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"Uncle Hades, do you have time to talk with me for a minute?" Cupid asked nervously from the doorway of Hades private study.
"Of course Cupid, I've been wanting to talk to you. Please come in... and close the door." Hades said with some fire in his voice.
There were a few tense moments of silence before Cupid began, "I was wondering if... see, I wanted to take Strife out on a date tonight, if that's okay?"
Hades sat forward in his chair and pinned Cupid with a look. "If it were up to me, you wouldn't go anywhere near him ever again. But Strife still has feelings for you so I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. You may take Strife on a date, with certain conditions."
Cupid sat, frozen rigid under Hades gaze.
"You will treat him with the respect that he is due as the Prince of Asphodel. You will dress in a manner that he will find pleasing and take him places that he will enjoy. You will refrain from any physical contact with him unless it is initiated by him, and the contact may include the holding of hands or a brief hug only. I have spoken to Strife about this and I trust him to behave accordingly, however; I do not trust you. Thanatos will be accompanying you as chaperone, unseen to mortal eyes of course, and will inform me of your behavior." Hades said in a commanding voice.
"Why don't you trust me?" Cupid asked shakily.
"Because you hurt my son to the depths of his soul. Because you left him with scars so deep that he wished for death and that wish was finally granted. Because you treated him like a whore and a disgrace. Because you seem to think with your dick and ignore how your actions effect other people... Do you need more?" Hades asked seriously.
"No, I got it." Cupid said, ashamed.
"Be that as it may, Strife loves you, and I believe that you love Strife. Now I just need to know that you can respect him." Hades said with less intensity.
"I... I'll try." Cupid said, feeling very small.
"You do that. Now go get ready for your date, you don't want to keep my son waiting." Hades said with a small smile.
Cupid nodded and flashed out.
* * * * *
After a long difficult day of lust and debauchery, Lust and Jace sat exhausted in the sitting area of the house of debauchery, exhausted.
With obvious nervousness Lust said, "Jace, I wanted to ask you something, but I don't want to offend you."
"Yes?" Jace replied without moving.
"I've sensed through my godhood... your attraction... to me." She said warily.
"Yes." Jace replied, not moving but with a definite change in attitude.
"You know that I've been seeing Hera?" Lust said, relaxing a little.
"Yes." Jace said with no expression at all.
"So I talked to Hera about it and she said it would be okay if you wanted to join us. I mean, the only way it would work for her is if you agreed to certain conditions..." Lust said quickly.
Jace responded by turning his head and giving her an inquisitive look.
"She is going to watch, and that may be all she decides to do. She may at some point decide to direct our actions, and if she chooses, she may join in the sexplay, but she will only do what she feels comfortable with. She's been through a lot, I mean with Zeus, and this will be a really big step for her to be with a man again in any way, but we won't do anything if you don't want to. I mean I think this will help her heal some old wounds without feeling too threatened..." She rambled to a stop at the look on his face.
With a large serene smile on his face he said, "Yes."
* * * * *
Ganymede had been sitting in his room, trying to come up with a reasonable excuse to spend time with Asclepius when a prayer came to him. The prayer was from his high priestess, Meg. She was concerned about one of her girls, and was requesting his counsel.
Ganymede appeared in Meg's with a flourish of scarlet and gold. "Lord Ganymede, thank you for coming. Charise has been crying for nearly two whole days and I can't get her to tell me what's wrong."
At the mention of Charise, the smile left Ganymede's face.
Without noticing the change in his attitude, Meg led him out of her room, across the bustling main room and to the closed door of the room that housed the crying woman.
Ganymede hardened his heart toward the sound of her crying and braced himself for the sight of her as Meg opened the door.
"Charise, Lord Ganymede is here, will you tell him what's wrong?" Meg said hopefully.
Ganymede had been prepared to see Charise crying or even angry. But when he saw the look of fear on her face, fear of him, his resolve crumbled.
In one moment of insight he realized what had been going on with him. Ever since he had hardened his heart toward Charise, a part of his emotions had been encased in stone.
Quietly he said with a glance at Meg, "M'Lady, please leave us alone for a moment."
Meg left and closed the door behind her. Ganymede looked at the disheveled form of Charise and said in a broken rambling meter, "You stole from a customer and lied to me... that hurt me so much that I wanted to not care about you anymore... so it would stop hurting..."
He looked away, "...It didn't work..."
He walked over and sat on the edge of her bed, speaking toward the wall, "...Since I told you that I wasn't your god anymore, I've felt wrong..."
"...like a stone was laying on my shoulders." He turned to face her.
"Please forgive me..." he said with pleading in his voice.
"I was wrong." Ganymede said with downcast eyes that were filling with tears.
Charise was openly weeping, she didn't know if it was sadness, relief or joy. But the emotion was spilling out of her. In a barely hopeful voice, she said, "I was wrong and I'll never do it again. Will you please be my god again?"
"Yes, I would be honored to be your god. And there is something I want you to know and it's very important that you believe me. No matter what happens in the future, whether you make me angry or are my most devoted follower, I swear my sacred oath on the river Styx that I will never abandon you again. There is no act that you can ever commit that will cause me to forsake you." Ganymede said solumnly.
Charise pulled Ganymede close to her, weeping with joy. As she did, Ganymede felt a weight lift from his soul.
* * * * *
Joxer sat on the bed, thinking about their wedding night. Ares had treated him like the most fragile and precious of things. After an hour of kissing and fondling Ares had taken nearly half an hour to prepare him for their lovemaking. He had been so thoroughly oiled and stretched that there was no pain at all when Ares finally gave in to his begging and penetrated him.
Joxer had loved the sensation as Ares carefully positioned himself to brush Joxer's prostate with every thrust. As he looked back on the night, Joxer noticed that there were blank spots in his memory where he had simply overloaded on sensation. For those moments, he WAS feeling.
Then he thought about how Ares had surprised him by asking that he return the favor. Although they had never discussed it, Joxer had assumed that he would be on the receiving end of this aspect of their lovemaking. Ares had other plans, it seems that when Ares said he wanted his husband as an equal he meant in the bedroom as well as out.
Joxer had been nervous, since he had never penetrated another man before. Ares talked him through the preparation and gave him quiet reassurance, finally admitting that he had saved this particular act of lovemaking for his wedding night and Joxer would be the first. What a gift, in that act of love, they each gave something unique to the other that went beyond words and actions. It was like another cord had been added to their wedding bond.
Joxer smiled at his sleeping husband, finally exhausted after passionate hours of lovemaking. With a thought, he extinguished the torches and curled up against his husband and slept.
* * * * *
In the back room of a bar in Corinth two men awoke, naked and tangled together. Both had the familiar aftereffects of too much alcohol and both realized that they couldn't fully remember the night before.
Next, they noticed simultaneously the variety of instruments of sex and torture that littered the floor and that one wall appeared to be a curtain. They were both struggling to untangle themselves when they realized that they were bound wrist to ankle to each other.
A fat, older gentleman walked happily into the room and said, "You fellas put on a great show last night, the crowd loved you. I'll leave your cut of the money on this stool for you. Come back anytime."
Once the fat man had left them alone, there was a flash of power and the bonds were gone. The two men turned, looked at each other, and gasped.