Song Sung Blue
Once upon a time, on a not so sleepy Sunday afternoon, Selursera busied herself with the preparations for the evening meal. The spicy aroma wafting from the kitchen would have been enough to roust a god if one hadn't already been rousted. Sitting in his most pristine fashion in the living room of his ardent follower was the sweetly smiling being known as Ares, God of Love. Since discovering the devotion coming his way from this alternate world, he was a frequent and, for Sel, a very welcome guest.
Standing in the doorway after checking on dinner, Sel surreptitiously watched Ares as he took in the local television station's idea of Sunday afternoon entertainment. He was a real conundrum. Dressed as he was, all in white, he projected the very picture of pure innocence. Scratch that surface and you would quickly discover that he richly deserved his godly title. There was very little he didn't know about the art of lovemaking. Blushing furiously at her memory of their last...discussion...Sel stepped back into the living room.
"What are you watching?" She looked at the screen. "Ares! That muck will rot your brain!"
The God of Love looked back at his host, obviously confused. "But it's the Love Hotline. These wonderful people are helping all the poor lovelorn people in your world. See, all you have to do is use one of those phone things and punch in that 900 number on the screen. Don't you think it's wonderful?"
Sel smiled at his naive believe in the obnoxious infomercial. "Ares, it's a commercial. They're making money every time you call that number. They don't care about love, just money. They could just as easily be marketing a shoe polish." Watching his face fall, she regretted the necessity to tell the truth. "Look, don't worry about it, it's just a stupid television commercial."
Sel turned off the television, and sat beside him on the sofa. He wasted no time in snuggling closer, his need to express affection ever present. Placing one muscular arm around her shoulders he asked, "Is Mary still coming over? I haven't seen her in a long time."
"She'll be here, don't worry. She said something earlier about polishing a spear gun or something like that."
Frowning, Ares nodded a false understanding and commented, "The food smells good. I don't eat with mortals as a rule, but you know, I always make an exception for you." His light kiss on her forehead was interrupted by a flash of sliver blue light.
Standing, arms crossed across his chest, Ares, God of War broke the silence. "You know, Sel, I can smell your cooking all the way to Olympus and you didn't think to include me. I'm hurt, really I am. What's *he* doing here?"
Unconsciously mimicking the God of War, Ares, the God of Love stood and also crossed his arms. "*I* was invited. What are you doing here?"
Ares glared back at his despised twin. "Sel is my follower, I belong here. You, on the other hand can leave now."
The two gods were now nearly nose to nose. "Well, she's my follower as well and I was here first!" Ares God of Love might not have been a fighter, but he was very stubborn and not about to give in. Neither was Ares God of War.
"Doesn't matter, you can still leave...now."
"No, you can leave."
"I'm not going anywhere, you get out."
Sel sat miserably on the sofa, feeling like she was watching two kids in a schoolyard drawing a line in the dirt. The problem was, these two 'kids' had the power to blast large holes in her living room if she didn't break this up right now. Her voice rose several decibels and fried the nerve endings of the cats next door as the scream left her body. "SHUT UP!!!!"
It worked. Both divinities turned to look at the red-faced Selursera, the room now stunned silent. "Thank you. Now, if you two think you can behave and act like grown, adult gods instead of two-year old godlings, you can both stay. Mary should be here soon, Ares," Sel nodded to the God of War to indicate which Ares was being addressed, "and I know she'd love to see you. You remember the last time she came over?"
The bearded Ares smiled fondly, casting his mind back to the last time he had paid a visit to his dear Mary. She sure had a good imagination and a remarkable...technique. He would have never have thought of using a mace and a crossbow quite like that. Truly an amazing woman!
Remembering that special night, Ares, God of War ran a hand over the small wound that was still healing. His smile widened. "All right. You make Mister Prissy Pants here behave and I'll let him stay."
"Me?" Ares God of Love squeaked in indignation. "I'm the perfect guest I'll have you know. It's you who needs to learn manners. I'd be more than happy to teach you by the way. For one thing, you should have wiped those filthy boots before you came in."
The God of War looked down in spite of himself. Glaring at his white clad twin, his retort was cut off by their mutual host. "You guys, behave! I've got to go check on dinner and if you ruin anything in here while I'm gone, you're both going to be very sorry." Walking away with more than a trace of anxiety, Sel pondered exactly how one lowly mortal would go about punishing two powerful Olympian Gods.
With Sel safely out of earshot, Ares started to hurl the invective he had saved for his despised twin. A burst of noise from outside interrupted his plan.
"What in Hades name was that?" The God of War moved to the window, seeking out the source of the disturbance. Near the window, it was easier to tell what the noises were. It was a muffled combination of voices and music. The God of Love joined him at the window. "Oh, that. That's some kind of street festival a few blocks away. Sel told me about it but I don't recall exactly what she said it was for. I wanted us to go, but Sel said something about the world not being ready for that. It must really be quite the thing if we can hear it here. And I really wanted to go. Oh, well."
The God of War turned to look at the smooth face of the God of Love. "And you are willing to let her dictate to you what you will and will not do. Excuse me, there's a name for guys like you. It's....
"Don't you dare say that word!" The alternate Ares blinked away the closest thing to anger he had felt all day. "I'm a guest here. I'm...willing to listen to what Sel says. She must know best. This is her world, not mine." He looked longingly out the window. The God of War thought a minute and patted his twin on the shoulder. Maybe they could find something to agree on after all.
"Don't you at least want to check it out? Tell you what, I'll go with you. I like a good party as well as the next guy; women, mayhem. Come on, have a little backbone. She can't stop us if we're quick."
"But the dinner...she worked so hard." The God of Love was truly tempted, but the thought that Sel's dinner might be ruined was putting a dent in his plans.
"So? We leave a note and get back in time for dinner. Aw, come one! We're Gods. Are you going to stand there and tell me that you're going to let one little, bitty, mortal woman tell you what to do?
"We'll come back in time for dinner?"
"Sure, we're just gonna check it out. What's the harm, hum?" The God of War could be very persuasive.
"Well, okay...but wait. We can't go like this. A few changes are in order." With a flourish of red hearts, a transformation took place. The form fitting white leather was replaced by even more form fitting white shorts, beach sandals and an extremely garish tropical print shirt. He looked at his black clad counterpart and waved the stream of hearts in his direction. Ares, God of War didn't have time to dodge. He looked down at himself, pleasantly surprised. In place of his usual black leather he now wore a billowing white shirt, open from the neck to his waist where it tucked into a very well fitting pair of black chino pants. He still wore leather boots, but they were a shorter cut and ornamented with silver strips. Feeling another change, he touched his hair and noticed it had been tied loosely with a strand of rawhide leather. Overall the effect was devastating. The God of War looked at his companion, the surprise evident in every muscle.
"I know fashion, okay? It's you." The God of Love smiled his most innocuous smile.
"And I suppose," pointing at the garish attire of his godly companion, "THAT is you?" The bearded god smiled, genuinely amused.
The God of Love looked down at what he considered the perfect party wear. "Of course. Now, who's going to write the note?"
The God of War waved paper and pen into existence. "I'll do it, you get the door." He quickly scribbled on the paper and placed it carefully on the sofa cushion. "Okay, let's go."
The godly pair nearly ran through the door, closing it quietly behind them. Once outside, they headed in the direction of the sounds of merry making.
Sel stood in the doorway of the now empty living room, puzzled. As determined as the pair of Olympians had been, there was no way that either of them should have left, but yet, neither were in sight. Walking across the room, pondering where they might have gone and why, she spied the noted on the sofa. Picking it up, she muttered to herself, "Oh, those two...."
Moving over to the phone, she quickly dialed Mary's number.
"Get over here, now! We've got a problem. No, you can finish the spear gun later. You know that Blues Festival?...Yeah, that's the one. They don't know it yet, but trouble is headed straight at them in the form of two Ares. ... Yes, both of them....(thunking sound and scream on the other side of the receiver) I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were still holding the gun. Just pull out the spear and get over here, now!" Sel hung up the phone, and paced. Every time she took either of them out, they got into trouble, they were both just overgrown children and one Ares was bad enough but two, loose in the modern world...oh the humanity.
Moving rapidly away from Sel's house, the pair of mismatched Olympians fell in step with the crowd. Entranced with the sights and sounds, they walked on in silence. Their normal animosity towards one another was quickly forgotten in the face of their forbidden adventure.
The closer they got to the festival itself, the faster the pace of the people and the greater the noise. Looking at one far too happy group staggering towards them, Ares God of War analyzed their attire. What some of those people were almost wearing made the God of Love look positively demure. A small, balding man, whose bare torso was almost criminal, broke from the group. Laughing hysterically, he rushed to the dark god and grasped his hand, forcing a canned beverage into the reluctant grip. "Come on, buddy! Cheer up! This'll make ya feel real good!" Wobbling on unsteady legs he returned to his equally stumbling group, laughing gleefully. Ares stared at the can
of something called 'Kicking Mule".
"More likely it will make me feel nothing at all." Without hesistation he tossed it back at the retreating drunk. Hearing the satisfying clunk, he turned to his disapproving companion and shrugged inocently. The swelling crowd interrupted his smirk, shoving him towards his garishly clad companion. Holding firm to his twin, the God of War nodded toward what seemed to be the path of least resistance. Not bothering to try to talk above the roar of the crowd surrounding them, the God of Love signaled his understanding. He took the lead and moved ahead, the crowds now too thick to permit them to walk side by side. The God of War passed a critical eye over the rear compartment of the form fitting white shorts worn proudly by his alternate and shook his head. Knowing that they shared identical physiques, it was disquieting to see the rounded mounds so tightly encased in front of him. It served far better than a mirror for pointing out the fleshiness of his own ass and reminded him never to wear white pants.
So intent was he in this examination, he didn't realize until they had collided that the God of Love had stopped walking. Hitting with a soft wumpf, he shouted at this twin. "You nitwit! What are you doing?" When he got neither movement nor answer from the alternate Ares, the God of War peered over his twin's shoulder and felt his mouth part in rare surprise.
"Huh, I didn't think that was legal in this time. How about that? You wouldn't think you could get a leg to twist around like that, would you? Well, not without it snapping off, anyway." Ares God of Love was not answering, merely cocking his head, puzzling over the pair of ardent lovers leaning against the building.
"I've got to remember that one. Does look a little painful though, but still...." The God of Love's ruminations were cut short by the sounds of harmonica and guitar swelling up to blend with the drone of the crowd. Shouting at his bearded companion, the God of Love grabbed the arm of the mesmerized God of War and dragged him away from the lusty display. "I think we go that way. Come on! Save those kinds of thoughts for Mary." Smiling at that notion, Ares God of War joined his twin in the surging crowd.
