In Vino Veritas
By Toridon and Liandra

Dionysus fidgeted nervously against the eastern wall of the large room, adjusting the drape of the dark blue cloak and surreptitiously arranging his golden-brown curls.  He knew everyone there, but only by sight.  He had never had any dealings with any of the gods before ascending to Olympus, and the only ones he had ever even spoken to were Hestia and Demeter and, of course, Zeus.  Maybe the annual ball in celebration of the day Zeus took control of Olympus from the Titans wasn't the best place to make a maiden Olympic appearance, but at least he would encounter the entire immortal population at once.  Still, he envied the easy familiarity he saw around him, and he hated feeling so excluded.

Not that it should have surprised him.  Hestia had warned him repeatedly, telling him bluntly that Olympus was a bad choice for him.  "It's a closed club," she had said severely.  "They will never see you as anything but an outsider because you weren't born there.  Aphrodite will try to make you feel welcome, and of course Hephaestus, for all the good *that* will do.  And Cupid may -- if he's in the mood -- take you under his wing, so to speak.  But the rest "  Her voice had trailed off.

He had laughed, dismissing her concerns.  "It can't be that bad!"

"It is."  He would never forget the sight of the morose expression on her face as it hovered in the flames.  "I am thrilled to be leaving.  Ares and Apollo will show you no mercy, Athena and Artemis will sneer at you just because you're male, Hera will mourn the fact that standards have fallen to such a level as to ever admit you.  And Zeus will ignore the whole thing, if you're lucky."

"If I'm lucky?"

"Yes.  Otherwise, he'll blame you for not being able to fit in.  Pray that he chooses to ignore it."

Yes, he had smiled condescendingly at her words.  But she had been right.  The other gods socialized and chatted, sometimes right next to him, but not one of them had done more than toss him a cursory glance or a grudging acknowledgment.  Not even Cupid had done more than that.

He watched anxiously for Hephaestus and Aphrodite, hoping that Hestia had been right about them.

* * * * * * * * * *

The couple arrived a short time later.  They were quite the unusual pair:  Aphrodite, lovely face glowing radiantly and spectacular form draped in a filmy negligee of shimmering gold, Hephaestus drably attired in suede leathers indistinguishable from his daily wear except for the missing smears of soot.  The god of fire was by no means what one could call handsome, but his eyes betrayed intelligence and a sense of humor.  Dionysus picked up the thread of their conversation as they neared him, and he chuckled to himself as he watched Aphrodite tug determinedly on her husband's arm, propelling him through the center of the room.

"Come on, Hephster, get a move on!  We're already late, and you know how Daddy gets about tardiness."

Hephaestus rolled his eyes.  "Well, we don't wanna piss off Daddy, do we?" he mumbled, mimicking her tone.

"Dionysus!  Welcome to Olympus!"  Aphrodite wrapped her arms around his neck, placing a fervent kiss on the side of his face.  "I wanted to be here before you arrived, but *somebody* was taking his own sweet time getting ready."  She shot a look of exaggerated emphasis at her husband, sighing melodramatically.  "My sweet hubby.  And Hephy, this is our new god of wine."

"Yeah, killer beverage, man," Hephaestus commented with a smile, motioning with the goblet he had appropriated the second they had materialized in the ballroom.  "I was just telling Dite that I heard you had decided to move topside.  I guess it's true, huh?"

"Yes, with Hestia stepping down, the time was right," Dionysus replied as his eyes roamed all over Aphrodite.  From a distance she was eye-catching, but up close, she was breathtaking.  He felt a flush creep up his neck when he noted Hephaestus' bemused smile at his open ogling of the goddess.  "Sorry.  Forgot my manners."

Hephaestus shrugged.  "Don't sweat it, Dion.  Happens all the time."  He jerked his head in his wife's direction.  "Anyway, she pretty much counts on it, ya know?"

Dionysus laughed.  "I'm sure she has nothing to worry about on that score."

"Everybody been cutting you dead?" Hephaestus asked in a matter-of-fact tone.

Dionysus looked steadily at him.  "Well, new kid on the block and all that, Heph.  It's to be expected."

"Yeah, I guess," he said doubtfully.  "It's the must-attend event of the year, according to my wife.  And Zeus."  He rolled his eyes.  "Oh, yeah, miss Zeus' little party and see if you can do anything right for months afterward.  But it's not *mandatory*, don't ya know."

Dionysus nodded sagely.  He had heard from Hestia all about the politics of Olympus.  "But at least it should prove to be entertaining."

Hephaestus looked at him skeptically.  "Yeah?  How do you figure?"

"Oh, just for the god-watching aspect, I think."  He thought for a moment.  "The uneasy meshing of the socially adept with the personality-deprived, shall we say."

Hephaestus grinned.  "Well, speaking on behalf of the personality-deprived group, thank you.  And fuck you, man."

"My pleasure.  Any time," Dionysus said with a slight chuckle.

"Grody!" Aphrodite exclaimed suddenly, and he and Hephaestus looked at her in surprise, having forgotten she was still standing there.  "How many times have I told Athena, that color does nothing for her!  No wonder she never gets laid.  Get a clue, Sis!"

Hephaestus rolled his eyes, shaking his head slightly.  "Why am I not surprised?"  Seeing the confused look on Dionysus' face, he leaned closer and spoke in a conspiratorial tone to the younger god.  "This happens every year.  The instant we get to Olympus, Dite starts in dissin' everyone's wardrobe."

Aphrodite crossed her arms and glared at Hephaestus.  "Well, someone has to.  I mean, check out Mommy Dearest.  Lose the feathers, chick!  They are sooo five minutes ago!"  She continued her rambling critique in a breathless voice.  "And look at "

"See what I mean?" Hephaestus asked, cocking his eyebrow at Dionysus.  Suddenly he frowned, his eyes narrowed at a point over Dionysus' shoulder.  "Uh-oh."

"Something wrong, Heph?" Dionysus asked, turning around to see what had caused Hephaestus' look of consternation.

"I promised Ares I'd have some of the weapons he requested done by the next time I saw him."

"And?"

"He's here, and they're not," Hephaestus said with a sigh.

Dionysus followed Hephaestus' gaze to find the large, heavily muscled figure wearing ornately studded formal black leathers slowly threading his way through the crowd in their direction.  He had seen the god of war before, but never close up.  He made a low whistle of appreciation.  "Wow."

Hephaestus laughed softly.  "He kind of sucks all the oxygen out of the room, doesn't he?"

"Yeah, he does.  I didn't realize he was that big."  The god was built on a large scale overall.  He stood several inches over six feet.  The massive leonine head topped an upper body wide enough through the chest and shoulders to block anyone behind him from sight.  The chest, covered with a thick tangle of black hair clearly visible through the "V" of the vested tunic, tapered to a narrow waist that flowed into long legs.  And everywhere Dionysus looked, his eyes found hard muscle.

"Yeah, he does."  He looked back at the god of fire.  "He's your brother, right?"

"Yeah."  Both of them watched him toss his head, laughing at one of Cupid's quips, and then lean down to speak something into Psyche's ear, one arm of unbelievable proportions slipping smoothly around her waist.  He stopped to chat with Hera and Zeus, sliding gracefully around Poseidon and Apollo, and sidestepping Gaia with a respect that could be clearly seen even at this distance.  His progress through the room was unhurried, relaxed -- and inexorable.

Dionysus turned to Hephaestus.  "He IS coming over here, isn't he?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Who?"

Hephaestus laid his bad hand on his wife's arm and pointed.  "Ares."

"Oh, for -- Heph, you promised you would give it a rest tonight!"  She glared at them, a petulant expression on her face, and braced her hands on her hips.  "This is a party -- NO WORK!"

He smiled mildly at her.  "Umm, tell your brother that, okay?"

"Tell your brother what?"  He leaned down and kissed Aphrodite on the cheek.  "You look good enough to eat, lovely lady.  Heph.  And who are you?"

Dionysus felt himself flushing under the frank appraisal of sable eyes that swept over him from head to toe in a cool wave.

"Ares, this is Dionysus.  You know -- he's taking Hestia's place."

"Oh, yeah.  I heard she was going to step down.  Wanted to spend her time baking bread and growing flowers, or some crap like that."  He lifted a goblet from a passing slave's tray.  "So   Are those for me, Heph?"  He motioned toward the rough burlap sack that lay on the floor at Hephaestus' feet.

"No.  That's something else."

Ares' face darkened.  "Not to be unreasonable, but I have a war going on.  My troops are waiting on you, pal."

"Uh-uh!"  They all turned to look at the goddess, gold robes shaking as she stamped her foot.  "I told him, and now I'm telling you, Ares:  No business tonight!"  She crossed her arms under her breasts.  "This is a party, you guys!  Parties are supposed to be fun!"

"I'll go along with that."  Radiant in ebony silk patterned with insets of red and yellow flames, Discord slid under Ares' arm and glued herself to his side.  "You said we were going to have fun, cuz."

Other than removing her long-nailed hand from where it had crept inside his tunic, Ares ignored her.  "Ladies, why don't you go see what delights live on the buffet table?"  He cut Aphrodite off in mid-word.  "Give us just a minute, and then we'll be done.  And we can all get back to having a good time.  Now go."  He waved his fingers at the two goddesses in dismissal.  "Go.  Bye-bye."

