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Red Ombos

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    dramatis personæ:
    Heru: Horus
known also as:
        Heru-ur: Haroeris (Horus the great)
        Heru-sa-Aset: Harsiesis (Horus son of Isis)
    Aset: Isis
    Wesir: Osiris
    Sutekh: Seth
    Nebh-het: Nephthys
    Het-Heru: Hathor
    Yinpu: Anubis
    RA: Re

The audience chamber was silent, echoing only with the distant call of frogs and cicadas, and the throne stood abandoned beneath a mural depicting a cluster of lotus, waving towards the queen. The woman was wrought in gold and lapis lazuli, ivory and ebony, a splendid tribute to the queen-goddess Aset.

Except she was not the queen. Not anymore. She had disappeared briefly after her husband Wesir, and Egypt had stood back, confounded, and in their grief turned to the only heir remaining.

Graciously, he had accepted his brother’s throne, lamented the disappearance of his sister, and promised wealth and prosperity with his own mild sister-wife at his side.

And then she too had vanished.

Wicked tongues had wagged, of course, of the red-crowned Pharaoh’s wickedness, of his lusts and habits, his strange pale skin and his blood-tinged hair, of how he was not even willing to share power with a wife. But only in the shadows, where the new king’s crimson eyes could not reach.

And now, in the balmy night, Sutekh stood alone before the mural and his throne and pondered on the fate of his sisters. They were not dead, neither of them, to his regret.

But he was not worried, not truly; Wesir was dead, and his wife's magic could do little to change that, wherever she and Nebh-het were.

So, secure in his power, he smiled and he laughed, and he assured the people looking to him that all would be well, and the mystery of Wesir's presumed death would be explained. Gossips whispered, but that was all it was; no one knew of the bloodied bank by the cataract, he was certain, where he had dragged his brother’s thrashing body from the river and ended Wesir’s struggles; where brother smote brother with a rock like the beastly men of yore. Where Wesir’s life had bled out into the soil.

Sutekh ascended and sat on the throne. His throne. It would be long, he felt, before anyone would threaten his power.

His mother had not approved of his coming here. "Be wary of your uncle," Aset had said as she watched him prepare. "He is old, and he is cunning; more cunning than his manner invites you to be believe. His mind is as keen as his muscle."

"Yes, mother," Heru had said obediently, for he was a good son.

"Do not trust him close to you, for he would not hesitate in killing you. He killed your father with no hesitance, with brutality fitting only an animal."

Ah; his father. Ever and always his father. Wesir, the heir of RA to the throne of the gods. Sometimes it seemed to Heru that he had been set into the world only for this, to avenge his father’s death and bring Sutekh - the murderer, the usurper - to justice.

Mother did not at all approve of Heru accepting his invitation to a banquet.

But Heru was tired of battling a god who was widely known to be the strongest. He was young - too young, if one asked RA - and his surviving the battles against his uncle was more due to luck or intervention, than it was to skill. When Sutekh had cornered him the day before and offered to find a peaceful solution, Heru had been more than willing.

"Come to Ombos tomorrow evening, nephew," Sutekh had said. "I am holding a banquet; come drink and eat as my friend, and we'll talk this undesirable situation over. I'm sure we can both be sensible." Of course Heru had agreed. And of course Aset had argued. "What of your father? He will go unavenged if you simply agree to a compromise!"

What could he say? That he did not care? That for all he heard of the just, beatific Wesir, of all the joys and betterments he had brought to Egypt, he could not force himself to care for a man he had never met? It was hard, hard and bitter, to force anger over the murder of a man he did not know.

When he entered the royal palace and was led to vast, tiled hall already filled with music and laughter, he was only too happy to release that anger for a little while.

He wove between the dancing girls and the gossiping courtiers, tried not to stare at the foreign dignitaries - more, it was said, visited the Two Banks during the reign of Sutekh than ever before - as he passed them; here a Assyrian with a carefully coiled beard, there a Nubian with an intricate wreath of gold and feathers and, yet elsewhere, the limber and pale form of a Cretan with long, curled hair.

Trying the wine, he found it drier than he liked, but still drinkable. He took a goblet and looked across the desert to the west. He much preferred the black soil and swaying lotus blossoms of his home in the Delta to this infertile landscape.

"You're keeping very to yourself."

Heru blinked and turned to face his uncle, hand tightening on his goblet. "Forgive me, lord; I'm not in a sociable mood."