Hephaestus, God of the Forge had a secret. He loved the blues. None of his fellow gods knew of this for the god that lived in near isolation kept his private life just that; private. Even his beloved wife Aphrodite, had no idea as to the depth of his passion for the blues. Something in the back of Hephaestus' mind told him that the family that had little to do with him anyway would only laugh at him for his near addiction to a mortal recreation. That line of reasoning led him to keep hidden at his forge one of the finest
collections of blues music ever amassed.
Being a fan, Hephaestus took every opportunity to see the music of his heart performed live. Thus, as fate would have it, not two but three Greek deities were now attending a local Blues Festival.
The buzzing bell stopped Selursera's pacing and she rushed to open the door. A part of her had hoped against hope that the boys had returned of their own accord. This turned out not to be the case as Mary stepped in, loaded with a small arsenal.
"Uhm, I'm glad to see you, but what's with the heavy duty hardware?" Sel took in the crossbow slung across Mary's back and the ornate dagger and bola hanging from her waist.
"I was a Girl Scout. I'm just prepared, okay." Mary limped slightly as she entered the house, slipping off the crossbow and placing it on the coffee table.
"How's the leg?" Sel asked as she handed Mary the God of War's note to read.
"It's just a flesh wound. It might interfere with a couple of ideas I had for Ares later but otherwise, it's all right." She looked up, having finished the note. "We'll never find them in that crowd. I had trouble just getting here, and I wasn't even that close to the thing."
"I guess it would be easier to just wait and see where the riot squad is heading and follow them."
Mary shook her head. "Sel, that's not funny."
"It wasn't meant to be." Looking at Mary again, Sel made a small suggestion. "Don't you think you should leave the National Armory here?"
Frowning, Mary shrugged. "Okay, but don't blame me when we need it and it's sitting here in your living room. By the way, unless you're serving charcoal, I think your dinner is burning."
With a small groan, Sel rushed to the kitchen.
Waiting for the fire extinguisher to do its job, Mary started the process of disarming, the pile accumulating on the table. At last, she extracted a small hatchet from her jacket, hesitated and returned it to its hiding place. Years ago she had given this particular piece of weaponry a name...American Express...she just couldn't leave home without it. Patting her jacket in satisfaction, Mary noticed the aroma coming from the kitchen. The smell of smoke had replaced the charcoal scent; the fire was out and the hunt was
about to begin.
His head covered by a wide brimmed hat, Hephaestus felt comfortable enough to mingle with the mortal crowd without the use of a glamour. His marriage to Aphrodite had done much for his self-esteem, but he was still sensitive about his appearance when he was amongst strangers. Perhaps this was why he was so drawn to this type of music. It expressed the very depths of sorrow and loss, disappointment and frustration. It was a pity that Aphrodite did not share in his passion. His lovely wife considered blues music 'way uncool' and a 'complete downer' and so he pursued his pleasure alone.
Working on a special project for Ares, Heph had arrived at the Festival well after opening ceremonies. Disappointment at missing the opening acts was compensated for by the quality of the performers he'd seen thus far; moments that would live on in his heart and mind well after he returned to Lemnos.
This particular act was the fourth Heph had seen so far, and a sterling presentation it was too. Checking the guitar case laying on the sidewalk in front of the performer, he made a mental note of the singer's name for future collecting - Blind Tired Jones - that should be easy enough to remember. Hephaestus stood with the crowd, mesmerized by the emotional outpouring and the sad chords, music that truly spoke to his godly soul. The singer was an elderly man, his years borne clearly in the lines on his face. He sat on a frame chair, accompanying himself on an electric guitar. The music rang with the elegant pain of lost love, bringing tears to the eyes of many watching. Hephaestus himself was not immune to the tortured lyrics, the words filling him with empathy.
In the midst of a particularly moving lyric - detailing the agony of broken hearts compared to broken kneecaps - Hephaestus froze. Something was amiss; he could feel a change in the chemistry around him. In the next breath, the God of the Forge went into full alert as he detected a sparkle of power in the air. The energy bore the mark of one of his fellow gods. He turned to look at the crowd, seeking the source. Then he felt it again, the distinct trace, this time with a less familiar feeling. He frantically scanned the audience, nervousness robbing him of his pleasure. He could think of no good reason why any member of his family would be here, and when good was eliminated, he was only left with bad.
Blinking, Hephaestus slowly became aware of the disturbance around him, the crowd, no longer moved to tears of joy, was now jeering and shouting in anger. He turned his attention back to the performer, and frowned. Something was terribly wrong. The singer was no longer hammering out 'Crying and Wailing'. He was strumming a light chord on his guitar and Hephaestus could swear the old man was crooning the words, 'I love you, you love me, we are all one family..."
Heph ducked in time to avoid an ovoid ripe fruit. It was the first of many as the poor man was quickly covered in vegetation. Hephaestus backed away from the from the carnage and moved towards the next venue. The words tumbling from the trio of performers shocked him into stillness. The three were holding their various acoustic instruments and smiling, singing gleefully, "You light up my life...you give me strength, to carry on..." For whatever reason, the trio seemed blissfully unaware of the boos and hisses coming from the street full of unhappy listeners. Heph limped away quickly, anxious to keep clear of the next vegetation onslaught. In the distance, he could hear similar uplifting lyrics, and further shouts and cries of anger. It was a feeling he could understand fully. Having had a rare chance to get away and enjoy his great passion, he was more than a little upset that someone had ruined it; and judging by the deteriorating mood of the masses, it wouldn't be long before this would be a full scale riot. Moving into the crowd and using his godly senses, he searched for the being or beings that had had the temerity to spoil his fun. One way or another, they would pay and pay dearly.
The pair of Ares found themselves moving forward with the momentum of the crowd. Engrossed with the colorful chaos at every turn, they had long since forgotten their mortal friend and her carefully planned dinner. Even the diligent God of Love had shoved thoughts of delicately sautéed shrimp to the back of his mind, so fascinated was he with the lewd behavior surrounding them. Nudging his dark companion, he edged them down an alleyway. Pursuing a particularly lively group, the Love God felt a sharp tug on his tropical shirt, bringing him to a halt. That same strong hand continued to pull until he was backed against a table. A pinch on the ass earned a squeal from the alternate Ares, and he turned in surprise, breaking the hold. For some reason, he had expected to see his dark twin. What he saw was not the dark god of war but the face of a stranger.
"Hey, sweetie, want to have a bit of fun?" The tall man crooned each word and smiled widely, showing perfect, white teeth in a strong, handsome face. Long, wavy blond hair complimented the delicate features. Full, dark lashes batted flirtatiously over the large blue eyes. Ares, God of Love was enraptured; so enraptured he had completely forgotten about Ares, God of War. Another snatch on his shirt made him remember. Tearing his eyes away from the vision in front of him, he glanced over his shoulder at his twin.
The bearded god did not look amused. "Just what do you think you're doing?" He still had a firm grip on the back of the God of Love's shirt.
Shifting to ease the wedgie that had suddenly formed in those too tight shorts, the God of Love smiled at his counterpart. "Nothing...yet."
The blond vision watched in silence, confused by the appearance of a second and nearly identical player. Shrugging, he broke in with a comment of his own. "Hey, look man. I'm not trying to cut into your action or anything. I'm an broad-minded guy. I'm open to a three way. What do you say? I don't find fellas like you two very often. Come on, it'll be fun. I bet you guys know a few tricks, eh?"
The God of War released his companion and smiled tightly at the Adonis before him. He was a tempting morsel, but the timing was wrong. There was a great deal more they had to do and see before he was ready to settle down for a slap and tickle, with an emphasis on the slap. Looking the mortal over he made a mental note of his pattern. There was always another day.
"Well, I tell you, pretty boy, today just isn't your day--some other time maybe. My friend and I have a prior commitment." At that moment Ares, God of War did something he would deny with a vengeance later; he squealed. Spinning around in anger, the War God came face to face with the drunken fool that had taken an extremely liberal feel of his godly tush. Swaying a bit at the foul breath in his face, the God of War blinked at the man in front of him. He wore a shirt and pants of contrasting red and black plaids. His stringy hair was partly covered by a purple hat festooned with a several large feathers. The picture was completed by a pair of white, pointy-toed cowboy boots. This guy was a walking fashion emergency and both Ares were stunned silent.
Obviously thinking himself a clever wit, his assailant managed a few words between giggles. "That's what you all like ain't it. Bunch of perverts, bunch of damned fairies..."
Frowning, the God of Love broke his silence. "No, sir, that's not correct at all. We're not fairies, we're gods."
Foolishly not heeding the dark glare aimed his way by the owner of the targeted tush, the drunken man displayed a smile that spoke of very poor dental hygiene. "I guess you just want me to do that again now, don't you? You bunch of big fairies." While the God of War could feel his power massing in anger, the insult continued to elude the more gentle of the two gods.
"Oh, sir, you are confused. Fairies aren't big at all; they're very small. And they have sweet, tiny wings." He smiled, a memory of a rose garden and a bevy of fairies fluttering around his head flooded his memory. So caught up in his recollection, he failed to notice the disparaging look from his dark alternate. He also failed to note the rapid departure of the potential object of his affection. The tall owner of the blond hair and beautiful body fled the scene, sorrowfully putting distance between himself and the pretty fellow he had had such hopes for. The guy with the beard was just a bit too intense for his tastes. He broke into a full run, leaving the scene of impending violence far behind him.
The violence did more than impend. As hard as it was for him, the War God tried a moderate approach first. "Get the hell out of my way, you fucking dickhead, before I fry your sorry ass!" That was the dark god's idea of a low-key approach, but his counterpart cautioned him with a whispered warning.
"Ares, there are a lot of people around, don't draw attention to us. Just let him go, he's obviously confused."
The God of War wasn't paying attention to this advice, and neither was Mr. Green Teeth, Plaid Suit. He shoved up closer to the bearded god, shouting his reply, "Oh yeah, well who's gonna make me move. You? You pansy, big old nancy boy, come on. I dare you! I double dare you!"
Someone should have told him you never dare a god.
From behind his tightly shut eyes, the God of Love heard the crash and subsequent satisfied chuckle. Cautiously, he opened his eyes. There was no sign of the misinformed misanthrope.
"Oh, Zeus, no! Ares, you didn't incinerate him, did you?" The lover of all things peaceful was horrified at the thought.
"Shit no. He wasn't worth the trouble. I just...removed him. Look up."
