In the House of Aquarius

Apollo, having completed his daily tasks and, again, having had his advances once again turned down by a lovely mortal - of the female variety - sat in the garden of Olympus. Apollo, the golden god, quiet and frustrated, in more then one way, sat beneath all the stars in the heavens. His blond, slightly wavy hair caught in the barest of a breeze, bringing the sweet smell of blooming flowers to his nose.

Apollo looked about the garden. Everything about it struck him with desire for romance. The flowers and trees were in full bloom with the brightest colors and fullest fruits, the sweet smell of perfume was wafting from Aphrodite's personal garden and there was a lovely creature gathering water from the pond. Wait. Apollo looked again, indeed, he saw the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.

At the pond knelt the water-bearer of the gods. A man who had been mortal until Zeus brought him to Olympus and promptly lost interest in him.

As Apollo stood, his himaton slacked low on the right side, clearly displaying his muscular pecks, the end of the himaton was cut high on his legs to help him keep cool during his hot daily chore. Apollo walked towards the kneeling man, utterly entranced.

"Good evening water-bearer, how do you fare?" Apollo stopped short of being directly beside the kneeling man.

"Good evening Lord Apollo, I fare as well as to be expected." The words sounded sharp, slightly venomous.

Had Zeus done him some new offense? "I am sorry to hear." Apollo stood a little uncomfortably, unsure of what he might say or do to earn endearment.

"It is no fault of yours." The tone softened as the man finished filling his pitcher with water. "I should return to my hall." The man stood and looked at Apollo. The water-bearer was at least a good foot shorter.

"Oh, of course." Apollo shook his head apologetically. "Will you return here again?" Apollo didn't try to hide the hope in his voice; it didn't strike him until after the words had left his mouth how ridiculous they sounded.

The water-bearer sighed and brushed his straight, shoulder length black hair from the side of his face. "I will return again tomorrow night at this time, the same as ever." The black haired man did not seem to appreciate the joy and hope that came into Apollo's eyes.

"Then I shall see you tomorrow night." Apollo blushed, still embarrassed over his ill thought question. He could not discern the emotion that crossed the other man's face, but Apollo was simply pleased not to have had his interests immediately turned away.

The next night, Apollo returned to the garden of Olympus and waited for the appearance of the handsome young water-bearer of the gods. Apollo did not have to wait long, soon after the moon was in the sky, a young man with straight black hair and smooth olivine skin walked from the halls of Olympus to the pond, where he knelt to fill his pitcher with water.

Apollo approached the man again, and again addressed him from a short distance as to not interfere with his task. "Good evening water-bearer, how do you fare?"

This night the man did not even look up at Apollo. "Good evening Lord Apollo, I fair as well as to be expected." Again the man did not sound pleased.

"I am very sorry to hear." Apollo lamented. He shifted unevenly between his feet, again made uncertain in the beautiful man's presence.

"It is no fault of yours." The water-bearer's face softened again a bit as he stood and held the full pitcher balanced against his hip. "I should return to my hall." This time, the young man did not seem as annoyed or offended as before.

"Oh, of course." Apollo nodded and stepped backwards even though he was not in the young man's way. "Will you return here again?" Apollo asked, once again, hopefully.

The beautiful water-bearer nodded. "I will return again tomorrow night at this time, the same as ever." This time the water-bearer seemed only mildly annoyed by the joy that came to Apollo's eyes.

"Then I shall see you tomorrow night." Apollo dipped his head as the water-bearer turned to leave. He was incredibly joyful that, again, he had not been turned away.

The next night, just as before, Apollo waited and the water-bearer went to the pond to fill his pitcher.

"Good evening water-bearer, how do you fare?" Apollo retained his spot a few paces from the young man.

"Good evening Lord Apollo. I fare as well as to be expected." There was slightly less venom in his voice that night.

"I am sorry to hear." Apollo did not hesitate so long again as previous nights and took a step closer to the handsome man. "Water-bearer, may I ask your name?"

The black haired man looked at Apollo and rose an eyebrow. "You do not know it? I thought Hera must have been screaming it furiously for days."

"I am only here at night, during the day I must pull the sun across the sky." Apollo smiled at the young man and proudly placed his hands on his hips.

"Oh," the ebony haired man looked back towards his task, unimpressed at the pride Apollo had over his task. In the water-bearer's mind, neither of their tasks was less important then the other. It was not something to boast about. "My name is Aquarius."

"Aquarius… What a lovely name." Apollo mused and rather missed the color that appeared on Aquarius' face.

"Thank you…" Aquarius managed to hide most of the embarrassment in his voice and cool the color that had spread over his cheeks.

Apollo was pleased with the tame reaction he received. "May I make a request?"

Aquarius suddenly looked on edge. "What do you want?"

Apollo stared up into the sky. "These past few nights have made me quiet happy. I would like to request that each night I see you here, that I may as you two questions to be answered."

Aquarius looked taken aback and for several long minute neither spoke nor moved but stared past Apollo as he thought about the dangers such an agreement could possibly bring.

Apollo started to get nervous, Aquarius was just staring at him. He hadn't thought he had asked anything that strange, but Aquarius looked as though he had just been told the gods liked turning themselves into colorful fish. "If it makes you uncomfortable then you don't have to…"

Aquarius shook his head quickly. "No, no… I don't mind, I like the idea. May I also ask you two questions?"

Apollo blinked, he hadn't thought the beautiful man might also take interest in Apollo's life. "Of course. You may ask as many questions as you please."