He turned back to Hephaestus.  "So?"

Hephaestus cleared his throat uneasily.  "Well, ya see, Ares, I've been kinda chillin' lately.  Dite's been on my ass for some quality time," he stalled weakly.  "It's a woman thing.  You know how it is."

Ares frowned deeply, stepping closer to him.  "So you're telling me that you don't have them finished?" he asked in an ominous tone.

"These things take time, Ares.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  Neither are the weapons that you require."  He glanced quickly over at Dionysus.  "So why don't you just chill out, enjoy the party and come by the forge in a few days?  They'll be ready and waiting."

Ares sighed, his face stormy.

"Hey, I'll even throw in some new shields as a bonus, okay?"  Hephaestus offered quickly.

"All right," Ares agreed reluctantly.  "Two days, but no more!" he added sternly.

Hephaestus gave him a thumbs-up sign as Aphrodite came back over to join them.  "Ares, you better get a leash for the teen hagster you came with," Aphrodite commented irritably, glaring over her shoulder at the petite dark-haired goddess who stood in conversation with Hera and Demeter.

"Oh?  Why's that?" he asked carelessly.

"Well, let's just say that she's over there oozing up to Mom, hinting that she'll be filing for double occupancy in the Halls of War any time now.  Can we say delusional?" she asked, rolling her eyes in disgust.

"You know Discord well enough, Sis," Ares said with a chuckle.  "She's always had a tendency to let her mouth outdistance her brain."  He turned back to his brother.  "So, Heph, what's in the bag?" he asked with mild curiosity.

"Ummm.  Party favors."

"Excuse me?  What, noise makers and confetti?"  Ares smiled patronizingly.  "Aw, Heph, that's sweet."

"For this crowd?  Don't think so."  Hephaestus looked at Ares, pain in his face.  "Don't give me a hard time, okay?"  He took the sack out of Ares' hand.  "They're for later."

"Special request from Dad?"  It was obvious that Ares' interest was growing in direct proportion to Hephaestus' refusal to open the bag.  He reached for it again.  "C'mon, let me see."

"Ares, get a grip, will you?  You're like a little kid at a candy counter."

The war god rolled his eyes.  "Fine.  Keep your little secret."  He ducked, his arm knocking Hephaestus out of the way.  "Shit, Artemis, watch the fucking arrows!"

"See, I TOLD you -- The arc is off," she said to Athena.  She stopped, looking first at Ares, then at Hephaestus sprawled on the floor.  "Oops.  Sorry, Heph."

"HEPHY!"  Aphrodite swooped down on her mate, making cooing sounds of sympathy.  "Artie, like, bag that thing, will you?"

"Or take it outside.  Mom'll fry you if you do anything to her precious tapestries."  Ares took his arm, helping him up.

"No sweat," he said, getting to his feet with difficulty.  "First interesting thing that's happened here."

Dionysus watched the whole thing, wanting to laugh, but not sure if that was the protocol.  But they all looked so serious

"So glad we amuse you.  Whoever you are."  Athena eyed him coldly.

"He's --"

All right, he thought with sudden irritation.  "Dionysus.  Hestia's replacement.  Nice to meet you.  Terribly sorry, but I'm not sure who you are."

"Athena," she said haughtily.

"Right.  You're the voice of reason to Ares' arm of steel, right?"  Out of the corner of his eye, he caught the smile twitching Hephaestus' lips.

"I suppose."  Her lips pressed tightly together.  "Pleased to meet you."  She turned rigidly to her sister.  "Artemis, I can show you how to correct that angle."  She took the other goddess' arm and walked quickly away.

"Later.  Gotta circulate."  Ares turned on his heel and strode off.

"Something I said?"  Dionysus said, mock innocence in his voice.

"Oh, man, that was great!"  Hephaestus laughed loudly, the chuckles bubbling out of his throat.  "Zing, zing!  Athena's a consort and Ares is a barbarian.  Two immortals with one blow!"

"The terrible twosome will make you pay for that, sweetcheeks.  And it won't be pretty."  But Aphrodite smiled at him.  "Still, I gotta admit, that was good, baby."

"Thanks."

She kissed her husband on the cheek.  "You want anything, Heph?"

"Wanna get me some munchies?"

"Sure, baby."  She floated off in the direction of the buffet.

Dionysus looked around, seeing eyes turned in his direction from all corners of the room.  He turned back to Hephaestus.

"This party is putting my feet to sleep.  Does it ever get good?"

Hephaestus shook his head.  "Seriously, this thing is a major bore.  I usually spend my time listening to the goddesses bitch about each other, or I watch Ares work the room trying to lure the unsuspecting into his latest scheme.  Big fucking thrill, oh yeah."  He shot a careful glance to his left and right, then studied Dionysus for a moment.  "But this time things may go down a little differently."

"What do you mean?"

"I've been working for about a year on these little babies, and they might liven things up a bit," Hephaestus said.  He nudged the burlap sack on the floor with his toe, and Dionysus heard a muffled whirring sound.

"What's in the bag?" he asked curiously.

Hephaestus grinned.  "Funny you should ask."  His face took on a wicked, almost malicious grin as he filled Dionysus in on his plans.

"Heph!  You can't be serious!  Wouldn't that be cause for some sort of Olympic retribution or something?" Dionysus asked, his face pinched into a severe frown.

"No, no, see, I got that all wired, man.  Everybody will be involved and the whole mountain will be rockin'!"  He laughed gaily.  "And wait till ya get a load of Ares in action.  He won't know what hit him!  Talk about blowin' his mind!"

"I don't know," Dionysus stated, shaking his head softly.  He had heard Hephaestus could be somewhat wild, but he hadn't imagined anything like this.

"Come on!" Hephaestus coaxed teasingly, thumping Dionysus' shoulder sharply.  "All it would take is a little bit of your booze and Cupid's special potion.  Speak of the devil, here he comes now."

"Hey, Heph," Cupid greeted, joining them.  He nodded slightly at Dionysus before turning to Hephaestus.  "I see you brought the goods.  Cool."

"You ready?" Hephaestus asked.  "Dion's in with us."

"Again, cool," the winged god replied.  "Your wine's about to pack a lotta punch, dude."

"Wait a minute," Dionysus said quietly as Cupid turned to leave.

"Yeah?" he said impatiently.

"Come on, man!" Hephaestus pleaded.

Dionysus sighed.  "There's no need to spike the wine.  I brought some that I was planning to save for later this evening.  You could say it packs a punch of its own."

Hephaestus once again clapped Dionysus on the back, laughing heartily.  "Groovy!  I knew I was gonna like you!"

"That's cool," Cupid said deliberately, "but what about what's being passed around now?"

Dionysus shrugged.  "That's regular wine.  Superior vintage," he said automatically, "but no additives."

"Right.  That's the situation that needs fixing."  He slipped a flask out of the inside flap of his tunic and shook it gently.

"And just what is that?" Dionysus asked pointedly.

"Go juice."

"Excuse me?"

Cupid's wings fluttered with irritation.  "Xanthyum extract, dude.  Lethal to mortals, but it's like a major rush to gods.  It drives them outta their gourds!"

Oh, man, he thought to himself.  "I'm familiar with the herb."

Cupid grinned evilly.  "Then you know all, my friend.  By the time this stuff gets in circulation, there's no telling what might happen.  And they won't even know what hit 'em!"

"Here's the munchies you wanted."  Aphrodite absently handed Hephaestus a china plate heaped with goodies, her eyes following Cupid as he moved rapidly toward the wine carafes at the far end of the buffet table.

"Thanks, Honey Buns," he replied, digging into the items on the plate with gusto.

"What's with my son?  You three were like deep in discussion."  Her eyes narrowed.  "Heph, are you guys up to something?"

Dionysus stifled a giggle at the deliberate look of innocence on Hephaestus' face.  "No!  Of course not!  Nothing's going down that I know about."  With a wink at Dionysus, he added under his breath, "Just every god in the room, if we're lucky."

"Huh?  Did you say something?" she asked faintly, distracted by the progress of The Muses as they rushed by in matching dresses.  "I'm so sure!" she muttered.  "What kinda statement is that supposed to be?  Call in the skank patrol!"

Dionysus watched Cupid stride cockily back across the room, the tips of his wings fluttering in excitement.  He felt a shiver of anticipation run deliciously up his spine as he watched the party guests congregating around the wine table.

"Well, that's that," Cupid said smugly, glancing around to make sure no one was any the wiser.  "Is that your special wine in those barrels in the alcove, Dion?"

"Yeah.  Why?"

Cupid laughed.  "Well, just to be on the safe side, I gave them an extra pop."  He grinned widely.  "And I told the stewards to bring that stuff out now."

"All right!"  Hephaestus said, further words lost in giggles.

Terrific, Dionysus thought.  At least the party won't be dull.  "Let the entertainment begin," he said with mock seriousness, the tone in his voice engendering peals of laughter from the other two gods.