Looking up, the God of Love smiled. The bewildered man was now sitting on the rooftop of the Wet Willy Restaurant, swatting at a flock of pigeons who apparently found his attire quite attractive. But as the crowd hurried by, the Love God's smile faded as quickly as it had formed. Music was filling the air, the lyrics at last clear to the unaugmented ear.
Not noticing his gentle companion's changing mood, the God of War again grabbed the garish shirt, pulling them both forward and closer to the actual performers. With each step the words hammered at the perpetually cheerful God of Love. He cringed as they now stood near the front of the listeners, tears tumbling freely down his smooth
cheeks. Nodding to the beat, the dark god's peripheral vision caught the glimmer of moisture on his twin's face. He frowned in annoyance. "What the hell's the matter with you?"
Now bawling quite loudly, the Love God, sobbed, "Oh, it's so sad, that poor man..."
The God of War turned his attention to the musicians on the makeshift platform. Two guitarists and a bassist accompanied the singer, the soulful voice plaintive and haunting. The War God took a moment to actually listen to the words. The stanza repeated again and again, "My baby done left me, my dog done died, I'm lower than low now, my heart is fried...." A loud wail broke through the vocals.
"I can't stand it, it's too much!" The God of Love raised his right hand, and before the God of War could stop him, a flurry of sickeningly pink hearts showered the stage. The dark god held his breath, waiting for the enchantment to take hold. He didn't have to wait long. Hardly missing a beat, the quartet shifted musical gears. Their joy was a palpable thing as the words took on a distinctly different flavor. The God of War felt his lips part at the words spilling from the previously angsty singer. Now it was, "Isn't she lovely, isn't she won...der...ful...." The effect on the crowd was nearly instantaneous. Jeers, hisses and boos now filled the air. The dark god turned around to retrieve his companion and beat a hasty retreat only to find no trace of his annoying companion.
"Great!" Ares, God of War backed away from the angry mob and turned his godly senses outwards, searching for the Love God. His efforts were quickly rewarded and he moved to close the distance. With each step, the unruly crowd sounds increased as the rippling tide of pure love and joy spread across the Festival. Spying the multi-colored shirt, the War God pushed through the crowd his ears inundated with disgustingly happy lyrics and shouts of hostility. Getting close enough to grab, he once more took hold and pulled his alternate with him, out of the thickest part of the crowd. Yanking the protesting Love God behind him, Ares made for an awning covered sidewalk which was strangely devoid of people. He shoved the peace loving god back against the wall. "Are you out of your mind! Just look what you've done!" He waved back at the crowd. It was little wonder that the area the two gods were now standing in was clear, everyone was surging forward to join together as a mob.
From this perspective, the situation became dreadfully clear. "Oh, my...I didn't mean...he...they...all those singers...they were so unhappy. I just wanted to cheer them up and make it all better." The God of Love stared at the rapidly thickening swarm of people, distressed anew that his efforts had caused so much grief. The sound of sirens told of an additional complication about to make the scene.
"It's a damned Blues Festival you nitwit! They're supposed to be sad! You really fucked up. And you know what the real bite is? I'll probably get the blame."
"You got that part right." The familiar voice chimed behind the twin gods. Before they could turn, cold metal clasped their wrists.
Ares, God of War spun around to face the owner of the all too familiar voice. With his hands now imprisoned behind his back, he screamed at Hephaestus. "What are you doing? This isn't my fault. You've got no right to do this to me. He's the one to blame!" He nodded frantically at his equally bound twin. The God of Love stared at Hephaestus who stared back in open curiosity.
Heph turned back to his dark brother. "I don't really care which of you did it. All I know is that you've managed to spoil my fun and someone has to pay. Guess you two just got elected."
The God of Love and God of War exchanged a wary glance, not noticing the glamour Hephaestus had just assumed. They whirled around when they heard him speak.
"This way, officers. I've got the trouble makers right here."
Ares God of War had one thought, one he had learned from Iolaus many centuries ago. *Uh, oh!*
The officer driving one of the many patrol cars descending upon the chaos that was formerly a Blues Festival, braked at the sight of a fellow officer waving in his direction. Getting his partner's attention, the patrolman pulled to the curb. The two rookies quickly exited the vehicle, hurrying to the aid of the policeman now shouting his news of a successful capture. From what they could see, the officer appeared to have made an arrest, and was holding his service revolver on two rather shady looking characters.
Patrolmen Crenshaw and Deats hurried to the aid of a superior officer; Hephaestus' glamour projected every detail necessary to be sure of their cooperation and his revenge. They came to a stop beside Hephaestus, eyeing the dangerous looking pair of cuffed culprits. "Reporting for duty, Sergeant....?"
Hephaestus studied the policemen and smiled, holstering the conjured weapon. These two were obviously rookies and just too green to burn. This was perfect! "Sergeant Smith, officer. Your timing is perfect. I could use a hand with these felons. " The God of the Forge kept an eye on his charges as they respectively fumed and vellicated. At the God of War's growl, Crenshaw and Deats placed nervous hands on their holsters.
The God of War had had just about enough of this joke. "Heph, I'm warning you. Take these damn things off, now! This has gone far enough!" The God of Love on the other hand remained silent, except for an occasional whimper.
Hephaestus ignored his angry brother. "I need you to take these two down to the station. No doubt in my mind they're the troublemakers; right off the most wanted list."
Excited at the prospect of making an important arrest, Crenshaw and Deats took a harder look at the mismatched duo in restraints. Discounting a few minor differences these men were obviously twins. Neither officer was able to remember seeing identical brothers on the wanted list. Deats posed this question to Hephaestus. "Who are they? What are they wanted for? I don't remember anyone like them on the posters?" Crenshaw nodded in agreement, glancing from the two gods to the activity on the street. Other officers were now hard at work, endeavoring to control the crowd.
Hephaestus smiled at the rookies. "I'm surprised you don't recognize them. That's Smiley McPherson and his evil twin, Skippy; two of the most notorious disturbers of the peace ever placed upon the earth." The God of War's retort was cut off as Hephaestus continued. "In spite of what you may have heard, they single-handedly caused that riot at Woodstock. They're a right pair of sick, twisted bastards, getting their jollies by instigating riots at large, public events."
"I see." Crenshaw raised an eyebrow at the colorful verbiage spilling from the bearded Ares, and eyed the restraints on the prisoner's wrists. "Excuse me, Sergeant, I've never seen cuffs like these before, are they new?"
Successfully containing his amusement, Hephaestus shook his head at the young officer in dismay. "You really ought to keep up a bit better. They're the latest issue, every station will be getting them soon."
The God of Love was still frozen in shock at the turn of events but the dark God of War wasn't going quietly. He glared at the disfigured brother hidden beneath the glamour. "Hephaestus, I'm telling you for the last time, I did nothing wrong! You want to see a sick, twisted bastard? If you don't take your damned toys off me right now, you're going to get your wish!" Ares was turning red, a violent contrast to the white shirt.
"You see what I mean? He thinks I'm someone called Hephaestus. Poor things are so delusional; and for it to run in a family like this...it's a shame. They need to be locked up for their own safety. Take them away. Oh, better search them first. I hadn't gotten to that yet."
"Yes, sir!" Crenshaw grabbed the God of War, frisking him quickly.
"Take your miserable, mortal hands off me! I swear, you're going to regret this! Hephaestus!!!!"
Heph smiled. This was almost as much fun as watching Blue Balls and the Beaters singing 'I Live for the Pain'.
As Crenshaw endured the verbal abuse from the felon he believed to be Smiley McPherson, Deats took the God of Love, aka Skippy, in hand. The officer patted both hands down the quivering ribs and skimmed quickly over the revealing shorts. As Deats glanced fleetingly at the amazingly tight, abbreviated Bermudas, a hissed comment escaped the full lips of the Love God. Frowning, Deats puzzled over the softly spoken words. Up until now, Skippy had been totally silent. "What did you say?"
Breathing rapidly, Ares, God of Love repeated his words in a husky voice. "I said, a little to the left please." Deats jerked back his hands as if burned and glared at the oddly garbed man. Reasserting himself, the officer roughly grabbed the God of Love's restrained arms, pushing him along towards the patrol car. Crenshaw had already managed to shove his belligerent prisoner into the car; the curses and shouts of protest were still pouring forth.
Deats was having his own problems, trying to push the resisting God of Love down the sidewalk. His prisoner began a protest of his own. "I'm sorry, please don't do this! I'm not a criminal, I just made a mistake. Let me go back to Sel's house, please. I promise, I'll go home. I'll be good from now on." The voice rose in pitch. "Let me go!" He wriggled violently, trying to break the officer's hold. It was at this precise moment that a particularly juicy tomato struck Patrolman Deats in the side of the head,
startling him into slackening his hold on the evil Skippy McPherson. This was the chance that the God of Love had been waiting for. He jerked free and ran straight past the edge of the crowd, his speed almost making him fall as he turned the corner and disappeared from sight. Cursing, Deats tried to pursue but was thwarted by his fellow officers forming a ring around the mob, forcing them back and cutting off the open walkway. Deats wavered between pursuit and calling for backup. He turned for the advice of the sergeant, but he was gone. Frowning again, he did a quick visible search of the immediate area, but could see no trace of Officer Smith. Reasoning that a bird in the hand was better than chasing one that had flown the coop, Deats walked back to the patrol car. He would issue an A.P.B. and let the combined forces of the boys in blue flush out the suspect. Stuck in those cuffs, he wouldn't get far unnoticed.
A distraught Sel stood in the kitchen doorway, small black smudges on her face telling the tale of an incinerated meal. Sighing deeply she looked at Mary. " Well, at least I don't have to worry about keeping it warm till they get back."
As if on cue, Mary and Sel turned at the sound of sirens, many sirens. Rushing to the living room window, they peered out. Six police cars headed up the access road, sirens blaring and lights flashing. Dozens of people were now heading away from the vicinity of the Blues Festival, some walking rapidly, others running. The police cars quickly faded from view only to be followed by a paramedic's truck and two more police cars. In the distance, more sirens could be heard.
"Looks like we might be too late to head off trouble."
Glaring at Mary, Sel massaged her forehead, feeling a headache coming on. "You really have a talent for stating the obvious. So, what are we going to do now? Do you think they went back to Olympus?" Mary hunched her shoulders in comment.
Sel moved away from the window, and began to pace the length of the living room. Mary sat down on the sofa and calmly watched the fretful marching of her friend. Lifting her beloved crossbow from the coffee table, she pulled a polishing cloth from her pocket. The next 15 minutes were filled with the pointless progress across the living room floor and the tender polishing of the weapon. Sel's sudden stop almost caused Mary to drop the bow. "What? You've got an idea?"
