Seeing Love Dogs
I did not expect the wine to do what it did. When Dionysus had said it was a sensory wine, I assumed it would merely heighten my perceptions or perhaps just make everything feel nice. After all, in a strange way Bacchus and Dio were the starters for a movement that came a few thousands years later, hippies. This god, these gods, whichever they were, had invented self exploration, mind expansion, free love, nudity as a way of life, etc...
So of course when I sipped the wine I knew that something would happen, I just didnít know what. The first sip was sweet and cloying, the second was sour and vivid, then I downed the glass. I probably shouldnít have done that last bit, but in the end, perhaps it was the best move I could have made.
The sensory wine did open your perceptions. For one split second that lasted an eternity, it opened your mind and let in every answer to every question youíd ever asked, every memory youíd thought had long ago been forgotten, and every dream youíd ever had. All of it came flooding into my mind for just one brief instant. And I knew everything for that shining moment; I held every answer in the world. Then it was gone, fading out and leaving me to stand up, dropping my wineglass to the ground.
I opened my eyes, and then blinked a few times in sheer astonishment. I wasnít in the small, cramped apartment anymore. The tatty couch was gone, the armchair Iíd been sitting in moments before had disappeared, the very walls were no longer there.
I was in a vast forest, across from me sat not one flickering god, but two separate and distinct figures with their arms wrapped around each otherís waists. Beside the two men sat another figure, Pan. Only this Pan looked slightly different, more unearthly. His eyes seemed to actually glow in the night shadowed clearing.
I glanced down finally, and Heero still sat at my feet. He met my eyes, and I gasped. I could see the magic within him, wrapping around his body like a cloak, swirling throughout his entire being. He was so utterly beautiful.
"Where am I?" I asked, looking up at the gods that still sat across from me. Noticing that though the couch was indeed gone, what was there was some sort of leafy bower, almost like a couch made from trees and grasses. I spared a glance behind myself and saw that the armchair Iíd been sitting in was made from the same type of thing; this explained what I had thought were loose springs poking into my rear.
Dionysus and Bacchus shifted slightly, and I realized that though they were separated, milky strands of pure magic writhed around them, connecting them, and keeping them near one another. Dio smiled at me. "The wine has allowed you to see truth and beauty," he chuckled and nudged Bacchus.
"Only truth and beauty until the sun rises." The blonde agreed, winking at me.
"Then this isnít an illusion? What did I see before if it wasnít reality?" I shook my head, staring around at the darkened trees. I could just make out flickering shapes among the foliage and branches. They almost looked like people.
"This is reality, what was before was illusion." Pan spoke up.
"I couldnít tell you what was truly there Duo." Said Heero from where he remained sitting by my feet.
"Why not?" I asked, settling beside him on the forest floor. I felt like Alice after she fell down the rabbit hole.
"Would you have believed me? This is why the street Pan took us down was so dark, why the light was odd at his apartment. You were seeing the illusion that was cast."
"The sensory wine erases all illusions. It opens your senses to what were mysteries, enlightens your spirit as to its true purpose." Dio said, moving closer to Bacchus and whispering something in his ear, then they both looked at me.
"We will take you on a tour of this forest if you would like." Bacchus said, standing and pulling the ginger haired man to his feet.
Heero stood as well, tugging me up beside him. "Unless this forest has changed in the last few thousand years, I believe I can show him around."
The two men looked somewhat annoyed, glaring at Heero, then Bacchus whispered in Dionysusí ear and they smiled. "The forest never changes Heero, as you well know. Enjoy showing him around." Dio said, sitting once again and pulling his partner down next to him.
Pan had been glancing from us to the gods; finally, turning his gaze to mine like a magnet, he said rather cryptically. "Beware Duo, behind complete truth lies only more illusion."
I nodded at him; not understanding one bit, and walked out amongst the midnight forest with Heero pulling me all the way.
We were walking among the pitch-black trees, the world having turned monochrome in the darkness. Every now and then, I would spot a figure sprinting ahead of us or beside us.
"What are those people I keep seeing?"
"They are the dwellers of the forest. When Bacchus first created this place, he let in any who worshiped or believed in his principles. They remain to this day, forever cavorting."
"I guess thatís the ultimate in hospitality." I muttered, glancing at a figure that ran quite close to where weíd stopped to talk. It was nude, and had long hair, other than that I couldnít tell much more about it.
There was a glimmer up ahead; as we approached it, I saw that what had been shining so brightly was a small pond in the middle of a tiny clearing. The moonlight flooded down through a gap in the trees above, lighting up the pond seemingly from within, showing off its crystal clarity.
"This is the pond of Narcissus." Heero said quietly.
I glanced at him. "Isnít it dangerous then?"
"No, only if you are like he was, then it could be." He had a soft smile on his face as he looked down at the pond.
"Heero, how did Cupid get you into the bottle? And why?"
Instead of answering, he began stripping the clothes from his body and leaving them in a trail behind himself as he walked towards the dazzling little pond. I watched him as he gently dipped a toe in the water, the silken movements of his calves and thighs poetic in the moonlight, like a marble statue come to life to bathe.
"What are you doing?"
He turned, shin deep in the water. "This is a natural hot spring." He said, as if that explained it all.
He moved deeper out into the water, until it just covered his stomach. "Duo, come swimming with me." He whispered, his back still to me.
I felt as if I were in a dream, though everything was radiantly clear and solid, a vision come to life. Nodding, I began stripping off my shoes, throwing my clothes in a pile beside the bank and wading into the warm water. It was like entering a toasty bath.
