True Love and Other Fairy Tales
His mother's instructions still ringing in his ears, Cupid sulkily arrived in the gardens of the Royal Court, careful to keep himself hidden. The gardens were filled with mortals enjoying themselves, without mothers telling them what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. He didn't need telling how to do his job, thank you very much. And it wasn't as though Hercules' brother should merit special treatment by dint of the blood relationship; he was still fully mortal. Why couldn't he wait his turn for Cupid to get to him like everyone else had to? But no, Mom had to stick her nose in. Mom had to tell him how worried Uncle Herc was about his brother's loneliness. Mom had to tell him exactly how to play this one, to be very careful in his selection, to - great Zeus on Olympus, who in Tartarus was *that*?
All thoughts of Aphrodite fled from Cupid's head as he watched the man wandering along the path, evidently lost in thought. He was heaven on a stick. Cupid still wasn't sure exactly what Strife meant by that phrase but it seemed to fit. That muscular body just begged to be naked, preferably oiled as well, soft lips demanded an equally soft tongue exploring between them, and those cheekbones. they were to die for. Cupid suddenly smiled; maybe when his job here was done, there'd be some recompense for his labour.
He watched the man, watched him jerk out of his reverie when a courtier approached him.
"Your majesty, the Captain requests your presence in the guard room. He says." and then they were moving away from him, and Cupid was too taken by surprise to follow. Your majesty? *That* was Uncle Herc's brother? So what in Hades was the problem? The way Aphrodite had told it, he'd expected to find a hunchbacked squinting dwarf with extreme personal hygiene issues. She was trying to tell him that a studmuffin like *that* wasn't capable of getting some on his own? Cupid had the distinct suspicion that she'd been sniffing too many of her own love potions lately.
He kept an eye on the king through the rest of the day, but the man spent his time with the Captain of his Guard, Councillors, and assorted, but mostly male, palace flunkies. None of them precisely fitted the profile he'd been told to look for; female, for a start, young enough to have no problem bearing children, dignified enough to be a queen, pretty - or as pretty as a mortal could be, Aphrodite had qualified . Cupid dug around until he found the rest of the list. Oh, that was right, loving, faithful, - why don't you just get the man a pet dog, Cupid had wondered sarcastically - and most of all, available. The winged god snorted as he tucked the list away again; did his mother think he was a complete idiot? Well, he was still smarting from her answer the last time he'd asked her that.
Supper provided him with the opportunity he'd been waiting for. He took up position at the side of the hall where he had a good view over the whole room, looking hard for potential candidates. That one was rather nice, the blonde one in the blue. And her little dark friend was luscious; not overbright perhaps, but with a body like that, who cared. Certainly not a mortal king, that was for sure. He caught the sudden attentiveness in the room and then the court rose to their feet as their king entered the hall and walked slowly to his place. Cupid began to take note of which females' eyes followed him, only to give up in disgust when he realised they all did. Either half-glazed with lust, or with romantic hope, all of them wanted him. Well this was going to be easier than he'd thought; the problem was going to be which one to choose.
Cupid continued watching as the meal progressed. The dark girl was giggling at something her middle-aged and portly neighbour had said to her, and Cupid suddenly realised that the man was stroking her thigh under the table. Strike that one from his list. He looked back at the king. Iphicles had his head inclined graciously towards his own elderly neighbour as he listened to what he was saying. The expression on the king's face was one of exquisite politeness, and Cupid had a sudden vision of how it would change were his neighbour to take a leaf from the other man's book and start stroking his thigh. Instead of making him laugh as he had thought the image would, he
found his head tilting on one side and imagining. The king's dark eyes would grow darker, his mouth would open slightly and he'd breathe more quickly, his voice becoming husky as he tried to keep the neutral conversation going. It was almost worth trying it just to see the result. With a little difficulty, Cupid brought his mind back to the business in hand.
Unslinging his bow, he began to draw an arrow from his quiver. The blonde one would do nicely. She seemed a nice girl, was definitely single, and had looked at the king so longingly as he'd come into the hall, as though she wanted nothing more than to be in his arms. And *not* in the way her dark friend had been thinking; this girl was, if not a virgin, at least inexperienced. There'd be no promiscuous reputation with which anyone could reproach the king for his choice. Cupid set the arrow to the bow and sighted along it. Just as he was about to release, he paused. Wasn't that a rather snub nose for a queen? And the neck was short, definitely too short to be truly regal. He couldn't have his mother saying that he had caused the future royal line of Corinth to be a lot of short-necked snub-nosed individuals. The bow dropped, and he returned the arrow to his quiver. Back to the drawing board.
He was still looking when he was taken by surprise as the king rose to his feet and dismissed the court. Hades, but the man ate quickly. Or perhaps he'd spent longer watching than he'd realised. He followed the king, eager to see where he'd go next; perhaps he'd adjourn with a more select group, which would indicate his own choice of potential partners. Not exactly. No, he went to his chambers, impatiently pulled open the doors to the balcony and stood, leaning against the carved stone balustrade, looking out over the darkening gardens. He stood there for a long time, silent and contemplative. Cupid added another one to his list of desirable attributes - quietness. Even one of his arrows might not be enough to override the king's apparent need for solitude and silence if his bride to be turned out to be a chatterer.