"But you must answer at least two." Aquarius pressed.

"I promise, I will always answer at least two questions." Apollo gave easily.

Aquarius nodded and stood with his burden and faced Apollo. "Well, you have only asked me one question tonight. Do you have another?"

Apollo smiled and looked as radiant as the sun itself. "Will you return here again?"

Aquarius smiled and stifled what was almost a laugh. "I will return again tomorrow night at this time, the same as ever." Aquarius offered Apollo a smile as sweet as the faces of the moon before turning and heading back towards the halls.

"Wait!" Apollo called after Aquarius.

Aquarius stilled and looked back at Apollo.

"You still have two questions of your own, would you like to ask them?"

Aquarius smiled at Apollo and shook his head. "Tonight I am satisfied to talk." With that, Aquarius turned and walked back into the halls of Olympus.

The next night, all happened as before. Apollo waited for Aquarius, who came to the pond to fill his pitcher. Apollo greeted the attractive man and asked him one personal question. When Aquarius' pitcher was full, he asked if the water-bearer would return and if he had any questions of his own; Aquarius replied at he had the previous night.

Aquarius left first and Apollo was felt feeling re-energized from a simply conversation…

Every night for three lunar months, Apollo retreated to the gardens of Olympus to meet Aquarius when he fetched his water. Each night when Aquarius went to leave, Apollo would has if he had any questions of his own, each time, Aquarius would answer: "Tonight I am satisfied to talk."

Apollo's curious behavior and good mood did not go unnoticed by one goddess in particular: Aphrodite. Driven by curiosity, one night she followed Apollo to the garden in the guise of a song bird. She was quite surprised to see him not only speaking intimately with someone in the romantic setting of the garden at night, but getting along so well that there was actually a chance of better things occurring. A clever smile curled through Aphrodite's mind as she formed a clever plan to help dear Apollo to be happy. She flitted back to her own garden, deciding on the best way to approach Apollo.

The next morning as Apollo readied his chariot, Aphrodite came to call, wearing clothes of radiant gold with her blonde hair tied up in nearly pinned, curly locks. "Good morning Apollo~"

Apollo looked up and rose his hand in greeting. "Good morning Aphrodite, how are you this morning?"

Aphrodite could have kissed Apollo for giving her such a perfect excuse. The goddess of love sighed dramatically and put a hand to her forehead. "Oh Apollo… I feel so cooped up being in my garden every day. I want to go out today and see what the mortals are doing, may I please accompany you?" Aphrodite practically laid herself over Apollo's chariot.

"Well, we cannot stop for anything. Is that alright?"

Aphrodite nodded. She had no intention of making him stop, just the opposite, she planned to corner him with his own chariot. "I don't mind."

Apollo nodded tersely. "I don't see why not then."

As Apollo took to the air, he held Aphrodite at the front of his chariot to assure she would not fall out as Helios drove his horses across the sky, pulling the sun in their wake.

"Apollo," Aphrodite started sweetly. "We never talk anymore. Has anything interesting happened lately? Have you perhaps found a mortal during your course to pursue?" She carelessly brought up a topic she knew was usually taboo. If the blonde goddess hadn't had her suspicions about Apollo's behavior, she never would have risked Apollo's usual despair over the subject.

Apollo was taken aback by the question, Aphrodite was generally very careful when speaking of romance. "Ah, n-no. Not particularly." It was not a lie. Aquarius was neither mortal nor had Apollo seen him during his daily ride.

The pause Apollo gave was to long to simply be surprise but his voice held no hint of sorrow or despair.

"If not a mortal, perhaps someone else?" Aphrodite pressed with a clever smile.

Apollo hesitated again. He was indeed pursuing Aquarius, but he wanted nothing to jinx his chances; least of all by the most meddling of all goddesses when it came to hearts. "Perhaps." It was more than he wanted to give, but it was the least he could do without lying. Apollo knew there was no point in lying, if she suspected enough to ask questions then she was paying enough attention to spot a lie.

Aphrodite felt gleeful. A 'perhaps' from Apollo was as good as a 'yes' from anyone else. "Anyone I know?" She asked coyly.

"You 'know' everyone." Apollo returned calmly.

"I know some better then others." Aphrodite was as smooth as silk.

"I do not know how well or poorly you might know him." Apollo cringed at the huge drop of information he had just given.

Aphrodite laughed brightly. "A boy? Well, given your poor taste in women, I can only hope your taste in men is better. Is he tall? Burly? Handsome?"

Apollo frowned. "Aphrodite, stop it."

"Oh, so shorter, more effeminate and pretty?" She smiled her clever smile.

"I said stop." Apollo was starting to feel most uncomfortable at how skilled Aphrodite was at guessing the appearance of the beautiful Aquarius. He had no idea she had already seen him.

Aphrodite did not miss the blush that was slowly creeping across Apollo's face. Indeed, she did not miss the twinge over his lips or the crease in his brow either. She was on the right track and he was trying not to let her see it. "Well, he isn't mortal or in the mortal world. So that leaves Hades and Olympus. Given your busy schedule, I doubt you went to visit your uncle."

Apollo did his best to look impassive, but the face Aphrodite saw when she glanced back was indignant at best. It was true, he rarely got to visit his uncle, but he rarely got to spend time with anyone… Save Aquarius recently.

"Well, I hope for one hope you find love with whoever he is." Aphrodite leaned back against Apollo. "Everyone deserves happiness."