Her attention pulled away from fashion assessment by the high-pitched tittering behind her, Aphrodite turned and stared at the giggling males.  "All right, guys!  Something is obviously up."

"Hmmmm?"  His face scarlet with the effort, Cupid's attempt to sober his mood enough to speak to his mother failed miserably.  She looked perplexed at the sight of her son literally doubled over, grabbing his stomach.

Hephaestus slid his arm around her shoulders.  "Okay.  You're right.  Something is up."

"Well, not yet.  But --"  And Cupid lost it again.

Hephaestus shook his head, obviously trying to maintain his decorum.  "But don't have a cow, baby.  It'll be funny.  Trust me, okay?"

"Does Daddy --"

"No.  It's a surprise for Daddy."

"Oh, yeah!  And Mommy, and Grandma, and --"

Hephaestus punched his stepson in the shoulder.  "Will you dummy up, Cupe?"

"Hey!"  They all turned to look at her.  "This had better be something that won't get you fried, Heph.  Daddy's not crazy about you anyway, ya know.  And whatever happens, he's gonna blame YOU."

"Chill, babe.  It'll be fine.  I promise."

She still looked doubtful, but Cupid took her arm.  "C'mon, Mom, you gotta try the wine.  It's Dion's special blend."  He shot an evil look back at the other two and gave her a push in the direction of the buffet.

He walked back, draping his arms over their shoulders.  "This is going to be SWEET!"

"How long does that concentrate of yours take?"  Dionysus watched as the lion's share of the gods continued to congregate around the wine urns.

"Depends on who it is and how much they drink."  He scanned the crowd, then pointed surreptitiously towards the center of the guests.  "There!  I'd keep my eye on Ares.  He's a hot-blooded mother, and he drinks like a fish at these things."  He looked at the two gods next to him, winking at them.  "I'd say the ball will be rolling in about ten minutes.  Watch Ares.  Oh, and Mom.  I think it'll hit them first."

The three gods waited, all of them smiling like idiots.

* * * * * * * * * *

"Really, Ares," Athena frowned distastefully at her brother.  "That little skirmish of yours is hardly what I would call necessary."  She took the goblet of wine he offered.

"I disagree, Sister.  Theresha is getting a little too big for its breeches lately.  It needs to be taught a lesson in humility.  Surely you see the logic in that?"  Ares blessed her with one of his most charming smiles and quickly changed the subject.  "The new kid on the block's outdone himself with the wine, don't you agree?"

"Yes, it's exquisite."  Athena admitted reluctantly.  "Zeus will be more likely to keep Dionysus around if he continues to produce wine of this caliber."  She frowned at the diminutive god who stood with Hephaestus and Cupid.  "As if there aren't enough gods hanging around Olympus the way it is."  She sighed softly.  "Pity."

Ares smirked at Athena's woebegone expression.  "Well, he's almost pretty enough to qualify as one of your beloved females, Athena.  Maybe you can convince him to wear a dress and keep his voice in a high register."

Athena gave him a dirty look.  "He would still be a male.  Better to keep him obvious as one of the enemy."

Ares laughed at the contempt in his sister's voice and filled another goblet to give to Aphrodite, who had just joined them.

"Thanks, Bro," she said, still glancing over to the three gods giggling across the room.   "Gods!  I swear, those three are such children!"  She stomped her foot irritably as she took a large swallow of the wine.  "Hephy is over there corrupting my son.  Ooooo!  Very tasty," she exclaimed.  "Dionysus will be a hit with Daddy."

Ares glanced over to see exactly who "those three" were.  Hephaestus and Cupid were huddled closely together with the elegantly attired newcomer, and they all looked quite pleased with themselves.  He knew they were up to something.  But what?

"Yes, Zeus has already been over to the urns several times."

"Oh, not good!  You know how Hera is about Daddy getting plastered.  The last time that happened, he blew chunks all over her throne.  Totally gross!"

Ares laughed heartily at the memory of that particular event.  "Yeah, the peacock feathers had to be replaced as well as the upholstery."

He shifted his weight from one foot to the other and tugged on his leather tunic.  "Is it getting a little warm in here?" he asked, filling his goblet once again.

* * * * * * * * * *

"I think we have a winner!"  Cupid slapped Hephaestus on the shoulder.  "Look!"

They watched Ares' increasing agitation.  The god fanned the flaps of his tunic, a sheen of perspiration visible even across the room.  He kept licking his lips and his eyes were half closed.  And he was breathing hard.

"Man, that stuff hits hard, doesn't it?  He looks like he's about to explode!"  Dionysus couldn't stop laughing.  "Shit, he really is hung like a horse!"  That fact was readily apparent by a glance at the front of his trousers.

"And it's not just him.  Look at Dite!  And -- I can't believe it -- ATHENA!"  Both goddesses, one on each side of Ares, were pressing closer to him, and they saw one of his arms slide around each of them, pulling them tight against him.

"So what's the deal with Athena?" Dionysus asked.  "Why so surprised?"

"Because," Hephaestus answered, "as far as Athena is concerned, the only good man is a dead man."  He shook his head slowly in amazement.  "But, shit, look at her!"  Her left hand was clutching the waistband at the back of his trousers, her right hand looked like it was inside his tunic, and her lips were pressed firmly against his throat.  They watched Aphrodite move around to the front, kissing his chest and sliding her fingers through his hair, and a flash of black and yellow and red sank in front of him as Discord kneeled on the floor.

"Oh, fuck, it's hitting everybody here!"  Cupid giggled as he looked around the room.  The party guests seemed to be pairing off in groups of two or three:  Poseidon and Zeus and Hera, Artemis and Hermes, the Muses scuttled off to the alcove with the Three Fates, and Apollo and Demeter appeared to be having a fine time with Nike and Pan.  The sounds of moaning and panting first equaled, and then drowned out, the musicians who were struggling valiantly to concentrate on the music.

But the centerpiece of the festivities, figuratively and literally, was Ares, flanked by Aphrodite, Athena and Discord.

The three gods looked at each other, their color high.  Finally, Dionysus punched Hephaestus in the shoulder.  "Isn't it time for you to let -- whatever it is -- out of that bag?"

"The bag?  Oh, yeah, the bag," Hephaestus said absently, obviously distracted by the activity surrounding them.  Turning around, he grabbed the sack and lifted it onto the nearest table, unfastening the top and spreading it open for Dionysus and Cupid to see.

"Behold, gentlemen, my newest creations!" he stated proudly, picking one of the objects up.  Cupid doubled over with another fit of giggles.

Dionysus frowned in confusion.  "What in the name of Zeus is that?" he asked, taking the object from Hephaestus' hand and examining it carefully.

"Duh!  What does it look like?" Cupid asked sarcastically.  "Heph, you've really outdone yourself this time!"

"It looks like a steel dick," Dionysus commented.

"No!  Really?" Hephaestus answered mockingly.  "Not only is it a steel cock, it's completely self-operating."

"NO WAY!" Cupid gasped, his eyes as big as saucers.

"Waa-ay!"  Hephaestus nodded.  "It moves, shakes, shimmies, and anything else you could possibly want it to do.  Well, except cum; that would get a little complicated, you know."

"How do you intend to ummmm put these to use?" Dionysus asked, grabbing a few more in his hands.

"Allow me to demonstrate.  Oh, looky, what we have here?  One with Ares' name on it."

"Why that one?" Cupid asked.

"Because, as I said, it has Ares' name on it.  See?"  Hephaestus held it up by the flat end to show the letters etched on the underside.  "All of them have names on them.  Like all we have to do is turn them on and point them in the right direction.  They take care of the rest on their own.  Dig?"

"Bitchin'!" Cupid exclaimed, frantically going through the large sack.  He pulled one out and smiled maliciously.  "Let's do Auntie Athena first.  It's about time she got laid."

"Looks like Ares will be doing the honors before too long," Dionysus commented.  "If he can keep Discord and your wife from sucking him dry."

Hephaestus laughed coarsely.  "Been known to happen, friend.  My wife prides herself on being the best blow on Olympus.  She can suck up countries in that mouth!  I should know."  He thumbed himself in the chest.  "But Ares, he's in a class all by himself, he's like, eternal, you know?"

"Care to make a wager on that?" Dionysus asked, cocking an eyebrow towards Hephaestus and Cupid.

"Cool!  What kind of wager?" Hephaestus asked, his eyes gleaming.

Cupid choked out laughter.  "Oh, dude, you said the magic word!"

Along with the advice about Olympian politics, Hestia had apprised him of the gambling fetish that consumed most of the gods, and he sent a small note of thanks her way.  "If Ares can manage to 'stand up' to Dite, Discord and untouched-by-male-hands Athena ," Dionysus began.

"As far as we know," Hephaestus interrupted.

"Yes, well, as far as we know.  I will give both you and Cupid an endless supply of this wine and any wine you choose, indefinitely."

"Too cool!  And if by some slim chance Uncle Ares should happen to give out?"

"Then I get the entire stock of these toys, plus any others you may create in the line of sexual gratification.  Deal?"

"I don't know, friend.  I'm pretty sure of Ares.  My brother can do an army in the afternoon and close a brothel that same night."  Hephaestus rubbed his chin thoughtfully.  "But three very horny goddesses on drugs?"  After a few moments, he looked up at Dionysus.

