Author's notes: Thank to Gattamelatta for the betas and suggestions. Thanks to Kate for reading this over and over.
The young pharaoh leaned back in his throne, one long tapered finger running over the inlaid gold wood patterns. His finger traced over the tricolored weave, the pale ivory wood dipped over and under the strips of the golden and dark ebony wood, gently scented with the fragrance of the night blooms. His tanned lids half closed over his strange eyes, he hummed a song that his brother's lover had written. Strangely sweet, the inflected love song was still slightly disturbing. //Sweet, sweet, sweet as honey in my mouth.// Behind him, he heard the crowd getting steadily louder. The voices rose and fell like the waves of the river he sailed every week. As he listened, a surprised inflection rose in the sounds. Turning, he smiled at his brother. His favorite brother all dressed up in his normal priestly garments, frowning.
"Stop frowning, Seferet, they fear the gods have given you bad news!"
Sef glared at his brother, eyes burning fiercer. "If the gods had given me bad news, I would be smuggling my beloved out! No. I merely wondered why you insisted that I come here when I could be abed with my meryt. It is just another one of your strange attitudes. Why, oh why, couldn't I have been born first? If only to see you jump at every one of my whims. Ahh well, next life." Sef cheerfully complained as he walked up the last steps.
Hunefer laughed and held out his hand to his brother. Pulling him to sit beside him, he pointed to the sands. "I actually invited you to see a particular fighter. I know you don't really like the annual games although they do help bleed off the aggression of my troops. Think for a moment Sef, if I stopped these 'games' of theirs, they would have to work it off somehow and I don't think I could fight them if they decided to turn against my own people. No, this is better. Those who are too aggressive will be found out, retrained, or killed. Those who are too shy will be inspired. But the next fighter, he is truly a marvel to behold. Watch."
Seferet nodded, wiping his brow. He would much rather be in bed with his lover. Neither of them would have been out in the heat of the day. Jahi because of his fair skin, made more sensitive by the tragedy that took his voice. Oh yes, right now, Jahi would be undressed and slipping into his warm bath. The slaves would have been sent out of the room for he did not like the idea of slavery. Almond scented oil floating on top of the water, lotus petals tossed carelessly about the bath. Toys made of the lightest wood floating on the water as Jahi splashed the water. The cool blue-green and sky blue ceramic tiles that layered the bottom of the pool. Each one with a different flower impressed on it. His beloved would take one quick duck under the water, wetting his hair. As he rose from the water like a river god, he would run one hand over the short cut hair. One hand would reach for a plate of fresh sliced fruit; sweet yellow pears, dark ripe figs, and tight tart limes. Taking a slice of sweet pear, he squeezed a twist of lime over the slice. Slipping it into his mouth, he would play with it. Using his tongue he would roll the slice over his lips, humming softly, he would swim slowly closer to his lover, face tilted up. Slice of pear resting between his lip. His eyes would beckon to his lover. Enticing his beloved into the warm pool. Laughing silently, he'd flirt and smile until his priestly lover gave in. They would swim and kiss, limbs twining in the cool water of the marble tub. Jahi's lips would caress the silken skin of his scalp as he, himself, would suck on those sweet nipples. Jahi always tasted of sweet crystals, how he wished to taste him now!
Hunefer cleared his throat and tugged his brother closer, "I don't think our people need to see you have an orgasm here and now, they can wait until the festival for that."
Seferet stared at his pharaoh, "As you command, my lord pharaoh. So what is so special about the next..."
A raucous cheer burst through out the stadium. Sef heard his brother murmur something about the person being a crowd favorite. The screams for over three thousand people grew into chants. Seferet shook his head, still amused. Sighing, he turned to face the sands and sat beside his brother. "Very well... we shall see!"
Seferet leaned back, beckoning a slave to bring his cup of kashi. He rolled his eyes at the sheer bloodlust of his own people and enjoyed his drink. He looked at his brother who was trying not to laugh. Finally the gong struck and the people sat. Turning, he stared down at the sand, a flash of short gold hair caught his eyes... it could not be! Shaking his head, he decided he must be seeing things. Two men stood on the sand, one dark and tall; a giant of a man. He wore a leather harness and carried a beaded leather whip and shield. The other smaller, thinner, his face covered by a mask. A rich dark red sleeveless shirt covered his chest and stopped before his stomach. A sheer linen kilt wrapped around those seductive hips, the gold bracelets chiming sweetly. Seferet could hear them even from so far away. Gold collar graced his neck, tiny charms swinging from it, bouncing light. He held two long knives, one in each hand. He nodded to his opponent and dropped into a guard.