"Too far from Mother?" said the Pharaoh, pale lips drawn into a broad smile. Alone among the gods, Sutekh did not have raven hair and golden skin. His skin - and his heart, according to Aset - was pale alabaster, and his hair and eyes as red as the desert land which he loved.

"I can handle well without my mother," said Heru, perhaps a bit curtly. He turned from the pale god, feeling strange, pricklish in the other’s presence.

"Of course; forgive me,” Sutekh said, and his voice seemed somewhere between subdued and mocking. “I sometimes forget that my humour is not as appreciated among my kindred as it is among my friends."

Heru glanced at him and did not feel reassured. Nonetheless, he nodded in acceptance of the apology.

Sutekh glanced away, towards the broad tables piled with food. "You've not eaten, nephew. Are you afraid I shall poison you?"

"Not so much fear, lord,” Heru said, looking the same way, “as a healthy sense of caution.”

Sutekh laughed, and it sounded like distant thunder. "Well spoken!” The laugh became a smile, gleaming in the dusklight, and his teeth looked very sharp. “But I really must insist upon dragging you into the crowd,” he said. “What sort of impression would I make if I let my magnificent nephew linger in the shadows? Come!" Taking Heru by the elbow, he led him across the crowded floor to the tables, the masses parting and bowing at their passing.

"You flatter me, lord," said Heru helplessly, swept into the warm, perfumed sea of people.

"Not at all. Your dear mother--" Heru noted, with discomfort, the bitterness in his uncle's voice, "--is not lying when she brags of your beauty. How is it that litany goes again? ‘Behold, my son! He dwells in the stars!’, something, something..."

"I cannot recall, my lord," Heru said, his voice edged with desperation, and he tried to work his elbow free.

"Hm, well, not that important either way. Eat!" Sutekh finally released him, leaving the skin where that pale hand had touched tingling and strangely warm. He gestured at the foods spread out before them. "I understand also that looking into your eyes is seeing truth. An amusing fairytale!"

Heru ate reluctantly, letting the Pharaoh talk.

"Your father had special eyes, too, but I hear yours are more exquisite."

Heru looked up suddenly at the mention of Wesir. "Lord?"

"Ah, that seemed to get your attention," said Sutekh, laughter on his voice like storm on the horizon.

Heru tried to keep a neutral expression. "I know too little of my father."

"Mm," agreed Sutekh, "I'm sure you do. Are you discontent here?"


"Do you not like it here, in my desert retreat?" He raised his eyebrows and his wine goblet both, looking expectantly at his nephew.

"I... I prefer the swaying lotus and darkened soil of the Delta," said Heru, and then added diplomatically, "for that was where I grew up." The Pharaoh’s crimson eyes were settled on him with the force of a storm; he swore he could feel it.

"Ah, yes! That was where Aset squirreled you away from me!" laughed Sutekh. He sounded as if he would have wanted to do nothing more than meet his brother's son for a friendly talk, but Heru heard the slither of snake scales in his voice.

"You managed to find me," he said before he could stop himself. He still carried the scar of a snakebite that nearly killed him. Given by a red serpent sent by a red god.

"I do recall your mother blaming me for her own negligence," said Sutekh, and there was venom behind his smile.

Heru looked away, lowered his eyes, before he inflamed his uncle's infamous temper; or his own. "I've not had a chance to see Ombos much, so I fear my assessment of it is somewhat lacking, lord. Forgive me."

Sutekh smiled again, all sharp white teeth, and this time it looked genuine. "Is that so? A shame and a pity. Allow me to rectify it, my young friend. This way." He swept between guests that, once again, parted willingly for him. Heru set down his goblet and followed, wary of every shadow.

A stair led up through the ceiling, and Sutekh maneuvered past the revelers lounging on it, gesturing the younger god along.

Following him up, stepping around a giggling girl in an Assyrian’s lap, Heru was rewarded with a land frozen in red death under a sunset. Even the shores and waters of the Great River Nile shimmered in crimson hues, a bloody ribbon beneath the sun.

"Look," Sutekh said and gestured across the desert. "Beautiful, is it not? Red land; my land." His voice was satisfied.

The sunset was colouring everything, and Heru felt as if he was drowning in red. "I prefer plantlife, my lord."

"So contrary," murmured Sutekh. "Much like your father."

"He was a good king," said Heru, not without rancour. He did not miss the tone of pity to the Pharaoh’s voice.

"Not enough of one to keep the throne," answered Sutekh evenly.

"He did have considerable help in being abdicated, lord," said Heru, looking at his uncle. "As I assume I would if I were merely to take what is rightfully mine."