"Deal!" he stated confidently.

"Cupid," Dionysus said, "why don't you turn that flying dick loose and give your Auntie a little taste of the good life?"  He smiled at him coolly.

* * * * * * * * * *

Sweat poured down Ares' face and chest as he concentrated on trying to remain on his feet.  It was not easy.  Aphrodite and Athena feverishly passed his cock back and forth between them:  one mouth and tongue lavishing attention on the swollen head while the other nibbled and licked the shaft, at times driving him mad by the swirl of both tongues at the same time when they kissed each other around the pulsing tip.  As if that wasn't enough, Discord knelt between his legs and lustily sucked his balls into her hot mouth.  Six hands ran over his ass and legs and as far up his chest as they could reach, and he dug his fingers desperately into the shoulders of his sisters to keep from falling over.

Finally, he had had as much as he could take.  "Whoa!" he yelled hoarsely, and waved his hand, creating a nest of cushions behind him.  He slumped back heavily, and they swarmed over him like locusts, teeth nipping, tongues licking, lips softly sucking, and three bodies with satin skin sliding over and around him.  He arched his back and groaned, not knowing whether it was Aphrodite or Athena who took his cock ball-deep into her hot throat or nibbled on the taut skin covering his balls, but recognizing Discord's spicy sweetness as she settled his face between her legs.

He lapped the wetness from Discord's cunt, his tongue working hungrily against the swelling clit and slithering down to bury itself deep inside her where the juice was sweetest and creamiest.  She rubbed against his face, screaming in pleasure when his teeth scraped roughly against her, and when the cum boiled out of him, he grabbed her hips and held her in place so he could suck hard on her clit.  He groaned as it swelled between his lips, and shoved three of his fingers deep inside her.  She wailed as he worked them rapidly in and out, and her juices gushed over his hand and face.

He pushed her gently off to the side, reaching down to pull Aphrodite up to him, tasting his cum mixed with the trademark flavor of oranges as he plundered her mouth.  She pressed her hands against his chest, whimpering into the kiss, rubbing against his body.

"Oh, my god, Ares -- you're hard again!"  She jerked her hips and impaled herself on him, powerful muscles pulling him deep inside and gripping him like a velvet-covered steel vise.  He threw his head back, growling like an animal as her hips slammed into him more violently, and his vision doubled as he watched Discord lick and suck first his nipples and then Aphrodite's.  Vaguely, he heard a throaty grunt which he recognized as Athena's, and he glanced over to his left.

His eyes widened, not only from the orgasm that ripped from his balls, but from the sight of his slim, pristine sister writhing in naked abandon on the floor, apparently getting the fucking of her life from an invisible suitor.

"Look at that," he gasped, fighting to draw in air under the weight of Aphrodite's body slumped across his chest.

"Hmmm?"  And her hips started working against his beginning-to-throb cock.

He pushed against her, moving her breast out of his mouth, and rolling her over onto her back, both of them pressed against Athena.  She gripped his shoulders with her knees and moaned as he drove forcefully back into her.  He felt Discord's tongue working against his shaft on every out stroke, and trying to clear the fever from his head, jerked his eyes toward Athena.  "Look!"

"Your timing -- sucks -- big-time -- Bro!" she panted as she met his rapid thrusts.  "Oh, shit, whose tongue is that?"  She squealed as a massive climax burned through her and, gasping, dug her fingernails into Ares' back.

His eyes glazed, he managed to balance himself on one arm and laid his hand on Athena's heaving stomach.  And felt

A deep roar came from his throat as he felt something bury itself deep inside his ass.  Vibrations shuddered through his body, the same kind of vibrations he felt under his hand, and the stimulation was overpowering.

"Oh, fuck!"  He heard Discord cry out, a raw tone in her voice.  "WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING?"

"I don't know," he said in a voice gone to gravel, "but come here!"  He shoved Aphrodite off his body and sheathed himself inside Discord with a grunt, riding the waves of ecstasy that seemed to come from every direction.  He pounded into her writhing body, possessed by the driving fire that boiled in his veins.

"Ahhhhhh FUCK!"  He growled out, slamming his hips against Discord harder and harder.  "I can't seem to stop myself!  This is incredible!"

"Ares."  He partially opened his eyes, hearing his name called from what seemed to be a far distance away.  Athena was on her knees beside him, her eyes closed, her thin body trembling.

"Ohhhhh!" she whimpered.  "Ares, I beg you, fuck me!"  Her pale gray eyes were pleading with him as she ran her hands down his back and shoulders softly.  Her wandering hands made their way down to his buttocks, squeezing the powerful muscles as he continued thrusting away at a feverish pace.

"Go find another god to fuck!" Discord growled, her pupils dilated.  "This one's occupied!"

"Discord, shut up," Ares barked, rolling off her.  "There's plenty of me to go around."  He reached for Athena and pulled her down to the floor, covering her with his body and sheathing himself fully into a cunt that was virginal in its tightness.  "Oh, yeah," he murmured hoarsely at the deep groan of pain beneath him, and began fucking her with long, bruising strokes.

* * * * * * * * * *

"Sonofabitch!  He really is -- It's hard to watch anybody else!"  Dionysus shook his head in disbelief.  "How many times is that?"

"Twice."  Cupid's eyes continued to scan the room.

"No way!"

"Yeah, he's right," Hephaestus said.  "Like, he's been in all of them, but he only came twice."

"Are you sure?"

"Very," Cupid said.  "Typical Uncle Ares.  He's pacing himself."  His eyes narrowed.  "Make that three."

"How the fuck can you tell?"  Dionysus felt extremely warm himself, even without wine or any help from one of Hephaestus' inventions.

"It's the growl."  Cupid laughed at his confused look.  "He makes this rumbling bass growl when he cums."

"Hey, man, he's picking up the pace!  That's four."  Hephaestus giggled.  "Oh, shit, look at Discord's face!"

* * * * * * * * * *

Two hours later the three gods still had no idea who would win or lose the bet.  The only things they knew for sure was that they were the only three in the room that hadn't gotten laid, the count on Ares was up to 17, and he showed absolutely no sign of slowing down.

"You know," Dionysus said reflectively, "it's a good thing there's three of them to his one.  I think they would have given out an hour ago if they couldn't keep switching off."

"Typical," Cupid said loftily.

"Are you telling me you're not even impressed by this?"

"Nope."  He smiled evenly.  "Seen it before.  Why do you think I didn't hesitate to take your bet?"

* * * * * * * * * *

"There she blows!" Cupid exclaimed, laughing as Athena screamed her climax and bucked her hips against Ares.

"Now," Hephaestus said dryly, pointing at his niece, "That's something you don't see everyday!"

"Auntie Athena is gonna be so pissed when she comes down off this stuff!" Cupid said gleefully.

"Either that, or she'll be in a very good mood for the next couple of centuries," Hephaestus commented.

"Yeah, well, it's about time," Cupid said sourly.

Dionysus wasn't listening to them.  His eyes were riveted on Ares, and he licked his lips as the powerful body rolled from one edge of the cushions to the other, pleasuring the three goddesses so thoroughly they were totally limp and barely conscious.  His torso gleamed with sweat and the muscles in his back and ass undulated rhythmically as he plunged his cock in and out of Discord.  He shakily drew a deep breath, furtively massaging his cock through his robe and praying that Cupid and Hephaestus were looking elsewhere.

They weren't.

"Oh, man, this is too rich!"  Hephaestus exclaimed, grabbing Cupid's arm.  "The new boy is hot to trot over Ares!"

Dionysus flushed with embarrassment, clasping his hands behind his back tightly, as Cupid and Hephaestus doubled over into yet another round of laughter.  He considered defending himself against the allegation, but couldn't deny that he did want Ares in the worst way.

"Well, he is incredibly, ummm, gifted.  You can't tell me that you haven't had fantasies about fucking him!" Dionysus countered indignantly.

"Oh, we've had more than fantasies, Dion," Hephaestus declared.  "We've done the deed."

"Hey, Heph, as worked up as Uncle Ares is right now, he probably wouldn't care who came into the mix.  Ya think?" Cupid asked.

"How long does this stuff last, anyway?" Dionysus interrupted sharply.

"Well, that depends," said Cupid thoughtfully.  "It seems to hit everybody differently.  If it takes them over fast and hot, they usually come out of it fairly quick.  Why?"

"Because," Dionysus stammered, "I think it's wearing off."  He pointed at the very sweaty and very naked god of war getting to his feet, his progress slowed by the clutching hands of the three goddesses.  "Oh, and then there's *that*."  Cupid and Hephaestus followed his gaze to see Zeus heading toward them from the other direction.  Neither Ares nor Zeus gave the impression they were planning on bestowing their thanks.

"Uh oh."  Cupid cocked an eyebrow.  "Should we make them chase us?"

"That wouldn't be my advice, no," Ares said as he clutched Cupid's collar, hoisting him into the air.

"Ares, put him down!" Zeus commanded.  "You'll break his wings!"

"I'd like to break his neck," Ares said bitingly.  "And when I'm finished with him," he glared at his brother and the new god, "I plan to start with Frick and Frack here."