Seferet nodded at the cautious guard And watched at the masked figure feinted, attacked, and defended against the giant. The movements seemed so familiar, so... easy. Seeing the masked person leave an opening, he nudged the pharaoh and pointed. "Too wide, Jahi makes the same mistake."
Hunefer smiled and nodded, "Ahhh, does he? Useful to know next time we spar. Watch him carefully, he's a part of the court. I think you will like this fight, my dear brother."
Seferet leaned forward, watching the masked fighter as they ducked and moved closer. Knives flashing, spinning, twirling. Seferet bit his lip, so familiar. He watched as the unmasked man strove to demask his opponent. He laughed as the masked one ducked and mocked his opponent. As he danced away, light flashed off a metal bead from the whip as it curved around ripped open the mask, leaving a smear of blood. Seferet gasped as he heard the stadium take in breath. The smaller fighter growled and stripped off his mask.
//It couldn't be, yet it was.// A blond vision was standing on the sands. A pale man, blond hair cut close to the scalp. Sef surged from the stands, anger written across his face. Staring at the sands, he moved to go down. Stopping short as a hand of iron gripped his kilt.
Eyes wide, the high priest whirled towards his brother. "'NEFER!"
"It is his desire, a gift. Watch. I had my own slaves oil him and adorn him, he wishes to tantalize you and show to our people what a fine warrior their priest has in his mate. You may lead their spiritual heart but they see him as making you realize the physical world. And they love him for it." Hunefer laid one finger against his brother's smooth cheek and directed him head back to the sands.
Jahi stood, arms akimbo, swords resting loosely in his hands. He waited, Sef's nails dug into his brother's arm as he waited. He watched as Jahi's opponent a dark man from the southern lands leapt for him. And his Jahi danced away as serenely as a whirlwind. Silver fire flashed as the short sword lashed out. A cry went up from the crowd. Sef listened carefully, smiling, the crowd was chanting "First Blood."
"Have faith in him, I already put a bet on him. Both to get first blood and to win. He's that good."
"I have faith in my husband, it's the idiot he's facing that I have no faith in. If he hurts my Jahi, a curse is the least of his worries. If you've forgotten, I still beat you three out of five matches, 'Nefer." Sef snorted.
"True, if I let you challenge him." The Pharaoh turned back to the fight. Ignoring his growling brother beside him.
Jahi danced away as his opponent lashed out with a corded whip. A loose tail whipped across his face, marking his cheek. Seferet groaned. A smirk curled on Jahi's lips as he ran forward, ducking under an outstretched arm of his opponent, the twin swords flashed. Spears of light struck as they swung under the sun. The other man backed up, the silver beads at the end of tails sparked as they spun and twisted. Both men had blood run down their faces from various cuts and wounds. Seferet stared, Hunefer desperately tried to pry his brother's nails from arms, and Jahi... waited.
The dark man stepped forward, grin on his face as he lashed out with one foot as the whip's tails wrapped around Jahi's throat. "I win."
Jahi bared his teeth as one sword cut through the whip, the other slid through the spread fingers of his free hand, his own blood running down the blade as it raised to press point deep into the underside of the dark man's chin. His sea ravaged voice rasped, "You lose. I win."
Two soft thuds sounded as the challenger dropped the remains of his weapons. The judge sounded the gong and announced the winner. Seferet stared at his lover on the sand. Blood dripping over the hilt and blade of his knives. Blood trailed down his face, his hair matted and sticky. He watched Jahi knelt and picked up both pieces of the knotted whip. Holding his trophies over his head, he stared at the crowd, turning slowly, eyes daring others to challenge him. His voice raspy as the sound of a sandstorm, he announced, "For my lord, for his god, whom I have taken for my own. If any doubt my loyalty, my love, let him challenge me here so they too may become a sacrifice."
Seferet stood and spoke over the crowd. "Glory to Ra, for your sacrifice, for your honor, for your skill. The Sun Lord smiles on you."
Jahi stared at him for a moment before he walked across the sands and back to the preparation are.
"Go, I'll make sure the trophies get to the temple." Hunefer pushed his brother towards the steps.
Nodding, Seferet ran down the steps and headed towards the fighter's preparation room. Stepping in, he ordered everyone save his husband out. Jahi sat on a stone bench, wrapping his hand.
The Egyptian's lips crushed against his sailor's. "Beautiful... mine, forever."
Jahi smiled, tilted his head back and let the pleasure of his beloved's lips fill him.
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