a day. But, for right now…” His voice trailed off. He was sober and in his right mind, unlike Bum, and he still had the capacity to be nervous. He’d never asked anything like this of Bum before- he wasn’t sure how comfortable he’d be with it. He kissed Bum’s forehead. “Right now, why don’t you take the reins, huh? Tell me what to do to make you feel good?”

 

Bum seemed fully okay with that idea. “Alright then. Get on your back while I undress.” Bum pulled off his dress and flung it to the side, sighing as the cool air hit his overheated skin. As quietly as he could as to not alert his lover, Bum slithered down to Sangwoo’s lap. Suddenly, a warm wet heat enveloped Sangwoo’s cock as Bum took his dick into his mouth and sucked gently. He couldn’t take it all without scraping Sangwoo a bit, so he settled for just taking half and trying his best to not have his fangs touch his lover’s sensitive dick. Bum pulled off with a wet pop and went to press open mouthed kisses along Sangwoo’s shaft. He ever so gently traced a bulging vein with the tip of his claw, up to Sangwoo’s red cockhead. 

 

Sangwoo hissed and grit his teeth. It’d been ages since he’d had a blowjob, and he wasn’t expecting to ever get one from Bum because of all those pointy teeth, so this was the last thing he’d expected for tonight- but damn if he was complaining. The scrape of one of Bum’s metallic claws across his hypersensitive skin was surprisingly delicious, and he shivered. “Oh, fuck, Bum,” he moaned. “Can I have more? Give me more, please.” Most times he would just make demands of his lover; order him around like a ragdoll, but tonight he felt different. He felt obedient and small. 

“You’ll have to be more specific~ What do you mean by ‘more’?” Bum blew hot air on his palm to make sure it wasn’t too cold, then began to jerk Sangwoo off, trying to mimic the same motions and amount of pressure Sangwoo used on him, all while tonguing at his slit. He let precum drip onto his hands, making his movements slicker and easier. His hands were just the right amount of rough that the friction felt amazing instead of painful against Sangwoo’s cock. 

 

“Ah,” Sangwoo gasped, fisting the blankets and curling his toes. “So good, but...can I taste you, my love? Please?” He knew Bum probably thought he wanted to suck him off, but he had something a bit more unorthodox in mind. 

Bum blinked in confusion. “Taste? I don’t really want you to eat me… And I don’t think you can fit me in your mouth.” He leaned up to give the hero a sloppy kiss. Bum straddled Sangwoo so his dick was pressing right against the gorgon’s thick ass. “What do you mean, Woo? Or better yet, just show me.” 

 

Sangwoo gasped at the press of Bum’s ass to his cock, but he forced himself to stay in control. He reached out to grab Bum by the waist and dragged him up his body, until he was wearing Bum’s thighs like earrings. “Like this, baby,” he answered, craning his neck so that the his nose was pressed against Bum’s perineum and flicking his tongue out in search of his lover’s hole. 

 

Bum squeaked in surprise, but turned into a loud moan as Sangwoo began licking over his hole. “F-Fuck…” Bum groaned, subconsciously spreading his legs wider for a better angle. “Never, nngh, thought of doing this.” But he wasn’t complaining, quite the opposite, based off his little mutters of more and please under his breath. 

Sangwoo removed his hands from Bum’s thighs and brought them around to his ass, gripping each cheek and separating them to give him better access. He licked deeper and deeper, wriggling the tip of his tongue inside Bum and earning him a series of surprised gasps. Bum’s hole didn’t taste much different from his cock, and was hairless, like the rest of him. If someone had told Sangwoo a year ago that he’d be in love with a gorgon, living in a cave, and allowing said gorgon to ride his face like a stallion, he’d have taken their head, and laughed while doing so. Now, he was simply in bliss. He buried his face as deeply inside his lover as he could, savoring him, until his own cock began to ache with the need for attention, and Bum’s began to weigh heavily on his face, and he was forced to pull away. 

 

Bum was panting heavily, and his face was flushed an even darker red. Immediately he rushed down to give Sangwoo a kiss, sucking on his tongue and getting a taste of himself. “Want me to ride you?” He asked breathlessly. 

“God, please ,” Sangwoo begged. There was nothing he’d like more. He wanted to think of it as Bum using him to please himself; taking what he wanted, rather than Sangwoo making his lover do all the work. 

 

“Alright.” He straddled Sangwoo again, giving a few teasing rubs against Sangwoo’s cock before lifting himself up slightly and positioning his hole over Sangwoo’s hard dick. “You want it?” He teased. Gods, who knew making the strong hero beg was so much fun? “You want me to go down and bounce on your cock? Hmm, my hero?” 

Gods , Sangwoo thought. I’ve created a monster. A slutty, cocktease monster. “Y-yes,” he choked out, going along with Bum’s newfound confidence. “Please, my love. Bounce on my cock.” Begging didn’t hurt his pride nearly as badly as he thought it would- not when they were all alone like this. “You know how much I need it.” 

 

“As you wish~” Bum rubbed the cockhead against his hole a couple of times before finally sinking down on it in one smooth go. “ Gods, you feel so good Woo.” He rolled his hips, groaning as he felt his lover’s dick brush against his prostate. He began alternating between long rolls of his hips to fast bounces, lifting himself up then impaling himself on Sangwoo’s cock. He was lost in his own pleasure now, savoring the feeling of being in control for once. It was admittedly a bit odd riding the hero but being able to see, since usually Bum was the blind man in this scenario. But this time it was much different. Bum was drunk, more confident, and much more sluttier. He didn’t give a fuck about controlling his voice or stopping himself from swearing. 

 

“Fuck, Bum,” moaned Sangwoo, who never had any reservations about his colorful vocabulary, drunk or not. “Fuck, baby, I’ve got to get you drunk more often. You’re doing so good.” He gripped Bum’s slender, gyrating hips tightly and forced himself not to buck up into his lover, wanting Bum to have all the control. “I’m so close, baby.” He slid his hands up Bum’s abdomen and pulled him down for a kiss. “I’m gonna cum,” he panted against Bum’s mouth. “Can I cum in you, baby? Please?” 

Y es.” Bum agreed immediately. “I fucking love you cumming in me. You fill me up so good, and sometimes I can even feel you still inside me in the morning.” He kissed Sangwoo again, not caring about the drool dribbling down his chin. “I love you, Sangwoo. I love you so️, so fucking much.” He whispered. 

 

Gods , I love you , Bum.” Sangwoo smashed his lips hard against Bum’s in a toothy but passionate kiss. “I’m so fucking in love with you, I can’t wait, I can’t wait…” He didn’t specify what, exactly, he couldn’t wait for, because at that moment Bum slid down on him until he was balls deep, and he was cumming, hard and long, inside his most precious one. His orgasm robbed him of the ability to recall any words other than Bum’s name, which he chanted over and over like he was an oracle attempting to summon a god. 

 

Barely a second after Sangwoo came, Bum was cumming too, calling out Sangwoo’s name so loud his voice cracked. His body shook and his muscles contracted around Sangwoo’s cock, milking his orgasm. By the time both their orgasms were over, Bum had collapsed onto Sangwoo, dick pressed between their stomachs, arms firmly wrapped around his lover’s back and face buried in his neck. “We need to do that again.” Bum mumbled. “That was good.” Good was an understatement, but Bum was too tired to think of longer, more eloquent words to describe what just happened. 

 

“Good indeed,” Sangwoo agreed, tossing a blanket over them and wrapping his arms snuggly around Bum. “There’s still half the wine left; maybe we should use it tomorrow night.” 

Bum just grunted noncommittally and hid his face deeper. Sangwoo laughed. “Goodnight, my slutty little monster.”

 


 

When Bum woke up, he had a splitting headache. He groaned and opened his eyes slowly, turning over to see Sangwoo sleeping beside him. It wasn’t an unusual sight, but Bum couldn’t remember the last time he had a headache this bad. “What happened?” He mumbled, hoping his hair-snakes could fill him in. His gaze fell on the jug of wine. Immediately, it all came back to him- the date, buying the wind chime and all those clothes, getting harassed by that drunkard, seeing the play and– oh no. “Shit!” Bum nearly shot up, but didn’t want to disturb Sangwoo, so he eased himself back down onto their bed. “Shit.” He whispered again. He hid his heated-up face in his hands. “I can’t believe I did that… Did that really happen?” His hair-snakes hissed in confirmation. “Oh gods. I hope to Zeus Sangwoo doesn’t remember that…” 

Bum’s muttering stirred Sangwoo awake. “Hmm?” he grumbled, turning around to face the gorgon and mashing a kiss against his bare chest. “Hmm. Good morning, little one. How’re you feeling after such a wild night?” 

 

Bum turned red. “Urgh, you remembered…” Even the tips of his pointed ears were turning red. “If I said anything stupid, please disregard that! I wasn’t thinking straight.” He seemed extremely embarrassed, and lowered his eyes, even if Sangwoo couldn’t see him. 

Sangwoo raised an eyebrow and rolled to hover over Bum. “Stupid?” He pecked Bum’s cheeks, which, as he suspected, were hot with embarrassment. “What do you mean, stupid ? You were amazing last night, babe.” He stretched his legs out lethargically and grinned, remembering the new side of his lover he’d been gifted with a few hours ago. “Can’t wait to do that again.” 

 

Again? But I was like a completely different person! I was so confident and slutty and ow. ” He tried to sit up, but his headache doubled. “Sangwoo, why does my head hurt? I may not remember everything from last night, but I don’t remember any traumatic head injury.” 

“It’s called a hangover,” Sangwoo explained carefully, like he was talking to a young child. “Headache, stomach ache, thirst- just one of the many risks that come with drinking but, hey- sometimes benefits outweigh risks, wouldn’t you say?” Bum hummed nervously. 