"Ares, I said put him down!"  Zeus thundered.

"All right, already."  Cupid landed in a heap on the floor.

"Now," Zeus said with finality.  "You.  Explain."

"Why me?"  Hephaestus pulled nervously at the collar of his shirt.

"Because I believe this --" reaching back and extracting the still-buzzing cylinder from his ass with a grunt "-- belongs to you."  He studied it curiously.  "Although it does, apparently, have my name on it."  He displayed the bottom of the device for Ares' puzzled inspection.

Ares groaned.  "Oh, shit!"  He gave Hephaestus a black look.  "Let me guess:  party favors?"

"Ummm "

"You knew about this, Ares?"  There was a warning note in Zeus' voice.

"No, but I knew he had a bag of crap that he brought along."  He looked at his father with irritation.  "Of course I didn't know -- do you think I'd go along with something that would put me in Athena's withered cunt?"

"Say it a little louder, fuckhead," Cupid sneered, the wing seam on his back still smarting.  "There are some people in the next room who didn't quite get that."

"Oh, yeah?  Well, let's see if they get this!"  Ares charged at his nephew.

"ENOUGH!"  And a blue bolt hit between them, sending both gods flying in opposite directions.  Cupid landed in a large potted fern, and Ares crashed against the wall.  Zeus turned back to Hephaestus.

"I'm waiting, Hephaestus."

"Come on, Zeus.  Chill out, okay?  Besides, everyone seems to be having a great time."  He gestured at the gathering.  Some of them seemed to be losing momentum, but most were still going strong.  "I don't hear anyone complaining.  Present company excepted, of course."

The silver implement still buzzed in Zeus' fingers.  "Is there some way to turn this off?"

Hephaestus grinned a little shamefacedly.  "I, uh, never did get that little bug worked out."

"Wonderful."

Ares came limping back to the group, a chagrined look on his face.  Zeus eyeballed him coolly.  "Any more fights, son, and that'll feel like a love tap.  Understood?"

"Yes, sir."

He turned back to Hephaestus.  "And you coated them with xanthyum extract, correct?"

"Uh, no."  He twitched a little under Zeus' fierce gaze.  "I didn't do that."

"Then who did?  Let me guess," Ares said, his black eyes flickering to Dionysus.

"No, I brought the wine, remember?"

"Laced wine."  Ares crossed his arms on his chest.

"Well, yeah," he admitted, "but not until it got here."

"Leave him alone, Ares."  Cupid came up behind his uncle, poking him in the ribs.  "The mechanical dicks were Heph's, and I brought the xanthyum.  And you, in fact everybody here, oughta thank us rather than trying to pound us all the way to Tartarus."

They all looked around at the seething mass of bodies rolling around the ballroom.  Cries of ecstasy, panting and heavy breathing were undisturbed by the musicians, now that the musicians had stopped for the refreshment of wine.  Their musical instruments forgotten, they writhed with abandon on the raised platform at the end of the room.

"I suppose you can be forgiven for this little prank," Zeus said, a grin tugging at the corners of his mouth.

Cupid looked down at Ares, and then back up at Dionysus.  "And it looks like Heph and I won the bet, dude.  He took a lickin' and he's still tickin'!"

"The night's not over yet, Cupe."

"Maybe not, but I think the ladies are out for the count."  He gestured at the three goddesses comatose and twitching in the middle of the room.  "So we win."

"Not necessarily.  Unless you think he's out for the count, too."  Dionysus gave Cupid a level stare.

"Meaning?"

"Meaning I propose we up the stakes."

* * * * * * * * * *

"Why would we want to do that?" Hephaestus asked, completely ignoring the fact that Zeus and Ares were still standing next to them.  "We've already got the wine.  What more could you possibly offer?"

"Just a minute," Ares growled, feeling his cock come to life once again.  Irritated, he rolled his eyes as he tugged the still vibrating shaft from his ass.  "Yeah, at least you spelled it right.  Will wonders never cease!" he said sarcastically, glaring at Hephaestus.  "Just what sort of bet did you stooges have going?"

"Well, see --" Cupid began, shrinking slightly as Ares loomed above him.

"Actually," Dionysus said, clearing his throat.  "I bet them that you couldn't hold up against the goddesses."

The wine god's amber eyes met his with absolute equanimity, and Ares was drawn into their poised depths for a long moment.  "Obviously, you lost the bet," Ares said finally, his tone flat.

"Obviously."  A tiny smile curved Dionysus' full lips.

"And these two get a lifetime supply of your wine, right?"  He studied the metal cylinder, his mouth curled with disgust.  "Oh, good, no off switch.  Real bright, Heph."  He carelessly tossed the device onto the floor.

"Um, Ares," Hephaestus began, glancing down at the implement, the tip of which was slowly rotating in Ares' direction.

"No, you --,"Ares groaned as the shaft took flight and buried itself once again in his ass.  "FUCK!" he bellowed, his loud voice echoing through the great hall.

"I tried to warn you, Ares!" Hephaestus said, trying very hard not to laugh.

"I demand to know how that that thing is supposed to --" Ares began, launching into an irate tirade that had him so distracted he didn't realize that he had drained in a single swallow the goblet placed in his hand by Cupid.

Zeus roared with laughter.

Ares stopped short and gave his father a questioning look.  "Something funny, Pop?" he asked sarcastically, wiping the fresh sweat from his brow.

"No," Zeus chuckled.  "At least, not yet."  He gave them all a wink.  "I think I'll go see what your mother's gotten up to, Ares.  If you boys will excuse me "

Ares watched Zeus walked away before continuing.  Suddenly, he couldn't seem to remember where he had left off.  He felt as if his skin was too tightly stretched over his body to fit properly.  The vibrations and movements from the steel shaft still lodged inside him were becoming more and more welcome, sending waves of pleasure through his ultra-sensitive body.  He closed his eyes, chewing slowly on his lower lip.

* * * * * * * * * *

"Oh shit!" Hephaestus snorted.  "You got him again!"  He slapped Cupid on the back, sending him to the floor.

"Dude, the wings, watch the wings," Cupid yelped, jumping back to his feet.  "Now, Dion," he said coolly, "what were you saying about upping the stakes?"

"Right.  Are you two bozos game?"  The deliberately smug tone in his voice made Cupid look at him sharply.

Hephaestus cleared his throat.  "Maybe.  But what are you offering?  Besides, we already got a lifetime supply of your brew."

"True," he said with a smile.  "But, the thing is, the process of creating the wine has a tendency to dilute the essence of the grapes."  He glanced sideways at the love god.  "But if you have the grapes, you have the pure stuff.  Then, of course, you have the option of letting them age to raisins.  And the punch in those little suckers is way more than the wine."

Hephaestus' eyes got wider.  "Oh, gnarly, man!  Dite would lose her mind."

"Why are these grapes so heavy, dude?"  Cupid's tone was skeptical.

"Because," Dionysus grinned, "I fertilize the ground with fillibus."

Cupid's mouth dropped open, and he shook his head in awe.  "So that means "

"Guys, you lost me," Hephaestus said in a mystified tone, looking from one to the other.

"Xanthyum is distilled from fillibus berries," Cupid said slowly, "which means, when I laced your reserve barrels, everybody here got a fucking double dose of that shit, right?"

"Exactly."  He leaned over closer to Cupid.  "The raisins are about ten times as strong as that extract you put in the wine, Cupe."  He stepped back triumphantly.  "Think about it.  Real hard."

He gave them a minute, watching the faraway look on their faces as the ramifications of his offer sank in.  A moan from Ares caught his attention.  Maybe I'll get my chance after all, he mused gleefully.

"So, what exactly are you offering?"  Hephaestus' voice was a little shaky.

"I'm upping the stakes to include a five-pound sack of raisins.  Plus, of course, a lifetime supply of the wine.  And, if I win, I get the sex toys.  And I get a bottle of your love dust, to use as I see fit," he said to Cupid.  "Interested?"

"But what's the game?"

He shrugged.  "Same as before.  You win if his strength doesn't give out, and I win if it does."

Cupid and Hephaestus looked at each other, and then back to Dionysus.

"Okay," Cupid said pointedly, "but those three" -- pointing to Aphrodite, Athena and Discord -- "are definitely out of the picture."

"Right."

"So?"

"Are you in?"

"Who's gonna do the deed?"  Cupid waved his hand impatiently.

"Me."

Hephaestus started to laugh.  "Might want to rethink that plan, Dion."

"Oh?  Why?"

"Because," he said softly, draping his arm around the wine god's shoulders, "Ares likes men, but he really gets into women.  He's not gonna, how can I say this, give his all, man, with a guy."  He laughed.  "You'd be better off giving those three another pop with the wine.  At least then you'd have a chance."

"Oh, that's good, Heph.  Just TELL him how to win it!"

"No, Cupe, I'm a god of honor.  I set the terms, and even if I lose, I'll stick with that."  He glanced back over his shoulder.  "But I get carte blanche with whatever's still in that bag, okay?  And it takes as long as it takes."

Cupid looked across the room.  Zeus was watching the three gods with a calm expression on his face.  It was obvious he had been privy to every word.  "Okay by you?"  Cupid yelled.