Sutekh looked at the horizon, his already crimson eyes gleaming sanguine in the light of the dying sun. "And what is rightfully yours, Heru? I have governed Egypt well, and I alone can do combat with Apep when he rears against RA, as he must. Why does blood alone give you the right to my crown?"

Heru fell silent for a moment, felt the redness, the dying light pressing in on him from all sides. "I do not wish to discuss this. Not here."

"But isn't that why you came?" said Sutekh, vague surprise riding in his voice like a breeze before the storm.

Heru saw lightning in his eyes and heard thunder in the distance, and smiled grimly. "Yes. But you brought me here to kill me."

Sutekh smiled equally grimly, measuring the younger god. "You're not as dense as your mother's behaviour would lead one to suspect. Or did she simply warn you against me?"

"She did, but I disbelieved her. I wished to judge for myself.” He clenched his hands behind his back, hidden, where Sutek could not see and revel. “I can see your intent quite clearly on my own, now and here, in this place."

"I wonder if one really can see truth and future in your eyes, my young friend," mused Sutekh and turned away from the sunset. "Come, let us go back down; Wesir claims the sun, and it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth."

Heru could not help the smirk that spread on his face. "You cannot take all from him, lord."

The Pharaoh turned his eyes on Heru, studying him with strange intent. “No,” he said, and his blood-red eyes were distant.  "But I can take enough." He took Heru's elbow once more and led him back down; somehow the grip had turned more intimate than before.

Heru felt dizzy and swallowed. "I do not intend to let you, lord. All that you take from my father, you take from me."

"Not this, Heru." They stopped at the entrance to the hall, and Sutekh smiled. "Drink; dance; make merry. I shall talk to you when the stars are out. Until then, I'm sure your cousin wishes to see you." He pointed, and Heru saw a flash of green. Sutekh released him, pale fingers lingering on Heru’s copper skin,  and disappeared into the crowd.

Heru shook the daze from his head, the strange heady sunset, and moved to his cousin-maybe-brother. "Yinpu," he said in greeting.

Yinpu spun to face him - strange and lofty Yinpu, whose father was unknown and who hid his hair under a veil of beads. The beads clattered like rain on stones as they fell around his shoulders. "Heru! I have searched through the hall for you!" The Guardian of the Dead looked hassled by the many people around him, and his voice was tinged with reproach.

Heru smiled. "Forgive me. I was speaking to the Pharaoh." Heru could not help but chuckle at the other god’s expression. "Calm yourself. We spoke only of this sad debacle."

"And what did he say?" asked Yinpu.

"Nothing of importance," said Heru airily. "He said we were to discuss it in depth later tonight."

Yinpu sighed. "Take care, Heru; Sutekh would not be averse to killing you."

"Mother already told me, and Sutekh has admitted to have my murder in mind," Heru said, "but I can look after myself."

Yinpu looked unnerved. "How can you speak of his intent so peacefully? Wesir was furious when he learned you had gone. He sent me to get you away from here. More pressing, now, when I realise that you do not even recognise the danger you’re in!"

"I'm not leaving," said Heru, voice rising in annoyance. "Why do none of you believe I can look after myself?"

Green beads swayed as Yinpu shook his head. "I would not forgive myself, should Sutekh kill you, friend." He sighed. "Understand, Heru, it is not distrust in you, but in him. He is old and he is wily."

"I know how to handle myself," said Heru, somewhat mollified. "Please, let me deal with this as I see fit. If I am to be Pharaoh, then you must trust me to make my own choices."

The god - dark, though he was pale from the netherworld and garbed in white - hesitated but finally bowed and turned. "I shall inform Wesir," he said. "Take care."

Heru sighed and, when offered another goblet, swallowed the wine in one long gulp, allowing the heaving mass of people to sweep him away.

The sparse sunlight disappeared completely, and servants came in to light the many oil-lamps, making the room warmer even than under the sun. Heru drank the wine offered to him, and let the dancing girls sweep him around again and again. The perfume made him sneeze, but his laugh grew louder as he grew more and more pleasantly dizzy.

Here and there, people fell back against the walls, exhausted and drunk, but Heru saw only the people laughing with him. Somewhere he could hear the rumbling laugh of his uncle, and it confused him. He stopped briefly, trying to stand steadily.

There was a warning, a memory picking at the back of his mind, but it was lost in a red haze and fast-paced music.

"Come dance with me!" cried yet another girl, laughing, and drew him back into the fray. He tried to remember if he had ever seen her before.

