"Another meringue, Your Highness?"
"No, thank you," Iphicles murmured through clenched teeth. It took all of his self-control not to jam the platter into the waiter's unctuously smiling face. The man was a leech. He hovered, and simpered, and offered the damn meringues every two minutes, as if sheer repetition would make the King change his mind. Iphicles was starting to wonder if he could get away with executing someone for being a bloody nuisance.
In the years since his coronation, Iphicles had learned to regard the annual banquet at Cupid's temple as a sort of penance. An evening of suffering to atone for a year's worth of his sins, whatever they were. He knew that most people would find this view surprising. The temple's dining hall was a pleasant, airy place, the chairs were comfortable, and the priests were far better company than Hestia's virgins or Apollo's snooty followers. No, Iphicles certainly couldn't complain about the setting or the company. It was the food that killed him, every time.
Cold strawberry soup, with little bunches of sugared violets floating in the center of each bowl. Boned trout baked between layers of orange slices. Roast quail glazed with honey, stuffed with minced almonds. Pears poached in wine, served in individual little pots that released puffs of clove and cinnamon-scented steam when uncovered. By itself, each dish was exquisite. But the cumulative affect was so cloyingly sweet, Iphicles thought he could feel his teeth rotting as he chewed. And then the desserts showed up.
The meringues were perfect hemispheres, dusted with pink powdered sugar and topped with candied cherries. Iphicles thought it was pretty tacky, though not nearly as bad as the sausage-shaped pastry rolls that squirted whipped cream when you bit into them. He dutifully ate one of each, but no power in the world was going to make him take seconds.
"Some fruit, Highness?" A new waiter appeared at Iphicles' side, presenting a laden tray for inspection. Iphicles examined it hopefully, but the hope was quickly dashed. The temple's chef was obviously determined to leave no lily unpainted. The strawberries were dipped in chocolate and rolled in crushed almonds. The apple slices gleamed beneath a layer of honey syrup. Each individual grape had been brushed with a sugary glaze that made it look like frosted glass. There wasn't a single edible thing in the entire gorgeous pile.
Except... "What are those?" Iphicles' hand hovered cautiously over a small pyramid of unfamiliar fruits at the center of the tray. They didn't look like much -- purple and wrinkled, resembling dessicated plums more than anything else. But Iphicles had reached the point where he was willing to eat ground glass if it wasn't sugar-coated.
"Oh, do try one, My Lord." The waiter, a blond young man in an acolyte's white robe, smiled prettily at him. "A ship brought them in fresh this morning. They're called passion fruit."
"Passion fruit." Iphicles picked one up and held it up to the light. "How... interesting." He didn't see much to inspire passion. But the fruit felt firm when he squeezed it, surprisingly heavy for its size, and it sloshed a little when he shook it. It would be dense on the inside, and succulent. And not too sweet. Please, gods, not too sweet... Iphicles took a deep breath, and bit into the wrinkly skin.
It proved firmer and thicker than he expected, and offered a moment of resistance, before yielding to the pressure of his teeth and spurting syrupy juice all over the back of his hand. Iphicles barely managed to lap up the spill from his knuckles before it could drip on the tablecloth. A tart, lemony flavor filled his mouth, cool and soothing, accompanied by a fragrance that made Iphicles think of exotic flowers.
"That's... amazing." He sucked the last sticky drops from his fingers, momentarily discarding royal dignity and table manners. "Wonderful. There must be a neater way to eat it, though."
"Yes, My Lord." The waiter's smile grew sunnier, and his green eyes twinkled. He took another passion fruit from the tray and handed it to Iphicles with a slight bow. "You cut it in half first. Then just hold it gently in your hand, and... suck." He dropped his voice to a husky whisper on the last word, but spoiled the effect with an ill-concealed giggle. "It's quite easy, really."
"I think I can manage that." Iphicles leaned forward to reach for a paring knife, then froze as the soft fabric of his trousers suddenly stretched tight against his cock.
Oh, great. Of all the lousy timing... He shifted in his chair, trying to relieve the pressure. It didn't help. Damn. And people were looking at him, too. There was Petros, the High Priest, beaming at him from across the table, obviously relieved that his royal guest had finally found some food to his liking. Iphicles plastered a polite smile on his face, and picked up the knife.