He was still watching when the king, with a sigh, finally turned away and retreated to his bedchamber. He left the doors open, the cool night air wafting through the chamber as he undid his shirt and slipped it off, revealing an enticingly broad chest. A pitcher and a bowl had been left for him, and he poured some of the water into the bowl before dipping the sponge in, soaking it, and then moving it over his body. A sharply indrawn breath told Cupid how cold the water must be, before the king squeezed the sponge around his neck and the god watched the water running down his bronze skin, watched the way his nipples contracted at the cold touch. Self-control, Cupid mentally added. Any mortal female without that essential quality would cause the king's death from exhaustion within a week of the wedding. The rivulets of water just begged to be licked up, a hot tongue snaking over wet skin, teasing at those already raised nipples. With a thought, Cupid blinked out.
He came back the next morning. He'd needed to get a little distance. Any normal mortal, and he'd have acted on his sudden desire. But this was both Uncle Herc's brother, and his current project. There'd be Tartarus to pay if he did what he wanted. So he'd slipped off to visit one of the very few of his mother's temples with female attendants. He was always assured of a warm welcome there.
Gods, this was tedious. How did mortals put up with this all day every day? The God of Love kicked his heels, metaphorically speaking, in the Council chamber, listening to droning voices boring on about taxes. He suddenly realised the king looked about as interested as he did. He was trying to disguise it, but the laboured enumeration of the different scales of taxation were about as exciting as Artemis and her whole virginity lecture. Cupid watched the king struggling to stay alert, then shifting slightly in his seat to ease his stiff back, his broad shoulders settling once again against the chair-back as his hand reached to briefly rub his cheek, an unconscious gesture but one which both displayed the impressive muscles in his arm to full advantage beneath the short sleeves of his shirt, and sent fantasies spiralling through Cupid's head. He imagined the king, instead of letting his hand fall back to the arm of his chair, moving his hand slowly across his cheek and then one finger tracing lightly along his lips. The finger pausing, and then his lips opening and sucking Cupid's finger in, his tongue curving around and licking it, eyes closing in pleasure, long eyelashes against his cheeks, lost in the delight at the god's touch.
Cupid's eyes flew open as the scraping noises on the stone floor warned him that chairs were being pushed back and the Council at length getting to their feet and ending the meeting. He followed the king, who was still talking quietly to one of the men as he made his way along the stone corridor. His shirt was tucked into his pants, which gave Cupid from his vantage point the most amazing view of his perfect ass. Beautifully proportioned, just begging for hands to run over the curves so clearly outlined by the soft clinging leather. Trying to keep his mind on the job, even while fully appreciating the view in front of him, Cupid wondered yet again why the king didn't have anyone.
He watched him through the informal lunch. Was he frigid? He had heard some people just weren't interested in sex - well, Artemis for one. How else could she have stayed whole and entire and chaste and superior for all these centuries? Actually, in her case, easily - to lose your virginity, you had to have something going for you in either the looks or personality department, preferably both. He watched Iphicles' full lips closing around a stalk of celery before he bit it cleanly in two, and couldn't believe that he was disinterested in sex. The man was built for pleasure, no doubt about that. And the unconscious sensuality with which he had welcomed the water smoothing over his skin last night, the way his tongue flicked out and took that drop of wine from his lower lip, these were not the movements of somebody who did not enjoy physical pleasure.
As the meal was finished, Cupid suddenly realised he had not once looked over the assembled company for a prospective bride for the king. He attempted to remedy that situation that afternoon. While the king returned to his Council chamber, Cupid strolled unseen amongst the ladies of the court. Too tall, too short, too loud, too common. Surely there must be someone worthy of the king? Damn, that one would have done beautifully if she hadn't been married. Or her - she was absolutely perfect; shame she was pregnant. But from the available females, he could not find one without some glaring fault. He sighed. This was going to be more difficult than he had imagined. Perhaps at dinner, some might show up whom he had missed.
Sadly for the God of Love, that was not the case. There was one pretty little thing, heart-shaped face, dark hair and green eyes, but there was something about her he just couldn't quite like. Maybe if he watched her for longer, he'd find out for sure.
Resigned to spending more time at the court, Cupid followed the king about his evening business again. Once more, Iphicles retired to his chamber as soon as he could break free of his aides and courtiers. He again retreated to the dark balcony, where the occasional light moving across the garden showed some servant making their way from palace to stables, or a courtier taking the night air perhaps. He stood looking out into the darkness for a long time, unmoving, until something made him shiver. Hitching a hip onto the balustrade he sat sideways, so that for the first time Cupid could see his face. His eyes were dark and tired, and focused on nothing. Whatever he was looking at was deep inside himself, not in the darkness outside. The loneliness coming off him in waves would have been palpable to Cupid even if he hadn't been the God of Love.