"No, I need drink!" he cried back and pulled from her grip, instantly lost in the crowd once more. He stumbled against a clumsily dancing man and caught himself. He found himself in the midst of a group of loudly laughing Cretans and hurried away.

Somewhere along the way, he spotted a servant standing against the wall with a decanter of wine. He grabbed his goblet, a finely carved one he’d found somewhere now lost in the sweetness of wine, tightly and began his path, only to find himself suddenly nearly tumbling as a squealing girl brushed past him, another close on her heels. He fell against someone, and arms caught him, steadied him.

"Perhaps you've had enough?" Sutekh asked, his voice rumbling in his chest, and pulled Heru up to stand straight.

"I thought you reveled in drunken... revelry," Heru managed to force out, blinking up at Sutek. The oil-lamps danced, it seemed to him, behind the Pharaoh’s head.

Sutekh smiled, his teeth glistening, edged. "Drunken brawls, my friend; this is comely Het-Heru's domain."

The mention of the beautiful goddess on whom Heru had cast his vague affections made him half-way sober. "I... yes. Of course." He blinked slowly, trying to clear his head. He stood up straighter on his own, pushed away from the older god. "Were we not to discuss--"

"Not yet," said Sutekh, and somehow his quiet voice carried through the din to Heru. "You are quite handsome."

Heru frowned, the vague whispers in the back of his mind returning. "I know. Thank you." He drew a hand over his face, and it came back moist. He looked around him. Everyone was glistening. Sutekh was glistening palely.

The Pharaoh drew close, and Heru smelled wine on his breath, sweet and tangy. "How lovely is your behind."

Heru felt his face warm even further, and his head snapped up to look at Sutekh. "What?!"

Sutekh's predatory smile widened, and he grabbed Heru's wrist, drawing him through the crowd to the wall, where the lamps were few and the air cooler.

"Lord, unhand me!" Heru demanded, his heart pounding. In fear, in curiosity, in anticipation, he was not sure.

Sutekh kept his grip, too strong for Heru to break, and regarded the younger god. In the shadows his hair was less desert-red and more the crimson of blood.

Heru swallowed. "What is it you want?"

Sutekh laughed, and the brief glint of teeth was coloured golden by the distant flames. "You!” he said, and Heru had known before he said it. “Forgive me these drunken words, my friend, but I fear it is only now, when you are even less steady than I on your feet that I dare do this." And saying so, he drew Heru close, pressing their lips together.

Heru froze, his hands still raised in a warding gesture, and looked into his uncle's darkly amused eyes. He saw the fire dance in their depths, undulating coils of red, and broke the kiss with a gasp.

Sutekh, undaunted, took Heru's face in his hands and lifted his chin, biting gently at the tender skin of the neck. Heru shuddered, feeling sharp teeth nip over the jugular; he did not have to think hard to imagine his uncle simply tearing his throat out.

"Cease this," Heru croaked, closing his eyes warily.

"No," murmured Sutekh against his neck. "Not yet, Heru-ur. Not at all yet." His tongue flickered against Heru's neck, and the young god shuddered.

"What did you call me?" He asked more out of a vague sense of duty than any real interest. He was too busy marveling at how Sutekh's hair glinted as he tangled his hands in it. A river of blood running through his fingers.

"Do you wish to remain Heru-sa-Aset?" asked Sutekh, licking his way up to Heru's ear. His voice was a trembling purr of temptation. "Or will you accept that I address you as a man now?"

Heru groaned, pressing the full length of his body against the other's. He felt warm and red.

"Can you not feel it? Pounding through your veins..." Sutekh pressed his mouth against Heru's again, and pushed his tongue past unresisting lips.

And Heru could feel it, pounding and pulsing rhythmically, at the edge of his senses, something raw and more primal even than the music. A throaty groan surprised him, and he realised it came from him.

Sutekh broke the kiss and looked into his eyes, laughing. "I knew you could..."

Heru mewled softly, grabbing a tighter hold of Sutekh's hair. His skin flushed with desire and he felt himself growing hard. He swallowed. "What are you doing to me?"

"Naught," answered the Pharaoh quietly, and squeezed him through his linen skirt. "Come to my bed tonight."

Heru felt his knees buckle, and he clung tightly to Sutekh. "W-with pleasure..."

Sutekh's teeth glinted once more in flickering light, and he wrapped an arm tightly around Heru's waist, leading him out into the dark halls of his palace. Heru looked at him, entranced; the pale god seemed to glow, ghost-like, in the darkness. Heru resisted suddenly, pressing his face to Sutekh's neck, breathed in the dry desert, the ozone of lightning.

