by Rhianon

Staring outside the window, he wondered when it had happened. When had they passed it? That place everyone called ‘the point of no return.'


Hercules turned at the sound of Iolaus' voice.

"It's time."

The expression on the demigod's face was one of complete despair.

"What's the matter now?" Iolaus asked.

"Iolaus ..... I'm not sure I can do this."

"Sure you can."

"I'm ..... scared."

Iolaus had to smile at that. "Hercules, you're not scared of anything. You're going to be fine. *We're* going to be fine. There's nothing to it. Trust me."

Hercules looked at him doubtfully. Iolaus smiled encouragingly.

Hercules stood in depressed silence for a moment, staring absently out of the window. Then he turned to his friend again. "Iolaus, tell me again why we agreed to do this?"

"You know why we're doing this." Iolaus answered patiently. "We're helping out a friend."

"Yes, but ......"

"No buts." Iolaus interrupted firmly. "We promised to do this and we're going to do it. Anyway, you seem to be forgetting that *I* wasn't the one who said, ‘I know he only has himself to blame, but the least we can do is help him out.'"

"I wasn't thinking straight."

"Well, it's too late now. So get your butt out that door before they come and get us."

Hercules took a deep breath and squared his jaw. "*Alright!* Let's go and get it over with." He walked resolutely through the doorway, muttering under his breath, "I can do this. I can do this!"

Iolaus gave an audible sigh, raised his eyes to the heavens, and followed. This was turning out to be harder work than slaying a hundred monsters.

The two heroes walked down the corridor towards their destination. Turning a corner, they became aware of a loud noise coming from somewhere ahead. Hercules stopped abruptly. Iolaus crashed into him. "Herc, I wish you wouldn't do that." Iolaus said irritably.

Hercules ignored him. "What's that noise?" he asked fearfully.

"Sounds like roaring to me."

"Roaring? *Roaring*? Just what's going on out there?" The demigod swung round abruptly and started back down the corridor. "I can't do this!"

An exasperated Iolaus danced round to cut off his escape. "We've been through this. We promised. You *never* break a promise. Now get a move on, or we'll miss it!"

Hercules brightened at this possibility, but Iolaus turned him round and propelled him firmly along the corridor. The corridor ended in a recess at the rear of a huge amphitheatre.

Salmoneus rushed up to them, wiping his brow.

"Where have you *been*! You're *late*!" As Iolaus opened his mouth to speak, Salmoneus rushed on, "OK, OK, no time to explain, you're here now, time to get the show on the road!"

Hercules and Iolaus stood in the wings, Iolaus standing slightly behind Hercules lest his friend make a bolt for freedom. Salmoneus walked out onto the stage and, with much pomp and circumstance, announced the joint winners of the Salmoneus Enterprises ‘Hero of the Year' award. Tumultuous applause broke out from the thousands of people crowded into the amphitheatre. Salmoneous turned his head and made a frantic beckoning gesture.

As they walked forward towards the cheering crowds, Hercules hissed at his friend, "This is the last time we're doing Salmoneous a favour, do you understand? The last time!"

Iolaus grinned.

The End

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