They stayed there for some time in the gloom, god and mortal, silent and preoccupied, whilst behind them the moths drawn by the lamps in the bedchamber were sent spinning to their deaths. Cupid was brought back to himself when the king raked a tired hand through his hair and slowly stood up, making his weary way back into the chamber. With renewed resolve, Cupid left to find him a mate.
He managed to find three possibilities. None of them were perfect, but any of them had to be better than the king spending his life sitting alone in the dark. Just as soon as one of them was in his line of fire at the same time as the king, Cupid determined he would act.
He slipped back one last time to the king, to check all was well there. One last lamp was burning disregarded in the corner of the bedchamber, its dim light as it reached the end of its life enough to show Cupid clearly what was in front of him. The god stood, rooted to the spot. The king was asleep, his cotton sheet already thrust off and twisted around muscular legs. It was all Cupid could do not to reach out a hand and run it across the tanned back where it emerged from beneath tangled curls, to feel the warm skin as he ran his fingers down to the smooth swell of his ass. As he thought it, the king stirred, and moved restlessly onto his back, kicking the sheets further down the bed. The God of Love swallowed. He was aware of his wings unfurling slightly in instinctive reaction, attempting to counteract the dizziness he felt as he looked. The strong jawbone, the smooth beautiful neck, with just one copper curl laying casually across it as though to highlight its beauty, and then that broad chest, nipples that Cupid longed to touch, and the narrowing of the body, bringing the eye down irresistibly to what lay between his legs. Cupid almost whimpered when he saw the beauty of the cock, half-erect in response to whatever dreams the king was having. All it needed was a touch, one little touch, a soft godly finger running over the smooth head, a tongue drawing circles over it while a godly hand surrounded the shaft and applied gentle easy pressure. That was all it needed to come to full hardness.
The king murmured in his sleep, murmurs which became soft moans as he moved in his bed, until suddenly his eyes flew open and he cried out in surprise. Cupid lifted his head from the king's cock and looked up at him. The king pushed himself into a sitting position, staring back at him.
"Who. What in Hades." Iphicles was beginning to come to himself, and Cupid could see that he was either about to either attack the dark figure before him, or make some other sort of a scene. He caused the lamp nearest to the bed to be lit again, and in the sudden increase of light, Iphicles blinked hard. He couldn't be seeing what he thought he was seeing. snowy white wings unfolding behind the intruder.
"Are you Cupid?" He sounded dazed, as well he might. Cupid got the impression that having a god turning up in his bedchamber was a new experience for the king.
Iphicles sat there, staring at him. Cupid could see his eyes moving over the god's beautiful body, then back up to his face, unable to tear his gaze away for long from the green eyes which returned his look so steadily. Sensual lips, the dark shadow on his tanned skin contrasting sharply with the blondness of his hair - oh yes, Cupid knew how he looked. But it still excited him to see the king's eyes darken with desire for him.
"What are you doing here?" He was obviously trying hard to sound calm about this, his tongue dampening slightly dry lips. Cupid drew his gaze away from the moist tip with difficulty. He really really didn't want to get into all this at the moment, not with the way his cock was aching for the king. One finger lightly ran down the underside of the king's cock. Iphicles jolted in reaction, his breath coming fast.
"I was admiring your cock, until I was interrupted," the god explained. "And now, if you don't mind, I'm going to continue." With that, he bent his head and licked the king's cock, his smooth tongue stroking until liquid began to leak from it and Iphicles lay back jerkily on the bed. He groaned suddenly as Cupid's lips closed around him and the god pushed down on him, taking his length into the moistness of his mouth. The thrusting of the king's hips told Cupid how close Iphicles was, his helpless moans under the god's clever tongue rising in pitch until Cupid knew he was about to come and swallowed the king's cock all the way in. The moans became sobs as the king bucked helplessly under him and Cupid's mouth and throat were filled with the king's release.
He finally freed the king, and looked up at him. Iphicles was panting, staring back at him. Cupid moved up the bed and bent his head to the king's, his lips touching those wonderful full lips. The king's mouth opened slowly under his, and Cupid's tongue slid inside. There was a sound of need from Iphicles as their tongues touched, and he reached to the god, hands moving to hold him close, until they encountered the god's wings. He stopped suddenly, then after a brief hesitation, moved both his hands to Cupid's chest. Their kiss deepened, Cupid's tongue hungry in Iphicles' mouth as the king's hands moved lightly across his nipples and away again. Iphicles began to push Cupid onto his back but suddenly stopped.
"What about these?" He indicated the god's wings with a hovering hand, not quite touching them, not quite sure.
"Not a problem," Cupid informed the king. "All I ask is that you don't use them as handles if you fuck me from behind, or try to take a feather as a souvenir."
Iphicles gave a sudden choke of laughter, although the look in his eyes when Cupid mentioned fucking him was turning the god on more by the minute. Iphicles however, now they'd started talking, seemed inclined to continue.