"Yes."  Zeus shifted in the throne.  "With one small amendment."  He pointed his finger in his son's direction, and a blue snake of energy spiraled toward him.  Ares jerked slightly when it hit him, and his eyes cleared of the haze.  "No drugs.  Let it proceed naturally."

Cupid looked at the wine god.  "I'm in."

"Me, too."

Ares' face hardened.  "Hold on!  Don't I get a say in this thing?"

"Ares," his father said piercingly.  "Are you interested in clearing your slate with me for the Gaelic fiasco?"

Ares nodded slowly, his mouth tightening.

"This will do it."  Zeus chuckled lewdly.  "Providing, of course, that our newest addition cannot declare victory.  Let's hope your stamina is as good as usual."  He looked at Dionysus.  "Good luck to all.  And let the games begin."

Dionysus nodded, and turned to Ares.  His robes vanished with a snap of his fingers, and he took Ares' arm.  "Come over here."

"You know I am not thrilled about this, right?"

"Kinda got that idea."  He snapped his fingers again, and everything on the buffet table moved to clear a place in the middle.  "Climb on up, Ares."

Ares rolled his eyes, but complied.  "You do know that you don't have the chance of a fart in a strong wind of winning this, right?  My nephew set you up."

"No, this wasn't his idea, Ares."  He ran his hands over the war god's torso.  "It was mine.  And Heph told me that you enjoy men, but that you're really into women.  But frankly," he murmured, his fingers trailing down Ares' hips, "I don't really give a fuck if I win or not."

"You don't."  Ares stifled a laugh.

"Nope."  Dionysus moved his hand lightly up the inside of Ares' leg.  "But I could point out that if I lose, then Heph and Cupid win."

Now he did laugh, lacing his fingers behind his head.  "Yeah, I guess that would be right."  His eyes moved slowly down the wine god's body.  "Of course, if you win, it means I couldn't rise to the occasion, right?"

"True."  Dionysus stroked Ares' cock with one hand and his own with the other.  "But surely the god of war is familiar with the concept of losing the battle and winning the war."

"Oh, yeah.  And with the reverse of that adage.  Which is what happens if I can't get it up in front of all the gods in Olympus.  Oh, fuck," he said breathily as Dionysus swirled his tongue around the head of his cock.

* * * * * * * * * *

Ares groaned when the sensation ended, looking up to see the other god walking away from him.  Dionysus was smaller in stature than himself, but smooth ridges of muscle moved sinuously beneath the golden skin as he walked.  He raised up on one arm, studying him as Dionysus picked up Hephaestus' sack and started back to the buffet table.  Ares' eyes traveled from the high cheekbones to soft lips, moved down the slim form with its narrow hips and strong legs, and lingered almost against his will on the thickness of Dionysus' cock nestled in the thatch of curly hair and the fullness of the balls beneath it.

He fought to ignore the pleasurable ache of desire in his throat in an attempt to maintain control.  "Ye gods, not another one of those.  Please!"

Dionysus laughed, his eyes dancing.  "Thanks for reminding me."  He slid a slim hand between Ares' legs and deftly removed the still-vibrating device.  Ares narrowed his eyes.

"Good move, since you can't turn the damn thing off!"

"Where there's a will, there's a way."  He turned the tip of the cylinder away from Ares, and it went dead in his hand.  Shaking his head, he walked over to a large urn filled with stones and pushed it beneath the surface.

"If it can't see you, apparently it conserves its energy or something," he said, opening the sack and peering inside.

"Marvelous," Ares said sarcastically.  "Okay, now what?"  He casually slid his arm around Dionysus' waist and pulled him closer.  "Dare I ask what you're looking for?"

Dionysus shivered as Ares nibbled on his earlobe.  "I love a guy with a beard," he said, craning his neck against the bristling hair.  "Can I assume you're not as unenthusiastic as you were before?"

"Ummm," Ares murmured, caressing his ass.  "Yeah, I guess you could say that."  Out of the corner of his eye saw something emerge from the sack.  "Wait a minute.  Whatever that is, it doesn't head for a body cavity, does it?"

"No."  Dionysus released the objects.  And Ares felt metal encircle his wrists and ankles and drop heavily across his chest.

"What the "  He flexed against the chains.  "Oh, great.  Just fucking great."  He realized with a sinking feeling that this was another of Hephaestus' creations.  Ergo, Hephaestus metal.

"You know, I don't know where the nasty rumor that I enjoy this shit started, but I don't."  He abruptly stopped struggling when it became obvious that the restraints were made tighter by his efforts.  "All gossip to the contrary, I don't like this.  And it does not turn me on."  He turned his head toward the wine god.  "And if you have any hopes of winning your damned bet, get me the fuck out of these things!"

"I beg your pardon.  They're working, aren't they?" Dionysus grinned down at him.

"What the fuck does that mean?"

"Well, it stands to reason, Ares.  Heph's toys are, shall we say, specific.  They only work on certain gods, and only in certain ways."  He tested the tautness of the chains.  "And you may not like them -- but they sure seem to like you.  Gotta be a reason."

* * * * * * * * * *

He studied Ares for a moment, ideas running through his mind.  He checked the items at the end of the table to his right.  "Oh, yeah.  Perfect!"  He picked up a squat bowl and set it down next to the chained god.  He went to the other end, searching.  He was sure he had seen something that would work over here earlier.

"Yeah.  This'll do."  He picked up a dish of oily red sauce, dipping his little finger in and tasting a minute quantity.  The inside of his mouth and his tongue first went numb, and then started to sizzle.

"What in Tartarus are you doing?"

"Concocting a potion."  Dionysus picked up the bowl of golden honey and removed the lid.  Then he added a fair quantity of the pepper sauce from the dish, mixing it with the honey dripper.  A few more red drops changed the color of the honey from gold to a dark cinnamon, and he felt the new warmth in the honey surround his fingers.

He looked down at Ares.  "Want a taste?"  Not waiting for an answer, he smeared his finger slowly across the god's lips.  Ares licked it tentatively, and his eyes widened as his face flushed with color.

Dionysus picked up the honey dripper, swirling it through the viscous substance, and then slowly dribbled it in delicate ribbons that formed a pale lace across his chest, hips, pelvis and legs.  Ares' muscles tightened, and the chains responded by tightening around him, pulling his arms down below the edge of the table and spreading his legs further apart.  Another round with the honey turned his cock and balls into glowing reddish-gold.  Ares' chest flexed upward as far as the chains would allow, and he began to moan.  Dionysus tilted his head back, letting honey flow slowly into his throat, and then covered Ares' mouth with his own.

* * * * * * * * * *

It was hot -- gods, it was so fucking hot!  He gasped as the heat penetrated his skin, sending fire down his nerves.  He wanted to scream, but the honey that coated his lips and tongue and the inside of his mouth began to seep slowly down his throat, searing it like lava.  Dionysus' agile tongue plunged deeper into his mouth, carrying the honey even farther into his throat.

And he felt the fire sink through his skin to his bloodstream, fever growing as it changed from painfully hot to sensuously warm, sending waves of ecstasy flowing through him.  He groaned deeply, sucking the unbelievably hot tongue that expertly explored the inside of his mouth.

He felt hands smearing the substance across his chest, squeezing it into his nipples, down his stomach, stroking the fire into his cock and gently coating and massaging his balls.  Dionysus began working his tongue firmly against his body, relentless pressure patiently moving over every square inch, sucking the honey off the chains and scraping his teeth over the hot skin.  The smell of the sweetness was intoxicating, and the unhurried tongue scrubbing the honey off his skin was the most incredible thing he had ever felt.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dionysus laughed as Ares writhed on the table, and worked his tongue steadily over his body.  He tasted the sticky sweetness mixed with the salty sweat trapped between the skin and its slick coating, and tightened his hand on the throbbing cock.  He sucked lovingly on the dark nipple, feeling the hard peak against his tongue, and he licked clean the hair across the chest and down the stomach.  His tongue and lips caressed from ribs to hips, and then began moving down the powerful legs, the muscles twitching under the wet pressure of his mouth.  He traveled from knees to inner thighs, which brought a low wail from Ares, and then down the calves to the ankles, licking across the foot and probing his tongue between the toes, then sucking them one at a time.  The war god's body trembled under the assault, his cock standing up stiff and wet, and when Dionysus took the tip between his soft lips, Ares growled and exploded, filling his mouth with honeyed cum.

He started again, as Ares moaned and clenched his fists, working his mouth and hands over the muscles, biting lightly in the hollows of his hips, sucking the honeyed balls, tasting precum and honey on the swollen shaft of the cock that never completely softened but stayed at least half-hard.  He sat on Ares' chest and fed him his cock, thrusting into his mouth and gasping at the sultry caress as Ares swirled his tongue over the swollen tip and around the veined shaft.  Raising up slightly and leaning back on his forearms, he closed his eyes against the suction of that hot mouth as it enclosed his sac and suckled his balls hungrily.  The scrape of Ares' teeth and the vibration of the growl in his throat told Dionysus that he had cum again.

He eased himself off the table, leaning down to lap the cum that had puddled on Ares' midsection.