"Not yet," Sutekh ground out, but relented, letting the younger god press him back against the wall. "We've only a little way to go, Heru-ur. If you could..." He fell silent as Heru pulled at the cloth of his elaborate gown and smiled, running golden fingers along his shaft. "Oh."

"This is good," murmured Heru absently, wrapping his hand around the hardening member and stroking.

Sutekh gritted his teeth against a groan and pulled Heru close harshly, forcing a hard kiss.

Making a soft sound, Heru eagerly opened his mouth to grant passage. His breath caught as Sutekh reached beneath his skirt and grabbed his shaft in turn. He groaned and stroked faster.

Sutekh growled and spun them, slamming Heru against the wall and pinning him fully, grinding their hips together. He smiled breathlessly at Heru's urgent gasping, and his desperate clawing.

Heru gritted out a feral moan and pulled Sutekh's face to his, kissing deeply and longingly. His hips bucked violently when Sutekh's hand wrapped around his cock, thumb flicking at the sensitive head. "Oh, gh-g...!"

"You were the impatient one," purred Sutekh into his neck, sharp teeth tracing paths over his skin. His experienced hands continued their eager work.

Heru choked back an undignified yelp, thrusting his release into his uncle's hands. In one glorious moment the red was drowned a burst of pure light. "Oh..."

Sutekh chuckled softly and richly, thunder on the horizon, and held the younger god close. Close enough for Heru to feel, without a doubt, that Sutekh had experienced no relief like himself. The redness descended again and he reached down, only to be stopped by Sutekh's hand around his wrist. "No, Heru-ur; not yet. Come." Once again they moved through the darkness, past silently glowering murals. Sutekh grinned up at them as if mocking them..

"What do you have in mind, my lord?" stammered Heru, following his uncle on wobbly legs.

"You'll see." In the next instant they were in a lavish room, covered in yet more red. Red drapes, red carpets, murals in red and cobber, jars and bowls in red gold. Heru had to stop and breathe, the room swimming before his eyes. "Too much wine?" asked Sutekh wryly.

"Too much red," answered Heru honestly, looking entranced at the other's crimson eyes, glimmering in the dim light of the chamber.

Sutekh sighed, closing his eyes for a moment to the dim, disappointed relief of his nephew, and drew him out past a pair of fluttering drapes onto a terrace overlooking one of the few lakes in Ombos. Heru breathed deeply.

"Perhaps my home can be overwhelming for you. I didn't consider that."

Heru looked up at him, dared a smile there in the chill night air. "Yes, you did. Back when you intended to kill me."

"Who says I don't intend to now?" said Sutekh, chuckling, his voice strained.

Heru looked at him, his head clearing slightly, and brushed a hand over the bulge in the Pharaoh’s kilt. “Kill me at your leisure.”

Sutekh gave no indication of either pain or pleasure, measuring Heru silently. “Your mother may have been right; I see truth in your eyes. You are... frightening, Heru-Ur.”

"Everyone is, here in the red," said Heru; the wine made him daring.

"You're vexing as well, but you always have been," said Sutekh and grabbed him, leading him harshly back inside. In the moonlight Sutekh had glistened pale silver; in the gloom the red swept around him. Entranced by the play of flickering light on crimson hair Heru hardly noticed himself falling onto the bed, nor Sutekh joining him there. "You're all smudged," murmured the chaos god.

Heru blinked. "What?"

Sutekh smiled; Heru wanted to taste his lips, taste the difference between a kiss and a smile. "Your make-up, young friend." He passed his hand over both their faces, and Heru felt a tingle over his skin. He saw the heavy kohl lines around Sutekh's eyes were gone. "There," said his uncle, "much better," and kissed him again.

Heru groaned and happily responded, playing his tongue along Sutekh's, hands grabbing at his muscled back. Their bodies pressed together eagerly, and Sutekh tore at Heru's ornate belt, doing nothing to fend of Heru's attempts on his own. The younger god pried desperately at knots and folds, pushing away linnen to finally press flesh to flesh.

Sutekh's hips bucked and he moaned into Heru's mouth, hands grabbing harshly at his arms.

"How do we do this?" asked Heru breathlessly, digging his fingers into the other's chest, tracing tight circles.

Sutekh swallowed and licked his lips, trying to calm his ragged breathing. "There, over on the vanity there's a bare jar; fetch it for me." He rolled off Heru painfully, panting.