 

“Say, why don’t we eat a little, then you can put on one of those topless veils we got you yesterday and go for a walk. Some fresh air might do you good.” Sangwoo suggested.

“Alright. But I don’t want to have to wear another full-length dress again. A tunic is fine, thank you very much.” Bum sat up, slower this time as to not aggravate his headache, and stretched. He glanced at the wine jug again and scowled. I don’t know whether to be grateful to you that I had such great sex last night or annoyed that I probably made a fool of myself and Sangwoo’s just not telling me. 

 

Bum retreated into a corner of the cave to don his veil while Sangwoo removed his blindfold and began to slice radishes and bread for their breakfast. From beside their bed, Ari- who Sangwoo had come to recognize by his bright green and black checkerboard scales and his constant proximity to Bum- slithered over, curious about the noise. “Hey,” Sangwoo greeted, as the snake came to rest in a coil beside him. “I think you’re warming up to me, aren’t ya?” He reached down to stroke Ari’s scaly back, but he jumped away from his hand at lightning speed, and hissed in what Sangwoo could only assume was the reptilian approximation of you fucking wish .

“Okay, I get it,” Sangwoo acquiesced. “You don’t like me! That’s fine. Our kind weren’t really meant to mingle anyway.” He spread some butter on a bit of bread and topped it with sliced radishes. “Still, I feel like I should...y’know, ask your blessing or something. You are Bum’s best friend.” At that moment, Bum came pattering back from changing, and Sangwoo promptly bit his tongue, so as not to spoil his surprise. “Shh,” he warned the snake beside him. 

“Did I miss anything?” Bum asked as he sat next to Sangwoo. “Oh, are you two talking? Trying to become friends?” Ari hissed. “...Okay, maybe not.” He looked at Bum. “It’s nice that you’re making an effort to be kind towards Ari. He’s not a very trusting snake. I think the other snakes like you, though.” He gave Sangwoo a kiss on the cheek. “I sure do.” 

 

“Ooh, you’re so cute,” Sangwoo cooed, kissing his lovely, green-eyed (potential) fiance on his veiled cheek. Ari hissed bitterly and slithered away. “Here.” He offered Bum some breakfast. “I made your favorite!” 

 

“Thanks.” Bum eagerly accepted it and began to chow down. “Do you mind if on the walk we could go to my garden? I want to harvest some fruits before they go bad.” 

Sangwoo beamed like a giddy child with a poorly contained secret. “ Absolutely ,” he said, a bit too enthusiastically. “You, um,” he tried to think of a way to phrase his question without being obvious. “You grow apples, right?” Please grow apples. 

 

“Oh, sure I do! They should be ripe now, actually. They’re at the back of my garden though, if that’s okay.” He squeezed Sangwoo’s hand. “You seem really excited.” He smiled sweetly. “And when you’re excited, I’m excited. Even when I don’t know what we’re excited about!” 

Sangwoo winked. “Of course I’m excited. Every day with you is exciting.” He bit back a loopy, nervous grin. “Now hurry up and eat,” he urged. “Those apples aren’t going to pick themselves.” 

 

Half an hour later, the couple found themselves wandering through Bum’s fastidiously cared for garden. It was nearing autumn, meaning the roses and daffodils and dahlias had faded away to be replaced by golden mums, purple aster, and dusty pink stonecrop. The few low-lying pomegranate trees had not produced much fruit, but the apples and figs and grapes were bountiful and ready for picking. Sangwoo had a woven basket full of their harvest tucked under one arm, the other holding Bum’s hand securely, while the Gorgon oohed and ahhed at each piece of fruit he picked. 

“I’m glad you can reach the higher branches, Sangwoo. Often times some really nice fruit is too high for me to pick, so sometimes a lot of good fruit is left on the tree that I can’t access! With you here, I don’t have that problem, though.” He kissed Sangwoo’s cheek. “I’m so lucky I have you, darling. You’ve made my life so much better– and I don’t mean that in just fruit picking.” 

 

Sangwoo smiled. “I think that I’m the lucky one,” he protested. “I spent my whole life surrounded by people, but I never had anyone until I had you.” He had so much more he wanted to say, but he wasn’t sure how to put it into words. Instead, he settled on reaching to a high branch and plucking the roundest, reddest apple he’d seen all day. His hands shook; he was nervous in spite of his certainty that this was what they both wanted. “Here, my fairest one,” he cooed, his voice bright with love and anticipation. “Catch!” 

Bum was caught off guard, but he managed to catch the apple in time. He stared down at the apple in confusion. Wait… didn’t I read somewhere that that’s how men propose? By throwing an apple at them? But that’s impossible…. He wouldn’t do that for me, would he? “U-Um, thank you, Sangwoo. It’s lovely.” Bum was still a bit confused, but he smiled at Sangwoo anyways. Though if you wanted to give me an apple as a snack, you could have just handed it to me.”

 

Sangwoo smacked his lips and raised an eyebrow. His stomach was sinking, absurdly fearing rejection, even though he knew Bum was probably just confused. “Well, darling, I suppose it could be a snack, but...that’s not why I gave it to you.” He stepped closer and pulled Bum in by the waist. “You haven’t heard the story, of Eris and the apple?” 

Bum shook his head slowly. “No, why? Should I?” By the look in his eyes, I’m guessing he didn’t give me the apple as a snack after all. 

 

“Well,” Sangwoo began, leading Bum over to sit on a boulder. He’d anticipated some big reaction, some shining moment that would make all the love epics pale in comparison, but it seemed he’d have to be patient with his love. “The goddess Eris was angry that she wasn’t invited to a wedding, so to cause discontent among the guests, she engraved to the fairest one on an apple and tossed it into the celebration. All the other goddesses began to argue over who the message was addressed to. Kind of a stupid story if you ask me.” Bum smiles politely, but looked confused. “But that’s beside the point. These days, when you throw an apple at your love, and they catch it, it’s meant to signify engagement.” Bum’s breath hitched. Sangwoo reached to take Bum’s small hands in his own trembling ones. “Engagement… to be married.” He sucked in a deep, steadying breath. “So?” 

 

Oh. My. Gods. “Yes!!!” Bum nearly yelled, then blushed and quieted down. “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!” He nearly tackled Sangwoo in a hug. “Gods, yes. I’d love nothing more than to marry you, Woo.” He surged up for a kiss. 

Sangwoo stumbled back against the boulder, reeling from the impact of Bum’s embrace, but he squeezed his new bride with all his might, wanting to convey his love, his devotion, his solemn vow of protection, through the movement of his lips. “My bride,” he gasped, when they separated for air. “My beautiful bride, my only love.” He gazed into Bum’s inhumanly green eyes, glistening with tears, and felt moisture bloom in his own. “How happy you’ve made me.” 

 

The tears spilled over in Bum’s eyes and his face split into an ear to ear grin. “I love you so much!” He hugged Sangwoo again, and buried his face in the hero’s strong chest. “I’ve never been so happy in my life. Thank you, Sangwoo. Thank you.” 

 

“Thank you , Bumie.” Sangwoo kisses his face in short, sweet pecks, unable to feel close enough to him. “Now, I know we can’t be married legally, in a temple, but,” he stroked Bum’s hair-snakes soothingly, and they gave his fingers a few loving nips, “in everything but law, you will be my wife.” He beamed down at the newest member of the Oh dynasty. 

 

Bum smiled back, choosing not to comment on the ‘wife’ part. “This is the best day ever.” He wiped the tears from his eyes. “Marriage, huh?” He gazed at the apple in his hand. “Never thought that’d happen to me. But here we are.” 

“To be honest,” Sangwoo admitted, taking Bum’s hand and leading him back towards the cave. “I never thought it would happen to me, either. Never saw myself as the marrying type. I had to meet someone special to change my mind.” He tapped Bum’s blushing nose gently. “Now, what do you say we head back and have a celebratory feast,” he gestured to the basket of fruit, “and properly consummate our marriage.” 

Bum blushed deeply at the ‘consummate’ part, but nodded enthusiastically. “That sounds great, Woo.” He squeezed his lover– no, fiance ’s hand, heart bursting with love. 

 

They settled beside a crackling fire, sipping wine (Sangwoo more vigorously than Bum), and feeding each other bites of fruit. Bum bit into a particularly ripe grape and that sent juice trickling down his chin, and Sangwoo held the edge of his veil out of the way to kiss it away. Bum giggled, his cheeks growing hot. 

 

“Still doesn’t taste as sweet as you,” Sangwoo commented, dropping the veil and pressing sloppy, open mouthed kisses along the gorgon’s thin neck. “Nothing ever could.” 

“You’re so cheesy.” However Bum wasn’t complaining, as he turned his head to capture Sangwoo’s lips in a kiss. “It’s cute, though.” He hadn’t drinken enough wine to get fully drunk, but he still felt a warmth in his chest, intensified by the love for the man in front of him. 

 

“You love cheese,” Sangwoo informed his fiancé. “And you love me.” Bum nodded happily, tossing himself onto their bed and dragging Sangwoo with him. Neither was hard yet, but they were buzzing both from the wine and from the constant electric attraction that existed between them. They leaned in for a slow kiss, and once they parted, Sangwoo smoothed the veil back down over Bum’s face. 

 

“Do… do you think we could maybe do a different position this time?” Bum asked shyly. “I wanna see your face. It’ll be a fun change of pace. Please, darling?” 

“You say that like I’m even capable of refusing you, baby,” Sangwoo cooed, easing Bum’s tunic up his thighs and stroking his half-hard cock. He used his free hand to strip off his own tunic. “Spread those pretty legs for me, alright? And wrap them around my waist.” 