"I think we have to go down there and at least try to find out what's happened. Maybe then we'll know where our boys have gotten off to."
"All that pacing and that's what you came up with?" Mary stared at her friend.
"You got any better ideas? If not, let's take ourselves a little walk." Sel stood with her hands on her hips.
Not having a better idea, Mary shrugged and replaced the crossbow on the table. Hesitating, she looked at her unarmed friend. "Are you sure you don't want one of my little friends over there to keep you company?" Mary nodded towards the pile of armaments on the coffee table.
Paling a bit at the thought, Sel shook her head. "No, thanks." The women moved to the door, stepping through the threshold gingerly. The cacophony of sirens was daunting.
"Oh, wow! Maybe we shouldn't do this. The cops have got to be everywhere by now." Sel unconsciously mimicked a habit of her favorite gods and gnawed worriedly on her bottom lip. "Ow, stop that!" Mary was yanking Sel's arm painfully, motioning at the shrubs that bordered the front lawn.
"Be quiet! Can your hear that?" Mary was listening for a repeat of the sound that had caught her attention. She didn't have to wait long, a whispering noise drifted from the bushes. The women exchanged a wary look and descended the steps cautiously. They crept across the lawn to the bushes, Mary's hand reaching under her jacket to grasp the dagger beneath. With one hand comfortably on the weapon, she nodded at Sel. They grabbed the bushes, pulling them apart. "Oh, my god!" Sel was surprised and relieved at the same time.
Huddled in the shelter of the shrubs was a bedraggled and dirty God of Love. He looked up at the mortal women with his own relief. "Oh, Sel...Mary! I'm so happy to see you. I was afraid they would find me first."
"Who would find you? The cops?" Mary eyed what remained of the white shorts. The shrubs had done quite a number on the fragile fabric.
The God of Love nodded, breathing hard. "They've got him already. I got away. Oh, Sel, I'm so sorry. I should have listened to you and not him."
The women exchanged a look, little doubt in their minds as to the 'him' was. Turning back to the terrified deity, each woman took a godly arm, curious as to why he hadn't used his powers to simply return to the house and why he was keeping his hands hidden. They hoisted him from the bushes and got their answers with one look at the highly polished handcuffs. Mary looked at Sel. "I think we've got the prime suspect."
Sel nodded back. "Let's get him inside." They pulled and pushed the Love God up the steps and through the front door to the safety of the house. Keeping a vigilant eye out for police activity, they closed the door behind them. Their pacifistic friend had a lot of questions to answer not the least of which was what exactly had happened to the God of War.
With the front door safely sealed behind them, Mary and Sel ferried the God of Love into the house, making straight for the bedroom. Ares stumbled a bit as they hastened him through into the room and deposited him onto the edge of the bed. With a wicked glint in his eye, he looked up at his beloved Selursera. "I know how you feel about cuffs, Sel, but is this a good time?"
Sel groaned and ignored the chuckles coming from her friend Mary. Keeping her face stern she placed her hands on her hips and faced the smiling god. "No! Thanks to you and your buddy, this is NOT a good time, but this is the closest room to the bathroom and in case you hadn't noticed, you smell like you've been rolling in cat pee and look like you were mauled by a mountain lion. Now, I'm going to get something to clean you up with and find something else for you to WEAR!" Her lecture over, Sel came up for air and stepped through the threshold into the bathroom, the sound of running water replacing her angry words.
Ares chewed on his lip, looking sheepishly at Mary. "She's upset with me, isn't she?"
Mary gave a derisive snort. "Gee, what was your first clue?" Ares shifted his weight on the bed, trying to keep from slipping backwards or off. The movement was enough to finish the back seam in the shorts. They went one way as he went another.
Staring, Mary queried the blushing god. "Uhm, Ares, did you ever hear of underwear?"
He smiled weakly and cast a harried look at the bathroom door, praying for the quick return of Sel. Sometimes Mary made him just a bit nervous, and right now her stares were doing something else he really didn't need to deal with; Mr. Happy was rising to the wrong occasion. He tried to deflate the situation by thinking unpleasant thoughts, a task difficult enough in of itself, but rendered impotent by Mary's continued fevered gaze. Licking his lips at her predatory expression, he looked back at the bathroom door again. "Sel!"
Sel stepped back through at last with a basin, soap, washcloths, and towels. "Take it easy, I'm coming." A couple of steps into the room made her wish she could rephrase that sentence. "Oh, dear..." she breathed softly, taking in the embarrassed state of the gentle god. Looking at Mary, she could more easily appreciate the tension of the love god. "Mary, come on, snap out of it!" Mary jerked out of the near hypnotic state as Sel placed the basin on the nightstand and quickly covered the God of Love's lap with a large bath towel.
"Thank you. I'm sorry, I didn't mean...." He was interrupted by Sel.
"Look, Mary is going to clean you up, you're a real mess. While she's doing that I'm going to dig up some of my brother's clothes. He usually leaves some things here for when he visits. He's a little bit taller than you are, but they should be okay. And I want an explanation. Give us the whole story, every last ugly bit. Right now I don't care who started what or did what to whom. I just want to know what happened."
Sel began to rummage through the dresser drawers and Mary picked up the washcloth and began to clean the grime from Ares' face. "How did you get so dirty? You didn't get this muck from the evergreens."
He turned grateful eyes to Mary, relieved to have his face clean again. "Did you ever try to run in sandals with your hands cuffed behind your back?"
Mary considered this. "Nope, can't say as I have."
The God of Love nodded and went on. "I don't recommend it . I fell a couple of times." Resisting the urge to kiss it and make it better, Mary kept cleaning.
Sel looked up from the dresser. "Ares, stop stalling and start talking, you don't want me to lose my temper."
"All right, but you are still going to lose your temper." He started from the beginning, and ended with his haven in the shrubs. By the time his story wound down, Sel had located a pair of black trousers, some briefs and a pair of cotton socks. She brought the items over to the bed shaking her head thoughtfully.
"This is a real mess. Somehow, we have got to get the other Ares out of jail and get these cuffs off." She looked at her favorite god; towel still demurely draped across his lap. "Ares, we've got to finish straightening you up. You're too much of a distraction like this. Maybe then we can think of something."
Ares nodded. "Okay. What do you want me to do?"
Sel studied the situation and looked to Mary for inspiration. "Hey, don't look at me! Despite what you may have heard, I've never dressed a guy in handcuffs before."
Sel sighed. This was a ticklish situation. Looking at the seemingly innocent God of Love she made a decision. "Let's try it this way. Mary, get those sandals off of him."
Sel picked up the briefs while her friend gleefully removed the god's footwear. He helpfully lifted his feet to assist. Kneeling down she tried not to think about her proximity to the Olympian jewels, but found that was impossible as the towel gave proof to Ares' state of mind. Smirking a bit, she looked up at his face. "That's one big difference between you and the God of War, he doesn't do the foot thing."
Managing to smile and chew his lip at the same time, he looked down at Mary as Sel approached with the briefs. "Hey, I'm the God of Love. My whole body is an erogenous zone. I can show you later if you like."
Sel smacked his arm. "Cut it out!" Standing there with the briefs in her hand, she stopped and pondered the next move. In truth all three were in deep thought as to the most efficient and least rousing method of ensconcing the most precious possession of the God of Love.
Being a creature of efficiency, she went for the direct approach. Kneeling down t across from Mary, she started to slip the briefs over the large feet of the God of Love. Mary watched in amused silence as Ares lifted his feet to help. The briefs now past his feet and nestled around his ankles, Sel swallowed. This was going to be a torturous trip up the long, muscular body and judging by Mary's expression, Sel was going to take the trip alone. Taking a deep breath, she grabbed the waistband of the briefs and struggled them up to his knees. Looking up, she pleaded silently with Ares to make this as easy as possible. Reading her discomfort, he stood, the towel falling away, the shorts remaining on the bed. His pride and joy danced before him, refusing to make this easy. From her kneeling position, Sel was face to cock, groaning in frustration.
"I'm sorry, I'm afraid it has an agenda all its own." He studied the stuccoed ceiling, trying to bore himself. But he soon found the patterns in the stucco vaguely pornographic and gave that up.
Sel girded herself. "Okay, we just have to do this so, here goes." She yanked at the briefs guiding them up the athletic thighs and to the hips. Mary was giggling. Trying to ignore her, Sel got up from the floor and sat on the edge of the bed. "Turn around, Ares." Obediently he turned to face her, the arrogant cock bobbing in her face.
"Oh, god!" With shaking hands she grabbed the willful organ, trying to still it long enough to get the underwear in place. Mary's giggles had now turned into full-blown laughter. "Mary, will you stop it! This is hard enough."
"I'll say it is, and if you keep doing that, it's going to get harder." Mary was nearly rolling on the floor.
Sel realized she had been unconsciously rubbing the velvety cock, to the great pleasure of the God of Love. He stood smiling with his eyes closed. She stopped abruptly, and keeping the cock firmly in place, jerked the briefs up and into place. Shaking like a leaf, she looked at the sorrowful face of the love god.
"There, how's that?"
Frowning, he looked at her trying to shift himself in the briefs without benefit of hands. "It's painful, that's how it is."
Sel nodded. "Good, serves you right. Now sit down again. Let's get these pants on." Mary handed her the black pants, wiping the tears of laughter from her eyes. Between them they got the slacks over the feet and up the legs, once more asking the God of Love to stand to finish the job. All that remained now was the zipping. Feeling the urge to finish this as quickly as possible. Sel grabbed the zipper pull and roughly fastened the slacks. A grunt from the god told her that she had come perilously close to nailing his godly rocks. She pushed him to sit on the bed again and taking the socks, she clothed one foot while Mary did the other. They finished the job by cuffing the pants to take care of the height difference.
"There, that's much better. Except for that shirt, which is still a little rank. But with your hands snugged up like that..." Sel was puzzled and Ares offered no help.
"I've got an idea." Mary jumped up from the floor and went to the bureau. "How about a bit of this?" Mary came back with a bottle of Eau de Homme.
Sel shrugged. "Well, just a little. We don't need him smelling like a bordello."
Ares scowled, the expression looking out of place on the smooth face. "Don't I get a say in any of this?"
In concert the two women answered him "NO!" Mary sprayed a light mist over the tropical shirt, coughing a bit at the sudden intensity of scent. There...cough...that's...cough...better." Ares pulled a face, but decided that any other response wouldn't win friends right now.