"I don't understand why you're here, Cupid," he said. Then a thought struck him and he pushed the god aside, sitting upright in alarm. "Is Herc ok?"
"He's fine," Cupid assured him immediately. "In fact, last time I saw Uncle Herc - "
"Uncle?" Iphicles repeated in astonishment. He suddenly realised. "I guess he is. Which means we're." his brow furrowed as he tried to work it out. "Half-uncle and nephew? Step-uncle and nephew?" Then a look of realisation. "And we've just."
"*You've* just," Cupid reminded him, "Some of us haven't done anything yet. So if you don't mind, *Uncle* Iphicles." His lips claimed Iphicles' and the king was lost. Cupid was gently pushed onto his back, the king's eyes remaining on the god's face as he did so to check the whole wing thing was ok. Then soft lips tugged at one nipple, while long fingers slowly moved across the other until it was erect and begging for the king's tongue. Cupid arched upwards as the king licked and gently bit, and his hands buried in the king's long hair, loving the touch of his mouth, wanting to keep him like this forever. But as the king's mouth moved lower, Cupid changed his mind. Maybe it was like *this* he wanted to keep Iphicles forever. Iphicles' mouth was warm, moist and soft on his skin, promising so much for when it finally reached his cock. Cupid began to writhe. If it *ever* reached his cock.
"Iphicles," he pushed down with his hands, encouraging the king. Iphicles disregarded him. Instead he changed position on the bed so that he was spreading the god's legs and kneeling between them, hands holding his thighs apart as he blew gently on the god's balls. A shudder ran through Cupid, then a whimper as Iphicles' velvet mouth worked unbelievable magic on them. By the time the king was through with what he was doing, Cupid was almost crazy with need.
He looked as the king straightened between his legs, his own cock now recovered from his earlier orgasm, and standing full and hard. Enough teasing, let him know how it felt to be fucked by a god. With a sudden move Cupid was off his back, on his knees facing the surprised king and tipping him back onto the bed. He held him down, a strong hand round either wrist, and with a thought oiled his cock. He wanted to oil Iphicles with his hands, wanted to see the king's face as he did so, but his need was too urgent. He let go of the king's wrists to pull his willing legs apart, pushing them up and then, positioning the head of his cock against the king's entrance, pushed slowly in. He gasped as he felt Iphicles' tight heat around him, and had to fight not to start thrusting excitedly straight away. But he could see the king's discomfort, could see that he had to give him time and he rocked very gently inside him, allowing him to adjust, until a whimper from the king showed that the pleasure was now outweighing the pain. He began to increase his movements, until he was thrusting hard and Iphicles was pushing back against him as best he could, moaning as he did so. Cupid could feel his climax building, feel the tightness in his balls. Not yet, not yet, it was too soon. He thrust with all he was into the king, pushing faster and faster, until, moaning, Iphicles came in a burst of creamy white seed and Cupid's wings rose and stretched and he pulsed into
the king's shuddering tightness.
They stayed there panting for a while. "Oh my fucking gods," Iphicles managed at last. Then snorted with laughter. "Literally, I guess."
Cupid moved, and lay down beside him. Sweat gleamed on their bodies, and both were still flushed from excitement and exertion. Brown eyes met green, and Cupid leaned forward to kiss the king. They were silent for a short time, until Iphicles ran a hand through his hair and raised the subject again. Cupid was beginning to wonder why he'd ever thought the king liked silence.
"Not that I'm complaining or anything, Cupid, but is there another reason why you're here?" The last words were slurred as Iphicles stifled a sudden yawn.
This was a slightly tricky one. He'd never been obliged to sign up to a code of practice or anything like that, but Cupid had the strong suspicion that fucking the person he was supposed to be making fall in love with somebody else wasn't really behaviour his mother would approve.
"How long have you been alone?" he asked at last, seeing a possible way around it.
Iphicles' eyes clouded suddenly. "Too long," he said abruptly.
Cupid's hand reached out and stroked his cheek. "That's why I'm here," he said, holding the king's gaze. "So you won't be alone any more."
It was a nice compromise, telling the truth without dropping himself in it. And as Iphicles obviously didn't mix with gods, it was unlikely he'd ever have an opportunity to tell Aphrodite about her son's cock-up (literal or otherwise). The one thing that Cupid hadn't counted on was the sudden blossoming of something in Iphicles' eyes - hope, warmth, and something more. Just as Cupid was getting seriously uneasy, those eyes started to droop as the king's exhaustion caught up with him.
"Sleep," he told the king in relief, his arms tightening around him, dropping a kiss into his hair. "I'll explain more tomorrow."
With a sleepy smile, Iphicles moved closer against the god and drifted into a peaceful rest.
Soft touches, light uncertain caresses, unsure hands moving gently, so softly and lightly, over him. Half-asleep still, Cupid extended his wings further, allowing more access to the wandering hands. This was delicious. Bolder now, but still careful, those hands stroking again and again over the arch of muscle at the top of his wings.