Bum did what he asked, locking his ankles around Sangwoo’s waist and wrapping his arms around his fiancé’s neck. His cock was quickly hardening under Sangwoo’s ministrations. “Do whatever you want to me.” He whispered. “I love you.” 

 

“I love you. All I want to do is love you, with everything I am.” They kissed again, the kind of kiss that can only be shared by two twin flames. The hem of Bum’s veil had bunched up beneath his nose. Sangwoo fumbled around for the bottle of oil that they now kept stashed underneath their palette and poured a little bit between them, making sure to get plenty in the cleft of Bum’s ass. Keeping their bodies pressed together, he slipped a finger between them and into his ass, earning a gasp. Bum was still as tight as any virgin Sangwoo had ever had, but his body had learned not to reject his love’s entrance. 

 

Bum whimpered and mewled as Sangwoo fingered him, trying not to claw at his neck or back. “Baby…” He breathed. This was it. They were finally making love, face to face. Bum honestly thought that would never happen, but hey, he didn’t expect to fall in love and get married to a powerful human hero either. “C’mon, hurry up. Need you now.” He whined. 

“Don’t want to hurt you,” Sangwoo insisted, but shoved a second finger inside, scissoring them together. He ground his cock against Bum’s oil-coated stomach, slicking it, and then replaced his fingers with his cockhead. He was going to ask Bum if he was ready, but when he glanced up and his fiancé, the certainty and the love shining in his green eyes answered that question. He pushed in slowly, but without stopping. Bum took him perfectly, opening to meet him but still squeezing him tightly. His pretty red mouth fell open and mouthed silent endearments, and his claws dug perfectly into Sangwoo’s back. Sangwoo shuddered from the overwhelming pleasure. Fuck ambrosia- this was as close to bliss as a mortal like him could experience, he was sure of it. 

 

Now that there was no blindfold between them, Sangwoo could see how Bum’s eyes rolled up in his head and his eyebrows scrunched together as the hero hit his prostate again and again. Sangwoo’s name left Bum’s lips over and over again, like he was praying to a god. Suddenly Bum unwrapped his arms from around Sangwoo’s neck, and put them down so he could link his fingers with Sangwoo’s. “It’s more romantic like this.” Bum said, always a sucker for cheesy romantic shit. 

 

Sangwoo smiled a loopy smile, but let Bum slide their hands together and press them against their bed. Their bodies were mashed together, and the grinding motion between them was providing incredible friction against Bum’s cock. “Love you more than anything,” Sangwoo gasped against Bum’s damp lips. Bum was so tight and slick around Sangwoo, and the new experience of being face to face, closer than ever, was overwhelming. “I’m gonna cum, baby,” he warned. “Cum with me, okay? We’ll do it together.” 

Bum nodded quickly. “Okay, I– shit!– I’ll cum with you.” Bum kissed Sangwoo, long and hard. “I love you.” He knew he had said that probably over a dozen times just tonight, but each time he truly meant it. Within a couple moments, he cried out and came, hands squeezing Sangwoo’s almost painfully. Sangwoo came inside him at the same time, filling him up till his cum leaked out onto the gorgon’s pale, quivering thighs. 

 

“God damn ,” Sangwoo groaned, his shaking arms barely able to support him long enough to roll off Bum and gather him in a hug. “Damn. How does it get better every time?” The waves of his orgasm were still rolling through him, minutes later. 

“I dunno, but I’m not complaining.” Bum kissed Sangwoo’s collarbone. “You smell good.” He mumbled, snuggling closer into their embrace. “I wish I could be with you like this forever .” He yawned. “Mmm, I’m tired. Stay with me?” 

 

“Where else would I go?” Sangwoo laughed. “There’s nowhere I’d rather be than in our bed with you. Although…” He chewed his lip, remembering Bum’s earlier rejection of this idea. “Wouldn’t it be nice if our bed was in a grand villa, with marble walls, and silk drapings, and servants to tend to us?”

“Servants? I don’t want servants. They could see me. I don’t want to hide all the time.” Bum yawned again. “Besides, I’ve done an ok job of raising myself alone, haven’t I?” He closed his eyes. “I only need you, Sangwoo. Only you.” And with that he fell asleep, breathing peacefully and cuddled up against Sangwoo’s chest. 

 

Sangwoo rolled his eyes, but couldn’t find it in his heart to be annoyed with his beautifully slumbering bride. His mind worked overtime trying to figure out how he’d convince Bum to come with him. It didn’t seem like he was very interested in wealth; he’d have to use another angle. Perhaps he’d wow Bum with stories of the massive garden his estate offered, with the library he owned, full of every book he could imagine, and of how they’d be able to watch any play they wanted, any time- they could even request private performances! Such ideas weren’t worth much right now, though- not when Bum wouldn’t be able to hear them over his long, hiss-like snores. Sangwoo acquiesced and joined Bum in a light doze. 

 

Chapter Text

Bum slowly opened his eyes, and turned to see Sangwoo sleeping deeply beside him. It was the crack of dawn, and it seemed only Bum and the birds outside were awake. Carefully Bum got up as not to disturb his fiancé (he still couldn’t believe it!) and stretched his arms over his head. Maybe I should make Sangwoo breakfast for once. That’d be a nice surprise. He made his way over to the pile of wood they used as a fireplace and started up a simple fire. Then, stepping over other sleeping serpents, he nudged a green slumbering snake curled up in the corner of the cave with his foot. 

 

“Hey, Ari. Wake up.” After some more nudging, Ari finally picked his head up, looking warily at Bum.

“Ari, you’re pretty observant, right? What do you think I should make Sangwoo for breakfast? I want to surprise him.” Bum asked. If Ari was able to, he would have rolled his eyes. With an exasperated hiss he curled back up, away from Bum. “Arriii!” Bum whined, but the snake didn’t answer. 

 

The gorgon huffed in irritation and went back to dig through the bag that Sangwoo stored their food in. He spared a glance behind him– good, the hero was still fast asleep. I wonder what he’s dreaming about. Bum wondered. Hopefully us. 

 

Sangwoo was, indeed, dreaming about them. In reality, he was sprawled across a pad of blankets in a cave, drooling lightly; but in his dream, he was once again the regal, heroic Sangwoo, greeting a cheering crowd of admirers, grateful for his bravery that had allowed him to slay yet another fearsome beast. This scene was nothing foreign to Sangwoo, in reality or in dreams, but there was one new detail- the beautiful, veiled maiden on his arm.

His admirers flocked to his wife as avidly as they did to him, showering her with praises- your visage could launch a thousand ships, Aphrodite withers in the face of your beauty- while every young man wished to have her, and every young woman wished to be her. The couple was unphased by such pleasantries, for they knew things the crowd did not: that the beautiful woman, wasn’t, and that beneath the veil lay a head full of black serpents and eyes that could turn a man to stone. They delighted in these secrets, for it made their love, which had been forged in the fires of adversity and hatred, stronger than iron. 

 

Sangwoo smiled hazily to himself in sleep, moaning incoherencies every now and then, until his nose was assaulted by the bitter, smoky scent of burning bread, and he was forced back to the land of the living. “Bum?” he called, through a raspy voice. “What in Hades?”  

There was a squeak of surprise, and some hurried shuffling. “G-Good morning, Woo!” Bum called. “Ah, no need to get up so quickly! Just, um,” Bum appeared over Sangwoo, smiling, albeit a bit nervously, with his hands behind his back and cheeks a bit red. “How are you feeling?” He asked. He maintained a fake smile, but his hair-snakes seemed tense. 

“What are you doing over there?” he inquired, craning his head suspiciously to see behind Bum. “Are you trying to smoke us out?” Bum shook his head frantically, but Ari slithered out from behind him and gave an affirmative and indignant hiss, before making his way over to the bed and hiding beneath the covers to escape the haze that now permeated the cave.

“Shut up!” Bum hissed agitatedly at Ari. Ari hissed back, which translated to That’s what you get for waking me up with stupid questions. 

“Don’t listen to Ari, he’s being a bit mischievous today. Anyways, something accidentally caught on fire, but it’s been put out and discarded, so it’s all good!” Bum said hurriedly, his face now obviously looking nervous. “Don’t worry about it! Now, how would you like some of the fruit we picked for breakfast?” 

 

“Sure, sure,” Sangwoo agreed, heaving himself out of bed. “Have you ever thought of growing olives, Bumie? They’re quite delicious, and a symbol of good luck,” he commented, picking up an apple and taking a bite. “I grow olive trees all over my estate in Thebes.” How much more obvious can I make it? he lamented. 

“Olives? What, so we can make our own oil and use it for our, ah, alone time?” Bum winked. Sangwoo’s implications flew right over his head (as usual) “I don’t think I’ve ever eaten actual olives, though. I’ll have to give them a try sometime.” 

 

Sangwoo resisted the urge to sigh. His fiance, for all his perfectly endearing qualities, required an enormous amount of patience sometimes. “I’ll make sure you get to eat plenty of olives of all types once we’re in Thebes, my love.” Best to just come right out and say it; spare us any more of this dancing in circles. 

That finally got through to Bum. “Thebes? Since when are we going to Thebes?” He shifted uncomfortably, and several of the snakes in the cave began to hiss in comfort. 

“Since you agreed to marry me,” Sangwoo explained, trying to break the news gently. “It’s tradition- you go to live with your husband, in his home.” Bum began to shake his head, looking panicked, but Sangwoo approached him warily and held him by the shoulders. “Please, my love. Don’t forget that you are half man. You deserve to experience the human world. It’s what’s best.” 