Holding a hand over her nose, Sel took hold of one godly arm. "Let's go back to the living room and analyze this." Mary led the way, Sel and a squirming Ares bringing up the rear. Once in the other room, she guided him to an easy chair and helped him sit. She had never realized how difficult even the simple act of sitting down could be with handcuffs on. Mary resumed her earlier seat on the sofa and reacquainted herself with the crossbow as Sel resumed her pacing.
"Okay, so here is the situation. You and the other Ares are in handcuffs courtesy of Hephaestus. The cuffs are damping your powers and you can't remove them. Ares is in police custody. The police are looking for you."
Ares nodded in agreement. "Yes, that's pretty much it all right."
"The big question is, how do we get those cuffs off? Does Hephaestus have to do it or can any god remove them?"
Ares spoke thoughtfully. "It depends on how they were closed. I didn't notice at the time. I should have. Sorry."
"That's okay, you were under pressure. So, we need help. Who can we call?"
"Ghostbusters?" Mary quipped. Two glares were directed her way. "Okay, so the question is which god can we call that might actually answer and be of any help? Um, short list don't you think?"
Sel stopped and faced Ares. "How about you? Can you call on our gods? Will they listen to you?"
Chewing on that lip again, he pondered. "They should. Who do you want me to try for? Not Cupid!"
Sel smiled. "No, not Cupid, even though you know very well that Cupid here is not like your Cupid. Is he still locked up at the Institution?"
"Yes, though he should be going home for good behavior soon. So, who do have in mind?"
Sel looked at Mary. "I was thinking of Aphrodite. She might be able to open the cuffs and if she can't, maybe she can talk Hephaestus out of his mood."
Mary and Ares exchanged a look and shrugged at the same time. "Sounds like a plan. Let's do it." Mary grasped the crossbow tighter, waiting as Ares called out at the top of his voice for the fluttery Goddess of Love. If this didn't work there was the prospect of a jailbreak for the God of War. It was best to be prepared for all contingencies.
Lieutenant Brennan stood outside the interview room, considering the suspect through the two-way mirror. The dark-haired man sitting awkwardly at the table was continuing to argue with the examiner, obviously angry and fidgeting in frustration against the restraints he still wore.
Brennan clucked his tongue in thought and turned to the arresting officer. "Why is he still in cuffs? Unless he's exhibited signs that he's a physical danger, we need to get those things off. I can't afford a legal suit for inhumane treatment."
Patrolman Crenshaw shrugged. "We tried, sir, it's just there isn't a keyhole and, well, Sergeant Smith put them on and all. He must know how they come off."
Brennan turned back to the scene being played out in the interview room; the suspect's voice had risen noticeably. "Well, none of the Smiths at this station match up with your mysterious Sergeant. I've got them checking the other precincts. We did at least locate this McPherson and his brother in the wanted flyers. Funny thing is, I don't remember seeing them there before today. Oh, well." He moved to the door, preparing to join the questioning. "As soon as you finish your report, get back out on the streets. They're going to need as much help as possible for a while." Crenshaw nodded and turned to leave, catching the heat from the scorching language coming out of the now open door. Having had his share of colorful metaphors on the way to the station, he hurried to put distance between himself and the very fluent Smiley McPherson.
Lieutenant Brennan stepped into the room in time to catch the full brunt of the shouted denial. "I AM TELLING YOU FOR THE LAST TIME YOU IDIOT! I AM NOT
SOME DICKHEAD NAMED SMILEY!
Flinching a bit in spite of himself, Brennan walked to the table and seated himself next to the heavily perspiring interviewer. He glanced at Sergeant Savalas. "Okay, Sergeant, take a breather." Savalas leaned back and exhaled deeply, relieved to have someone else take this guy on.
Brennan smiled at the glaring man in the cuffs, taking a good look for the first time. The man was darkly handsome, a neatly trimmed beard and black curly hair setting off a sculptured face. Somewhere along the way, the hair had partially escaped the band holding it back and several strands dangled in his face. Taking a chance, Brennan got up and moved to stand behind the man, feeling him tense as the rawhide tie was released from the curls.
"What kind of a fucking trick are you pulling?" The words were quieter than they had been a moment ago, but still held a deal of menace.
"No trick, just trying to make you a bit more comfortable that's all. How can we have a decent talk if you're uncomfortable." The prisoner gave a snort of disbelief.
Undaunted, Brennan took this time to look at the cuffs securing the man's wrists. True enough, there was no sign of a keyhole. The metal sparkled with a golden glow quite unlike anything he had ever seen. If this was the latest thing in restraints, it must be operated by some kind of computer chip. Hopefully they would find out something soon. Brennan considered himself a reasonable and decent man. He didn't like the idea of keeping the suspect fastened up like this. Casting his eyes back to the dark head, Brennan gathered up the long hair, recapturing it in the tie and securing it
"There, that has to feel better." Moving back to the interview chair, Brennan noticed that the suspect's glare had now turned to a frown of confusion. This was what he had intended, to change the pace of things and throw the prisoner off, maybe put him a bit more at ease. "Sorry about those cuffs. We can't seem to find a way of getting them off. We're working on it though."
Brennan jumped a bit as the dark-haired man laughed and the laugh turned into a fit of giggles. He turned to Savalas who only shrugged in response. "You want to tell me what it so funny? You're sitting in a police station, accused of quite a nasty little crime and wearing cuffs we can't get off. That's not what most people would find amusing."
The giggles dying, Ares smiled brightly. "If I told you, you wouldn't believe me, so why bother. Nobody believes anything I say anyway."
Taking advantage of the shift in mood, Brennan went for the buddy approach. "Why don't you try me? I'd like to believe you. When I came in, you said you weren't Smiley McPherson. If that's not your name, why don't you tell me who you really are? And your twin that got away , who is he then?"
The reminder that Ares, the God of Love, had escaped turned his mood dark again. "He is NOT my twin! Don't call that miserable, simpering, sissified, shit disturbing, love god my TWIN! This is all HIS fault. I am ARES, God of War! I am one of the twelve; I will NOT sit here and be insulted like this!" Ares was pushing away from the table, struggling to stand with dignity. The officers stood quickly, keeping a wary eye on their prisoner as Ares shouted to the ceiling. "HEPHAESTUS!!! I swear, if you don't release me..." Ares sputtered to a halt, his anger making him unable to think of a horrible enough revenge. In his furious tirade, he hadn't even noticed the two policemen, lining up on either side.
Brennan approached from Ares' right, making soothing sounds. "Now, now, we'll find this Hephaestus for you. Don't worry. Now be a good boy and come with us, okay? We'll be sure you get all the help you need." Cautiously, Savalas eased up on the left, matching the pace of the lieutenant.
Knowing he was cornered only served to make Ares feel more desperate. He lunged forward, trying to clear the table and make it to the door. The officers had other ideas and moved in to quickly grasp his arms. Ares roared in frustration. "I am the son of the King of the Heavens!! You mortals will pay for this!"
Brennan was now feeling very grateful for the presence of the baffling cuffs. "Come on, big guy, we're going to take you where you can wait for your Hephaestus." Savalas and Brennan half dragged the God of War from the room. Ares' resounding curses against the parentage and descendants of most of the members of the force kept the path clear as they made their way to the holding cells. His continued resistance forced assistance from two rather burly policemen, both taking to the task with glee.
The taller of the two new participants added to Ares' shouts with one of his own. "Hey, I know my old man's a bastard. Call when you have news, bud!"
The drag/pull continued till they were at the cells. Brennan relinquished his hold long enough to open the door. Standing aside, the remaining officers shoved Ares into the room. Brennan slammed the door shut and locked it securely. The four officers drew a collective breath of relief.
Ares steadied himself and turned to face his captors. He smiled eerily, giving each of them a shiver of unease. "You've won this round, but be forewarned mortals, I am immortal. I've got plenty of time to consider my revenge."
Brennan shook off the sensation of dread and smiled back. "That's fine. I'm calling Bellevue. I'm sure they have someone very nice that you can complain to all you want. And since you're the God of War, maybe they'll let you practice a few war games. Have a good day."
Ares watched in sullen silence as the police left the holding area and closed the exterior door behind them. Letting out a sigh of his own, he looked around him. It was a small room, complete with a tiny bunk, a toilet and a single light bulb glowing overhead. At least he was in here by himself. Maybe he could think of something if people would just leave him alone. A small whispering noise cut into his isolation. Turning, he realized that the cell had two solid walls, one at the back of the building and one next to the
bunk. The other two sides were barred and the barred side wall faced a room similar as his own. This was where the whispering was coming from. Curiosity won out and he moved closer to the side bars. He didn't have to go far to recognize the occupant in the other cell. It was the Adonis type from the festival that had tried to pick up the God of Love.
The blond beauty smiled at Ares, noticing the gleaming cuffs. "I like your new look, sweety, I'm into that bondage thing a bit myself. Come closer, it's not like I can bite you from over here."
Ares closed the distance to the bars, leaning against them for support. While he was trying not to think about it, his arms were getting very fatigued. Looking at his fellow prisoner he sighed. "So, what are you in here for? Excessive good looks?"
That got a smile from blondie. "Nah, though I appreciate the thought. They picked me up on solicitation charges. How was I supposed to know he was an policeman? What's your name, handsome?"
Ares brightened a bit. "Ares. And do you have a name or do I just call you pretty boy?"
"Most people call me Tweety."
Ares pulled a face. "Do I have to?"
"No. My real name is Valentino, but I hate that. But you can call me whatever you like. God, you are really handsome. What happened to your friend?"
Ares tensed. "Let's just say that cowards can be very slippery." He looked at the small distance between the cells -- almost a hand span.
"Are human containment centers normally like this?"
Tweety laughed, a sweet, almost musical sound. "If you mean, are jail cells usually like this one, no. I think they ran out of money or something." He looked at the small gap between the bars, also sizing up the distance. He could sense the dark man in the opposite cell was not one to be toyed with; nevertheless, he remembered his earlier lost opportunity.
Smiling at Ares, Tweety took a chance that the dark man was as fascinated as he was. "I've got an idea, if you're game. We're alone down here, just you and me. Want to try something fun?"
Ares realized that this was true. The rest of the cells did seem to be empty. Strange, considering all the police activity. Shrugging it off, he considered the blond man. Ares was far from stupid and it didn't take a genius to figure out that Valentino was looking for a bit of nookie, but how?
Smiling back, he put the question into words. "Look kid, I've had one bitch of a bad day. I can see what it is you're getting at, but how exactly do you propose to do anything? Don't get me wrong, I kinda like the idea. But I'm sorta all tied up over here, and you're over there. The problems would seem insurmountable."