"Thank you Aphrodite. I know you actually mean it when you say that.

Aphrodite gave a giggle and turned, pressing her form against the solid chest of Apollo. "I do~ So if you find yourself in need of my help don't hesitate to visit me too, ok~?" Aphrodite's voice was practically singing.

Apollo was certain she was enjoying herself to much and really did want to meddle. "I think I can handle one man on my own." Apollo had never had trouble with men before, only women. Perhaps Aquarius would be the last person he ever had to try with.. He had never been so infatuated before…

Aphrodite smiled and calmed down a bit, leaning into Apollo and resting her head on his strong chest. "Very well. But once he's yours, do bring him by? I want to meet the man who stole my little sun god's heart."

Apollo did not answer but thought that just maybe he would.. If Aquarius was already his, Aphrodite would have no more desire to be meddle, it shouldn't have been dangerous.

Apollo directed Helios to pull the chariot into his great hall and helped Aphrodite out.

"Thank you Apollo, I feel my spirits lifted. We really should talk more often." The lovely goddess Aphrodite left Apollo and returned to her own abode, waiting for the perfect time to make her next move.

Apollo watched Aphrodite leave before he took his horses to their stables and made for the garden.

Again Apollo waited for Aquarius to appear, but this time when the beautiful man walked from the halls to the pond he did so with a minor limp.

This time Apollo moved quickly to Aquarius' side and put a hand around his waist and on his forearm. "Aquarius! What happened?" Apollo supported his beloved Aquarius carefully.

"Zeus." Aquarius answered bitterly. He didn't try to pull from Apollo's supportive grasp until he had reached the pond side. "He took one last interest in me earlier today." Aquarius set to his chore of collected water.

"Aquarius…" Apollo let him kneel down to do his work. He sucked in a harsh breath. "Will he come for you again?"

Aquarius stiffened before answering. "I don't think so, but I thought he was finished before today."

Apollo nodded and was once again reduced to standing awkwardly at Aquarius' side until he was done. Aquarius refused to accept Apollo's help a second time and as Aquarius walked away Apollo called out. "Aquarius!"

The black haired male turned to face Apollo.

"Come with me tomorrow. On my chariot you will be safe from Zeus!"

Aquarius gave a sweet but sad smile. "No lord Apollo, I cannot go with you."

"Why not?" Apollo felt his heart sink in his chest.

"You already asked two questions tonight. Sleep well lord Apollo."

Apollo watched, at a loss, as Aquarius left for his hall. That night, Apollo could not find sleep. He tossed and turned and worried with a broken heart over Aquarius. The next day he pulled the sun off it's course, letting it go dangerously close to the earth. Rejected again, in Apollo's mind, he stopped visiting the garden and devoted himself to his work and his horses. In Apollo's heart, however, anger towards Zeus and the mortal world grew and burned as fierce as the sun.

Aquarius sighed as he crushed the grapes with a large pestle to make the gods' wine.

Hebe looked up from her own work. "He still hasn't come back?" Hebe had developed a good relationship with Aquarius. He was quiet and gentle and good at making wine. It had been nice seeing him start to develop a relationship with another god, especially one that from his stories seemed so sweet. Apollo had honestly seemed to like him.

Aquarius shook his head. "No. It's been almost a fortnight.. I thought after coming here that gaining any attention was the last thing I wanted, but after meeting Apollo… Being unseen now.. I wish he would come back to the garden…"

Hebe looked at Aquarius' sad face. She knew her mother never really cared for Zeus' playthings, but Aquarius was no longer of interest to Zeus. Maybe Hera would help her think of a way to bring Aquarius and Apollo together…

That night when Aquarius went to collect water for the wine, Hebe went to see her mother.

"Mother" She called as she stuck her head in Hera's cool chamber.

"Ah, Hebe. Come and sit with me. What brings you here so late?" Hera extended her arms for her daughter to be welcomed closer.

Hebe went to her mothers bed and climbed into it. "Mother.. If a man can be made happy and make others happy but cannot do it on his own, is it alright for us to meddle? Even if he is not mortal?" Hebe sat close and laid so her head was in Hera's lap.

Hera stroked her daughter's hair and thought. "Of course, Aphrodite and Athena meddle in the affairs of other gods all the time." Hera's hand slowed. "Who are you going to meddle with?"

Hebe bit her lip in hesitation before answering. "Well, Aquarius was just so happy when he was talking to Apollo every night. I want him to be that happy again." Hebe spoke both quickly and timidly.

Hera's mouth twitched ever so slightly. She was really more angry at Zeus then his boy whore. "Well, does Apollo also like him?" But giving one of his toys away to his son.. That could be more delicious as a punishment as any cruel thing she could think to do to Aquarius, whom Zeus had already forgotten in favor of his latest conquest… The bastard.

Hebe looked towards the beautifully adorned wall. "Well, every night for several months, Apollo would meet him in the garden to talk while Aquarius filled his pitcher." Hebe told her mother with a pleasant enough smile.

Hera nodded. "Well then, meddle all you like my dear."

Hebe looked up at her mother with pleading eyes. "What should I do?"

"If it concerns meddling and love, there is only one person I would suggest going to for help." Hera's voice tightened as she suggested the, in her opinion, rampant whore that was "Aphrodite."

Hebe replied with a soft humming sound as her mother returned to stroking her hair. There was suppose to be a meeting of the gods, many of the major ones were to show up, save Apollo who would be performing his usual duties. Hebe thought she might talk to Aphrodite after the meeting.