 

A dozen different emotions were flashing through Bum’s head right now– shock, anger, sadness, betrayal, panic, fear– all negative emotions. Would he be willing to give up his home, his happiness for his love? Like he said, it’s what’s best. One voice argued. Who knows? Maybe Thebes won’t be that bad. And Sangwoo’s villa will certainly be an upgrade from this little old cave. But another voice emerged. This is all you’ve ever known, and he expects you to give it all up, just like that? You saw what happened last time you went into town. And that was only a little village! Not even Athens itself! Thebes is a giant city, it’ll be 10 times worse. You’ll have to hide all the time, every day. Is a fancy garden and nice house really worth saying goodbye to the life you’re happy with? Outside, Bum didn’t say anything, staring off into the distance, expression blank. 

 

“Why aren’t you saying anything, darling?” Sangwoo inquired, concerned. He pulled Bum in for a hug, but his fiance’s body remained stiff against his. “I know you’ll love it! You can plant whatever you’d like in the garden. I have a library that’s bursting with every sort of book, and kitchen staff to serve you foods you’ve never even dreamed of. We could have private plays, and our bed will be twice the size it is here, so we’ll have more room for our alone time .” Sangwoo tickled Bum under his chin teasingly. “And my offer to bring your snake friends still stands. Every single one is welcome, if that’s what you’d like.” He kissed Bum’s forehead, then offered a few little air kisses to the swarming snakes atop the veil. 

 

The hair-snakes didn’t look too pleased, however. “I, um…” Bum slowly broke from Sangwoo’s embrace. “Let me… let me think about it… okay?” He backed out of his cave slowly, trying his best not to hyperventilate, then turned on his heel and ran off. Behind him, a white veil fell onto the ground. 

 

“Woah, wait!” Sangwoo called, making to jog after the gorgon, but stopping dead once he realized his veil had fallen. Bum had dropped it on purpose. He couldn’t have been more clear about his desire- don’t follow me. 

“Sorry?” He called out of the cave’s mouth, as if it could change anything. “I love you!” 

 

Ari slithered from behind him and raised up like an angry cobra, hissing and spitting what Sangwoo assumed were snake obscenities before darting out of the cave in search of his master. Sangwoo gave a defeated sigh- he’d really done it now. He and Bum hadn’t been engaged twenty-four hours, and yet he’d already spooked his fiancé. He picked the veil up and drew it over his face, flopping down onto the bed melodramatically to do the only thing he could do- wait. 

 

Whenever he needed to think– or sulk, for that matter– Bum always found himself wandering into his garden for refuge. He plopped down in a patch of grass and buried his face in his hands. “What am I supposed to do?” He ran his hands down his face and looked up, trying not to cry. The tree above him was a pomegranate– in fact, the exact same pomegranate tree that Bum had sobbed under many months ago, back before Sangwoo loved him back. It was the exact opposite of what was happening now; then Bum was crying because Sangwoo hated him and wanted to escape, and now Bum was crying because Sangwoo loved him and wanted to take him to his home– a home in which Bum would never belong. Even if Bum was treated nicely by the servants and given all these good things at Sangwoo’s home, he knew he’d probably still be miserable. 

 

One of the things he enjoyed best about living away from civilization is that he had freedom. He didn’t need to hide his scales or serpent hair or petrifying eyes. Sure, once Sangwoo came along he had to hide his eyes, but that wasn’t too bad. He was fine putting on a blindfold once in a while if it was for his love. But in Thebes, with all those people, Bum would be forced to wear a veil every day, and probably a dress too. He was a man, for Zeus’ sake, even if his face was more feminine than masculine! If he went out to live with humans, he’d be stripped of all remaining masculinity in order to pose as Sangwoo’s ‘wife’. The more he thought about it, the angrier he got. From what he had heard, the Greeks were pretty accepting of homosexuality. But a super macho hero like Sangwoo couldn’t have a husband, or a gay lover at all, could he? Maybe Sangwoo was even ashamed of loving a man so he’d have to pretend that Bum was a woman! 

 

All the snakes in Bum’s hair began to stand on end and hiss as Bum got more and more angry. But he froze when he heard movement. “...Sangwoo? Is that you?” He immediately shut his eyes on the chance that the hero had somehow found him. “I’m really not in the mood to talk right now.” Instead, he heard some soft hissing coming from below him. Bum looked at his feet to see Ari staring up at him.

 

“Go away, Ari. I don’t want to talk.” He tried to shoo Ari away, but the snake refused to go. “Go away! Leave me alone!” Ari instead wrapped around Bum’s ankle and squeezed in a semblance of a hug. The gorgon sighed heavily and held out his arm, which the snake slithered onto, going up till he was loosely curled around Bum’s thin neck. 

“Oh, Ari.” Bum sighed again. “What should I do?” Fuck him. Kick him out. Ari hissed.  The gorgon chuckled grimly. “No, I’m not doing that. He does love me, and he wants what’s best. But I don’t think he really took into consideration how I would feel.” Ari flicked his tongue out in understanding. “Is it selfish of me to feel that way?” The snake shook his head. “That’s good at least.” 

Bum stroked Ari’s head absentmindedly. “Look at me, ruining our marriage only a couple hours in. He probably hates me now.” Ari hissed at that. He doesn’t. He wanted to follow you, but couldn’t because you weren’t wearing a veil or blindfold. But I can still kill him, if you want. “Ari, when are you going to learn that I don’t want you to kill him? Ever. So stop asking.” 

Bum reached up to pick a random pomegranate. It wasn’t ripe yet, so he grumbled and tossed it over his shoulder. “It was stupid of me to throw this tantrum. I’m sure if I explain my side to him, he’ll understand.” He looked at Ari. “Should I go back?” No. “Okay, I’m going back.” Bum stood up and Ari hissed the snake equivalent of a groan, but still hung around his neck. 

“Oh, wait– the veil! What if he’s out looking for me? I don’t want to petrify him!” Bum worried. No, he’s in the cave, instead of looking for his distraught fiancé like the stupid little bitch he is. Bum flicked Ari’s head gently. “Be nice!” He admonished. “I’ll still have to be careful.” 

 

As he approached the cave, Bum put his hands over his eyes and stopped at the mouth of the cave. “...Sangwoo?” He called out hesitantly. “I’m back…” 

Bum’s voice roused Sangwoo from the fitful doze he’d fallen into. “Bum?” he called. He jogged to the cave entrance to find Bum there, with his eyes covered. “Bumie, oh my gods!” He gathered Bum in a hug, lifting him from the ground. “I was worried, baby! You were gone for so long!” Bum, feeling the fabric of the veil brush against his face, uncovered his eyes to return Sangwoo’s hug, though the motion was concerningly reluctant. 

“Yeah… your little monster’s back.” Bum’s voice cracked on the nickname. He buried his face in Sangwoo’s chest. Ari quickly slithered off Bum’s neck and shot Sangwoo a dirty look that clearly said You’re not off the hook just yet. Make him cry again and I will rip out your muscles and devour you. then went off to the corner of the cave to rejoin his fellow serpents. 

 

“Hope you weren’t too worried.” Bum said, with a tinge of bitterness in his voice. “I know how hard you looked for me.” 

“Bum,” Sangwoo urged, easing his fiancé back into the cave. “I know I’ve upset you. I never meant to do that, but...you just weren’t getting any of my hints! I wanted to talk about it with you, rationally, but I just lost patience, and I’m sorry.” He took a seat by the fire and pulled Bum into his lap, gazingly apologetically into his green eyes through the fuzzy fabric of the veil. “So let’s talk about it now. Tell me why you were upset, darling, please?”

Bum took a deep breath. “I feel…” He paused, trying to find the right words. “I feel like you didn’t really take how I would feel about all this into consideration.” He closed his eyes. “It would be extremely hard for me to just… drop everything and move into Thebes that easily. I know it’s Theban tradition for married couples to live together, but this place is all I’ve ever known, and my experiences with humans haven’t been that great. So the idea of moving to an area with so many of them is, quite frankly, terrifying.” He swallowed heavily. “And dressing up like a woman and hiding my face every single day isn’t very appealing either.” He added. 

 

Sangwoo sighed. “I knew that you would be nervous. I didn’t expect you to be gung-ho about the idea from the start,” he assured Bum. “Change is always frightening. But I know it’s what’s best for us. It’s what we both deserve.” He took Bum’s hands and gazed at him imploringly. “I love you, and I want what’s best. Being holed up here in a cave with only me and your snakes for company forever isn’t best. And dressing you as a woman is only for your protection. It’s the only way to hide your identity. I know that you’ll like the human world, Bum. I know it will be kind to you, if you’ll allow it to be.” 

 

Bum chuckled grimly, which began to grow into full blown laughter, until he was bending over, clutching at his waist while cracking up. “Sangwoo, are you fucking kidding me?” Oh, he’s cussing now. “ Kind to me? Really? Did you forget what you originally came to do?” 

 

Sangwoo pouted, offended now. “I had no idea what you really are, Bum! I thought you were some bloodthirsty predator!” He shoved Bum off his lap and stood, stalking over to the cave wall. “I wasn’t expecting a beautiful, sweet boy! And people would be kind to you, Bum, as long as they see your beautiful side; as long as they don’t know!” 

E xactly! As long as they don’t know! You’re the only person I know– and let’s face it, the only person who will ever know– that accepts me for who I am!” Bum argued. “Don’t you think that’d be tiring? Pretending something you’re not for what, months? Years?” Bum stood up. “How long will it take before you get tired of me and leave me? Or even kill me! Hmm?” He was near hyperventilating. “How long, Sangwoo?!” 

“Really, Bum?” Sangwoo flung back. “After all of this, and you still think I’d want you dead?” He pressed himself against the cave wall, for once wanting to create as much distance as possible between the gorgon and himself. He regarded Bum’s skinny, shaking form, face hidden in his hands, sobbing. “Listen to us,” he sighed, once he could breathe through his anger. “It’s like we’re back at square one.” 

