Iolaus closed his eyes to fight the effect of the rotating wheel turning round and round for such a long time now. He felt the increasing pain in his head, gritted his teeth and tried to bear the pain as best as he could. He clenched his fists and pulled against his bonds, but there was no escape. The pain was almost overpowering and the world began to whirl around him. He fought the dizziness but after some endless moments he realized he couldn't win this battle. Blackness surrounded him as he felt himself falling, deeper and deeper, falling into a peaceful rest.
Iolaus opened his eyes reluctantly. Despite the throbbing pain in his head he tried to think clearly but he could hardly focus on anything. Stretching his broken body he propped himself on the elbows and was surprised, how easy it was for him to do. He felt relaxed, all the strain and tension of the last hours were vanished. New energy streamed over his body and for even the first time in his life there was a kind of peace in his mind, he hadn't felt ever before. He stood up and his bare feet touched the warm grass of a beautiful meadow full of flowers. A pleasant sentiment! He stretched out his hand to touch the blossoms and recognized that he did this nearly the very first time in his life. Love and Peace, living close to nature. Why did I fight against this paradise so many desperate hours in the re-education room, he asked himself and squinted into the warm sun, shining above him. He felt free, free as a bird in the sky!
Nearly his whole life he was forced to fight for or against something, against bandits, unscrupulous mercenaries or warlords. Never he was granted to rest, to find peace for a minute. He had chosen this life right at the side of his best friend Hercules, but now wandering slowly through the wonderful landscape he wondered whether this new life wouldn't be a happier one than the one he lived before. Why not stay, he thought to himself. It's not a bad place to live. Why fight for useless things? I deserve a rest and this seems to be the best place to find it. The decision to give up fighting was already made in his mind.
He tried to get a hold as the ground began to shake beneath him. The previously shining sun was darkened by large clouds and a grey veil of fog covered the scenery. Iolaus hadn't any interest in finding out what had happened. He yearned himself back to the paradise from he was banished so ungently. Unsteady, he stumbled through the blackness searching for a sign of light showing him a way out. Suddenly he became aware of a small figure appearing out of the mist and outstretching a hand for him.
Iolaus frowned and turned. "Leandra?" Iolaus rubbed his eyes but the vision hadn't changed. His eyes recognized the familiar features of his grandmother. "How did you come here... And where are we?" He made a few steps forward to touch her hand but there was no flesh he could grasp and his grip passed through. "Who are you?" Iolaus mumbled, his eyes reflecting his deep confusion and worry. "Are you dead?"
"No," Leandra gave him a faint smile. "But you are in danger of dying, Iolaus. Not your body, but your will is broken. Your heart will be almost dead, if you don't free yourself. Hang on, Iolaus, fight it, fight back. You always have been so strong, so inexorable against yourself. Try it!! You will make it."
"Why should I fight? For what? I am happy in this world." Iolaus returned, his gaze lowered. "I finally found peace; a place to rest."
"Peace, this peace is not real, Iolaus. Wake up, son and face the facts. This world is a world of imagination, it exists only in your mind. And you can't share it with anybody. Come back to yourself, Iolaus. You are needed."
"Needed." Iolaus nearly spat this word through gritted teeth. "What can I bring about, being a poor little mortal?"
"You did so much." Leandra said, trying to get eye contact with her grandson. "Look at me, Iolaus. You saved me, remember? I would be dead without your help, tossed from the cliff. Without you at my side I would be dead and forgotten." He raised his head a little and Leandra was grateful for getting in touch with his lovely blue eyes. "You saved lots of people, Iolaus, helped so many to find a better life or to free themselves from being toys for the gods. Think of it, Iolaus. There is a task you have to fulfill. You can't run away and hide yourself behind the bushes. Look at me, son, come back to us."
Iolaus closed his eyes from a sudden dizziness and tried to force the displaced memory. The ground began to shiver again under his feet and his trembling hand found hold somewhere. He shook his head to fight the pain throbbing within his forehead which prevented him from finding a clear thought.
Slowly he opened his eyes again, catching sight of the figure of Alcmene, now standing next to his grandmother.
"You can't be here, Alcmene." Iolaus said, his eyes wide of surprise and confusion. "You have to be miles away from here in Corinth."
"I am here, Iolaus. I am here to help you to find your way, your way back to us. We are waiting for you. We need you. Come back to us."