Heru nodded and slipped from the bed, padding quickly over to the small table. He recognised it it; it looked exactly like his own, the one Aset said she had fashioned from that of his father-- He cut off the thought quickly and grabbed the small jar. He turned to return and froze, seeing the god of power and storms glistening gold and crimson in the firelight.

"Heru-ur?" Sutekh looked at him, brows creased slightly.

"Sorry; I-I'm coming." He padded over quickly, finding himself in Sutekh's hold as soon as he sat on the bed, welcoming a deep kiss and a hand on his cock. He could feel himself growing hard again, biting at Sutekh's tongue in reflex.

Sutekh winced and smiled, pulling away from the kiss. "Come and lie down; trust me." He took the jar and guided Heru back, lowering his head to the golden chest and nipping gently at the nipple.

Heru blinked, surprised at the small jolts of pleasure the action caused. He swallowed, looking up into the red shadows of the ceiling. "What do you want me to do?"

"Relax," purred his uncle, drawing circles on his muscles with the tip of his tongue.

"Relax," repeated Heru. "I can relax." He tensed and closed his eyes, savouring the fiery path Sutekh made down across his abdomen. "I can surely relax..."

Sutekh chuckled softly against his navel and turned his head, nuzzling his clean-shaven cheek against the curve of his belly, lapping teasingly at the straining shaft.

Heru made a soft, inarticulate sound and licked his lips. He then gasped and made a sharp thrust when Sutekh's lips wrapped around him. "Can't relax," Heru gasped, tearing at the other's hair.

"You'll have to, sweet friend," answered Sutekh and gave the head a small kiss before licking down and down, past the sack and playing around the clenched hole. "Especially if we are to get anything done." He lifted his head to look up at Heru.

 "Sorry," Heru managed, caught in those eyes, and tried to calm himself, closing his own and lying back again, enjoying the play of tongue and fingers between his legs.

Sutekh pushed his legs further apart, tongue teasing the indentation.

"Oh-h," moaned Heru raggedly, hooking one shaky leg over Sutekh's shoulder. He slowly relaxed, watching the red glints swirling before his unfocused eyes. "I do like this..." He heard the pop of a lid being pried from a jar, and felt his uncle's slippery fingers play around the hole. Then a finger was pushed in and the world danced madly. "Oh, fertile lord!" Heru gasped.

"Don't!" hissed Sutekh suddenly, prying his finger further in, eliciting a strained sound from Heru. "Don't call upon my brother here! Not now!"

Heru croaked and managed to find his voice. "F-forgive me... I was surprised..." Another finger joined the first, and Heru arched his back, hands clawing at crimson throws, streams of red embroidered thread.

"Don't apologise, love," muttered Sutekh, intent on his task. "Just be relaxed, or I'll hurt you." He smiled ferally at Heru's sudden wide-eyed look. "Shush. Not a threat, merely a fact. I don't want to tear anything."

Heru swallowed and eased back again, lifting his legs up higher. When a third finger pushed its way in, he managed to squirm only a little, and kept silent by biting his lip and clenching shut his eyes. In the back of his mind he wondered how much more Sutekh could fit in; and thus, surprised at his own vulgarity, his rational ways of thought shut down and there was only the feel of silk and air against his skin and his uncle's touches inside him.

"Another one, I think," purred Sutekh, idly probing and stretching, carefully fitting a last digit inside Heru. The younger god keened softly into the shadows. Sutekh smirked and stretched gently, sliding his tongue along Heru's shaft.

Heru writhed and pressed Sutekh close with his leg hooked over a pale shoulder, yearning and inviting, wanting... "My lord...!" He felt the fingers pulled slowly from within him and saw the god of power rise above him like a ghost in red. Sutekh grabbed his legs and bent till knees touched shoulders. Heru looked up at him, red and fierce and beautiful as a thunderstorm, and threw back his head, submitting.

Sutekh's cock pushed into him with only a minor pop, and Heru squirmed to force him deeper. Sutekh smiled and complied, pushing in with slow, steady strokes.

Heru hissed softly, rolling his hips in time with Sutekh's motions. "Ah..."

"So very beautiful," whispered Sutekh in his ear, breath coming in deep sighs. "Golden and raven, sweet and fair, like your father, your precious father..."

"My lord," gasped Heru and made a strangled sound as his uncle's thrusts gained speed. Sutekh's muffled moaning and whispering against his neck sent small shivers down along his shoulders. He buried his face in red, red hair and whimpered.