With every day that his anger grew, Apollo drew the sun closer and closer to the earth. The brightness and heat began to inflict suffering as Apollo withered crops, dried bodies of water and burned and killed mortals. All the pain and suffering he inflicted was to satisfy all his built up disgust at his own loneliness.

"Zeus!" The doors to the halls of Olympus flew open as Artemis stormed in, followed more calmly by Athena, Aries, Aphrodite and Hades. The other gods had already arrived when the final five appeared at the council. Only Apollo remained unaware of the meeting. "My brother is out of control! Everyday more of my animals and huntsmen die of heat or thirst." Artemis did not sit down immediately.

"I know. I am fully aware of what he does." Zeus bit out his lie sharply. He had been paying very little attention to Apollo to be honest until Poseidon made him notice. His voice caused Artemis to sit down.

"Funny, your son strives so hard not to be like you that he mimics your tantrums better than any." Hera's cold jab was pointedly ignored.

Zeus looked to his brother Hades. "Is there nothing you could do?"

Hades rose one delicate eyebrow. "What would you have me do? The underworld does not hold the earth on some sort of chain. I cannot pull it further away from Apollo's path." Hades' voice was calm during his own lie and it only rose Zeus' ire further. Of course Hades could pull the earth out of the sun's path, but Zeus had undoubtedly started this nonsense and Hades was not going to give his brother an easy out.

"I refuse to believe Apollo only just grew a distaste for the mortals he was so found of. There must be a reason." Athena chimed up, her calming voice seeming to lower the tension that had been building in Zeus since Hera's scathing comment.

"I think he's in love." Aphrodite pointed out as if it were obvious.

"He's never reacted this way to affection before." Artemis challenged.

"He's never been in love before." Aphrodite replied. "Before his tantrum I managed to get out of him that he was pursuing someone here on Olympus. Whoever it was, must have rejected him. I don't believe the frustration of no answer would drive such a kind heart to such lengths." Aphrodite gave her own opinion of the problem.

Athena looked at Aphrodite with contempt. "Everything is a matter of the heart with you isn't it?"

Aries, more interested in humoring Aphrodite asked. "Why didn't he just claim them?" It was the usual thing to do in his mind.

"Apollo is gentle. Doing something against the will of someone he cares for isn't like him." Artemis answered.

Aries just huffed and said something unpleasant under his breath.

Zeus groaned and held up a hand. "Does anyone know who Apollo might have wanted? Or have any idea?"

Everyone was quiet for an uncomfortably long time until Hera finally spoke.. "I may have an idea."

"Speak up then." Zeus stabbed sharply.

Hera rose one delicate brow at Zeus. "I said I have an idea. Not I that I know. I won't have you shoving some poor witless immortal on an angry god." Hera's sharp words cut more deeply because everyone present knew that was exactly what Zeus would have done. "Give it time. Everything will work out in the end."

"So, Apollo likes Aquarius?" Aphrodite was getting that clever smile of hers again. Hera's little girl had been waiting for her when she got back, apparently she knew the most of any of the gods on the situation at hand. Save apparently Hera. So this was what she had been hiding from Zeus.

"Yes." Hebe nodded from the cushion Aphrodite lent to her during the visit.

"And Aquarius returns his affections?" Aphrodite sipped from the cup of wine Hebe had brought her.

"Definitely." Hebe responded with all the certainty that Aquarius' lonely face had given her.

"Well then, Apollo can be hard to catch and if he's in a foul mood, it's dangerous to go into his stables." Aphrodite took another sip of her wine and thought. "Most likely, he will now retreat to the golden hall, his realm of sun and warmth." She looked over the women that danced about her own garden. "Likely, he will have the muses fussing and fawning over him, which is doubtfully making his mood any better." She took her last sip and looked to Hebe. "Offer Apollo an escape from his muses, and the other gods. He must be exhaustingly mad at everything, so offer him a reprieve. The garden is no good, he holds memories there. Suggest to him instead that he may like to go to the open viewing balcony where he can see all the stars in the heavens." Aphrodite smiled softly.

Hebe nodded brightly. "Then what?" She asked, excited about the plan to bring the two immortals together.

"Then, dress Aquarius all in golds and indigos, cover him from head to toe in naught but silk. Make sure his face is covered as well, then have him go out and bring Apollo wine. Have him do this in that graceful silence of his, when he doesn't leave and Apollo makes mention of it, tell him to say 'I stay because my lord no longer visits me of his own accord'. Whatever happens after that shall be between them." Aphrodite handed the cup back to Hebe, feeling particularly clever in her plan.

Hebe nodded. "Shall I recruit a muse to help me?" She asked, thinking it might be easy for them to drive Apollo like herd dogs drive cattle.

"Yes, but be wary of which ones you pick and what you ask them to do."

Hebe nodded again and stood. "Thank you very much for you help."

Aphrodite produced a small clutch of berries. "Take these, add them to whatever wine Aquarius brings to Apollo." She smiled her clever smile.

Hebe did not ask what they were, she only took them graciously and returned to her work space to plan how to approach the muses and how she might use them to take Apollo where she wished him to go.

As Hebe left, the lithe Cupid stepped out from behind a pillar. "Mother… What did you just give her?"

Aphrodite smiled her clever smile. "A berry potent enough to seduce even a god… Berries that fell from your hair when you shot your bow for the very first time." She smiled cleverly at Cupid. "Dear… Do keep an eye out to settle any further spats." She bade her son.