"I've got a few natural talents. Shall I show you?" Not waiting for an approval, Tweety knelt down and pressed himself tightly against the bars. Turning his hand sideways, he slipped it through the bars, extending his fingers to reach across to Ares' trousers. Mesmerized, Ares helpfully pressed himself as close as possible to the bars watching the fingers stretch even further to finally reach their goal. Unable to move his arms gave him a shiver of excitement and he hardened at the first touch of those incredibly nimble fingers. The zipper pull was grasped and lowered slowly, heightening the effect. He hissed loudly as the fingers reached even further to probe inside and free his swollen cock. He had always been proud of the size of his cock when fully aroused but now it was a blessing, as it sprang to attention forming a bridge of sorts between the cells.
Tweety grinned lustily. "Oh, that's a beauty! Now, let's have some real fun." Pressing his face against the bars, he displayed his truest talent; his tongue protruded from his mouth, stretching in much the same manner as the questing fingers had. Using his hand to steady the engorged cock, the blond marvel flicked his tongue teasingly around the head and half way down the shaft. Had his hands been free, Ares would have applauded. Jolt after jolt of fire streamed through his member, and he moaned in frustration.
The teasing seemed to go on forever, that unimaginably velvet tongue stroking and erasing the horrors of the day, replacing them with shiver after shiver of lust. Finally his nervous system won out and he came with a loud shout which turned into a scream.
That was the most recent of many mistakes he had made that day, for in response to that scream, the door to the holding cells began to open.
Selursera was pacing again. For a long twenty minutes now, Ares God of Love had been shouting for Olympian attention. He had started with Aphrodite but after five minutes of shrieking her name, Mary and Sel suggested an itinerary change. He slowly ran down the list, ticking off the names of the gods, one after the other. Winded and at a loss, he wound down to a halt.
The silence brought Sel to a halt. Turning to face her favorite god, she studied his distressed features. "Ares, please, try Aphrodite once more. Just don't shout so loudly this time, okay?" She was a bit worried about the neighbors taking an interest in the deitific census taking place in her living room.
Rolling his eyes and taking a deep breath, he nodded. At this point he would try anything; the cuffs had passed annoying some time ago and were headed straight for pure torture. It would be quite some time before he'd willingly submit to any bondage games. Wetting his lips and reaching for inspiration, he spoke the words caressingly. "Aphrodite, I, Ares God of Love petition you. Oh goddess of beauty and passion, please heed my prayer. As a God I pray to you for your divine and most generous assistance." He took another deep breath, reaching for the clincher. "As a man, I long to be granted the vision of your heavenly face. Grace me with your ravishing presence, please!"
Mary sat with her lips parted in awe. "Damn, that was really good!" Aphrodite apparently agreed as a flourish of pink hearts heralded her arrival. A wispy whirl of silk and chiffon materialized, barely covering the shapely Goddess of Love. Ignoring the two women, she moved over to stand next to the restrained man.
"Well, well...what have we here? Is this my poet laureate?" Sel started to speak but was waved into silence by the blonde goddess. Lifting her hand, she trailed a finger slowly down the side of Ares' face. With a gaze hot enough to sear the skin off a rhino, she took in every inch of her brother's twin from the alternate world. A wicked grin spread across her face at the sight of the cuffs. "Oh, sweet cheeks, what a lovely fashion statement."
Ares turned what he hoped was a seductive and placating face to the goddess before him. It was difficult to reconcile this blatantly sexual creature with the Aphrodite of his universe. At the same time, one thing he knew and knew very well indeed was being a love god. Using this knowledge, he pled his case. "Oh beautiful and wise goddess, as a fellow love god, I ask for your help. Of all the gods on Olympus, your wisdom, kind heart and generosity are legend." He was momentarily distracted by the strangling sound coming from the dark haired woman on the sofa. Glaring a warning at Mary, Ares continued. "Dite, if I may call you that...I...that is we...need your help." His breath whooshed out as Aphrodite plopped her small body into his lap.
"Of course you can call me Dite. You are so cute! " She looked at the two women as if seeing them for the first time. "Oh, hi, sweeties. You don't mind giving us a couple, uhm? It's a God thing you know?" She waved the frowning Sel and Mary away dismissively. Reluctantly, the two friends made for the sanctuary of the kitchen. While Mary mumbled something censurable, Sel silently resented the dismissal; she and Ares had a prior commitment, but she took heart. Right now they needed to do anything to assure Aphrodite's help and there was always later. A smile lit her face at the thought of the generous keyhole on the kitchen door. It wasn't hard to imagine what a pair of egocentric, conceited, over-sexed, love gods could get up to; time to pick up a few pointers!
Satisfied that the mortal women were gone, Aphrodite turned her attention back to the male love god, again caressing the side of his face with her hand. "I like this smooth face thing. You've really got it working! I gotta talk to Are' about doing something like this." Turning to face him, she straddled his lap. "Oh, yeah. Look at those yummy lips. Uhmmm." Leaning forward, she placed her hands on the chair arms for support and kissed Ares.
Lifting her weight back up a bit, she broke the kiss, looking back into his smoldering gaze. Licking her lips for emphasis, she smiled slyly. "I don't think you need any help at all, lover boy." She leaned back down, mouth opening to his passionate response. After a day of teasing near misses, Ares no longer cared about the painful cuffs. A lap full of obliging love goddess almost compensated for the misery that had been his afternoon. If was amazing what a warm, insistent tongue probing your mouth could make you forget.
Leaning back Mary rolled her eyes. Sipping a hastily mixed Sex on the Beach, she frowned at the barking noises coming from the living room. For the last half-hour, Sel's house had sounded like an episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Wailing, groaning and grunting along with the occasional sound of breaking glass, filled the air. Taking a bigger sip of the sweet drink, Mary looked at Sel. From the moment the door had closed behind them, Sel had been in the same kneeling position, eye firmly glued to the keyhole. If it hadn't been for the sporadic whimper and rapid breathing, Sel could have been mistaken for a coma victim; she had otherwise gone completely still.
Mary pushed away from the support of the counter and walked the few steps over to her friend. "You're going to ruin your knees. When do I get a peek?" Mary reached down to touch Sel's shoulder only to have her hand slapped away.
Scowling, Mary took a deep breath. "Oh, come on! That's not fair. Can't I at least have a little look?" She backed away a little at the beastly growl emanating from Sel, still entrenched at the keyhole. "Okay, fine. I'll remember this, see if I don't!" Mary stepped back to the counter and her drink, her left hand fingering the concealed dagger. As tempting as the thought was it didn't seem right somehow to consider using it just now. Sel was a dear friend after all. On the other hand, you could only take friendship so far! Slowly working the weapon free, Mary was almost bowled over by the sequence of events; two intense shrieks, a loud thud and Sel collapsing in a dead faint. Staring at her friend, then at the door, which led to the now silent living room, Mary pondered the situation. Two fucked out gods in one room, one overstimulated friend on the kitchen floor, all on top of the problem of how to uncuff a pair of Ares, not to mention extricating one of them from the clutches of the law. Walking the circle around the kitchen table, being careful to step over the unconscious Sel, Mary absently tossed the dagger in the air, catching it skillfully. Cautiously laying a hand on the door, she prepared to survey the carnage. One thing was for certain, this sure as hell beat spending the afternoon polishing the cannonball.
Mary slowly pushed open the kitchen door and stared at the tableau of disaster before her. Whistling softly, she picked her way through the debris of what had once been Sel's quaintly decorated living room. Stepping carefully over a broken lamp, she eased slowly over to the wasted immortal in the middle of the room. Ares God of Love was lying on the floor, his bare legs wrapped around the chandelier that had somehow been wrenched from the ceiling. Moving closer to her goal, the full picture was even better. Mary gawked at the unmoving deity, momentarily at odds with what her eyes were telling her, then the shock wore off and the laughter kicked in.
Ares' eyes were open and slightly glazed over, but of far greater interest was what he was now wearing...a big smile and not much else. Sometime during or after the sizzling session of sex, Ares had made a spectacular wardrobe change for he was now gloriously clothed in Dite's 'barely there' ensemble complete with bra and abbreviated panties.
Trying to stifle the laughter, Mary circled the God of Love, enjoying the view. "You look pretty good in pink, but I don't think the Wonderbra is doing a thing for you." Her eyes raking over the extremely strained material at the groin, Mary kneeled down, becoming aware of two other very interesting things; Ares had yet to respond to her presence and his arms were still behind his back.
Successfully quelling the chuckles, Mary exhaled slowly, and reached over to nudge the Olympian. "You still alive?"
As if coming out of a spell, Ares blinked a few times and focused slowly on Mary's face. Still smiling, he nodded and licked his lips.
"What went wrong? Aphrodite couldn't help?"
Still lying on the floor, Ares cleared his throat, and answered in a husky voice. "Oh yeah, she helped me a LOT."
Resisting the urge to slap the zonked god, she settled for another forceful nudge. "I meant with the cuffs you ninny! You're still wearing them aren't you? It's kind of hard to tell under that Fatima get-up. Or maybe you just get off on lying here with your arms pinned under you until the circulation stops completely?"
As Mary's words sunk through his clouded mind, Ares let go with a small squeaking sound. "Oh, Tartarus, I forgot all about the cuffs! Now what do we do? What do I do? Oh, Ares is going to KILL me!" He rolled onto his side, trying to free himself from the chandelier and get to a standing position. Resisting her first impulse to let him struggle, Mary finally took pity on Ares, taking hold of his arms and guiding him free of the obstacle. Ares standing presented an even more enticing view as the tiny chiffon undies failed to come any where near hiding the very male bottom. Sel's reaction to
the little escapade in the living room was becoming easier and easier to understand. The thought of Sel turned Mary's thoughts in another direction. Swallowing hard, Mary tried to concentrate on the god's worried face.
"I don't want to know what you two did to get that thing on the floor," she pointed at the downed chandelier, "but if you haven't killed Sel, she is definitely going to kill you."
Ares turned and looked at Mary in surprise. "What do you mean? I haven't done anything to Sel! What's wrong with her?"
Mary bit her lip resolutely. This had to be one of the more difficult things she had ever tried to do... have a serious conversation with an extremely masculine body barely enclosed in a frothy negligee. And they said those classes in Eastern mind control techniques were a waste of good money.
Taking his arm, Mary directed Ares to face the kitchen. "You might not have laid a hand on her...pity... but your little antics in here had quite an effect on her nervous system. She's in there on the floor, out like the proverbial light. I think you overloaded her synapses."
Looking through the open kitchen door, Ares spied Sel. True to Mary's word, she was sprawled on the floor, unmoving. "Oh, Sel, BABY!" Pushing past Mary he ran into the kitchen. Tripping on the pink fuzzy slippers that now graced his feet, he nearly fell across Sel as he tried to kneel next to her.