Sutekh lifted his head and pressed his lips desperately to Heru's, their hips bucking in an increasingly frenzied rhythm. "My sweet Heru," Sutekh gasped against his lips. "My king, my hawk above, my brother's son, I love you, I love you, I love you..."

Heru did not notice when Sutekh stopped speaking and there remained no sound except the crackling of fire, the rustle of cloth and the soft sound of flesh rasping on flesh.

It was a steady grinding rhythm, back forth, pleasure of entry and pleasure of withdrawal. And then Sutekh shifted and angled his thrusts, and Heru's sight was filled with crimson sparks. He arched up into the motion, mouth opening in a silent cry, astonished to feel himself growing even harder. Sutekh took the opportunity to push his tongue into the willing mouth, playing against Heru's own. He would have kissed back but for each thrust stealing all of his already scarce attention.

When Sutekh's fingers gently brushed the underside of his cock, Heru hissed, trying to buck into the light touch. Each move made the other's knuckles brush the vein pulsing on the underside of the shaft, and when the orgasm came it seemed all too sudden to him.

Sutekh grinned, wild and untamed and cruel as thunder, and shifted once more, both position and force, pounding himself urgently into Heru. The silk beneath them shifted and curled with each thrust, bunching up in the small of Heru's back. He clawed at Sutekh's back, slick with sweat. The sound of the chaos god's ragged breathing was loud in his ears.

Then strong fingers tightened on his hips and, with a shuddering sigh, Sutekh gave three last strong thrusts. Heru could not feel it, not truly, but still he imagined he felt the Pharaoh’s seed within him. Sutekh arched above him, glittering and red and dazzling, and Heru closed his eyes to the sight.

Sutekh slumped onto him, trailing lazy kisses along his neck, and suddenly Heru was aware of the sounds from outside. Gently rippling water, wind through the small trees, animals skittering to and fro. And from within, their combined panting, the calm crackling of the large oil lamp and slithering of silk as they shifted.

Sutekh pulled out and away from him, but he kept his eyes closed, entranced by the sharpening of his senses.

"So horrid was it?" murmured the red god in his ear, an arm draping possessively over his chest.

"No, no," said Heru and curled into the embrace. "Just tired."

Sutekh chuckled and brushed kisses across his eyelids. "Then sleep."

Heru, willing or not, obeyed.

He awoke before his uncle, as the sharp light of dawn crept into the room through the veils. After the waking and before the headache, awareness made Heru freeze. What had he done? Blessed sun and fertile father, what had he done? If the divine council should learn of this--

A snort and soft mumble called his attention to the muscled arm still draped over him. He looked at the face of his rival, not peaceful, not even in sleep, but wrought with chaotic dreams.

Heru felt sick. He had let Sutekh-- Let him-- Swallowing down bile and shame, Heru slipped ever so carefully free and pulled his crumpled clothes from the floor. Not bothering to dress, he slipped through the door and started running. He had let his enemy - his own father's murderer - take him. If it had been the other way around, maybe, it would have been of little matter, but as it stood...

He already knew Sutekh would use this against him. "A man willing to let another man make a woman of him," he could hear the uncle-in-his-mind proclaim, "is he fit to rule?" Heru stopped when the dry heaving overtook him. He looked up into the skylight of the hall, into the white linen stretched across it, and was absurdly grateful that he didn't have to look at the sky.

Was it all to be lost? All his battles, all his mother’s hopes, destroyed in a single night of thoughtless lust?

Aset would kill him. Het-Heru would reanimate him and kill him again. "Fertile father," whimpered Heru and instantly regretted it. His father was the last one he wanted to call upon.

"Heru!" He looked up in shock and saw Yinpu hurrying towards him. "Heru, I feared for you! Why have you lingered here?!"

"I did a horrible thing," rasped Heru, his throat dry. "Please, can we leave? I need to see Mother. Quickly."

Yinpu’s pale features twisted in worry, and he hurried with him through the halls. "What have you done?"

"I'll tell you on the way," promised Heru, bustling past the few servants awake while fumbling with his clothes.

They stepped into the sunlight and suddenly Heru's head started pounding, and he winced, stopping. "Heru," Yinpu said, concern lining his voice.

"After-effects of the wine," Heru managed to grit out. "Never mind it. Let's just go."

Yinpu frowned, reluctant to let it pass, but nodded. "It’s quick work to reach the Great River if we pass through the alleys. Come." He led him over red sand, not yet warm from the sun, and guided him in among the whitewashed houses of the wealthy. Heru saw red decorations on them, and shied away, but forced himself to follow his cousin still..