Cupid nodded, golden hair falling into his face before he disappeared again, intent on doing just as his mother had bade him.

Hebe set herself to work, from her mother she had requested indigo and gold silk robes to cover Aquarius, from Aquarius she had asked that he brew his sweetest wine and given him the berries to use in it. Hebe herself had snuck into the halls of Apollo during his daily chore and found the muse who was closest to him. "Polyhymnia," She greeted the muse with a incline of her head.

"Hebe," The muse greeted back. Muses were almost as ethereal and prone to shape change as the clouds themselves. "To what do I owe this honor?"

Hebe brought herself near to the muse and sat down beside her. "I know by now you must know Apollo's pain." Hebe said honestly. "I would like you to help me heal him, you are the closest to him and as such, I believe you may hold the most power to sway him right now." Hebe pleaded.

The muse nodded and stroked one hand through her own hair, letting it fly widely back with a sound of harp strings. "I would love to see my darling Apollo smile again… His music, while beautiful as always, has been so tragic as to bring sorrow to the hearts of all but tragedy." Polyhymnia agreed. "What would you have me do?"

Hebe explained her plan to the muse who seemed eager to explore what kind of music might be produced while Apollo felt love.

With the first part of her plan in full motion, Hebe returned to find Aquarius' wine fully made and yards of the softest, sheerest silk prepared and lain for Hebe to use.

"Hebe, what is all this silk for? What special occasion is there that I should make such potent wine?" Aquarius asked, most perplexed by Hebe's behavior that day.

Hebe smiled merrily and took Aquarius' hands into her own. "Aquarius, I wish to see you happy again. Your own voice shall bring you joy, these silken threads shall be your cover and your potent wine shall bring you love."

Still quite perplexed, Aquarius allowed Hebe to braid delicate ribbons and flowers into his hair. She dressed him in a long golden robe that made his olive skin glow in a beautifully admirable fashion. After the loose but flattering robe had been fashioned, with sleeves that were open at the top and held in only three places, at the shoulder, at the elbow and at the wrist. Hebe then pulled the indigo sheer silk over Aquarius in a veil to hide his face and the skin of his arms. With the indigo falling over the golden folds he looked like night falling over a candle.

"There, you look beautiful." Hebe smiled and managed to easily ignore the annoyed glare from Aquarius. "Alright, alright, I'll tell you now." Hebe poured Aquarius' special wine into a golden chalice. "I want you to go to the balcony, take this wine there. Apollo will be there." Hebe turned just in time to see the fear Aquarius could not hide from his eyes.

"B-but.. He doesn't want to see me!" Aquarius took a step back from Hebe.

"No, Aquarius, it's just the opposite.. He thinks you no longer want to see him!" Hebe stepped forward and held out the wine for Aquarius to take. "He mustn't recognize you at first or he will leave. Take him the wine. After you have stayed for some time he will ask why you stay, you must say this to him: 'I stay because my lord no longer visits me of his own accord'. From there, say only what you feel you should." Hebe held out the chalice until Aquarius' shaking hands took it around the stem and the bowl.

Aquarius finally took a deep breath and pulled the wine close to his heart. "You are positive he will not turn me away..?"

Hebe smiled. "I am." She pulled the veil over his face and Aquarius started towards the viewing balcony.

Apollo sat on the railing of the balcony, Polyhymnia sat behind Apollo, her head resting on his shoulder with her eyes closed. He held a lyre in his lap and played a sad, sorrowful tune. Polyhymnia had asked they go somewhere with stars that she might inspire new notes in his mind and Apollo had agreed, following her from viewing area to viewing area until Polyhymnia declared herself satisfied and they settled in for a while of playing.

Apollo didn't even look up when the servant carrying a chalice delivered to him a sweet smelling wine. He paused momentarily to stare at the wine.

"Drink… It has been long since you had any." Polyhymnia encouraged, knowing full well who carried the wine and it's purpose.

Apollo did as his muse encouraged and took the wine from the servant. He drank two sips before looking over at the silken clad individual. "Who are you?" Asked Apollo.

Aquarius heard the anger in Apollo's voice and felt his resolve shake… He ducked his head and took a step backwards.

Cupid had stayed hidden with Erato, behind pillars and statues they had crept like love itself in the shadows of the heart. When Aquarius took his step back, Cupid leveled his bow with an arrow of determination. Cupid, the god of love, let his arrow fly and strike Aquarius in the back where neither he nor Apollo could notice it.

Aquarius felt his bravery grow and did not answer Apollo but stayed quiet.

When it appeared that Apollo may demand again, Cupid leveled his arrow again, this time of patients and fired it at Apollo. He missed Polyhemnia by inches and received a nasty glare from her for his troubles.

Apollo by that time had taken several more sips and noticed his vision blurring at the sides and sharpening wherever he focused his attention. "Why are you still here?"

At that question, Aquarius lifted his head, through the sheerest part of the veil, large, long lashed eyes cast themselves over Apollo, his lovely god of the sun. "I stay…" Aquarius lifted his veil slowly. "Because my lord no longer visits me on his own accord…" The look on Apollo's face made Aquarius' heart nearly stop. Apollo looked shocked, afraid and happy at the same time. Apollo stepped down from the railing, away from Polyhymnia's grasp, his hands slowly moving to slide along the silk covering Aquarius' arms and shoulders.