"Are you trying to kill me?"  Ares fought to breathe and speak at the same time.  "Or are you intending that I fall madly in love with you?"

"Neither one."  He studied the arrangement of chains, trying to make sense of how they were looped.  "I just want to win the bet."

"I thought you didn't care."

He looked at the god.  "I lied."  He tugged on one of the chains, and Ares' ankle came back, forcing his knee into the air.  "Hmmm.  Interesting."  He found the corresponding chain on the other side of the table, and stepped back to consider his options.

"Hey, if you're taking a break, why don't you toss me a piece of fruit or something?  I seemed to have missed dinner."

"Yeah, I guess Dite wasn't very filling."

Ares laughed.  "Better not let her hear you say that, Dion."  He watched the young god.  "I think you're gonna have to peel that for me.  Or let me loose?" he said hopefully.

"Not a chance," Dionysus said absently as he stared at the banana.

* * * * * * * * * *

He was growing familiar with that appraising look, and he didn't like it at all.  "What the fuck are you thinking about doing?"

Dionysus smiled evenly, reaching for the honey pot and pouring the remainder of the substance over the peeled banana.

"Oh come on!  That's -- I don't know what that is, but just stop!"  It didn't help when Zeus' rolling laughter reached his ears.  "Look, you'll win the bet, okay?  I promise.  I can do that!  Just -- oh, fuck, I love women, I don't exactly hate men, and I can get into a few centaurs or a hind when the mood strikes me, but I am definitely not into FRUIT!"

"You'll never know until you give it a shot, babe."  He slid the banana deep inside Ares' ass and held it in place with his hand.

Ares felt his face flushing hot and his toes curling.  He had thought hot before, but he had been wrong.  Now this -- THIS was hot!  The penetration inward had coated the inside of his ass with that stuff, and he could only hope that it wouldn't melt him before it started to feel good.  He gritted his teeth against the scream.

And felt his body lock in a convulsive spasm as his cock slid deep inside Dionysus.  The younger god had positioned himself on Ares' stomach, leaning back against his raised knees, and was working his hips in a magnificent rolling rhythm that provided a deep, slow fuck.  Strong muscles inside Dionysus squeezed and pulled the cock, clenching against the thick mushroom head tightly.  Ares screamed, his voice hoarse with need, hot tightness around his cock, hot wetness inside his ass.  His head flexed back, his chest arched, and the relief when he came was so intense, so nerve-shredding, that he felt his heart skipping beats.

He gasped, trying to ride the waves of aftershocks that felt like orgasm.  He opened his eyes, but his vision was still doubled in a nauseating way.  Warm hands gently massaged his chest, gradually changing to a coolness that refreshed and relaxed rather than stimulated, and his breathing slowed.

He opened his eyes again, slowly, relieved to see only one of Dionysus.  The younger god still perched on his chest, but now he was dipping a cloth into a basin of cool water and carefully sponging it over him.

"Close your eyes."  He felt water sluicing over his face and through his hair, and he craned his head to let it run down over the back of his neck.

"Open your mouth."  The juice of a ripe peach slid deliciously over his tongue and down his parched throat.

"You *are* trying to make me fall in love with you, Dionysus."

He made an appreciative murmur as the coolness washed over his legs and feet, and strong fingers and hands rubbed and squeezed muscles until they tingled pleasurably.  He noticed that the chains unlocked and slid away, but it was really of no importance to him.

"Turn over."  His eyes still closed, he rolled, coming to rest on his stomach and laying his head on his crossed arms, feeling the strong hands and cool water mix together on his back, moving down to his tight buttocks and the backs of his thighs and calves.  He felt delightfully dizzy, content just to lie there.

And a tongue skillfully lapped him dry, starting at the back of his neck and working all the way down to his feet.  He groaned, feeling his cock stiffen slowly, as firm hands spread his cheeks and the warm tongue slipped deep into the cleft.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dionysus slid his cock slowly through the tightness of the muscle of the war god's ass, hearing a low groan that rumbled from deep in Ares' chest.  He drew his fingernails lightly down the god's back, thrusting firmly into the delicious tightness made even hotter and slicker by the wet pulp of the honey-soaked banana.

"Ah, gods, I can't.  This is so   I can't."

"Yes, you can," he whispered, sliding his hands underneath the god's body and pulling him up into a kneeling position.  He fucked him almost lazily, every stroke driving the honeyed fruit to a deeper level.  He wrapped his hand around Ares' cock, the hardness throbbing wetly in his hand as he pumped it in the same lazy rhythm.

"I can't," he said softly.  "Too much.  Have to lay down.  Please."

"Lean back, hon."  Ares' weight eased back against the wine god's chest, one hand sliding around to clutch desperately at his hip, the other arm moving up to drape heavily over the back of Dionysus' neck.

He wrapped his left arm tightly around Ares' chest, his right hand still pumping the thick cock, a little harder now, and his thumb moved relentlessly over the pulsing tip in a circular stroke.  He felt the vibration of the shaft against his fingers, and a shudder ran through the body in his arms.  He lowered his head and bit the back of Ares' neck, his teeth sawing as he sucked hard at the flesh.  Dionysus felt hot cream spill over his hand, and it took all his control to keep from cumming as his cock was squeezed with a grip that took his breath away.

Ares slumped limply back against him with a suddenness that almost knocked him off balance.  Conscious, yes, but Dionysus saw a slackness in the face that was brand new.  He grinned.  One more time should do it.

He braced his legs and hips against Ares' weight.  He slid his hands up to the war god's shoulders, lightly massaging the taut tendons and gently stroking the sides of his throat.

"Are you okay?"  He nibbled teasingly at his earlobe.

"Am I okay?"  The words were definitely slurred.  "Who knows."

He caressed Ares' chest, tweaking the nipples.  "C'mon.  Talk to me."

"Talk to you?"  His voice was a little stronger, but the characteristic banter was still missing.

"Yeah.  You know, pillow talk."

A deep chuckle.  Exhausted, but still a chuckle.  "I don't do pillow talk.  Ask anyone."

Dionysus laughed.  "Well, you better do something to stall until you get your strength back, or I'm gonna win the fucking bet, you know."

A sardonic grunt.  "I'm not sure I can stall that long."

"Ares, I have faith in you."  He dipped his hand below Ares' waist.  "Although not as much as I did 30 seconds ago.  I mean, we're talking dead fish here, dude."

"That's what I need right now -- a critique."

"C'mon, babe.  I want to lose the bet, now that I think about it."  He moved his hips gently.  "I mean, you really want to leave me like this?"

"You're a weird little guy, aren't you, Dion?"

"Maybe."  And the cock twitched under the knead-and-tug of Dionysus' hand.  "But I'm also the fuck of the century, Ares."  Dionysus pushed him gently forward and started thrusting.

Ares groaned.  "What was that bet?"

"That I could wear you out."  He increased the tempo of his fucking when he heard Ares gasp.

"Define wear out."

"When you can't get it up anymore, baby."  His hands tightened on Ares' hips.

"So it's not when I can't cum."

"Right."

Ares groaned.  "Just when I can't get hard."

"Right again."

"Ahhhh, shit, ah gods.  You're toast, Dion."

"Oh, yeah?"  He thrust harder, biting his lip to keep from cumming.

"Yeah.  Harder!  SHIT!"

"How come?"

Ares looked back at him.  "You're fucking killing me here!"

"Answer me or the ride stays stopped."

"I'm always hard.  I'm hard now, smart guy.  And that never changes."

"You don't say."  He began to move deliberately, slower and with more force.

"I DO say.  Oh, fuck, don't stop!"

"Well, let's see."  He drove into Ares with all the force he could muster, pounding his ass, slamming into it -- but doing it slowly.

Ares howled, his fist pounding the table.

Dionysus gradually increased his pace, gradually increased the force of the fucking, until his hips were a blur and the table started to move.  Ares groaned, sagging under the assault, his fists still clenched.

"You sonofabitch," Dionysus hissed, "GIVE!"  He pulled Ares up, one last thrust sledgehammering into him, and twisted his nipples hard.  The war god gave a rumbling growl, climaxing in uneven spurts, and the musky smell of the semen pushed Dionysus over the edge.  His cock spasmed and filled the tight ass with thick cum.

His strength gone, muscles trembling, he let Ares slide down to the table and eased himself into a sitting position.

"Dion."

He heard the hoarse exhaustion in Ares' voice, and he smiled.  "Yeah?"

"That was good."  And then Ares laughed tiredly.  "But you're still toast, pal."

Dionysus opened his eyes slowly.

* * * * * * * * * *

Ares took a deep breath and curled his hand around the shaft of his cock.  Two sharp pumps brought the cock back to firmness, and the third produced an undeniable state of hardness.  He grinned at the disgusted look in Dionysus' eyes.

"Shit."  He shook his head slowly.  "But you couldn't cum again if your life depended on it, Ares!"

Ares slid off the table to his feet, cheers and wolf whistles coming at him from all directions.  "Maybe.  But that wasn't the bet, was it?"  From the corner of his eye, he saw Hephaestus and Cupid congratulating themselves with giggles and backslaps, and he snorted derisively.  "That's right, laugh it up, clowns!"