"Noo..." Iolaus nearly yelled this word. "You don't need me, nobody needs me. Jason will be there for you, you have your two sons..."
"I have three sons." The soft voice demanded. "Two of birth and one by heart. Don't look at me like that, Iolaus. You have to know, I always thought of you as my son, since the day Hercules brought you in our house. You have been a part of my family for so many years now and deep in my heart I always wished you would feel the same way." Iolaus looked in her moistened eyes. "I love you, Iolaus, as much as I love my other two sons and I always will be there for you, if you need me. You have a family and you mean so much to Hercules and me."
Hercules! The pain in his head immediately increased to a horrible torture hearing the name of his best friend. He bit back a cry of pain creeping through his throat.
"Yes, he needs you, Iolaus. And I have always comforted myself by the thought of having you next to Hercules' side, protecting him from any harm and caring for him, if he needs a helping hand. You know, a mother always fears for her children." She smiled at him in the dim light that was left in the place. Tears came from her eyes and Iolaus felt the strong urge to ease her pain, to comfort her and dry her tears.
"Alcmene," he whispered. "I don't know what to say. I want to help, but I can't. Let me stay here, Alcmene...I am not important, not for you and not for Hercules. I want to stay here, with all the flowers, blossoms and..."
"Iolaus, you are babbling. That's not the strong warrior, the fighter for justice, that is talking to me. That's the man the re-education room made of you. Fight it, Iolaus. Fight it as hard as you can. Find your own self, that's the only way for you to become happy."
"Re-education?" Iolaus tried to ignore the increasing pain in his head and force his aching mind to remember. He went deeper and deeper until the pain became nearly insufferable. He saw dissolved luminous spots of light followed by darkness. A voice had seemed to come from far away, occupying his thoughts getting through everything, dark and conjured. Iolaus frowned partly remembering the incredible pain, the fear and the confusion this voice had brought into his mind. The sensations of light overflowed everything and the world began to turn around him. He tried to escape but wasn't able to lift even his arms. He struggled to dissolve his imaginary bonds that held him still but there was no way. Desperately he clinched his fists against the swelling panic and the overwhelming pain. "NOOO..." he yelled and sent out a strangled scream against the agony. Suddenly he felt himself brought back to the darkness of the surreal hostile place he had been before, meeting the eyes of Leandra and Alcmene, still waiting for him.
"GO..." he cried desperately. "Go and leave me alone. Let me rest, let me find peace. Go..."
"Shall I go too?"
Iolaus stiffened, realizing the familiar unexpected sound of this soft voice. He turned in the direction the sound came from and recognized Ania, next to a dead tree stump, her warm eyes shining through the darkness of the surrounding. Iolaus started running to her, to take her in his arms, to hold her tight to his heart, but as much as he tried, he couldn't move himself only a bit.. His feet seemed tied to the ground.
"Ania, I missed you so much," he whispered, tears running over his face, but with still bright eyes. "I was so lonesome without you close to my side. I need you. Stay with me."
"I can't and you know that." Ania gave back softly and Iolaus' heart cringed at the thought of losing her again. "My life is different now, my love."
"Then let me come with you. I want to be at your side wherever you go," he returned, his eyes begging.
But Ania shook her head. "No, you are not allowed to follow me yet. Iolaus, there is so much for you to do in this world. Remember me, Iolaus, but don't eat yourself up with it. We will meet again."
"Noo..." Iolaus hid his aching head with his hands and burst into tears. "I suffered so much during the long years without you... I felt so lonely and yearned myself so much for the sound of your voice, for the sound of your steps on the stairways, the touch of your hand... It has been so cold without you for all those years." He hesitated for a few moments. "There have been other women in my life, but I never experienced a love as deep as the one we shared together... You had been anything for me, anything I had searched for all my life. And your death torn my heart into pieces." He wept, sobs racking his body. "I miss you so much, Ania... Here I hoped to find peace from my loss, from my suffering, my loneliness. I hoped to forget." With a defiant movement he raised his head and wiped briefly the tears from his eyes. "Why did you come here? I finally found a place to rest, rest from everything that brought agony to my life. I want to forget."
"Are you sure you really want to forget, Iolaus?" her dark eyes glancing at him. "Do you really want to forget the good times we were allowed to share together and the love we felt for each other, too short but strong enough to keep for an eternity?"