 

“I-I don’t want to be back at square one! I love you, Sangwoo, and I always will,” Bum wiped his tears away with his elbow “But you’re refusing to see it from my point of view! And that’s really frustrating.” He took a deep breath, trying to steady his breathing. “I… I don’t think you want me dead. I was just… really angry, and I said stuff I didn’t mean. I’m just afraid that someday you’ll stop putting up with my shit and run out of patience, and stop–“ He clamped his hand over his mouth, trying to suppress a horrible gagging noise. He was apparently the type to throw up when he was nervous or upset. “I-I’m sorry!” He hiccuped. “I’m so sorry!!” Ari was looking furiously at Sangwoo like he was about to go through with his promise of ripping him apart for making Bum upset. 

 

“Baby,” Sangwoo sighed, his heart clenching. He’d never seen Bum this upset before, not even after his murder attempt so long ago. It hurt to know he’d been the one to cause that. “I don’t know what ‘shit’ you’re referring to, okay? I love everything you do. I made a big decision for us without consulting you, and I’m the one who’s sorry. You’ve done nothing wrong; just expressed your feelings.” He took a few steps towards Bum, but was forced back by Ari’s furious hissing, so he simply held his arms open. “Come here?” 

Bum hesitated for a moment, then ran into Sangwoo’s arms, nearly knocking him over in a hug. Ari looked shocked and slightly offended at Bum’s choice. 

 

“I love you, Sangwoo.” Bum whispered into Sangwoo’s chest. “I don’t want to lose you.” His arms around Sangwoo’s back tightened momentarily. 

“I love you, Bum.” He gave Bum a powerful squeeze, and a kiss on top of his head. “I never thought I could love someone like I love you. And you can’t lose me, so you’d better get used to this .” He squirmed his fingers into the crooks of Bum’s arms and wiggled them, causing his soft sniffles to devolve into high, chirping laughs. 

“Sangwoo, stop! That tickles!” Bum giggled, trying to squirm away. At least he was smiling again. “I’m sorry for running off like that. I was just upset. I’ll try not to do that again.” He pecked Sangwoo on the lips sweetly. 

 

“I’ll try not to upset you again,” Sangwoo promised. I’ll just have to approach this more delicately next time. More persuasively. “It’s been a rough day, and it’s not even noon.” He stroked Bum’s back soothingly, unnerved by the way the flesh beneath his hand still trembled lightly. “Why don’t we go have a quick swim? It’ll be the last one we get before autumn.” 

“Oh, a swim sounds really nice! We haven’t gone swimming in a while, have we?” Bum agreed quickly, and began to pull off his tunic. “I hope it’s not too cool.” 

 

Sangwoo removed his own clothes quickly, trying not to stare too obviously at Bum’s body. Now wasn’t really the time to be thinking about sex. He stopped short at the veil. “Uh, Bum,” he began. “Do you want to put your veil back on?” It wasn’t that Sangwoo’s masculinity was too fragile to wear a piece of women’s clothing, it was just that...Bum looked better in it than he probably did. Yeah. 

 

“Hmm? Oh sure. Close your eyes and hand it to me.” Bum grabbed the veil from Sangwoo and put it back on. “Race you there!” Suddenly Bum shot off, running buck naked to the river as fast as he could. For someone so small, he could really sprint incredibly fast. 

“Not fair!” Sangwoo called, sprinting off after his fiance- not before he’d tripped over Ari’s strategically placed body. “You got a head start!” 

 

Bum was already in the river, splashing around, by the time Sangwoo reached its shores. He didn’t slow down once he got there, just kept running and leapt into the water without bothering to check the depth. He landed squarely on his ass on the rocky bottom, with less than a foot of water over his head. 

“Shit!” he sputtered, surfacing. Bum was standing a few feet away, laughing, with his lacy veil floating around him in the water. Sangwoo rubbed his sore tailbone. “That’s not funny,” he grumbled. 

“It sorta is.” Bum giggled. “Do you want me to kiss it better~?” He teased, before realized that he’d literally be kissing Sangwoo’s ass. “Uh, I mean…” His cheeks colored and he looked away, embarrassed. 

 

“You wish ,” Sangwoo sputtered. “Besides, we should probably try to make it more than an hour without fucking, don’t you think?” Bum shook his head, but Sangwoo was insistent. “Let’s talk.” He took Bum by the hand and pulled him to float in deeper waters. “About, like, aspirations or some shit.” 

Bum raised an eyebrow. “‘Aspirations or some shit.’ Eloquent as ever, Mister Sangwoo.” He snarked. “And what do you mean, aspirations? Like what I wanted to be when I grew up or something?” He tapped his chin. “Well, when I was a very young boy, I resigned myself to the fate of being a monster that everyone hated and would eventually be killed by a hero. So I didn’t really have any dreams. Is that what you mean by ‘aspiration’?” 

“Uh, sure.” Sangwoo frowned deeply. This wasn’t really going as planned- it was actually rather depressing. “But now you know that not everyone hates you, and no hero will ever lay a hand on you- well, except me. On your ass.” He gave Bum’s backside a playful squeeze, hoping to lighten the mood. “So what about now? Do you have any dreams now?” 

Bum rolled his eyes, but didn’t move to swat Sangwoo’s hands away. “Nope. Still don’t.” He hesitated. “Well, one. And that’s living happily with you.” He smiled sweetly, and pecked Sangwoo on the lips. “I’m hoping I can achieve that dream soon.” 

 

“You already have that one,” Sangwoo cooed. “I know we’ll be together forever.” In reality, he was a bit disappointed by Bum’s answer. He wanted the gorgon to have some grand vision for himself, one that Sangwoo could help fulfill in the great city of Thebes. “My greatest dream was to be a better man, and a better husband, than my own father. Do you think I’ve done that?” he inquired, gazing hopefully up at Bum. 

“Oh yes, of course!” Bum immediately replied. Truth be told, Bum did not know much about Sangwoo’s father, but what he did know is that he was a murderous, abusive piece of shit. “You are a wonderful man. And we haven’t been married for long,” Bum blushed “but I can already tell you’ll be the best husband ever.” 

 

Sangwoo stroked his bride’s cheek lovingly. “You know that means the world to me, Bumie?” He leaned it for a kiss. “But- I can’t help but wish that we could have a proper wedding, with a celebration feast and a shower of presents. And you’d look lovely in wedding robes.” 

Bum’s smile flickered for a moment before returning. “I wish we could have a real wedding too. But Athens certainly won’t allow it- it’s illegal to marry a foreigner.” He frowned. “Am I even a citizen? I don’t think so. I belong to nowhere and nobody– but you, of course.” He added cheesily. 

 

“There is no such law in Thebes,” Sangwoo pointed out. “The only stipulation is that the marriage must be approved by the king. I would have no problem gaining approval for us- not after all I’ve done for him. He’d allow us the grandest wedding- I bet he’d even attend himself!” He added, haughtily. 

 

Bum froze. “The… the king?” He’s still set on the Thebes thing, isn’t he? “That’s…” I can’t tell him ‘that’s not necessary’ because he really does want it… Gotta think of a distraction, quick. Just then, Bum felt something big brush his thigh. He squeaked, and nearly jumped into Sangwoo’s arms in surprise. He looked down to see the assailant, and sighed in relief. “Oh, jeez… Just a sturgeon.” He sighed. “Thought it was something else.” 

“Don’t worry- it was just my dick,” Sangwoo teased, and Bum rolled his eyes. “But- say, have you ever eaten fish? I bet I could catch us a sturgeon. We could roast part tonight, and smoke the rest for later.” Sangwoo swam quietly through the slow-flowing water, in the direction the fish had gone. 

 

Bum snickered. “Are you actually going to try to catch a fish with your bare hands? They’re slippery. I tried catching a fish once and it smacked me in the face with its tail. Haven’t tried since.” He watched Sangwoo swim around. “Good luck. If you can’t catch one, I’m going to laugh at you.” Maybe if he’s distracted, I can swim up behind him and scare him. 

 

“I’m not not gonna catch one, so have fun not laughing,” Sangwoo replied. The fish paused to poke its long, skinny nose underneath a rock, in search of food, and Sangwoo took the opportunity to grab it harshly by its tail and pull. Immediately the huge fish began to thrash wildly, covering Sangwoo in huge waves of water and making it difficult to see. Luckily, they were in water shallow enough that his head was above the surface, but the fish still made it difficult to keep from going under.

“Shit, shit, shit,” he howled, struggling to drag its heavy body up to shallower waters. He managed to wrap one arm underneath its belly and heave it up, but the strain on his back was immense. It seemed his strength was faltering after many months without exercise. Damn, I have got to get back to Thebes , he thought, as his legs shook beneath the weight and his feet struggled to stay steady on the rocky riverbed. 

“Need a net or something,” he gasped. 

Bum stared at Sangwoo in awe. That thing’s huge! But he’s almost got it… he’s so strong! “Um, do you need help? You seem like you’re struggling. I don’t have a net but I can help you catch it.” 

“Ah, nope!” Sangwoo panted, stumbling over a large rock and nearly dropping his catch. “No help needed. And,” he finally reached the shore, “I’m not struggling, thanks.” He stepped onto a low portion of the riverbank and grimaced at how much heavier the fish became without the water to help hold it up. Just as he was about to toss it onto the ground, its body slipped from his arms, and he was left holding it only by its tail. He yelped and tried to drag it further on to land, with it flopping like...well, like a fish out of water. Its slipperiness and the fact that it was as long as Sangwoo was tall didn’t help matters, and Sangwoo tripped, falling to the ground, still stubbornly refusing to release the fish’s tail. God damn it , he thought. I’ve killed a minotaur with nothing but a dagger, but I can’t catch a stupid fish?