Following closely, Mary snickered at the near miss. "Yeah, that'd be a nice touch, crush her to death! I can see the headlines now, local woman squashed by mystery man in negligee."
Ares scarcely noticed Mary in his distress. "Oh, baby, what have I done? Sel, sweetie! This is all my fault! If only I had listened to you in the first place. I'm so selfish, all I could think about was me, what I wanted. Sel, wake up baby, come on." Balanced on his knees, he leaned down placing his lips on those of his disciple. Small murmurings of pleading from the god could be heard between the kisses.
Mary's brows raised. "Now THAT is what I call the kiss of life!"
Apparently Sel agreed. Somewhere along the way her arms raised to wrap themselves firmly around the God of Love's head, deepening the kiss. Pleadings were rapidly turning into moans.
Mary rolled her eyes. "Great, looks like I'll have to leave the room again!" She leaned down and tapped the god on the shoulder. "Hello! Hey, you two! This is getting old! Break it up already! You can rut like rhinos later, I want MY Ares!"
Reluctantly, Sel relaxed her hold and Ares eased up. Looking down at his beloved Sel, his face was a picture of anguish. "Oh, Sel, I've ruined everything. Your dinner, the festival thingie, the other Ares..." he looked into the ruin of the living room, "your house."
Sel raised up and shrieked at the sight before her. "MY HOUSE!" She looked back at the deity sitting beside her and got another shock. "What the HELL are you wearing?"
Ares sighed. "It's all my fault, all of it. I've ruined your house, I've ruined your fun and in my selfishness I even forgot to ask Aphrodite for help. I was so busy thinking about what I wanted, I forgot about you and Mary and Ares. Can you ever forgive me? I couldn't bear it if you hated me."
Sel still raised up on her elbows, stared at the living room. With a mighty sigh, she looked at the large brown eyes begging her forgiveness. "I may be an even bigger fool than you, but Ares, honey, you kiss me again like you did a minute ago and I would forgive you anything." Ares smiled in relief, more than happy to comply. Balancing carefully, he leaned over to once more lock lips with his devoted Selursera.
Mary shook her head. "Gods, Sel, you are SO easy!" No sooner had that been spoken than the handcuffs fell from the wrists of the Love God, struck the floor and disappeared. The shock was enough to cause him to break the kiss.
"I'm free!! Free at last!" He moved away from Sel so fast, she tumbled back to smack her head against the floor yet again.
"Oh, baby, I'm sorry, but look..." he waved his arms in the air. "I'm free!" He frowned. "But how?"
It was Mary that provided the answer. "She forgave you. That has to be it. I know it sounds simple, but doesn't that seem like one of those godly proviso things?"
Chewing his lip, Ares nodded. "You're right, it does. Well, whatever the reason, I'm free." Taking Sel's hands he pulled her up with him. Standing, he surveyed the living room. The release of the cuffs had signaled the return of his full powers. With a wave of his hand the damage wrought during his sexual romp was quickly reversed, the chandelier now firmly back in its rightful place.
Mary observed the reassembly with reverence. "Sure would be nice to be able to do that after spear gun target practice."
Sel patted his arm. "Ares, dear, what about the other Ares. Can you find him now?"
The God of Love seemed to go unfocused for a minute, then smiled brightly. "I know exactly where he is. You two stay here nice and safe. I'll save him!" A flourish of hearts heralded his departure.
Mary looked at Sel. "You know, the thought of his being the rescue committee in that outfit is not very comforting. I keep getting this picture of him stopping to hump everything on two legs along the way."
Sel smiled back. "You think he would stop to count the legs?"
Mary raised her brow and laughed. "Good point!"
Part 9: Conclusion
The clang of a door closing soundly was followed by footsteps. Ares, the very flustered God of War, flashed a desperate look at the blond in the opposite cell who merely shrugged in response. Valentino wiped his sleeve across his mouth, eyeing the dangling and very spent cock of his fellow prisoner.
"Sorry, no time to tuck things up." The blond flashed a brilliant smile and stood to his full height as two police officers approached. Unwilling to submit himself to any further humiliation, Ares moved so that his back was to the door, hoping against hope that they would just go away without his having to turn around.
The sound of a key unlocking Valentino's door made Ares glance over his shoulder at the adjoining cell. "Good thing you decided to quiet down, you wacko." Even if her hadn't seen the smirking officer deliver the comment he would have known it was directed at him. He glared back as nastily as he could manage as the second officer cuffed Valentino.
"Come on, out with you. There's room upstairs now. We'll leave this nut to himself for awhile." With his hands now behind his back, Valentino wriggled his fingers in a sad farewell gesture. With an officer on each side he was led to the door. "Nice boy like you's got enough trouble without having to deal with fruitcakes like him."
Ares watched as Valentino was led out . He wanted desperately to turn around, to say something in his own defense but he didn't dare. A tap on the door to his cell almost kicked in an automatic response to turn, but he held his place.
"Hey, don't worry Mr. War God, the wagon's on its way. You won't have much time to be lonely. And believe me, they'll take VERY good care of you at Bellevue." A soft chuckle followed the retreating footsteps and Ares heard one of the policemen comment, "Man, it smells funky down here! No wonder they don't use these cells much."
The outer door once more creaked open and clanged soundly shut, signaling Ares' complete solitude. He let out the air he'd been holding in a loud heartfelt sigh. Looking down at the front of his trousers, he shook his head and began a dialogue with the cock that hung there so peacefully. "There you go, getting me into trouble again." Ares considered that statement. "Okay, I admit it, I was already in trouble, you're just making it worse!" The thought of the police returning to find him like this was just too much. He began to laugh. A voice behind him startled him out of his mirthless amusement.
"My, my, my, how the mighty have fallen."
Ares turned to face his brother who began to cackle in pure glee.
"Oh, this is priceless! Ares, only you could manage something like that..." Heph pointed at the reproachless cock, "locked up all by yourself. You really are remarkably clever, my brother! Great Zeus, this almost makes up for everything! Almost." Hephaestus continued to laugh as Ares began to simmer.
Rolling his head to relieve the tension, Ares tried to keep calm. "Heph, listen to reason, please. Just stop this now before something worse happens. Don't you think this little joke has gone on long enough?"
Hephaestus walked the short distance to stand in front of his handsome brother, the chuckles tapering off to finally be smothered in an attempt at seriousness. "Not quite, brother, and believe me, this is no joke. I want you to understand the full consequences when you interfere in things as you did today."
Ares stilled as Hephaestus took hold of the War God's cock. "What is it about you, Ares, that you can't seem to keep this in your trousers?" Giving the godly member a couple of loving strokes in passing, Hephaestus tucked it back into the black chinos, carefully rezipping the trousers.
Ares swallowed tensely, confused by the actions of his brother. "Thanks, I think."
Hephaestus gazed at the nearly perfect countenance of his sibling and raised a hand to lightly stroke the side of Ares' face. "You know, Ares, I've been curious about you for a long, long time and one of these days, you're going to have to satisfy my curiosity. But for right now, you've still got some repenting to do."
Hephaestus lowered his hand and Ares frowned. This conversation had taken an unexpected turn. "Heph, I told you already, I didn't do anything! It was HIM! If you'll just take off these cuffs, I'll satisfy anything you want, however you want. I swear! I don't know how much more of this I can take!"
Hephaestus backed away from the dark god and shook his head. "No, brother, there is not yet the true understanding of repentance within you. You continue to see the fault as being solely with your alternate self, but you are not without blame. Consider my words and you will have the answer to your freedom. Later." With that, the God of the Forge disappeared.
"Nooooo!" Ares staggered to lean against the cell bars, shrieking his disappointment.
Ares God of Love sparkled into existence in the holding cells, looking straight into the bright blue eyes of a very familiar face.
"Well, I must say, that was quite an entrance! Imagine my luck, meeting you again. And and might I add, I love the outfit!"
The God of Love could feel his breath quickening as his nature began to take over. Chewing hard on his lower lip, he clamped down on his natural reaction to the temptation before him. Just at that moment he recalled where he had seen this beauty before. "It's you, from the festival!"
"That's right! We never got properly introduced before. My friends call me Tweety!" He stopped to consider the sight in front of him. "You know, most guys I know don't show up out of thin air in a puddle of pink hearts, and they certainly never bother to dress that snappily. I knew you were special, but WHO and WHAT are you ?" Whistling and cat calls came from the inmates in the adjoining cells. Ares looked around and smiled coyly at his captive audience, taking a moment to bow. Having acknowledged his admirers, he turned his attention back to the blond. "You want to know who and what I am? I am Ares, the God of Love."
Valentino, aka Tweety smiled back at that. "I can believe the love bit. In an outfit like that I'm sure you get plenty."
Ares looked down and smiled. "Oh, with all that's been happening, I forgot. Hang on." With a thought, he clothed himself in his normal resplendent white, exhaling in pleasure at the comfort of the familiar soft fabric. While Tweety barely blinked, the formerly boisterous inmates seemed to have taken an oath of silence.
Ares tossed his hair flamboyantly and faced the blond Adonis before him. "That's better. Now, as much as it pains me to say this, I'm looking for Ares, the God of War. You remember the bad tempered fellow I was with at the festival?"
Just when you thought Valentino couldn't smile any bigger, he did. "Oh sure I remember! As a matter of fact, he and I shared some quality time together just a little while ago."
Ares frowned in confusion. "Then where is he? I felt sure I was zoning straight to where he was. The trace was so strong."
Valentino licked his lips. "Yes, he does have a nice, strong trace." Looking at the confused godly face, the blond chuckled. "It's all right. Unless they've come to take him already, he's in the basement cells. You better hurry though, the policeman did say they were on their way to pick him up, and where they're taking him...well, let's just say, it's NOT much fun."
Ares graced the blond with a beaming smile. "You've been a great help. See ya later." In a flash of pink light and vaporous pink hearts, the God of Love disappeared.
Valentino glanced at the cell across the hall as the prisoner within fainted dead away. Chuckling and still smiling, the blond glanced upwards. "Later, oh yeah, it's a date!"
Ares' wails of protest were silenced by the sound of the outer doors once again opening and the sight of two large men dressed in white smocks approaching. They were flanked by Lieutenant Brennan and the unidentified, insulting policeman who had taken away Valentino earlier.
Brennan stepped in front of the men in white and walked to the cell door. "Mr. McPherson, it's time to go. I don't know if you understand fully what I'm saying, but just so you know, we're still looking for someone to remove those cuffs. As a last resort, we're going to send welding equipment over to Bellevue, but for now, you're stuck. Do you need help relieving yourself before you go?"