Halved, the passion fruit revealed an amber-colored, pulpy inside, like a cross between a pomegranate and an orange. The bits of pulp burst when he bit into them, revealing tiny seeds that added a pleasant crispness to the texture. Iphicles sucked, and his cock twitched, as if it, too, wanted a taste.
Pipe down, Iphicles told it irritably. You're just having a sugar rush.
Suck. Twitch. Dammit! This would not do. Cupid's priests were an open-minded bunch, but even they might look askance at the guest of honor getting his rocks off in the middle of a banquet. Maybe a little fresh air would help...
Iphicles pushed his chair back and rose to his feet. "Excuse me a moment," he choked out, and strode from the room with all the authority he could muster, which wasn't much. He could only hope that the other diners would be too polite to look at his crotch. Or at least too politic to remark on it.
His intention was to go outside to cool off, but he must've taken a wrong turn somewhere, because the door at the end of the hallway opened not into the garden as he expected, but into the altar room. It was a large, circular chamber with a domed ceiling, decorated exactly as one would expect from a temple dedicated to the God of Love. Painted statues embraced in shadowy alcoves, frozen in moments of ecstasy. Stained-glass orgies gleamed in the windows. The wall hangings, the vases, the mosaic floor -- every available surface displayed scenes of erotic bliss. Only the altar itself was unadorned, a smooth block of polished white marble, gleaming in the center of the room like a block of ice.
Of all the places to be fighting off a sudden attack of libido, this had to be the worst. Iphicles turned, intending to retrace his steps and make another attempt to find the exit, then abruptly changed his mind. What was the point, anyway? His cock was rock-hard, his hands were sweating, and no amount of fresh air was going to do him any good. Might as well stay and get a grip on the problem.
Iphicles reached down to unfasten his trousers, and realized for the first time that he was still clutching half a passion fruit in one hand. Littering in a temple seemed like a bad idea, so he walked forward and put it on the altar. It was customary to leave an offering, wasn't it? And Cupid would appreciate the name of the fruit. Hopefully.
He was half-way done unlacing his pants, when the door swung open behind him.
Iphicles spun around, boots skidding on the smooth floor. He had to brace his hands on the altar behind him to keep from falling. He could feel the blood rushing to his face, which was vaguely surprising -- he'd thought it had all gone to his cock.
"You left so suddenly, I was concerned." It was the boy from the banquet, the one who had served him the fruit. He looked a lot less boyish now, still young but tall and broad-shouldered, with a knowing gleam in his green eyes. He walked toward Iphicles, moving with a light, easy grace that hinted at a perfectly honed body beneath that flowing robe. "Can I help you with something?"
A thousand excuses sprang to Iphicles' mind, each one lamer than the last. Once again, he decided there was no point. He was standing in front of Cupid's altar with his pants half undone, and a hard-on the size of Mount Olympus trying to poke its way out. Any explanation would be redundant. Besides, here was a beautiful young man, obviously anxious to help. And what was the point of being King, after all, if you couldn't get other people to do the work once in a while?
"You sure can," he drawled, taking an unsteady step toward the boy. "You see, I seem to be having this... problem..."
"I've noticed." The boy hooked two fingers behind Iphicles' waistband and pulled him close, pressing their bodies together. "Let me make it better..." He tilted his head back, eyes half-lidded, lips parted in invitation. Beneath the heavy silk folds of the robe, his body felt hard and wiry, slim rather than bulky. He was a little shorter than the King, just the right height for a comfortable kiss.
Iphicles leaned forward and covered the acolyte's lips with his own, thrusting his tongue into that lovely, inviting mouth. The boy must've been picking at the banquet, because he tasted of wine and spices. And passion fruit. Iphicles whimpered into the kiss.
He didn't even notice the hands tugging his trousers down, until the sudden relief of pressure around his cock, and the caress of cool air on overheated skin. A teasing fingertip traced the length of his shaft from base to tip, then retreated, leaving him trembling with need. Iphicles moaned and rocked his hips forward, desperate for another touch. All he got was a feather-light brush of silk against the head of his cock, as the boy broke their embrace and took a step back.
Iphicles wanted to follow, but his pants were folded down around his boot tops, which made it impossible to walk. Even standing was difficult; he had to grip the edge of the altar again to maintain his balance.
"You're not... making it... better."