 

Bum couldn’t watch this any longer. While amusing, Sangwoo was going to get himself hurt. Time to put him out of his misery… both the fish and Sangwoo. With a flash of Bum’s talons, the fish finally stilled, blood trickling out of its deep neck wound over the bank and dispersing through the water. “There. Saved you the trouble.” 

 

“Bum!” Sangwoo protested. “I had it! I was fine!” He whipped around to look at his veiled fiance, who had blood coating his bronze claws. “What, you thought I couldn’t handle a fucking fish, huh?” Sangwoo couldn’t explain why he was so angry- Bum was only trying to help. Perhaps the events from earlier were spilling over, but he couldn’t seem to rationalize through this situation. He huffed and slung the fish over his shoulders roughly, marching back towards the cave without another word to Bum. 

Bum raised his hands in defense. “I’m sorry! I was just trying to help.” Bum sighed as Sangwoo stormed away, and glanced at the blood smears on the bank of the river. He ran a blood coated hand through his hair, the snakes eagerly licking at the blood. “Why can’t I do anything right today? I’m a mess.” One snake rubbed his cheek in comfort. “Thanks. Though why’d he have to get so angry? He was gonna kill it anyways.” The gorgon huffed. “Probably hurt his ‘honor’ or some shit. Whatever, might as well head back.” 

Bum washed the blood off his claws in the water and stepped out of the shallow river. He walked back to the cave, taking his time. Hopefully he’ll have calmed down at least a little bit by the time I get there. 

 

Sangwoo tossed the fish down on a large, flat rock outside the cave, still mildly irked, but more at himself. He knew he was behaving irrationally, and probably only further alienating Bum after this morning’s incident, but he was just so damn eager to get back to Thebes, and his patience was wearing thin. Life here wasn’t terribly exciting, although it was rather blissful. The high from sex and the high from adventure were totally different, though, and Sangwoo found himself terribly lacking in the latter. He looked down the hill and saw Bum heading back up. Not feeling up to talking with him just yet, he stalked into the cave in search of a knife to clean the fish with, and was met with a still-angry Ari.

“Hell are you looking at?” he questioned. Sangwoo rummaged through a bag of supplies they kept by the fire. Ari hissed acerbically at him and bared his fangs before darting outside, presumably to speak to Bum. 

 

As Bum neared the cave, there was a rustling in the grass and a thin head popped up and hissed softly at Bum. “Oh, hello Ari.” Bum greeted. “You alright? How’s Sangwoo?” 

Still pissy. Very rude to me. He knows you’re coming but doesn’t walk to speak to you, like a little pouting baby. Can I kill him? Bum sighed at Ari’s words. “Of course he is. Maybe I should just give up and– ow!” Ari slithered around Bum’s ankle and squeezed, hard. 

“Ari, get off me!” Bum shook his leg, but the snake refused to budge. “Jeez! He said I could bring you with me to Thebes, so stop acting like you’ll never see me again!” 

 

Ari hissed and crawled further up Bum’s leg, and Bum got further frustrated. “Dammit, Ari! I told you, I’m not going to leave you behind when Sangwoo and I go to Thebes! Now get off me, you’re cutting off circulation to my leg!!” His voice was getting louder, loud enough that Sangwoo could hear Bum yelling outside the cave something about going to Thebes. 

...when Sangwoo and I go to Thebes… Sangwoo forgot what he’d even come into the cave to look for at those words. He got to his feet so quickly he stumbled over them, and fully sprinted to the mouth of the cave. Surely he’d misheard; there was no way Bum would agree to that- not so soon, anyway. “ What? ” he all but shouted, once Bum was back in his sight. “What did you say, Bumie?” 

 

“Huh?” Bum looked up, Ari still wrapped around his leg. Ari hissed at Sangwoo angrily. “I was telling Ari to get off me. I can’t feel my right leg.” Bum’s leg was starting to turn blue. “You think you could, I dunno, help a little instead of staring?!” 

“I- uh…” Sangwoo could only stare dumbly in shock. “Uh, sure!” he agreed, after a long pause, and possibly some drooling on his part. He approached his fiancé and attempted to close his hand around the snake’s head, but Ari gnashed his teeth and spit furiously. Not in the mood for any more paralysis, he went for the tail instead, with similar results. “Damn it,” he flung. “Get off! We have something important to discuss!” He gave Bum’s leg a light shake. “Not that you’d understand that!” 

 

“Uh, Sangwoo, Ari can understand you just fine, but please don’t say mean things to him. He’s currently using my leg as a stress toy.” Bum warned. Bum tried to swat the spitting snake off, but Ari started snapping at him too. With all the hands and movement on him, Ari was clearly getting agitated. Without thinking he bit the nearest thing to him, which happened to be Bum’s leg. Bum shrieked and toppled to the ground, paralyzing venom coursing through his veins.

Ari immediately got off the gorgon’s leg and slithered up to his face, staring at him in concern. “Fuck… off…!” Bum gritted out. The snake lowered his head in guilt and shame, but did as Bum said, fleeing to the cave. 

“What the fuck?” Sangwoo shouted, dropping to his knees beside Bum. “Bum, he bit you? Can you move at all?” Bum just stared at him with wide, unblinking eyes, apparently unable to even shake his head. “ Shit ,” he cried, hitting the ground beside Bum. “See? This is what happens when snakes get angry, Bum,” Sangwoo lectured, scooping his fiancé up. “They bite. Clearly he was pissed at you because you want to go to Thebes,” Sangwoo bit back a giddy grin at that, “and he just can’t be happy for you!” 

 

He carried Bum inside and lay him down gently on their bed. “But don’t worry, my little monster.” He kissed Bum’s veiled forehead and stroked his hair-snakes. “I’m going to take care of you, just like you cared for me, and once you’re well again, we’ll go home.” He beamed down at his love, his chest barely able to contain the excitement welling within him. “Let me get you some water.”

Bum smiled at ‘little monster’. “Like… name…” He grunted, with some difficulty. 

 

While Sangwoo was getting water, basically all he could do was look around. He spotted Ari, surrounded by all the other snakes in the cave. The snakes were very angry, some trying to lecture him and others just cussing. A couple would have probably tried to start a fight with him, had he not been Bum’s favorite snake. Either way, it was a sight to behold, dozens of snakes, some large some small, all ganging up on one very ashamed looking green serpent. Bum wasn’t even sure if he wanted to help Ari or not. Bum was angry, rightfully so! But still, he didn’t want the snake to get hurt. 

 

Bum exhaled through his nose and closed his eyes. Just today had been more stressful than 5 months with Sangwoo all together. He really needed a break. 

 

“Here you go, babe,” Sangwoo cooed, returning with a cup of water. He held it to Bum’s lips and massaged his throat gently to help him swallow. “You’ll probably be really tired here in a few minutes; that always happened to me. And when you wake, you’ll have a headache.” He moved to lie down and gather Bum’s limp body up in his arms. “I’m so sorry, Bum.” He was sorry about the bite, not sorry about the circumstance that caused it. He and Bum were going to Thebes!

Finally. No more being holed up in this cave, only ever leaving to go to the market. I can’t wait to see people again, to sleep in my own bed…

 

Bum blinked up at him, probably confused as to why his fiancé was grinning dazedly. “Ah- I’m just...so upset.” He forced his lips into a frown. “I can’t believe he would do that to you- and here I thought you were supposed to be like brothers!” He nuzzled Bum sympathetically. “Sometimes the ones closest to us betray us the worst- but I would never betray you, my treasure.” He kissed Bum’s stone-still lips through the fabric of his veil. 

We are like brothers. He was just agitated and lashed out, part of Bum wanted to argue. I know a couple of other people who lash out when angry. But Sangwoo seemed to have calmed down by now, and was even in a good mood. That’s good at least. I don’t like seeing my love upset. There wasn’t much else Bum could do, so the gorgon closed his eyes, and within a few moments, sleep overtook him.

 

Sangwoo was content to lie perfectly still, with his peacefully slumbering fiancé in his arms, and busy his mind with fantasies of the perfect life they’d have once they got to Thebes in a few weeks time. They’d start packing as soon as Bum was well again- Sangwoo grimaced at the thought of having to transport so many snakes, but he did promise- and be on their way, ready to receive their hero’s welcome. He had his story all planned out- he’d slain the gorgon, but had been wounded, and fled to a nearby village- what should he call it? Ophiopolis, perhaps? Snake city? That’d be hilarious- and there, he’d met his beautiful bride. 

 

Sangwoo’s fantasies were interrupted by soft hissing beside him. Turning, he saw Ari, trying to slither past him to reach Bum. Sangwoo scowled and swatted at the serpent. 

“Go away, you slimy pest,” he flung. “ You did this to him, remember?” He gestured to Bum’s sadly limp body and shallow breathing. “I’d be surprised if he even wants to take you with us.” 

Ari hissed in defiance, which translated to He does want to take me! It was an accident, anyways! He slithered out of Sangwoo’s easy reach and went around Bum’s body, flicking his tail along Bum’s right leg, as if to comfort him. Bum’s leg twitched in his sleep, and he frowned. 

Sangwoo managed to grab Ari by the end of his slender tail and toss him to the other side of the cave, like a piece of string. There was a cacophony of furious hissing and spitting, and a few concerned whimpers from Bum, before a pair of green eyes blinked open and regarded Sangwoo dazedly. 

 

Bum grunted at Sangwoo in confusion as if to ask “ What happened?” He winced– Sangwoo was right, Ari’s venom did give a major headache. He tried to move any of his limbs– he was only asleep for a little bit, so the paralysis was not able to wear off much. He tried to move his lips, and with some difficulty formed a word. “...Sangwoo?” 

