A/N: This little piece was originally a paper written for my Latin class, but I liked it enough to publish it here.
My favorite form to take when I visit the Thermae is that of a seventeen-year-old youth, rosy lipped and cheeked; too old to be pursued by someone, but young enough that someone might want to. That is, of course, when I choose to be seen at all. More times than not I simply walk among the bathers, traversing the different rooms unnoticed, drifting casually on the steamy air, my bow in hand, and my quiver on my back.
The frigidarium is my least favorite room in the baths—it is too harsh, too cold, too inappropriate for my sort of interests. I wince when I watch the men—and sometimes the women too—plunge themselves into the icy water after a hot soak in the caldarium.
Of course, that isn't to say that I dislike any part of the Thermae—on the contrary, I love all parts of the baths. Everything to do with them pleases me, from the pained shouts of those getting their hairs plucked, to the sight and smell of the muscular, oiled men in the gymnasium and the palaestra, boxing or wrestling. That area—the palaestra and gymnasium, I mean—is my favorite in the entire Thermae. I could almost consider it to be my own place, or perhaps my own hunting ground would be a more appropriate nickname for it.
Being the god of the relationships that often surface in these sorts of places, I would say that it's my most suitable place to dwell. At times a handsome young boy, or a dashing older man may feel my golden arrow prick at his heart, and he will feel the tug at his loins to seek out that partner meant for him. Don't think ill of me for watching them—it's what I'm supposed to do, after all. And besides, it's all good fun; the only time I'm hurting someone is when the reciprocated individual has a significant other already—and then it's oops for me! Then, of course, when the infatuation brought about by my arrow wears off, my name is often cursed. I don't mind this terribly, because I've become accustomed to the trivialities of the mortal opinion.
The men aren't the only ones who curse my name—or, on occasion, to cry it in ecstacy. Sometimes when I grow weary of watching the sharp edges and heavy, rippling muscles of the male physique—which is not often—I amuse myself by frequenting the smaller female populated area of the Thermae, seeking the scent of soft curves and luscious hair. Here, in the women's apodyterium I can watch, quite voyeuristically I will honestly admit, the revelation of their smooth, white limbs from the confining tunica, stola, and palla. I dislike clothing as it is, but these poor creatures are virtually smothered in the uncomfortable things. The offending garments are given to the awaiting hands of slaves, who are either brought along, or paid to look after them, and the women then drift along through the bathing processes with their perfumes, oils, sponges and strigils, laughing and talking together, sounding very much like birds to me—and, regrettably, often only as intelligent.
These contentedly bathing women are, however, not often enough to sate my interests, and sometimes I will drift among them unnoticed, looking for a pretty girl to draw astray to an unoccupied corner and
"Cupid!" a woman's voice called from down the call, and Cupid immediately snapped his laptop lid shut, snatching up the newspaper from his desk and putting out his cigarette on the ashtray under his desk—if he was going to be caught doing something Psyche disapproved of, it wasn't going to be what he really needed to be caught doing.
The door to the study opened without a knock a second later, and his wife stood there, about to say something and then snapping her mouth shut and sniffing the air.
He wet his lips, preparing his guilty-but-not-terribly-guilty facial expression.
"You've been smoking again, haven't you!" she accused, pointing a finger at him, "You know Ceres has been complaining about you and Mars and Mercuryfouling up the air with those disgusting human inventions and—"
"Love, it was my last one," Cupid interjected, using his Honey Sweet™ tone—guaranteed to melt his lovely wife into pudding or your money back—and smiling placidly at her, "and you know I don't like it when you barge in like that."
Psyche sighed, looking much more placated, "Well, I suppose if it was your last. But please don't go back down there and buy more."
"I won't," Cupid lied sweetly, then asked, "What did you need, love?"
"Oh…yes. I came in to tell you that I'm going to go shopping with your mother…." She said it with an unpleasant look on her face, as if she were developing a migraine by the mere thought of it.
"My sympathies go with you, my dear," Cupid said, standing up and giving her a kiss.
"While I'm pulling my hair out down on the human plane, you ought to grant some wishes or something," Psyche suggested once they had separated.
"I'm a god, not a genie, my love," Cupid replied with a sigh, "Now go and have fun with my mother."
Psyche pulled a face at the notion, and left, shutting the door behind herself. Cupid waited until he was sure she wouldn't be coming back, and then plopped back into his rolly-chair, opening his desk-drawer and taking out his pack of cigarettes and patting another out. Lighting it up, he took a long drag on it, held it in, and then let it out.
He opening his laptop once more, punching in the access key, and read back over the last couple lines to pick up where he had left off.
… contentedly bathing women are, however, not often enough to sate my interests, and sometimes I will drift among them unnoticed, looking for a pretty girl to draw astray to an unoccupied corner and
Of course. Cupid smirked, and got back to work.