"You.. Came here… And brought me wine.." Apollo would not come closer. "Because I would not come to the garden?" He asked, seeming suspicious.

Cupid shared a look with Erato, rolled his eyes and vanished. Cupid appeared beneath the balcony, soft, feathery wings and his own godly power keeping him aloft as he aligned an arrow at Apollo's back.

"Yes." Aquarius answered, Apollo's hands were so light, so gentle.. He was afraid that the gentleness would change and become brutish, and harsh grasping.

Apollo looked as though his expression might become harsh but suddenly it melted and the god stared at Aquarius for a long moment.

"Am.. I only allowed two questions still…?"

Cupid smiled sneakily when his arrow hit its mark again, this time an arrow of calmness and love to keep Apollo from growing angry and out of control.

Aquarius shook his head and smiled up at Apollo. "No… You may ask me as many questions as you like, and I will attempt to answer them all." He reflected Apollo's own answer to his question so many months ago.

Apollo smiled and leaned his face down close to Aquarius. "Then… Aquarius… I may be given, what has been so brutally taken?"

Aquarius shivered. An idea that might have caused him pain merely to think of, caused him excitement and desire when inspired by Apollo. "Yes.. I give it all to you." Aquarius slowly wrapped his arms around Apollo's neck.

Cupid appeared back by Erato's side and smiled at her. "I'll let you take over now." Cupid gave Erato a friendly hug before disappearing. He'd done all he could do, it was up to a muse to give them inspiration on what would be most pleasing.

Apollo's hands were large and warm, but not at all rough as Zeus' hands had been. Apollo was actually much warmer, there was no static on his skin, only a rolling heat that warmed Aquarius' skin wherever it touched. Apollo's lips made contact with Aquarius'. And Aquarius suddenly could focus only on the warmth, Apollo's lips were hot and soft but not as moist as he might have imagined, his lips tasted of wine and sunflowers. Aquarius held his arms tighter around Apollo's neck, pulling the two of them closer together as large hands slowly unwrapped his body of the fine silken clothes.

Apollo's hot hands traveled slowly down Aquarius' body, it caused his skin to rise in anticipation and his heart sped with every gentle stroke of Apollo's fingers. Along the ridges of his shoulder blades, the dip of his spine, down his sides and slow along the curve of his hip bone. Before Aquarius knew it, he was standing naked in a pool of gold and indigo with strong, warm hands pulling him closer then he had ever wanted to be before, yet, no where near as close as he longed to be now.

Those warm, soft lips traveled away from the Aquarius' own, trailing along his jaw and down his neck until Aquarius thought his legs would become jelly. "L-lord Apollo…" He near whimpered, his own hands catching hold of the shoulder of the Apollo's own draping to pull it aside and down his arm.

Apollo paused in his oral ministrations, "Apollo is fine.." he murmured along soft olivine skin. Apollo drank deeply the taste as he kissed and licked down the thin, delicate throat into the dipping curve of Aquarius' collarbone. He felt fingers digging against his shoulders, grasping for a support as his legs began to give way. Apollo lowered Aquarius to the ground. He moved the silk so that no part of Aquarius touched the cold stone of the balcony. He could not bare to think that any part of their night would be met with discomfort or cold. Apollo was the god of the sun, nothing around him should have ever been cold and he would not allow Aquarius to be anything but unbearably warm in the most erotic of ways as long as they were together. Apollo leaned back away from Aquarius, who was reluctant to allow him away, only long enough to pull off the ajar robe, exposing his perfectly tanned and muscular body to the lithe and beautiful Aquarius.

Aquarius burned bright red at the sight of Apollo. He was truly the most handsome god Aquarius had seen, and perhaps that was the last coherent thought he had before Apollo descended upon him.

Fully aware of the presence of both muses, Apollo embraced their presence as his hands slid along the insides of smooth, quivering thighs. His mouth again locked on the skin of Aquarius' neck where he could feel the fast pulse and rapid breathing of a man who was more excited then perhaps he had right to be, given that Apollo had done little more then kiss Aquarius. Apollo himself felt overly stimulated and leaned downwards against Aquarius, velvet wrapped molten steel met and Aquarius cried in pleasure as one of Apollo's hands kept them firmly connected. The heat that rolled between them as Apollo's shaft rubbed firmly against his own was enough to make Aquarius' head spin, his tip leaked with pleasure as tears escaped his eyes.

Apollo's other hand slid ever lower, teasing and begging Aquarius for permission. Aquarius took many deep, gasping breaths from Apollo's wonderful hands and long fingers prodding and stretching him in anticipation for what would come. Apollo's hand left briefly, reaching for the cup he had abandoned. He spoke no words, but silently thanked Polyhynmia who placed the chalice within his reach. Apollo wetted his fingers with the wine and returned his ministrations upon Aquarius without thought.

Eratos and Polyhymnia, who both knew what was in the wine, exchanged looks.

Sweat glistened over both of their bodies as Apollo prepared his Aquarius for all the pleasures he could bestow, he used the wine to make his ministrations smoother and less abrasive to his darling Aquarius.

Aquarius was not sure how much he could take when suddenly his body was deprived of the wonderful contact he'd been receiving from Apollo's hot shaft. Aquarius whined in protest before opening his eyes to see Apollo lowering himself. "A-Apollo..?" He questioned, unsure.

Apollo licked Aquarius from base to tip, swirling his tongue to collect the dew and give Aquarius over to shudders, shivers and moans. "Tonight, I will make you addicted to me so that no other will ever enter your thoughts." Apollo said in a rather possessive manner.