“Shh, honey,” Sangwoo soothed, rubbing his thumb across Bum’s brow to soothe the headache he was sure his fiancé had. “Don’t try to talk, okay?” He pulled Bum closer and gave his veiled face a few kisses. “That snake was over here again- I’m not sure what it wanted with you.” 

 

Bum glanced over at Ari. Ari hissed indignantly. I was coming over to comfort you, when that stupid human grabbed me by the tail and chucked me into the corner! Bum rolled his eyes and huffed, then turned back to Sangwoo. “...’ater.” He croaked out. 

“What was that, darling?” Sangwoo quirked an eyebrow, confused. “Oh! Water, of course.” He grabbed the clay cup beside the bed and held it to Bum’s lips. “I was thinking,” Sangwoo began, while Bum drank, “before we leave for Thebes, we need to get a cart. There’s no way I’m carrying around a bag full of snakes, and we’ll have to take all your clothes, besides.” 

 

Ugh, Thebes again. But the gorgon couldn’t speak very well, so he just slightly nodded for Sangwoo to continue. 

“The journey takes around a week on horseback- although we might be slowed down by the cargo.” He set the cup down and busied himself with massaging one of Bum’s slender legs, trying to work feeling back into it. “Once we’re there, we’ll go directly to the king, and he’ll legitimize our marriage. Then, after we rest a little while and have some fun in our real marriage bed, we’ll have the biggest celebration this side of Dionysia!” Sangwoo beamed down at his fiancé like he’d just described what the top of Mount Olympus was like. 

 

Wouldn’t it be a bit more complicated? There’s a strong chance someone will see me by then. And if someone tries to pick up my veil at the wedding, bam, wedding’s ruined. There’s a lot that could go wrong. Bum wanted to point out, but he couldn’t say that much, so he just went “Uh-huh.” At least Sangwoo is happy though. I haven’t seen him this excited in forever. 

“I’m so glad you’re seeing things my way, now Bumie.” Sangwoo surged to kiss his little nose. “I just know we’re going to be so happy!” He was working on massaging Bum’s other leg now, and his fingers had worked further and further up his slender, naked thigh. 

 

Bum watched Sangwoo’s hand slide up his leg, eyes flicking back to Sangwoo as his hand reached his inner thigh. Are you going to make it up to me now? 

“You won’t be able to do much, my dear,” Sangwoo apologized. “But I can still make you feel good.” He began to press a few kisses to Bum’s slender chest. “If you’re feeling up to it, that is.” 

Bum felt his cheeks reddening, and nodded slightly. Maybe an orgasm– if that’s what he’s going to do to me, I assume– will help me with my paralysis. 

 

Sangwoo removed his mouth from Bum’s chest and straddled his fiancé’s limp hips. Bum’s cock wasn’t even half hard yet, but Sangwoo could tell it was stirring. He groped around for their trusty bottle of oil, uncapped the vial, and poured a generous amount over Bum’s cock and his lower belly. Bum still remained very still, hardly blinking, but his cheeks had bloomed with roses, and his cock was growing larger with each breath. Sangwoo, who’d been in one state of arousal or another since Bum’s agreement to leave with him,  positioned himself over his lover so that their cocks were flush together. There was a momentary twinge of shame that Sangwoo’s cock was so much smaller than his tiny fiancé’s, but he shook it off quickly- it’s my little monster’s only monstrous characteristic - and began to rock his hips, creating friction between them. 

Tiny little mewls and whimpers escaped Bum’s mouth, and right then he desperately wished he had enough control of his hips to grind back, but all he could do was pant and stare up lovingly at his fiancé. 

 

Off to the side, Ari was glaring fiercely at Sangwoo. Sangwoo had been a dick to both Bum and Ari, but now he had Bum’s heart again just like that? Not fair. He hissed and spat angrily at Sangwoo, but the other snakes backed him into a corner to shut him up. Bum ignored the snakes, and instead mouthed love you to Sangwoo as best he could. 

“I love you more,” Sangwoo replied, understanding Bum. He began to grunt and sigh himself, although he wasn’t close to orgasm, just because he knew it would irritate Ari to hear that they were both enjoying themselves. “No one loves you more than me.” He leaned down and pecked Bum’s lips. “And no one ever will.” 

 

Bum smiled at that. He truly does love me. That makes me so happy. He could feel his facial muscles loosening up, and with only a bit of difficulty begged Sangwoo, “Kiss me. Please.” 

“Hmm, if you insist,” Sangwoo teased. Bum gave him a loopy grin. He seared their lips together, branding them both with the promise of eternity; eternity spent far away from here and the crumbling statues of forgotten heroes that littered the grounds like pebbles on a beach. Where they were going, there were no monsters- only heroes, and those who loved them. 

 

Bum could feel his toes curling (at least they were awake) as he neared his orgasm. His moans were replaced with breathy whispers of Sangwoo’s name, over and over, like a devoted follower worshipping a god. 

The sensation of Bum’s watery cum splashing over his oily stomach pushed Sangwoo over the edge. He gleefully gripped Bum’s hips tighter than he would dare to if he weren’t numb and rode out the sensations with his eyes closed, envisioning this scene taking part on a different set- one with marble walls and artfully embroidered tapestries. When he came down, cuddled against Bum’s side, he felt a bit like a horny teenager, having got off from little more than humping- but Bum’s scarlet blush and lax, drooling mouth made the whole experience feel adequately raunchy. 

 

“Love you,” he breathed, stroking Bum’s hair. “Did that help?” 

“Mm-hmm.” Bum hummed. He already felt tired again, despite the fact that he just slept, albeit for only a little while. “Lay with me?” He pleaded, fixing Sangwoo with an incredibly adorable puppy dog face. 

 

Sangwoo huffed. “The fish is still outside,” he began to protest, but Bum immediately turned the cuteness up to eleven, and Sangwoo was powerless to resist. “ Fine .” He settled down against the covers next to Bum. “I swear, those eyes could make Hades weep.” 

Bum grinned in triumph. “No, I think they’d turn him to stone.” He kissed Sangwoo’s cheek. “Well, maybe not Hades, since he’s a god. But they’d turn any mortal to stone.” He nuzzled Sangwoo’s neck. “Thanks for staying with me.” He whispered. “I was really afraid you had gotten seriously angry with me and would leave but,” He yawned. “Here you are.” 

 

“We will be leaving soon, dear,” Sangwoo reminded him, “but I’d never dream of going anywhere without you. Now- do you think you could summon your serpentine army and have them drag in the fish I risked my life to catch before it rots, I’d greatly appreciate it.” 

Bum grumbled. “Mmm… fine. Snakes,” The cave serpents perked up “Drag the fish in.” The snakes did not look happy at that order, but went off to do as their master said. “Let’s hope it doesn’t rot by the morning.” Bum snuggled closer. “Love you, Woo.” And with that, he was out like a light. 

 

Sangwoo lay with Bum until he was sure he was fully asleep, then eased his way out of his embrace and over to the fish’s massive carcass. There were several snakes ripping little bits of flesh from the belly. Sangwoo kicked them away, and they hissed and spit at him before begrudgingly slithering back to their corner. He noticed Ari watching him suspiciously from his own, solitary nook.

“Aww,” Sangwoo mocked, retrieving the knife he’d found earlier and slicing the fish’s belly. “Is someone in trouble? ” 

Ari hissed the equivalent of snake profanities and snapped his jaws. It’s your fault. If you hadn’t been so adamant on dragging Bum to that wretched city, this wouldn’t have happened. 

“I can’t understand you,” Sangwoo replied, haughtily. “I know you’re angry, but you can’t do much about it, can you?” He turned and gave Ari a shit eating grin. “We’ll be leaving as soon as Bum is well again- after what you did to him.” 

 

Ari gave his loudest hiss yet and darted away from Sangwoo’s sight, leaving Sangwoo to finish gutting and skinning the fish. He left the entrails and the bones to a hoard of very happy snakes, and took a large filet and tossed it on a hot stone by the fire, hoping that the smell might wake Bum.  

Just as Sangwoo finished cooking the fish, Bum stirred and opened his eyes. “Smells good.” He mumbled. 

 

“Not really,” Sangwoo commented, wrinkling his nose and dousing the fish with spices from the market. “Smells kinda like...you know.” Bum probably didn’t know, but Sangwoo chuckled anyway. He made his way over to the bed with a steaming bowl of fish and sat down beside Bum, who was in a slightly different position than Sangwoo had left him in. “How we feeling?” 

“Still mostly paralyzed. My lower body, unfortunately, is still unmovable. I think I can move my arms and hands though.” Bum wiggled his fingers, and made a fist. “Hopefully the snakes didn’t eat too much of the fish, did they?” To be honest, I wouldn’t mind being paralyzed for a little while longer if it means he can take care of me like this. 

 

“We’ve got plenty,” Sangwoo assured. “You’re quite a bit smaller than me, and you were bitten pretty hard…” He offered Bum a bite of fish. “I’d wager another day or two before you can walk again. And,” Sangwoo chewed his own bite thoughtfully. His temper had cooled quite a bit and he was beginning to feel almost guilty for his glee that Bum was at odds with his meddling snake friend. “Ari seems...very upset. Maybe you two should talk. Or hiss, or whatever.” 

Bum glanced at Ari. He swallowed his bite before speaking. “Ari and I… we’ve been together since I was born. I understand why he was irritated- all those hands batting at him and movement must have spooked him.” Ari looked happy at Bum’s words. “...But, he didn’t need to bite that hard.” The snake deflated at that. “I’m almost glad he bit my right leg. If he bit my left, he would have died instantly.” At Sangwoo’s quizzical look, Bum explained. “I have both poison and healing blood, remember?” 

 

“Right. I do remember that.” Sangwoo looked away. He may feel guilty about Bum’s bite, but not about the circumstances that caused it. “But you meant what you said, didn’t you? About coming back with me?” He cocked his head innocently, like he was daring Bum to reject him. 

