Iolaus took a long, satisfying swallow of Karystian wine and leaned back against the stone wall that surrounded the open-air tavern, letting the sun warm him through and through. "So, when we're done sight-seeing here, you think we could get another rowboat? Or we could sign on as crew with a merchant ship, because I don't think we can afford it otherwise. Well, unless they do the "You're Hercules?!" thing and let us on for free. Or we could go back overland, but that would take forever --"
Hercules was sitting next to him on the bench, but for all the response Iolaus got from him he might as well have been on the other side of the Hellespont. True, Herc had never been a great conversationalist, but Iolaus knew the shape of all his silences, and this one definitely had that dark, brooding feel. He hadn't touched his wine, either, and the innkeeper was giving them worried looks; their reputation had obviously preceded them.
Time to push a little. "Herc? What do you think?"
"I think next time we meet someone inside a sea serpent, we're leaving him in there."
"Oh, for -- Would you let it go already?" Iolaus set down the empty cup and picked up Hercules' full one instead. "So Jonah wasn't falling over himself with gratitude. Big deal."
"That is not the point." Hercules glared at him.
Iolaus gave him a wide-eyed look, hiding his grin behind the cup. "No?"
"Damn it, Iolaus, he thinks we rescued him because his god made us do it. He's going to go around telling people his god freed him from a sea monster! Never mind that that same god tried to drown him for having a mind of his own." Hercules sighed, and some of the tension flowed out of his shoulders. "I suppose I should have known that the foreign gods are just as stupid, petty, and vindictive as ours, and that their followers make about as much sense. There's nothing new under the sun. I just -- is that my wine?"
"You weren't using it." Iolaus took another long, delicous swallow, half-closing his eyes in bliss at the velvety feel of the wine going down his throat. So much better than sea water. "Go on. You were saying?"
Hercules blinked at him, looking strangely distracted. "Ah, I'm done now, thanks."
"Feel better?" Iolaus murmured, stretching a little so he could lean against Hercules' shoulder, which was even warmer than the wall, and much more comfortable.
"Actually, I feel thirsty," Hercules said into his ear, and Iolaus jumped and spilled wine down his front.
"Hey, watch it! You know that tickles."
"Yeah, and now we know why you like to wear purple. Hides the stains." Hercules had that "I'm a demigod and a comedian" look on his face, which was still a big improvement on the "Where's a thunderbolt when you need one" expression. Definitely worth a little spilled wine, in Iolaus' opinion, and easier than starting a bar fight. And if Hercules still had some energy to work off, well...
Iolaus twisted away to shrug off his stained vest, then dropped it casually into Hercules' lap and nodded to the innkeeper: See, everything's all right, the big guy hasn't even put his fist through a table. This time.
The innkeeper nodded back, cautiously, and Iolaus held up his cup with a smile. "Can we have some more wine over here? We've had a long day."
"And a long night ahead of us," Hercules said in his blandest voice, reaching out one long arm to pull Iolaus to his side again. Iolaus grinned.