This was in two pieces for a while, now it's in one. yay.

Warning: You've been warned...


He could smell it, taste it. Hear the faintest of scuffing noises. Scuffing that could not be a rat, since he had long ago scared away or eaten any creature that tried to call his maze home.

Nostrils widened as he searched for a clue about who had come to into his twisted prison and why. The scent was a man's- sweat and oil and metal. A warrior, perhaps? Come to slay him?

Teeth, blunt, but fearsome for their size and for the face in which they lay, were displayed to the dark and the shadows and the ghosts of those he'd slain.

--

Holding his torch high, Therocles strode through the halls of the labyrinth. He let a line of string out behind him as he walked. He had turned up his nose at the idea of him getting lost in the maze, but one did not lightly refuse the help of a goddess.

'The beast you will defeat, of that I am confidant,' she had said. 'But the labyrinth is a place of the mind, and only the clever can find their way out again.' It had seemed an insult, but Therocles had accepted the help. What good was a heroic deed if no one ever heard of it?

His armor chinked softly as his foot landed a bit lower than he'd expected. Therocles frowned at the floor, which had become a ramp, leading even deeper into the bowels of the earth.

Squaring his shoulders, Therocles stepped forward once again. "I will find you in your lair," he said to the darkness. "And there I will slay you, wash in your blood and drag your head out into the sunlight."

If the darkness heard, it did not answer.

Therocles walked farther, until his torch guttered out and the faint light cast by the ball of twine was all that remained to light the way.

The ramp he was treading on stopped finally, the floor leveling out, and the walls receding beyond the feeble light of the string. Therocles' foot kicked something across the floor. It echoed hollowly until it rolled to a stop.

Curious, he bent close enough to make out the pools of darkness that had once been the eyes of a man.

"A skull?" he asked himself. "One who dared to face you," he raised his head to where two eyes glittered in the faint light, "and who failed."

The monster roared as he charged, the sound echoing through the halls of the labyrinth and shaking the very bones of the island above.

"Yes," said Therocles, tossing the ball of twine aside and pulling his sword, "Come."

He ducked low, below the horns intent on disemboweling him, using the beast's momentum to throw him over his shoulder. Spinning, his sword flashed out, tangled in the horns and was ripped from his hand with a wrench of the monster's head.

Bereft of his weapon, Therocles wrestled with the creature, across the floor of that room, through the bones of the monster's kills, dust from the ages of the labyrinth's existence sticking to their slick bodies.

Separating, the two warriors circled each other. Therocles wrenching off his breastplate as they did so, it's fastenings having been snapped in their struggles. It landed on the stone with a clatter.

It was easier to see now, in the darkness, the ball of twine having been kicked around from side to side of the room. Therocles could make out the form of his opponent, the faint light glittering off the sweat of his body. Red, he thought; if he could tell color in the faint light. Built like a man, but with skin a deep ruby, its shoulders and head still lost to the shadow.

The light glittered off the edge of his sword as well, laying in a small pile of dust barely a step away.

His eyes flickered back up to the monster; dare he risk it?

As Therocles bent after his sword, the beast lunged forward to attack, but the twine entangled his ankles, tripping him.

The beast's lunge turned into a fall, though an arm flung out allowed him to bring Therocles down as well, his sword once more fallen from his hand.

Again they grappled, Therocles' hands sliding over smooth skin, the claws of the beast shredding what clothes remained to him. A pity, he thought as a loop of glowing twine caught itself on the beast's horns, a pity that it had not the head of a man, for its body was that of one. Rippling muscles, limbs well-formed and long. Well-endowed, he knew, when their struggles brought their groins into contact.

There was the barest of hesitations then, before their struggles resumed with renewed passion.

A claw scratched against Therocles' side, snapping his belt with inhuman strength; the remains of his armor falling to the ground unnoticed as he grabbed the beast's arm, twisting it and himself behind the beast.

Shoving its monstrous head against the floor to breathe in the dust of crushed bones, Therocles caught the other arm and forced the wrists together, binding them with the shimmering twine.