"No," he mumbled nearly inaudible, fighting the overpowering pain in his head.
"We had the luck to share a love not many people are granted. I loved you and will always love you. But for experiencing love, one has to live with loss and suffering, Iolaus. Only the one who never loved, can't lose a beloved person. But without love your soul will be cold and dead like a stone, indifferent to anything and anybody. Is that the life you want to choose? Love and pain, luck and death, all these things are parts of our life and without love, without friendship, without the memory of all the things that made your life important, will you live like that only to shut out the thought of agony and loss? Think of it, Iolaus. You are strong. You can handle it, live with it. Make up your mind, my love. I am sure, you will choose the right way. Remember me, Iolaus. I love you and will wait for you. Live you life, Iolaus. Goodbye..."
Iolaus watched with tear stained eyes her small figure slowly disappearing in the darkness. "Nooo..." he cried. "Don't leave me again... I am so alone..."
The stiffness left his body and he desperately dropped down to his knees, overwhelmed by pain and memory. He bent his head against his arm and wept.
"You are not alone, my friend."
The sobbing became silent and Iolaus abruptly lifted his head. "Hercules." A faint smile passed his face. The agony behind his forehead made it difficult for him to focus on his friend, standing now next to Leandra and Alcmene. "Hercules."
"Yes." The massive stature of his best friend knelt down next to him, near to him but nevertheless out of reach. "Everything will be alright, my friend. You will make it."
Iolaus looked at him with confusion in his eyes. "Why did you come here?"
"I wanted to fetch you back, back to my side again." Hercules was extending his hand and although he wasn't able to touch his friend Iolaus guessed feeling the familiar hand of his comrade on his shoulder. "You are not alone and you won't be ever alone as long as I live. You should know that. We have gone through so much together. You saved my life for so many times I nearly couldn't count, so you are like a brother to me. You always have been there for me, Iolaus. Come back with me. You are needed right at my side. There is no one else in the whole world who can take your place."
Iolaus glanced at him, his eyes blurred with tears. "You don't need me. I have failed you before and ... you must be tired of bringing me out of trouble, saving my life." He lowered his gaze. "I am simply useless for you."
"Come on," Hercules demanded in a pleading tone.. "You know, that is not true. We belong together. Best of friends, battlefield heroes fighting back to back, remember? ... Besides, somebody has to watch my back and you are strictly under contract to do that..." Hercules managed to smile at his longtime friend. "You see, you can't run off. Come back with me. I need you!"
Looking in the beloved eyes Iolaus suddenly realized the truth. Nothing was real, all the wonderful images he saw, everything created and caused by the machine in the re-education room. But Hercules was real. Maybe not the one sitting next to him on the ground, but his close friend waiting somewhere out there for him to help. He tried to mend his shattering heart. "Ok," he whispered. "I will come back to you... I will come back... come back..."
"He is coming to." Phylia said, putting the sign on Iolaus' forehead. "Was about time." Arethura replied, looking at the pale face of the blond warrior, whose lovely blue eyes slowly opened. The girl laid a blue garment beside the bed. "Take this if you feel ready to join us in the main hall..." Iolaus sent a slight nod to her. "I knew, he would give up." Phylia returned to her friend while leaving the room. "Nobody can resist himself to the re-education room." As the door locked, Iolaus raised himself to an unsteady sitting position and groaned softly, as the pain in his head set in. He felt weak and tired, but despite his agony he tried to remember what had happened. He smiled, getting the impression of having his close friends all gathered around him, giving him strength to keep going on.
"Thanks for bringing me back. I know, it was not easy. And thanks for all of you for taking care of me. Without your help, I wouldn't have made it back."
Some images, characters and other things used in these works are the property of others, including but not limited to Renaissance Pictures and Universal Studios. Everything else remains the property of the artist or author. No money will be made on anything appearing on this webpage and no copyright infringement is intended. This site was created by fans for the enjoyment of other fans.
For information on reprinting text and/or artwork (including privately owned photos, photo manipulations, and other images) from this website, please contact Ceryndip , who will assist you in contacting the original creator of the piece. Do NOT reprint, republish, or in any way link to items on these pages without obtaining permission from either the original creator of the piece or the webpage owner. A written one-time use statement may be issued to you at the discretion of the artist or the author. Please respect the legal and artistic rights of our contributors.