"Tell me what happened," pleaded Yinpu as they moved hastily in and out of the shadows of early morning.

"I'll tell you when I tell Mother," Heru said. The Nile shimmered to his left and he steered toward it. A boat waited there, Heru knew, to speed them away to Waset where Aset had taken temporary residence. A sharp sting went through Heru as he half-ran, and he winced even as he felt blood rush to his face.

   He was more than grateful when they exchanged their rapid pace for the boat. Even so, when it sailed into the deeper waters, he watched with an odd sense of worry as the harbour faded in the distance.

The sun was well past noon when industrious paddling and the flow of the river brought them to Waset. Heru stood forlornly on the busy harbour as Yinpu accepted the adulations and prayers of the captain, watching the people watching him. Golden skin and raven locks marked him as a god, and his youth and amber eyes belied his identity. He heard whispers of his name and that of his mother and uncle.

Heru clenched his hands and turned to look at Yinpu who, finally, managed to step away from the boat-man. "Come," said Yinpu soothingly. "Your mother waits for you on the temple grounds."

They made their way through the warm throng, the dust rising in small puffs lifted higher by the constant movement. Heru sneezed, grateful when they slipped between two sphinxes, onto the ceremonial road to Karnak. Polished stone, no dust, but plenty of company. White-clad priests bowed deeply to them, but Heru was too busy trying to stop the incessant tickle in his nose. He had no desire to listen to them, either way; his stomach had tightened in a nervous knot the second he caught sight of the temple.

Yinpu took his arm gently and led him inside the gates, but rather than entering the dark temple - Heru could smell incense wafting from within - Yinpu led him around to the temple garden, where he heard the laughter of his mother and Nebh-het mingling with the sound of water and caged songbirds.

"My lady," Yinpu said, "Mother."

Nebh-het drew back the hand that had rested on Aset's arm and looked at them. Aset turned in her seat and rose when she saw her son. "Heru! Sweet, sweet child...!" She rushed to him, grabbing his face between his hands. "Foolish boy! Do you realise how worried I were? Are you well? Did he hurt you?"

Heru tried in vain to swallows the dry lump in his throat, closing his eyes against his mother's worried look.

The three of them went silent, Nebh-het and Yinpu's reunion interrupted. "Heru...?" asked Nebh-het lightly. Her simple dress rustled as she moved closer.

"He did, didn't he?" said Aset with sudden fury. "He tried to kill you! What did he do to you? I'll have him dragged before RA ere the--"

"Mother, please," said Heru in a choked voice. "Please. I'll tell you; just... calm yourself."

Aset was silent, looking at him with fear and worry; Nebh-het brushed her aside with a gentle touch and led Heru to the chairs. "Sit, dear one, and talk."

Heru obeyed, folding his hands in his lap and staring incessantly at his knuckles. "I drank and drank deeply, more perhaps than I should have, and when night fell he drew me to the shadows and-and convinced me to..." When he hesitated, Aset poured him a cup of weak beer and urged him to drink, worrying her lip with her teeth. Heru drank and said, "Convinced me to come to his bed. It was hardly seduction; I was more than willing, unthinking of the consequences."

Aset stared at him with horror, but Nebh-het seemed - strangely - unaffected by her husband's adultery.

"I submitted to him. I can only imagine how he'll use this against me." He drained the cup, hoping his shaking was not noticeable.

"Aya," moaned Aset and lowered her head into her hand, "you foolish, foolish child."

"I'm sorry, Mother," said Heru quietly, turning the drinking cup in his hands.

Aset leant her head back and watched the sparse clouds. "Very well; we must, it seems, turn the tables."

Heru looked up, fingers tightening on the cup. "What do you mean, Mother?"

Aset turned to him, plots curling like serpents in her eyes, and Heru remembered that it was not only Sutekh who was old and cunning.

Sutekh could not contain the triumphant smile as he sat down for breakfast. A part of him had rather wanted to see his nephew's face upon waking and the full realisation of what he had done, but that the act was consummated was in honesty enough.

He chuckled roundly to himself, the sound of thunder echoing back at him from the corners and pillars, and eyed his breakfast; a bowl full of lush, fresh salad, soaking in its own fertile juices.

Sutekh smiled wider, unaware of his servant returning to the garden, bowing deeply to the veiled Aset.

"It is done, Wise One."

Aset smiled a thin, cruel smile of her own and waved him away.

Yes; everything would work out just fine.