I made my way over to his side, vaguely noticing that we were the same height, our eyes meeting across the tiny expanse of water. "Whatís the matter with you?" I asked, moving closer to him and reaching out a hand, running my fingers down his arm.
"Itís the forest, between Pan, Dionysus and Bacchus mixed with this ... forest." He exhaled loudly, moving away slightly. "I get... urges in this place, always have. They know it too."
"What do you mean?" I once again closed the distance between us, tugging his arm so that he was forced to remain in place.
"It... it is a long story."
"Do we have time?"
"Yes, I suppose we do." His head lowered, dark hair hiding his face from me. Then he looked up and met my eyes again, his expression strangely anxious. "Donít touch me until I finish telling you, please."
"Alright." I moved away, staring at him from across the moonlit water.
"It all started thousands of years ago. I met Pan, Trowa, whatever he calls himself now. We were friends. It gets more confusing when you begin to add in the other characters of our little group. There was Cupid who is also, or was, a split god, containing like Bacchus another being within his own. Eros is a twin of Cupid; they look exactly alike, though their personalities differ somewhat. Cupid tends towards shy advances, where as Eros is lusty and forceful. The split god of love and lust was at the time with Pan." He paused and looked over at me. "Do you understand so far?"
"I think so. They were basically dating, right?" I settled deeper into the water, resting on my knees and tilting my head up to look between the gap in the branches above and watch the sky while he spoke.
"Yes, around the same time they were together, Aphrodite made some rather ardent advances towards myself. I refused her everytime, having no interest in the egotistical goddess. She believed that no one could refuse her, after all, was she not the goddess of love and beauty?" He sighed deeply, and slipped through the water to sit beside me.
"She was the start of it all. Feeling scorned as only a goddess may, she decided to ensnare me, and keep me forever as her own. Of course I did not find any of this out until much later, and after the deed had been done."
I nodded, idly playing with the tip of my braid beneath the water.
"It happened one evening Pan and I were in this very forest, drinking and talking as we always did. I was free then, a being completely of magic and will, no masters to beg wishes of me. She slipped something into our wine, a... " He stopped speaking, trailing off and blinking into the sky.
"A lust drug? Or something like it?" I asked, knowing already that it was true.
"Yes, or something like it. I wound up having sex with Pan in the middle of that clearing we were in just a little while ago," he chuckled, "on that very couch."
I laughed. "Hope Bacchus and Dio arenít sitting in the wet spot.
"They wouldnít care if they were, theyíre very enlightened." We both laughed for a moment, the tension easing out of the air between us, or so it seemed.
"Aphrodite is also a split god, or in her case, goddess. She is partnered much like Dionysus and Bacchus, two distinctly separate beings. They looked differently, acted differently, and enjoyed separate things, Aphrodite wanted me and Venus wanted Mars."
"Sounds confusing and possibly a potential plot for war." I said, trying to ignore any Greek god puns.
"Yes, after Pan and I had sex, she told Cupid, who was always the more emotional side of his deity. She told him of a way to humiliate me and keep me from ever coming near Pan again."
"Soon after I went to pay a visit to Cupid, as I was friends with him as well as Pan. I was going to confess what had happened. But when I entered his dwelling, he was not about. Upon further searching I found him to be out in the forest surrounding his home, in a clearing much like the one... well you get the idea."
"Yes." He nodded and kept going. "And so Cupid confronted me, hurt by what he considered my treachery, for Aphrodite had told him of the whole thing, omitting her part in it of course."
"Oh of course." I murmured in agreement.
"Eros was beside Cupid the entire time, and it was the first time I had ever seen them so angry about something. It hurt to know I was the cause of it. Cupid told me that he could forgive me, but that it would take a very long time, and until then, he would curse me. And so, he did, chaining my soul to that bottle, and spelling me forever bound to it until only a true love would know how to free me." He flicked a glance in my direction, and then continued in a softer voice.
"Eros promised me, that though Aphrodite had told him of my deed, he would forgive me more so than his counterpart, and would keep my bottle from falling into her hands. He threw my bottle far away, to land in the sands of Egypt until I was found by my first Master."
"So thatís how you were trapped for all those years. But, now that youíre free, wonít Aphrodite come after you?" I silently added Ďor me?í
"Yes, she might, sheís always been vindictive beyond reason. Thatís why I needed to come to Greece, to finish the story, to end it."
"But how?" I sat up; moving closer to him, until we were inches apart.
"Pan has offered to help, Cupid hasnít spoken to him since I was put in the bottle, I think he misses his lost love." He smiled, looking almost relaxed for the first time in hours.
"So," I let out a shallow little breath and moved another inch closer, "Why didnít you want me to touch you? What effects does this place have on you exactly?"
He cleared his throat, embarrassment staining his cheeks dark beneath the moonlight. "This is the Forest of Desires... all desires... " He glanced off at the trees surrounding us, refusing to meet my eyes.
"And? Whatís the problem?" I moved another inch closer, my handing sliding beneath the water, getting nearer and nearer to his skin.
"Donít you feel it? Every desire you have is fulfilled, all fantasies come true in this place, it is after all the home of Bacchus and Dionysus, they have engorged it with their very essence."
My fingers danced beneath the water, slithering over his thigh and up his hip. I smiled when he jumped slightly. "Engorged and essence are two words that seem to have a very nice connotation right now." I murmured in a husky voice, bringing my arms up out of the water to wrap around his neck, yanking his mouth to my own. He managed to get out a small whimper that absolutely sent heat ramming into my groin. I tugged his hair, tilting his head back further and began plundering his mouth.