"I will," the boy promised, and sank gracefully to his knees, the white robe making a rippling pool of silk on the floor around him. He braced one hand against the side of the altar, and wrapped the other around Iphicles' cock, lifting the swollen head toward his mouth.
"That's it," Iphicles breathed. "It's easy. Just hold it gently in your hand and... suck."
"Shh. I know what I'm doing."
He did, too. He licked Iphicles' cock with an eager tongue, lapped up the sticky drops that beaded at the tip, then sucked its entire length into his mouth with no apparent effort. The King's knees turned to water. He slumped against the altar, unmindful of the stone's coldness, or of the sharp marble edge digging into the back of his thighs. The boy was doing things with his throat that shouldn't have been humanly possible, tensing and relaxing the muscles in a steady rhythm, curling his tongue under Iphicles' balls... Gods on Olympus, didn't the kid need to breathe?
A strong, insistent hand pushed at his chest, and he let himself be guided backwards and down, to sprawl across the altar with his arms dangling over the sides. The shift in position freed his cock, making him sob in frustration. He was so close, dammit, another second and he would've come...
The boy climbed up to straddle him, strong thighs squeezing Iphicles' hips, holding him in place. His robe had fallen open, and the smooth bronze body it revealed exceeded every expectation. He wore nothing underneath, not even a breechcloth, and his cock jutted aggressively from its nest of wiry blond curls. Iphicles ached to reach out and touch it, but couldn't find the strength to lift his arms.
"Well, well, what have we got here?" The boy held out one hand, and Iphicles saw that he was holding the passion fruit half he'd left on the altar earlier. "An offering. And such an appropriate one, too. Mustn't let it go to waste." He squeezed the fruit until the juice welled up, then rubbed it slowly up and down against Iphicles' straining cock. The King writhed and arched his back, groaning his need at the domed ceiling. The pulpy fruit felt cool and slick against his skin, a sensation that might've been pleasant earlier on in the game, but not now. Not when his whole body was wracked with need, every muscle coiled, every raw nerve screaming for release. He didn't want cool and slick, he wanted hot and tight, wanted, needed, wantedneeded...
The boy tossed the dessicated fruit aside and rose up higher on his knees. "Hold on now," he whispered, and slowly sank down again, impaling himself on Iphicles' cock as effortlessly as he had deep-throated it earlier. Iphicles' moans turned to ragged, shuddering gasps. Ah, yes, hot and tight, just like he wanted...
It was not in Iphicles' nature to take pleasure without giving. Somehow he managed to lift his arms, to wrap both hands around his lover's cock and stroke in time with his pumping hips. The boy responded with an appreciative grunt and a hard, fast thrust. His face was starting to look different somehow, older, more chiseled, though the lopsided grin and mischievous green eyes stayed the same. His robe billowed out behind him, though Iphicles could feel no breeze. Huge, gleaming folds of white silk flapped in the air like wings. Or maybe they *were* wings, he couldn't tell; his cock was pulsing inside his lover's ass, his vision was blurring, and all he could see was white...
"Your Highness!" Petros' voice jolted Iphicles out of his post-coital daze. He rubbed his eyes and sat up, wincing in embarrassment as he took stock of his condition. Half-naked, disheveled, sticky with sweat and semen... lying on an altar in the middle of one of his city's largest temples, with the High Priest looking on from the doorway.
"Petros. Hi. I was just... uhm..."
"Enjoying your dessert, Your Highness?" Petros did not look at all offended. In fact, he looked rather pleased. "I'm glad you found the banquet to your liking."
"That I did." Iphicles' discomfiture faded in the face of the priest's obvious good humor. This was the Temple of Love, after all. Possibly the only place in all of Corinth where Iphicles could get away with doing what he just did.
And what did I do, exactly? There was no sign of a blond, green-eyed acolyte anywhere in the room. Iphicles tried to remember if he saw him leaving, but the last image he could recall was of billowing white wings. Had he really seen it? Had it really happened the way it seemed, or had he just jerked off to a particularly vivid dream?
He got to his feet and pulled his pants back on, fastening the laces with unsteady hands. Something on the altar caught his eye, and he leaned forward to get a better look. A single snowy feather lay near the edge, barely visible against the white stone. Iphicles' face broke into a wide, giddy grin at the sight of it. Picking up the feather, he tucked it inside his vest and walked out of the room, whistling.
Disclaimer: Yes, I know they didn't have passion fruit in Ancient Greece. What's your point?