Ah, shit. “...Remind me exactly what I said, again? It was a bit of a blur.” 

“You said something about when Sangwoo and I get to Thebes, like you’d already thought it out.” Sangwoo pet Bum’s head gently, and his snakes squirmed sluggishly beneath his hand, like they had been affected too. “I bet you did, and just don’t remember it. You hit your head a bit when you fell from the bite- gave me quite the scare!” He bent to kiss Bum’s forehead like he was trying to love away a bruise, and grinned down at his confused fiancé. 

“I was in a state of high emotions– we fought so much yesterday! Thebes was on my mind, sure but…” Bum tried to think of what to say as to not offend his fiance. Did I ever straight out say ‘Yes, I want to go to Thebes’? “I know you were mad at me for killing that fish. Be honest Sangwoo– I know you were planning on giving me the cold shoulder. But apparently, when I mentioned something about Thebes, you came rushing out. If I came in like normal, with no snake on my leg or saying anything like that, would you still have talked to me?” Avert the topic and ask a question I had been wondering all in one swoop. 

 

Sangwoo blinked. Going back on your word, I see. “Of course I would still talk to you. We had a lot to discuss. I just wanted us both to cool down- we did have a rough day. But I got excited when I heard ‘Thebes.’” Sangwoo set their meal aside and took Bum’s hands in his own. “All couples have fights and disagreements, but if they really love each other, like we do, they work them out. Just like we’ll work this out,” Sangwoo assured with a wan smile. 

Bum smiled back, though he could feel the slight tension in the air. “Of course. I’m sorry I doubted you, my love.” I still don’t want to go to Thebes, but I can’t tell him that. It’ll break his heart. So if he really wants it, then I’ll force myself to go. For him. 

 

“I know what’s best for us, my love. I’m an experienced man. I’d never do anything I thought would be harmful to you- I love you too much.” He pressed his fingers beneath Bum’s chin so they had to lock eyes through the veil. “Do you understand?” 

“I’m an experienced man”? Oh, that means I’m an unexperienced monster then? “Yes sir, thank you Sangwoo.” His smile was sweet, but on the inside he was bitter. ‘Sir’. Let’s see how he likes that one. 

 

Sangwoo puffed his chest out a little. “You’ll love it in Thebes, I promise. If you’re feeling alright, I’ll go into town and buy a cart before the sun sets, and I can get started packing.” He stroked Bum’s cheek. “What kind of husband would I be if I made my sweet, sick wife do the heavy lifting?” 

All the color drained from Bum’s face. “Now? Already start packing?” He felt his heartbeat increase. “I-It’s a bit early for that, don’t you think?” He tried to remain calm and not freak out like earlier. “Shouldn’t you… I dunno, send a messenger or something beforehand to announce your arrival so you don’t just turn up back in Thebes out of the blue?” 

Wonderful idea, Bum,” Sangwoo chirped, already standing up and slipping on his buskins. “I never would’ve thought of that! You’re so smart,” he praised. As he slipped his left foot into its buskin, he felt something scaly and cold wriggle beneath it. “Gods!” he cried, picking up the boot and shaking it. “There’s a snake in my boot!” Fuck, I can’t wait to get out of this damned cave. 

 

He turned to Bum, who was looking bewildered, and grinned. “Alright, my treasure.” He raised a hand to wave. “I’ll be sure to hire a messenger. Be back soon, love you!” And with that, he dashed out of the oppressive, dank air of the cave, and into the blessed sunlight. 

Bum looked at his snakes, apparently as shocked as the rest of them were at Sangwoo’s speedy departure. “That was… weird.” 

 

He sighed and laid back down. “Well, since he’s not here, might as well have some time to talk with you guys. We haven’t had enough time to have some snake on gorgon talks, have we? C’mere.” Several snakes slithered up to him and into his arms. Ari stayed back, but still watched. “Might as well rant, considering you can’t really tattle on me to Sangwoo.” 

“It’s just… I don’t really want to go to Thebes. And every time I even hint at that, Sangwoo throws a fit. But I can’t ever stand up for myself. It feels like I’m keeping secrets from him, and that hurts. But even if I told him I don’t want to go to Thebes, he’d probably drag me there anyway, regardless of what I want.” The snakes hissed in comfort. A particularly large but docile one curled loosely around his neck like a scaly scarf. “Neither of us can really win, can we? We stay here, I’m happy but Sangwoo is unhappy. We go to Thebes, Sangwoo is happy but I’m unhappy. I know how homesick he is. He lights up even at the thought of going back to Thebes.” Bum swallowed heavily. “We’re from two different worlds which weren’t meant to be together. But of course, I cave to his wishes. It’s fated that monsters always fall to man, right?” His snakes licked at the salty tears streaming down the sides of his face. 

 


 

Sangwoo propositioned the longest-legged, hungriest-looking young man he can find to carry a short letter he’d composed to Thebes:

 

People of Thebes!

Let it be known that the hero Oh Sangwoo will be returning to the magnificent city of Thebes in one week’s time following the delivery of this message, victorious; having slain the fearsome Half Gorgon of Athens, and chosen a fair maiden to be his Bride! 

Glory to Dionysus, and Long Live the King!

 

The man was reluctant at first, but set off with zeal at the sight of the five drachmas in Sangwoo’s hand. With the promise of his return on its way home, he roamed about the market in search of a cart. He found one, empty, on the market’s edge, parked beside an old man. 

“You, there,” Sangwoo called. “Is that for sale?” He gestured to the rickety wooden vessel. 

The man eyed him up. “What’s it for?” he sniffed.

“I am...moving.” Snakes. Many, many snakes. Sangwoo grimaced. “I will give you...three drachmas for your cart, sir.” Sangwoo held the coins out. 

Three? ” The man raised his eyebrows. “What, you some kind of prince or something?”

Sangwoo smirked. Kind of. The man took his money greedily and wheeled over the cart, which Sangwoo hitched to Thanatos, not without several protesting snorts. Sangwoo knew it was probably an insult to a noble Arabian warhorse to be treated like a common packmule, and he gave his companion a sympathetic pat on the nose. 

 

It was past nightfall by the time Sangwoo reached the cave he’d grown to hate so much, but the moon was full, and the path was clearly lit. He tied Thanatos and entered the cave, only to be met with a chorus of furious hissing as soon as he’d set foot through the opening. 

“Woah,” he protested, backing away from what must’ve been a dozen snakes, all hissing and spitting from their position by the bed. “Bum, what in Hades?”

 

As soon as Bum had heard Thanatos’ hooves near the cave, he immediately turned over in bed and shut his eyes tightly, trying his best to pretend like he was asleep. He was almost glad there was a wall of snakes hiding him so Sangwoo couldn’t see his slightly shaking form. As soon as he heard Sangwoo’s voice, his heart stopped, then started racing. He tried to stay as still as possible, and did not reply to Sangwoo’s question. 

“Bum? Babe, are you alright?” Sangwoo tried to step closer to the bed, but he was forced back by a particularly furious cobra. “What the fuck is going on? Bum? ” 

Stay asleep, stay asleep, be still, be still, don’t let him know. Bum chanted in his head over and over again. 

Even the usually docile snakes looked angry, though not all were hissing. Soph was hissing too, despite the fact that he was actually fairly affectionate to Sangwoo. The snakes in Bum’s hair were stirring too, but Bum willed them back down. Why am I so afraid? He’s not going to hurt me. Bum asked himself. So why do I have a feeling that if he knows I’m awake it’ll be bad? 

 

Sangwoo darted past the furious snakes and onto the bed, still standing. “Bum? Say something, please! You’re worrying me!” He bent down and felt Bum’s body for a pulse frantically. A small, striped snake slithered up Bum’s arm and snapped at Sangwoo’s probing hands. “ Bum!? ” 

Does he think I’m dead? I’m not dead, Woo. The snakes probably aren’t helping. I just don’t want to talk right now. Bum hissed something under his breath, too quiet for Sangwoo to hear, and reluctantly the snakes quieted down and slithered away, though many were still glaring at Sangwoo angrily. With the striped snake out of the way, Sangwoo had access to feel Bum’s pulse in his neck. Do I really want him to feel my pulse? He’ll know that I’m awake… but he’ll also know that at least I’m not dead. 

 

“Bumie,” he cooed, dropping down to his knees beside Bum once the snake had left. He pressed his ear right over Bum’s heart, and could’ve cried when he felt it beating. “Thank the gods,” he sighed, sitting up to take Bum’s face in his hands. He looked peaceful, like he was deeply asleep. Sangwoo smiled. “What a little angel,” he cooed, and kissed Bum’s smooth forehead. He lay down beside Bum, soothed now despite the hoard of snakes still surrounding them. “A sleepy little angel.” 

Fuck fuck fuck fuck. At least he didn’t realize I was faking being asleep. And I’m no angel. I’m a monster. But once Sangwoo embraced him tightly like a child with a toy, Bum knew there was no use attempting to wiggle or turn away, so he resigned himself to just stare at the back of his eyelids and wait for morning. 

 

Sangwoo was a bit concerned by Bum’s faster than usual heartbeat, but he chalked it up to his body attempting to flush Ari’s toxins out of his system. He recalled that his own heart had beat wildly during his paralysis. He cuddled Bum close, heart bubbling with joy that they would be safely in Thebes in just a few short weeks, and that life would be perfect at last. “I love you, Bum,” he whispered. He felt it was paramount to tell him, even if he could not hear. “I love you more than anything.”

Bum heard his praise, and as usual, his heart squeezed at it. I love you more. He wanted to reply, but kept with the silent sleeping charade. I would do anything for you… even if it means leaving the place I belong to.