Cupid moaned slightly and moved again, wings fully open now, inviting more. He kept his eyes closed; to show he was awake might stop it. Like silk, those light hands stroked him, until his cock was so swollen that he began to move very gently against the sheet, looking for relief while pretending still to be asleep. Then a mouth on the skin between his wings, a warm tongue trailing down, and all the time those hands bringing him exquisite pleasure. He moaned again, stretching his wings as far as he could, wordlessly begging for more. A hand on either wing now, occasionally trailing through the long feathers, but concentrating on the sensitive area, stroking, caressing, in a rhythmic pattern that had him moaning and pushing against the bed and begging, please, don't stop, keep touching me there, please, like that, oh. Cupid's wings were rigid suddenly before they dropped and everything went black as he spent his seed into the bed beneath him.
When he could think again, he rolled over onto his back to find Iphicles kneeling, looking down at him, his legs apart and his own cock full and hard from the pleasure he had given his lover. Cupid reached up, pulled the king down on top of him and claimed his mouth. Now it was his turn. He waited until the king was melting into his kiss, then pushed him over onto his back on the bed. Keeping him there, Cupid began to move his mouth over Iphicles' body, learning every part of it, finding out what the king liked, how much he loved the contrast of Cupid's soft mouth and then the roughness of his stubble scraping against his own smooth skin. It didn't seem long before Iphicles was grasping at him, trying to pull Cupid's body against his, searching for relief for his cock, already more aroused than he could bear by his lover's excitement earlier.
Having pushed the king's hands away several times, Cupid raised his head at last and looked at Iphicles. "If you don't stop that, I'll have to do something about it."
"Like what?" the king dared him, reaching out a hand and lightly stroking one of the god's wings in the way he now knew sent him wild.
"Like this." Cupid smiled in satisfaction at Iphicles' sound of surprise as he found himself splayed on his back, wrists and ankles tied with gentle but strong silken ties to the bedposts. "*Now* try and distract me."
His mouth and hands moved over the king, gently stroking his nipples until the king was thrusting up helplessly against the ties, desperately looking for relief for his aching cock. Cupid turned his attention to it briefly, running a finger along the rigid shaft then over the smooth tip, taking the liquid from it. He held the finger out towards Iphicles, but as the king's head lifted eagerly and his lips parted, the god changed his mind and licked it off his finger himself, watching the king as he did so.
"Cupid," Iphicles was half-threatening, half-pleading.
Cupid looked down at him, at the eyes imploring from beneath sweat-soaked curls. He leaned to move the hair away from the king's forehead before tracing a line with his tongue down the side of the king's face, then moving across to lips which were already open and begging for him. He stopped there and pulled away, smiling again at Iphicles' desperation. If the king thought he was desperate now. He had already found out how sensitive his nipples were, how he liked them to be touched. Cupid moved so that he could still watch Iphicles' face as, with the very tip of his wing, he stroked across his chest. Feather-light caresses on the taut brown nipples, again and again, until Iphicles was writhing in his bonds, sobbing incoherently. At that Cupid stood up and walked away from him.
"Cupid!" It was hoarse; too many cries had been ripped from the king's throat already last night and this morning.
The god turned to face him, his cock hard and throbbing as he stood and looked at the king. He reached one hand down and very deliberately stroked the length of his cock, enjoying the way it jerked at his touch, seeing the reaction mirrored by Iphicles' heavy cock.
"Cupid." Delicious desperation. "Please."
Cupid's lips curved. "Don't you know, Iphicles?" he asked, his hand stroking again, steadily, rhythmically, "Love is cruel."
A cry of pure anguish escaped the king, but the only effect it had on the god was for him to speed up his rhythm. As Cupid begin to push into his hand, so Iphicles' hips raised, matching Cupid's thrusts, trying to push his cock into something, anything other than thin air. He began to writhe again, trying to twist, to find something substantial to rub his cock against, but he was tied too tightly. It wasn't until Cupid finally came into his hand that Iphicles relaxed in his struggle, his breath coming as fast as Cupid's, as he lay there watching the god with desperate eyes and a cock that was ready to explode at the very first touch.
Cupid let go of his cock and wiped the sticky seed between his hands. Then holding Iphicles' eyes, he slowly and deliberately moved his hands to his chest and began to stroke them over his nipples. They tightened even more at the contact, glistening under their coating of cum. Iphicles groaned in pain at the sight before him.
At the sound, Cupid walked steadily towards the bed, his godly cock already filling and rising again as he did so. He leaned over Iphicles, not close enough for the king to touch him, but close enough for him to smell the cum on him. "You see, Iphicles," he whispered, a hand trailing gently through the king's hair, "If you get something too easily, you don't appreciate it. This is going to be so much more satisfying for you now, isn't it."