Ares stared at the lieutenant. There was nothing to indicate that the words were anything other than sincere and honest. This man had been the sole source of kindness encountered since this whole thing started and kindness was rarely offered to the God of War. Many would have thought it pointless, that Ares couldn't or wouldn't appreciate it. He appreciated it all right, but it was so rarely genuine where he was concerned, it was easy to be skeptical. Ares took care to memorize the pattern of the lieutenant and vowed that when this was over, Brennan would be highly rewarded.
Brennan spoke again and Ares realized he hadn't answered the officer's question. Making eye contact, he shook his head. "No, that won't be necessary. Where are you taking me?"
Brennan smiled. "To a place where they can help you, where they can figure out why you do these things and help you get better. "
As Brennan made to unlock the cell door, Ares noticed the bruise on the side of the man's face and recalled taking a swing at the officer as they had struggled in the station. It was with some amazement that the God of War realized that he was sorry to have caused this injury and it was with even greater amazement that he vocalized this regret.
The lieutenant paused as the key was half turned. He looked into the dark eyes of the prisoner leaning against the bars. "What is it?"
Ares inclined his head, motioning to the large bruise. "I'm sorry for that. You're all right, for a mortal. I shouldn't have hurt you. This mess isn't your fault. I was just..." Ares sighed, feeling betrayed by his own mouth.
Brennan turned the key fully and opened the door. Somehow knowing he faced no danger in doing so, he placed a hand on the muscular arm. "It's all right. I know that sometimes we do things we don't really mean. You were only trying to protect yourself. I forgive you."
With a metallic clang, the seemingly impenetrable cuffs fell to the cell floor. The freed God of War felt the full rush of his power returning, a sparkle of electricity lighting the air.
"YES!" Ares flexed his arms as his captors stared at the metamorphosis taking place. The flowing shirt and black chinos were replaced with a studded black leather vest and a black leather trousers. The hair was transformed into its normal well-groomed, shoulder length raven curls. Completing the picture, a sword appeared at his side and Ares lovingly stroked the hilt. As Ares moved his hand over the weapon, Sergeant Quinn fumbled with his gun, looking to Brennan for direction. The hapless lieutenant hadn't moved since uttering the words of forgiveness and remained standing in the frame of the cell door. Nothing could have prepared him for what happened next as a brightly smiling Ares grabbed the officer, lifted him from the ground and kissed him completely and fully on the lips. With a loud smack, Ares pulled his lips away. Carefully lowering Brennan to once more stand on the floor, Ares placed a hand on the bruised cheek, healing the injury instantly. With a gentle tap on the same cheek, he graced Brennan with a toothy parting grin. "See ya around, babe, it's been real." With a flash of blue smoke, he disappeared from sight, the cuffs following mere seconds later.
The blue smoke was quickly replaced by a pink flash of light and hearts. Brennan managed to blink at the sight before him as his mind struggled to make sense of what was happening. The man now standing before him was extremely familiar. Somehow, Brennan made his tongue function and his lips formed a hesitant question. "Skippy?"
The white clad man before them giggled with girlish glee. "Oh, my goodness, not you too! I'm Ares, God of Love, silly!" The Love God crossed to the lieutenant looking down at the stunned face. "Maybe you can help me, I seem to be doing something wrong. I'm looking for Ares, God of War. He stands about, oh, this tall," indicating the top of his own head, "he has a evil looking black beard, looks a little like me, and has the temper of a rabid mongoose. Have you seen him?"
Still staring, Brennan nodded mutely. He pointed weakly upwards. "He went that-a-way! Just a minute ago."
Ares frowned, then realized what had happened. "Someone forgave him, didn't they?"
Brennan thought a moment, then nodded. "Yes, I guess I did."
Ares smiled his most saccharine smile. "Who would have thought it possible! You must be an exceptional mortal, or a very foolish one. Well, either way, thank you!"
Brennan had no time to react as he was once more lifted and kissed fully and completely on the lips. The smacking release came moments later and the lieutenant was once more lowered to stand on the floor. This time his knees nearly gave way, his legs were shaking so badly.
"I'll be leaving now, you guys be good!" Ares waved as he winked out in a pink mist.
The two attendants from Bellevue cautiously backed out of the holding cells, breaking into a full run once out of sight. It was several minutes later before Sergeant Quinn broke the silence. Finding the power to move again, he took the few steps over to stand next to the still frozen Lieutenant Brennan. "How are we gonna report this?"
Brennan placed a trembling fingertip to his still tingling lips and glanced at Quinn. In a voice little more than a whisper he responded to the question. "How are we going to report what?"
Mary was polishing her beloved spear gun again as Sel paced. "At this rate, you're going to need new carpet and I'm going to be out of metal."
A sizzling followed by blue smoke broke the tension as Ares God of War stepped from the aether into Selursera's living room. In concert, the women screamed his name, rushing to greet the prodigal god.
Smiling in genuine pleasure, he accepted their welcoming embrace. "Ladies, it is really, really good to see you too!" As his sense absorbed what was happening, he suddenly realized that his beloved Mary was here, and twisted from Sel's grasp to grab his favorite, holding her in a crushing embrace. "Mary, baby!"
"Easy, big boy, you'll wrinkle the material!" Mary laughed at the War God's enthusiasm. If he only knew what terrible things she and Sel had been plotting for revenge.
The next breath brought the ensemble together at last as the God of Love returned to the fold.
"So there you are! Well, with a nice happy ending, I think I'll be on my way."
The God of War looked wistfully at his clever little disciple. "Yeah, I guess I should too. "
A third voice chimed in before Sel and Mary could protest the haste of the Aresians. "You two aren't going anywhere. How dare you even suggest leaving these ladies like this after what you've put them through."
The God of War rolled his eyes and turned slowly to face Hephaestus. "Look, I like you, normally, but frankly, Heph, I'd rather you were somewhere else right now. Somewhere a long, long way off."
Hephaestus, smiled at the two women, nodding his head in greeting. Mary nodded back, quite thrilled to meet the maker of some of the greatest weapons ever to grace the known worlds. She was a bit disappointed when he turned his attention back to the pair of Ares before him.
"Brother, dearest, normally, I like you too. But if you even attempt to leave these noble women without making amends, I will find you and we shall start the game again. That goes for both of you." Hephaestus spoke quietly, his words carrying greater weight for it.
The War God blanched at the thought of a repeat of this day. "You wouldn't dare!"
Heph smiled sweetly. "Try me." Having silenced the pair with his threats, Hephaestus turned his attention back to the mortal women. "Would I be right in assuming you have suitable punishments in mind for this pair of miscreants."
Sel and Mary exchanged knowing glances. It was Sel who answered though. "Oh boy, do we."
Hephaestus nodded wisely. Looking back at the God of Love and God of War, he uttered a final warning. "I think, oh....forty-eight hours of servitude should be sufficient to amend your misdeeds. And one more thing before I go." Heph stared at his dark brother with a degree of menace few ever saw from this quiet god. "DON'T make me come back here and check on you two." Not needing a showy exit, the God of the Forge disappeared without benefit of smoke and light.
With Hephaestus gone, Ares God of Love and Ares God of War turned back to face the mortal women.
"Now, Sel, baby, I'm sure we can work something out." The God of Love looked a bit nervous as Sel strode to his side. Looking him over carefully, she smiled.
"Ares, baby, I'm sure we can." Grabbing a handful of the white vest, she moved towards the kitchen, God of Love in tow. As they passed through the door, it closed resolutely behind them.
Turning their attention away from the kitchen, Mary and Ares turned to regard one another. If there was one thing Ares knew, Mary had a clever mind. He felt a tingle go through him at the thought of what she might have come up with. He watched in anticpation as she slowly approached. Standing in front of the dark lord of war, Mary placed a hand on his chest, sliding it slowly down to finally rest at the waistband of his trousers. Once there she took hold of the fabric and pulled him to within mere inches of her face.
"You are going to give me the longest, the bestest, the most intense body massage that has ever been had by anyone, anywhere, ever." Looking over her shoulder at the arsenal still assembled on Sel's coffee table, she added one thought. "Bring Eustace. I've got a couple of ideas."
She released the god and made her way to the stairs leading to the guest bedroom. Stopping halfway up, she looked over at the smoldering gaze of her favorite god. "Don't make me wait, you remember what I'm like if I'm kept waiting." She disappeared up the stairs.
Ares hastily retrieved the spear gun, long ago nicknamed Eustace. Ares didn't know why, and frankly didn't care. Nearly running to the stairs, he paused, rubbing the scar from his previous session with Mary. Smiling, he let go with a resounding whoop and took the stairs three at a time. Life was good!
(Later that evening)
Selursera leaned back against the sofa, her feet comfortably placed upon the satin cushion on the coffee table. Helping herself to another bon-bon, she reached for the bell and rang it with enough force to wake the dead.
The kitchen door opened and a slightly mussed head poked through. "You rang, Sel, my sweet?"
Smiling at the frazzled god, Sel beckoned him into the living room. "Come on, come on out."
Rolling his eyes, the God of Love opened the door and entered the living room. For a god almost impossible to humiliate, Ares God of Love was throughly embarrased. To be a houseboy for 48 hours, okay, but to wear this? He looked down at himself. Gone was the serenely white outfit and in its place was a delicate frilly apron. Only an apron. It was fortunate that he was a god, the places he had burned himself in in the kitchen would have left some scars difficult to explain otherwise.
He walked over to Sel. "What is it you need, my sweet?"
Sel was still smiling. "Ares, dear, would you fluff the cushions?"
Ares looked at the fluffy cushions and shrugged. "Of course, dearest." He stood next to Sel, bending over to attend to the already plump pillows. The apron fluttered uselessly with each movement. Finished, he stood. "Will there be anything else, my dear? I need to get back to my rump roast."
"Uhm, nope, you may go." Ares nodded and turned to leave nearly, the view stunning as he nearly ran to get back to the kitchen.
Sel considered what she was doing to Ares, whether it was right or not. Maybe she should call a halt to this now. Looking at the closed door to the kitchen she smiled again. "Nah!"
From above a distinct "thunk" followed by a scream and Mary shouting "bullseye" confirmed that her good friend was having a great time as well.
Eating another bon-bon, Sel wondered how one went about making an offering of thanks to Hephaestus. Putting her hand on the bell, she sighed in sublime pleasure. Life was good.
Footnote: Just who is Valentino, really? Will Hephaestus satisty his curiosity? Will Lieutenant Brennan ever stop tingling? For the answers to these questions and thousands more, don't look here. I haven't a clue!