Apollo took all of Aquarius' quivering manhood into his mouth with such heat and passion mixed with tender care that Aquarius was sure his mind would leave him. He could do little more then clutch helplessly at the silk Apollo had spread beneath him, tossing his head back and forth as he sang his pleasures for Apollo's ears. Aquarius could only think of how badly he wanted more and stretched himself enticingly. He opened his legs for Apollo and stretched his torso until he was nothing but glistening olive skin over a sveltely built frame. He cried out his pleasures and his approvals as Apollo used tongue and lips and the barest touch of teeth to tease and stimulate Aquarius into a quivering, writhing mass. His length pulsed and throbbed with desire as the entrance Apollo teased convulsed and squeezed fingers. Apollo wanted nothing more than to cause such pleasure as to make Aquarius desire everything. When Aquarius was positive he could take no more waiting Apollo removed himself again, taking Aquarius' stimulation away.

Aquarius' cry then was of denial and strain as Apollo lifted himself above Aquarius. He managed an annoyed glare at Apollo, his desire throbbed obviously against him stomach, though he could see Apollo's own lust leaking with a desire of its own. Aquarius' annoyance quickly turned to flushed desire as he watched Apollo pour the wine over his shaft and smear it lightly. He could tell every touch was a strain for Apollo who had been holding back just as long as he had.

Slowly, ever so teasingly slowly, Apollo kissed his way up Aquarius' body starting at his navel and ending only when he reached those soft, moist, wine flavored lips that enticed Apollo so greatly over the span of several lunar months.

Apollo took Aquarius in a deep, demanding kiss, one that took all of Aquarius' concentration and placed it squarely on the meeting of their lips. With Aquarius' attention fully on the pleasantness and only partly on his own desire, Apollo slid himself deeply into Aquarius' body. He drank down the cry of passion released by his beautiful Aquarius, he drank in the whimpers and the near sobs of need as Apollo remained utterly motionless- waiting for the spasming to lessen and Aquarius to adjust. Soon Aquarius became so impatient that he moved himself, shifting and rolling his own hips to engage Apollo.

Apollo slid slowly all the way out until only his head remained, stretching his svelte Aquarius, then all the way back in. He would not speed through his night with Aquarius, he would make it long and lasting and deeply enjoyable.

Aquarius was losing his mind in bliss, every inward stroke filled him with passion and a feeling of completedness, every outward tug left him feeling bereft and longing-which only made the next inward push that much more lovely. Aquarius returned his grasp around Apollo's shoulders and moved his legs to wrap them about Apollo's waist.

Apollo slowly brought his pace up and shortened his thrusts, but he still took his time, unwilling to allow either of them to be drained to quickly. Apollo was well learned in sex with men and easily found the spot that made Aquarius stiffen and cry out in pleasure he was certain his beautiful Aquarius had never known. Apollo, feeling a cruel streak come upon him, focused his energy on stimulating that spot until Aquarius writhed and sobbed and bucked with pleasure and need. It was only when Aquarius begged for the pleasure of release did Apollo grant his wish and even then, once Aquarius had recovered, he plunged back into the warm embrace of his lovely Aquarius' body.

Aquarius, after a time, could see, hear, feel and taste nothing but Apollo. With each long, drawn out event, Apollo would move them so that Aquarius discovered new depths of pleasure, new spots that Apollo could reach and new pleasures that he could be given.

A few hours from dawn, Aquarius passed out with exhaustion and Apollo carried the sated Aquarius to his own radiant bed. That morning, Apollo sent Helios on his travel alone and on his original path before returning to his bed chamber to lay with Aquarius.

When Aquarius woke, Apollo stroked a warm, strong hand across his cheek. "Good morning water-bearer." He murmured softly. "How do you fare?"

Aquarius did not open his eyes, he smiled and leaned into the warm hand. "Good morning lord Apollo.." He took a deep breath, smelling the warm, indescribable smell that was the god of the sun, like the smell of warmth itself. "I fare as well as can be expected." This time, Aquarius' voice sounded soft and pleased as he nuzzled closer to Apollo.

Apollo smiled and wrapped his arms around Aquarius. "I am glad to hear that." -EndEpilog-

As promised, one bright morning, Apollo sent Helios on his path alone, certain his chariot driver could handle one day without help and took Aquarius, wrapped in the indigo silk he had been wearing on their first night together, to meet Aphrodite. Apollo had learned later from Eratos that Cupid had been there by Aphrodite's request. Which meant Aphrodite knew, so introducing her properly was little more then Apollo's way of telling her he'd caught her but was not mad at her meddling.

Aquarius walked close to Apollo, he was wrapped around Apollo's right, muscular arm. Although Aquarius had never had much trouble with any of the Goddesses save for Hera, he knew about Aphrodite's reputation for meddling and was not sure he wanted any 'help' in acquiring further affection from Apollo. His normal level of energy was more then enough to keep Aquarius both satisfied and exhausted.

"Apollo~ My love!" Aphrodite called to him, but she did not leave the long sofa she was lounged across.

"Aphrodite." He greeted easily. "Have you seen Cupid recently? He really is a fine shot that boy." Apollo praised as he guided Aquarius to a bench across from where Aphrodite sat.

Aphrodite kept her pleasant face up, she obviously knew she had been caught but said nothing of it. "Oh you know how my son is. Flitting about here and there, always off on some knew loving mustering adventure." She smiled and turned her attention to Aquarius. "My, my. Who is this lovely young creature?"