Ares cleansed the remnants of smashed fruit and honey from his body and dressed himself in his leathers in one careless wave.  "So I guess you lost, Dion."

"I lost the bet, true, but I didn't exactly lose now, did I?" he asked with a slight smile.

"Meaning?" Ares asked.

"He means that he got to have a go at you, Son."  They both turned to the voice that came from behind them.  "Good show, by the way.  You've done your old man proud," Zeus said with a chuckle.

Ares stared at his father.  "Yeah, but I won the bet."

Zeus laughed.  "No, Ares, they won the bet," he said, jerking his hand over his shoulder at Cupid and Hephaestus.  "You just helped them win it."

He turned to Dionysus.  "On behalf of everyone here, allow me to welcome you to Olympus.  It's not often we're treated to such enjoyable entertainment."  He draped his arm casually around the wine god's shoulders.  "Confidentially, these things are generally pretty boring."

"Ares!"  He looked up as Cupid and Hephaestus converged on him, jostling him from side to side between them.

"My man!" Hephaestus giggled moronically.

"We owe ya one, Unc!"  Cupid bowed low, the tips of his wings fluttering in the air.

"Get away from me!" Ares bellowed, shoving them roughly.  "Fucking morons."

They stumbled back, still bubbling laughter.

"I said get away from me," Ares said menacingly as they started toward him again.

"Oh, man, that was great!"  Hephaestus bent at the waist, salaaming for all he was worth.  "I bow to the master -- both of you!"

"Yeah, and anytime you wanna treat me to one of those massages, Dion," Cupid said with a titter, "I'm there!"  He gave his uncle a wide smile.  "You're the bomb, man!"

"I guess that's good?" Ares muttered under his breath as they scuttled away.

"Yeah," Dionysus answered.

They were now standing alone, and Ares turned at the tone in Dionysus' voice.  "Listen, maybe I went a little overboard, gloating-wise," he said.  "No hard feelings, kid.  I mean, I have to admit that was an impressive performance," he said with a grin, cocking an eyebrow.  "Even by my standards."

Dion smiled.  "Thanks.  You know, Ares," he said softly, "I really did expect to beat you."

"Nobody ever beats me.  At least, not in that arena, Dion."

"I could say the same thing, to tell you the truth."  He laughed lightly.  "But, all's fair in love and war, right?"

Ares grinned crookedly.  "Well, at least you're a good loser."

"I try."  He studied him for a moment.  "And you look a little tired."

Ares smiled tightly.  "I guess I am.  A little, anyway."  He smoothed his leathers.  "I'll be fine in a few minutes."

Dionysus reached into the pocket of his robe.  "Here, these'll pick you up.  I call them my little energy pellets."  He emptied the handful onto Ares' palm.

"What the --?  What are these?"

"Raisins."

"They're good," Ares said with his mouth full.

"I guess I'll see you at the next one of these."  Dionysus said, moving away from the war god.  "Right now I need to split."  He waved to Cupid and Hephaestus, laughter on his face.  "I'll catch up with the two of you tomorrow."

He vanished just as Ares started to sweat.

* * * * * * * * * *

Cupid and Hephaestus watched nervously as the massive war god was drawn once again into the throes of sexual fever.  "Man, oh man, was that low," Hephaestus commented in a whisper.

"Oh, FUCK!"  Ares' breathing was ragged, and he licked lips gone suddenly dry.  "That sonofabitch got me!"  He glanced towards the ceiling, his face flushed, and roared, "Come back here, you sneaky sack of shit!  Pep, huh?  I'll show you pep!"  He moaned and staggered as he tried to remain on his feet.

"Um, Ares, try to keep quiet.  Getting angry only makes it work faster," Hephaestus offered lamely.

"Gee, Unc, we didn't count on him screwing you over and bailin' like that," Cupid offered.  "Honest."

"Total drag," Hephaestus agreed.  "We're here for ya, man."

Ares tried to keep them in focus through slitted eyes.  "Yes.  You are here, AREN'T YOU?"  He chuckled evilly at Cupid's look of dismay.

"Hey, Unc, if you're thinkin' what I think you're thinkin' "

Ares raised a finger, pointing it at the two accusingly.  "YOU TWO GOT ME INTO THIS MESS!"  His arm fell limply to his side as he groaned loudly.  "It's up to you to get me out."

"Quite right, son," Zeus agreed, his voice carrying through the room as he lounged comfortably on his throne.  "Boys?"

* * * * * * * * * *

Several hours later

"Ohhhhhh," Hephaestus moaned, lifting his head wearily.  "Please tell me he's like OUT."

"Yeah."  Cupid studied his bent wings with a worried look.  "Oh, shit, they're never gonna be the same!"

Hephaestus grimaced.  "Fuck your wings, man!  My ASS is never gonna be the same."  He started to laugh, groaning with the pain it produced.  "Oh, Cupe, this was a great idea -- remind me to pair up with you again, okay?  Like maybe the 12th of never!"

"Take it outside, dude.  I'm hurtin' as bad as you are."  He got slowly to his feet.  "Oh, shit -- look at it!"

They both glanced over his shoulder.  One of his wings seemed normal.  But the other one was bent virtually in half, the top half hanging parallel to the floor.  Cupid reached back and moved it.  "Fuck, the spine's wasted!"  Concentration furrowed his brow.  "Is it fixed?"

"Naw, man, it's still fucked up."  Hephaestus eased himself gingerly into an upright position, wincing at a variety of cramping pains.  He pulled on the top of the wing, but when he let it go, it flopped down to half-mast again.  "How did this happen, anyway?"

Cupid shook his head slowly.  "We're not even gonna go there."

"HEPHY!"

Hephaestus turned in the direction of the squeal.  "Yeah?"

* * * * * * * * * *

Aphrodite ran over to the slow-moving twosome.  She glanced over at Ares, sprawled half-on, half-off the table, a glazed look on his face.

"Hephaestus!  Did you do this?"  She crossed her arms, glaring at him angrily.  "You did, didn't you?"

"Well, I had help, pookie face!" Hephaestus replied, gesturing to Cupid.

Aphrodite shook her head and walked over to Ares, grabbing him by the hair and lifting his head.  "Out like a light." she murmured as she allowed it to thump back onto the table.  "You know, that's kinda surprising.  You'd think that even with Discord, me and   Eeeeow!  Gross me out the door!" She exclaimed with a shriek.  "ARES DID ATHENA!  Eeeeow!  Does he know that?  Ohhhhh, can I be the one to tell him?"  She jumped up and down, clapping like an excited child.

"Oh, he knows, Mom."  Cupid grimaced as Hephaestus finally straightened the bent wing.  "Thanks.  Ares finished you guys a long time ago.  Dionysus pretty much did him in, and then --"

"Uhhhh, Honey Bear, why don't why see what Hades and Persephone are up to?  I just saw them pass by."  Hephaestus gave Cupid a stern look.

"All right, but I want to hear what happened, and how, later," Aphrodite said, starting to go off in the direction of the couple.

Hephaestus leaned towards Cupid.  "Grab my sack and that bag of raisins we won and let's blow this joint.  We can split the winnings later."

* * * * * * * * * *

Epilogue:

Dionysus closely examined the limp vine.  "It needs more oyster shells," he told his chief steward.  "In fact, do that for this whole row."

He turned away and started back to his palace.  Halfway there, he saw a distant dark figure coming toward him.  He leaned against an elder tree, and waited, smiling.

"You're early," he said playfully.  "Way early.  The party doesn't start for about four hours."

"Yeah, well, I finished the paperwork, and I got bored."  They kissed lightly, Dionysus' fingers moving through the silky tangle of curls.  "Not a problem, is it?"

"Is it ever?  You're always popping in here unexpectedly.  Have I ever turned you away?"  He slid his arm around Ares' waist.  They walked the rest of the way arm in arm, a comfortable silence between them.

"So what's on the agenda for tonight?" he asked.

"Oh, the same old stuff.  A little wine, a little food, a little fruit.  That sort of thing."

"Heph and Cupid coming?"

"Yeah, they'll be here."  He watched in amusement as Ares poked among the goodies on the banquet table.  "Are you looking for something in particular?"

"Just checking the lay of the land."  He looked back at Dionysus appraisingly.  "You have a tendency to sneak things in here just to watch the effect."  He stepped back, his hands braced on his hips.  "Is there anything here *I* should stay away from?"

Dionysus looked casually at the buffet.  "No, you're safe with everything there."

"Good."  He gave Dionysus a sultry glance.  "What about the wine?"

"Ares, you're so suspicious.  I did that to you one time, and you're never going to let me forget it."  But he couldn't keep the smile off his face.

"Yeah, right."  They looked up at the entrance of the chef wheeling a cart.  The large silver tureen took its place at the end of the table.  Ares lifted the lid and started to taste it.

"Ummm "

"What?"

"Well, that's a special dessert that I ordered just for Heph and Cupid."

Ares peered down at the pale yellow creamy concoction.  "What is it?"

"Pudding."  Dionysus grinned.  "Raisin pudding."

Ares stared at Dionysus for a long moment.  Then he started to laugh.

The End