Panting, he sat, straddling the monster, who lay still for the moment, breath loud in the darkness.

Therocles ran a hand up a ruby-red back, the skin smooth below the start of the fur, the faint traces of blood barely distinguishable in the dull light. Sliding his hand back down, he let go of the monster's wrists, moving both hands to cup the monster's human ass. He rubbed it slightly, admiring the shape and the muscles under the skin, while the monster held still, coiled and waiting.

Curious, Therocles slid a finger inside. The monster bellowed, moving finally in an attempt to throw Therocles off of his body.

"I've ridden bulls before," Therocles said, unperturbed, though he moved his free hand around the monster, and stroked. The monster stilled.

Therocles resumed rubbing, and the monster lay silent beneath him, though perhaps not entirely still.

Having done the best that he could at preparing the monster, Therocles positioned himself and thrust inside. It hurt, if the monster's sudden roar was any indication, or the way he twisted his hips in an attempt to flee the intrusion. Therocles waited, holding himself still, and doing his best to force the monster into doing the same.

Finally the beast started moving in a manner entirely counter-productive to ridding himself of Therocles, and Therocles began to thrust back.

When he finished, Therocles leaned forward against the beast's back, gasping for breath and unconcerned for the moment that the beast had not also achieved his climax.

It was silent for a moment before the beast roared, the muscles of his back and arms rippling as he snapped the fragile glowing chord that had bound his hands.

The broken pieces of string writhed about on the floor like worms, attempting to reform one whole, and Therocles fell to the ground as the beast stood. He scooted back as the beast walked menacingly towards him, the dust and bones rubbing against his bare skin.

The monster flung himself at Therocles, grabbing him and forcing him onto his stomach. He ground the man's face into the dirt for a moment, before pulling his hips off the floor and prodding at his ass.

Therocles tensed for a moment at the memory of sharp claws breaking his skin in numerous places in the darkness, but the fingers that ran over his skin were as soft and blunt as any man's. After a moment the monster roughly shoved a finger inside of him, and Therocles forced himself not to react. If the monster could take it, so could he.

The monster's other hand roamed over Therocles' body, petting, stroking, smoothing. Therocles had to bite his lip to keep from crying out as the monster explored, Therocles' body showing new interest despite the rough handling of his ass.

When he couldn't take any more, Therocles twisted his head back to look over his shoulder. There was a tiny piece of string that had formed a circle about one of the monster's horns, a strange indicator of where he should direct his glare. "Get on with it, monster, before I change my mind about slaying you," Therocles said.

The beast grunted, but removed his fingers and replaced them, sliding inside almost hesitantly. Growling, Therocles shoved himself back. The beast hissed and then made a peculiar low bellowing noise, curling himself forward over Therocles' body.

The monster's giant head rested on his back, its weight preventing him from moving the way he wanted. He snarled, jerking his hips as best he could, unwillingly forced to wait until the beast was ready to move.

Then finally, finally the beast shifted back, pulling some of its weight off Therocles' body, allowing them to move together in the darkness.

Therocles spent himself first, leaving a damp spot in the dust, a dark mark that gleamed ever so slightly in the light from the tangled twine. The beast continued to thrust, though he followed not long after, collapsing to the floor and pulling Therocles down with him, where they lay entwined, hidden from all but the darkness and the light of the string.


A real end this time. Unless you are particularly fond of fluff and happy endings, then you can imagine that Therocles goes out of the labyrinth and finds whomever 'twas gave him the string, kindly asking her to un-monster-ify the monster, which she does, leaving a handsome, if stubborn (or should I say 'bull-headed'?) man to live happily ever after with Therocles.

Or, if you prefer he can just go and kill the monster in the...erm...morning. I mean, talk about coyote ugly.

And, of course, there's always the original option wherein Therocles just leaves the next morning. He 'defeated' the beast, after all. What more do you want?

Anyhow, review, please. Pretty please? with honey and a hot man on top?