The king's answer was lost as Cupid's tongue thrust into his mouth, then his limbs were suddenly freed. Before he'd fully realised it, Cupid rolled him quickly over onto his front, pulling his hips up until he was on hands and knees, then spreading his ass, and pushing his oiled cock into him. No gentleness this time, just clean powerful thrusts that had the king's head arching backwards and wild sounds escaping him. Hearing these, feeling the king's heat and tightness around him, Cupid felt his own pleasure increase with an intensity he hadn't expected. He thrust deep into the king, groaning as he did so, and then he was reaching to Iphicles' cock, and the king was screaming out his release as Cupid's hand and cock combined to make him come again and again in shuddering delight, his cum spilling over the bed beneath him. Cupid thrust wildly into the king's tight ass, crying out as his excitement built, faster and faster until he was out of control and his seed burst from him. He slumped onto Iphicles sweating back, collapsing together.
After a while, he smiled and kissed his lover's wet skin before rolling off. "Now that was fun, wasn't it?" he asked, trying not to sound too breathless himself.
Iphicles eventually managed to roll over onto his back and glare at the god, an effect somewhat spoiled by the look of awe in his eyes at the intensity of his experience.
Once Iphicles had recovered enough to make it off the bed and into king mode, there wasn't time for Cupid to explain why he was really here. He knew he had to now; he'd known it since he'd seen that look in Iphicles' eyes last night. He was going to have to come clean. But Iphicles was rushing, late enough for the Council meeting as it was. Cupid didn't think any of the Councillors would be too upset by their ruler's lack of punctuality; not when it was so obvious from his swollen lips and tousled hair that he had dragged himself away from a bed of passion to speak to them. That showed real commitment on his behalf, as far as Cupid was concerned.
Cupid looked in on the meeting from time to time, keeping himself hidden even from Iphicles. The king had been trying to look his usual stern and impassive self, but a certain smile kept fondly twisting his lips. With barely veiled glances at one another, the Council eventually agreed mutely they'd get nothing from their king today, and the meeting was adjourned. Iphicles retired immediately to his bedchamber, where Cupid had relocated to wait for his arrival. The god wasn't looking forward to this.
The king allowed the door to close behind him, walking across the floor to Cupid with a smile on his lips. As he watched Iphicles approach, Cupid decided that the explanation could wait a little while. His own mouth curved into a welcoming smile, and then he was kissing the king, or was the king kissing him? No matter, they were holding one another, kissing as though they'd been apart for years rather than hours. His hands ran possessively over Iphicles' ass, and he felt the king's cock immediately respond to his touch. His responsiveness excited Cupid even more, and he thrust his own erection forward, until sounds of need were mixing with the kisses and their hips were pushing against one another. With a thought, Cupid stripped them both. The king gasped as he realised, and felt Cupid's naked cock against his. Then they were kissing again, frantically, while Iphicles' hands reached to Cupid's wings, and Cupid, moaning in helpless delight into the king's mouth, stroked their cocks together. Tongues thrust and gave and took, hands on hot flesh brought Iphicles to a quivering wreck, and Iphicles' touch on his wings had Cupid trembling violently. It was only moments before they came, explosively and almost together; Iphicles' hot cum spattering onto Cupid's cock and hands were too much for the god and he came in a shuddering mindless climax.
They stood there afterwards, heads on one another's shoulder, propping one another up until they were strong enough to move again. Eventually Iphicles pulled back, and kissed Cupid.
"That was one hell of a welcome," he told the god. "But what have you done with my clothes?"
Cupid's lips quirked in a smile; while tempted to leave the king naked, he knew the inevitable conversation couldn't be put off any longer. So he restored both their clothes as he turned away from Iphicles, searching for the best way to tell him.
"Iphicles, you asked me why I was here."
Iphicles was pouring them both a glass of water from the carafe on the table, but as he took in Cupid's words and the god's serious tone, he slowly and carefully put it down.
"Mom asked me to make you fall in love and marry again." There really was no good way to say this. Cupid flashed a glance at Iphicles' face then plunged on. "Uncle Herc's worried that you're lonely, and Mom thought I should find you someone who'd make you a good wife."
Iphicles was deathly pale. "So you're telling me you're here to marry me off to someone, anyone, doesn't matter who, as long as Iphicles gets married again and isn't a problem for Hercules to worry about?"
Why didn't they hold diplomacy classes on Olympus? This wasn't going at all well. "He cares about you, Iphicles; he only wants you to be happy."
"So last night?" The king's eyes glittered with anger. "That was what it was all about - softening me up for this?"
When he saw the hurt in the king, Cupid bit back his comment about it being anything other than softening up that had occurred. "No, Iphicles," he protested. "You were never supposed to know I was here. I was just supposed to make you fall in love with someone when I'd found somebody suitable, and you'd never know. Either of you."
"So what *was* last night about? You just needed a quick leg over and decided I'd do?"
"Last night," Cupid moved forward and ran his hand down Iphicles' cheek, trying to ignore the way the king jerked his head away from him. "Last night, Iphicles, I saw you there and I couldn't help myself. Like this morning. And now." His lips claimed the king's, and for a heady instant Iphicles responded. Then he wrenched away from the god.