Aquarius tried not to frown. He was still not sure he liked the attention of the gods that much. "I am Aquarius, the water bearer of the gods."

Aphrodite smiled. "Is that so? You make simply delicious wine. You and Hebe both." Aphrodite praised, flicking a glance towards Apollo.

Apollo did not miss her purposeful look, but he wasn't positive what she was insinuating. "Remember that day you went riding with me? Aquarius is the one I was talking about." Apollo slid his hand discreetly around Aquarius' waist.

Aquarius tried not to blush as Apollo's long fingers grazed the top of his tailbone. Unintentional he knew, Apollo's hands were very large and could easily span his entire lower back with his fingers stretch out.

Aphrodite smiled. "Is that so? I see you've gone and made it official then." Aphrodite gave a look of amusement. "Aren't you the one Hera was trying to kill last year? Or turn into a frog or some such nonsense?"

Aquarius shivered. "I believe I was to be a snake.." He muttered unpleasantly. It had not exactly been his best moment. If Zeus hadn't made him immortal and hidden him in the grape bushes, Aquarius would likely not be alive.

"Apollo, what ever did you do to make Zeus give him up so easily?" Aphrodite put on her best astonished face.

"Nothing. Zeus cast him aside." Apollo leaned over until he could nestle his face in Aquarius' hair. "But such a lovely creature… If I had not swayed him, I'm sure there would have been no end to those who desired to hold him."

Aphrodite looked amused. "Indeed. How do you keep those desires from cropping up now?" She asked, propping herself up on one elbow and accepting a chalice of wine from one of the girls in her garden. A gardenia she thought pleasantly from the floral fragrance left on the chalice.

Apollo was careful not to tighten his grip to obviously. "During the day, Aquarius sleeps in my bed chamber, at night I accompany him to and from the pond where he collects his water and he is working otherwise. No one disturbs the wine makers in their work."

Aphrodite nodded. "You are so very clever, no one would dare enter your bedchamber without permission either." She smiled coyly at Aquarius. "And my little black dove, are you happy?"

Aquarius looked at Apollo then back to Aphrodite. "Absolutely."

She smiled and finally stood. Her lovely white gown was almost completely sheer, but the folds of fabric kept all her most interesting parts cleverly concealed so that one would actually have to entire her for them to show. She strode right up to Apollo and Aquarius and took one of each of their hands, placing them over one another. "Apollo, you are so gentle and kind and loving, warm and strong as the sun. Aquarius, you are so sweet and beautiful and tolerant, addictive as wine and just as smooth." She brought both their clasped hands to her lips and kissed them gently. "I bless you both. May happiness always find you at the end of strife."

Apollo was quite surprised at Aphrodite and the blessing. It was rare for her to give such things out. Of course it was known for her to meddle in a love life, but to give such a blessing was a totally different thing. "Thank you." It was the only thing Apollo could think to say.

Aphrodite walked back to her plush sofa and reclined lazily. "Now go and make lots of love~ There is to much anger and yelling and not enough moaning and sighing~"

Aquarius thought his head might explode. His blush started at the top of his collarbone and extended to the roots of his hair. Of course sex itself did not bother him, but the thought that Aphrodite might be listening in… He was really very lewd when Apollo was focused on him, it was not really something he wanted to share with anyone but Apollo.

Apollo did not seem so outwardly shaken, but he did take Aquarius by the hand and lead him quickly out of Aphrodite's garden.

Cupid came rustling from the bushes, looking only mildly disheveled as he plucked rose leaves from his hair. "Mother, what was that about not enough moaning and sighing?"

Aphrodite laughed brightly. "Oh, nothing really. Cupid dear, you mustn't do things like that in the roses, the thorns are dangerous."

Cupid gave his mother a calm, unassuming look. "What ever made you think I was in the rose bushes proper?"

Aphrodite smiled. "Such a wise boy. For your age and sex! You really must be my son."Cupid watched as Apollo and Aquarius walked away. He could see it because it was his gift, the tiny red string that ran from Apollo's heart to Aquarius'. It had started quite faint but it was growing stronger. He smiled, he wondered if Aphrodite could see it, or if she had been the one to put it there in the first place. "I must really be."

Aquarius leaned in close to Apollo as they walked. He noticed they were heading for the garden of Olympus. "Apollo, will there really be nothing but happiness for us from now on?"

Apollo shook his head. "No, even Aphrodite could not provide anything that strong. But no matter what happens, in the end, we will always find each other and we will always find happiness in each others arms." Apollo smiled down at Aquarius. "It's not perfect, but it isn't awful either."

Aquarius smiled and leaned up, Apollo was still quite a bit taller then him. He knew the gods could change their appearances with no problem and their size too, which meant Apollo liked being taller then Aquarius, he probably liked being big enough to carry him around too. Apollo met Aquarius half way, leaning down for a kiss.

Aquarius wrapped his arms around Apollo's neck and Apollo wrapped his arms around Aquarius' waist, pulling him close for a long embracing kiss."Water-bearer." Apollo whispered lovingly. "How do you fair today?" His lips were up turned as he remained only a hairs breadth away from Aquarius' lips.

Aquarius let out a soft snort of a laugh. "I fair better then could ever be desired." He replied, his own voice naught but a soft whisper.

"I am glad to hear it." Apollo caught Aquarius for a strong kiss once again.