"Sorry Cupid," he said with a brittle laugh, "You'll have to get fucked somewhere else today. I'm not in the mood any longer." He walked away across his bedchamber. "Oh, and you can tell Herc from me - no, don't bother, I'll tell him myself."
Cupid materialised in front of him. "I'm sorry Iphicles," he said. "But I'm under orders. And frankly, Mom's a whole lot scarier than you are. So either I can shoot you when you don't know I'm there, or you can have a hand in choosing your future wife. Which d'you want?"
Fury burned for an instant in the king, replaced suddenly by - defeat? Cupid looked for clues and was stunned when he found them. It was Hercules; the king knew he could never win against Hercules. Cupid was still adjusting to that notion when Iphicles spoke. His voice was low and bitter, anger in his tone.
"It seems my choice is irrelevant in the matter - you might as well go ahead and please yourself."
Cupid looked at him. "I thought that Hymeria might do. She seems a very nice girl, pretty, already dreaming about you." He kept his voice carefully neutral, and hid his satisfaction when the king exploded.
"Hymeria?" His voice shot up an octave. "*Hymeria*? And you're the God of *Love*? Zeus help us all - Olympus only knows how we manage to procreate with you doing that job!" He shook his head in disbelief and stared at Cupid again. "You really thought I'd want Hymeria for my wife?"
Cupid's face reflected his confusion. "I don't see what the problem is," he defended. "Well, ok, if you don't like *her*, what about Xsara?"
This time the king didn't explode, but looked long and hard at the god. "Is this your idea of a joke, Cupid?" he asked, eyes narrowing. "Because I don't find it very funny."
"You're so fussy!" Cupid complained. "Ok then, tell me who *you'd* choose."
Iphicles' shoulders slumped slightly. "There's no one," he said.
"*And* you're defeatist," Cupid added. "I'll come to lunch with you and find you someone. Easy as that."
A fierce argument raged during lunch, all the more interesting when Iphicles occasionally forgot and flared up out loud at Cupid, earning odd glances from his neighbours as they surreptitiously edged away from him. At the end of the meal, the only thing they'd agreed on was that they couldn't agree. Every single possibility Cupid picked, Iphicles turned his royal nose up at, and every girl whom Iphicles thought might have promise, Cupid found some fault with. The king left for his afternoon audience with the local magistrates with his marriage plans no further forward.
He returned to his bedchamber in the late afternoon to change ready for dinner. He seemed resigned to Cupid's presence there, but he was no less hostile towards the god. Cupid sighed. If it wasn't for what he'd said last night, he'd have had no regrets about loving Iphicles the way he had. And the way the king had touched his wings. Cupid had never before had a lover who'd done so quite like that. But he was the God of Love, he was supposed to be here to make his life better for him, and instead he'd just ended up hurting him.
He gave the king space, wandering out onto the balcony as Iphicles washed and changed. It was a nice view out over the gardens and high enough to be private. The bank of thick thornbushes planted beneath it were there to discourage any intruders, but they also served to keep those using the gardens at bay to some extent. It was a place to sit and watch without having to be watched too closely in return. It was, Cupid realised, a perfect vantage point from which to fulfil his mission.
"Hey, Iphicles," he called.
The king came out to Cupid, doing up his shirt as he did so. "What?" he demanded.
Cupid elected to ignore the king's obvious ill-humour. "Her, in the blue and green dress. Nice!"
The king's lip curled. "Worst gossip in the court, and believe me, that's saying something."
"Well if that's it," Iphicles began to turn away to go back inside.
"Iphicles," Cupid said. Iphicles paused, half faced away from the god, his jaw clenched rigid.
"I'm sorry," Cupid said at last. "I shouldn't have done what I did. I should never have let you know I was here."
There was another awkward silence before the beginnings of a laugh were very reluctantly dragged out of Iphicles. "And I'd have ended up with one of *your* choices?" he said, turning back and glancing at Cupid. "Thanks, but
Almost light-headed with relief, Cupid pointed to the first female figure he saw.
"Well what about that one?"
"Cupid!" Iphicles looked, then turned and stared at him in disgust. "Are you blind, or are you blind? She's about twelve years old."
"Oops. Guess Corinthian girls mature fast," Cupid muttered.
"Guess they do." The king's tone was ironic, but at least now he appeared resigned to making the best of the situation. He moved forward and leaned on the balustrade next to him. "*She's* nice though, Perpetua. Very nice girl. Kind."
And about as much fun in bed as a wet dishcloth, Cupid thought. No, actually, not as much fun as that. You could do some very interesting things with wet dishcloths. "Nah, too thin. You need childbearing hips, Iphicles."
As the king turned to look at him extremely oddly, Cupid elucidated. "Not that *you* need childbearing hips, but your wife does. Mom said so."
"Mom said so, did she?" Iphicles queried. "And what else does Mom say my wife has to have?"
Cupid dug around until he found the scrap of parchment. Iphicles read through, his eyebrows raising as he did so. He hesitated, holding on to the list.
"All this," he waved the parchment, "Does this mean we never really fall in love? I mean, not of our own accord, we just think we have? Me and Rena, Herc and Deianeira - was that love, or did one of the gods set it all up?"
Cupid's smile was rueful. "You didn't really believe in true love, did you Iphicles? Sure, sometimes we just lend a helping hand, but find any couple who are really in love, not just convenient, or content, and me or Mom will have had something to do with it."
Iphicles seemed a little disconcerted and passed the list back to the god in silence. As he tucked it away safely again, Cupid suddenly realised that this was his opportunity; if they could find somebody and agree on her, it was the perfect time for him to shoot them. He turned away, back into the chamber, in search of his bow. Then stopped at the door as Iphicles whistled under his breath.
"Now why have I never seen *her* before?" he demanded.
Interest piqued, Cupid came back and peered over Iphicles' shoulder, trying to follow his line of vision.
"In the orange," Iphicles elaborated. He glanced over his shoulder at Cupid. "What was that about no such thing as true love? I think I just found it all on my own."
He had a point all right; she was stunning. It was the girl with the heart-shaped face who Cupid had noticed yesterday. But there was something he just couldn't like about her. She just wasn't right for Iphicles. She wasn't good enough for him.
"Too old," he declared. He saw Iphicles was about to object. "Seriously, if she doesn't match up to Mom's list, I can't do it, Iphicles."
Iphicles gave an exasperated sigh. "And you call *me* fussy?" he complained. "Well what about her in the green dress? She laughs a lot, and she's pretty when she smiles."
"But look at her ankles," Cupid jibbed. "Do you really want a wife with thick ankles?"
Iphicles considered for a while. "They're not *that* thick," he said at last, "And it's not as though I'm perfect either. I think she'll do."
"What about your children though, Iphicles - would you really want to bring into the world a bunch of thick-ankled daughters who you'll never be able to marry off?"
"But you've refused all the other ones I could bear to be with," Iphicles protested, straightening up, although his eyes still scanned the gardens for possible brides. "There's no one else left."
"Hmmm, good point," Cupid mused. He was silent for a time, watching the king's back, before he continued. "It puts us in a rather difficult position, really, doesn't it? I mean, I've tried to do what Mom ordered; it's not *my* fault you're fussy." He moved close behind Iphicles and his arms slid round the king's waist. Iphicles stood frozen.
"But she's determined you know, my Mom, so seeing as we've drawn a blank here, I think I'd better stay until your next lot of foreign dignitaries come visiting. Just in case they have any possibles with them, don't you think?" He pulled Iphicles against him and reached to nibble his ear.
The king was finding it hard to breathe suddenly. "You mean because I can't be trusted to make the right choice on my own?" he got out.
"Something like that," Cupid whispered into his ear, one hand slipping inside his shirt. Iphicles shuddered as the god's nails grazed gently over a nipple.
"But with you being so fussy, and with my list of requirements," the god continued, his hard cock pressing against Iphicles, and his other hand moving to the bulge in the king's pants, "It's beginning to look to me as though we'll never manage to agree on one."
Iphicles moaned softly as the god stroked him through the leather. "So this could take a long time?" he interpreted breathlessly at last.
"Without a doubt," Cupid agreed, his voice husky. His hand continued rubbing Iphicles' cock, while he pushed his own erection against the king's ass in an unmistakable rhythm. They were breathing hard by the time Cupid started to unlace the king's pants, and moans escaped them both when Cupid's hand finally wrapped around Iphicles' cock, his own hips still rocking against Iphicles' ass. His hand lovingly explored the king's cock, then he reached for Iphicles' hand and placed it beneath his own, continuing the rhythm encouragingly for a moment so that when he removed his hand, the king was still stroking himself. Cupid pulled away for an instant, but only an instant, in which time he worked the king's pants further down, then he was pressing back against the king's bare skin, his leather kilt raised so that his hot flesh moved against his lover. Iphicles moaned again at the feel, and Cupid very gently spread his ass, before smoothly pushing inside. The king's breathing stopped for a moment, and then Cupid reached his arms back around him, claiming Iphicles' cock again as he slowly pushed his oiled cock in and out of Iphicles' tightness, while his hand gave pleasure to the king's cock and his mouth buried itself in the royal neck. "Iphicles," he whispered, his hips increasing their movement slightly, "Iphicles."
They stood there, the movement of Cupid's hips rocking them both gently, as the god's other hand worked its way inside his shirt and against Iphicles' chest, holding the king even closer to him. With a series of soft gasps, Cupid came just as Iphicles' trembling signified the onset of his own orgasm.
They stayed there for a time, supporting one another in the dizzy aftermath of their release, before retreating to the bedchamber where they lay together on the bed, their soft murmurs drifting through the open doors and into the late afternoon sun.
Aphrodite looked into the viewing mirror and turned gleefully to her husband. "Gnarly!" she pronounced happily.
Hephaestus didn't look quite so sure. "I'll think I'll leave *you* to explain this one to Hercules," he told his wife.