Desire to Sleep under the Sun.
Apollo and Artemis strode in from the garden, not a hair out of place. The gala’s guests had hardly noticed either twins’ absence, a blessing given the scuffle they’d had with Timor. “We should do this more often. You and me, kicking ass, taking names. Just like the good ol’ days,” Apollo said, swinging an unwelcome arm around his sister’s shoulder. She grimaced and quickly slipped out from under him, flicking him in the back of the head as punishment for his transgressions.
“You stood up to one of the skinnier Romans. Calm down,” Artemis said, eyes searching the crowd for a face Apollo couldn’t care to remember. He rolled his eyes then, scoffing at the implication that he was not one of the most noteworthy beings she had the pleasure to interact with. Before he could retaliate Artemis was spinning around, cutting him off with her own words. “As much as I enjoy listening to you bluster, I have work to do.”
“Oh my gods, you are boring,” Apollo said, mostly to his sister’s back as she rejoined the party, mingling in the effortless way she’d perfected over the years. Apollo had seen first hand the allure his sister carried, the way she attracted any who seemed to gaze at her for too long. How many of these women would find themselves booking a weekend getaway at her retreat after the night was done?
As enchanting as his sister might have been, her charms had little effect on the sun. Apollo’s eyes were drawn instead to the sound of the entrance opening once more, letting in three gods along with the chatter and flashes of light from the outside. A smile brightened his face when his eyes fell upon Thanatos, Hypnos, and the one being in this world who had completely entranced him. The three of them were a pleasant sight, dressed in expensive suits that drew the eye, and Apollo quickly slipped through the throngs of people, a sunbeam sliding across the room until his hand found Eros’ and he was squeezing tightly. “Hey,” he said softly, holding Eros’ gaze for one blissful moment before turning his attention to Hypnos and his brother. “Hypnos, Thanny Boy, nice to see ya. Everybody watch out for the Romans. They’re feeling extra feisty tonight.”
A sleepy haze clung to Hypnos like a dusky fog, eyes roaming everywhere but the man to his side. The moment he’d found Apollo gliding through the crowd on sunrays, Hypnos’ smile lifted the slumber from his cheeks to paint them with a dash of rose. It felt hard to hold to any anxiety in the presence of the sun incarnate; Apollo had a knack for melting away the gripping worry at his heels.
”That’s no way to talk about our hosts, Pollo,” Hypnos yawned, letting the grin continue to stretch his lips. Staring at the sun’s arrival carried with it a sudden self-consciousness, like comparing something so radiant felt insurmountable. Hypnos stared down at his suit, his little bowtie that he adjusted slightly. Maybe he needn’t worry. He felt comfort next to Apollo, yet staring at him and Eros and even Than to the side of him had Hypnos feeling much smaller than usual.
Thanatos donned a smirk as his eyes traveled to the point where Apollo had attached himself to Eros. Apparently he wasn’t the only one who had been exercising his godly gifts, “I’ll make sure to keep an extra eye out when you find yourselves too preoccupied. If you’ll excuse me gentlemen I have a hopeless nerd to find.”
He bit his lip, looked off the side, but never let his smile falter. ”We can keep him outta trouble, right Eros?”” Hypnos offered, shuffling slightly on his feet as he kept towing the edge of a discomforting heat he couldn’t explain and the soft, sun alight like clouds on his skin. The slow, creeping conflict of his mind and body had his suit feeling all too itchy and he constantly came to scratch at the top of his collar.
Eros offered a comfortable smile as he returned the firm grasp on the radiant sun, wanting nothing more than to wrap himself in his warmth. But the time for that would come later, first it was a party for the three of them to enjoy, “A little trouble will keep things interesting, with all these stuffy business moguls and politicians in attendance their usual antics of trying to out class each other would make the night dull. We don’t need any more reasons to send you off into slumber, not so soon anyways.” Eros replies in a playful tone, before his attention is stolen by the doors to the venue opening again.
A short moment of shuffling to the side gives Eros a chance to get a good look at the people entering the venue. Two in particular stand out. The unnerving presence of a man who quickly disappeared into the shadowy corner of the room and the curly head of his best friend who had regained at least some of her confidence. The former of the two lingered in his mind when he turned back to his lover and dearest friend, “A Mad dog at a charity event? You wouldn’t have happened to see the other one scampering around in some dark creepy corner would you?”
“Unfortunately,” Apollo said, eyes trailing after Metus until he’d disappeared from sight. “He came crashing out into the garden, trying to scare the shit out of one of my sister’s girls. Had to stop him and Arty from turning this into a bloodbath,” Apollo said, lowering his voice so that their conversation wouldn’t fall on prying ears. He’d witnessed first hand the tricks his fellow deities were playing tonight.
Always one to think the best of people, Hypnos rubbed the back of his neck, sliding in closer to the other two. ”Perhaps they’d just gotten into a small argument of sorts? Hypnos brows pinched and he turned to look at the other two, wary of the shadows Eros’ eyes drifted toward. Even if the Greeks found themselves in an endless feud with their counterparts, Hypnos didn’t quite feel comfortable talking ill of them on their own turf. Who knew what eyes they had planted throughout the party. ”We should at least make nice for now; we’ve gone blind into one of their own parties, after all,” Hypnos bit at his lip, staring up at Apollo and then Eros. His eyes drifted to their lingering fingers, wondering at the nebulous feelings tugging at him. He pouched his lips slightly in thought at what it would feel like to perhaps mingle his fingers in with theirs’.
Hypnos lurched forward, hacking a cough as he choked on his own spit. Those thoughts immediately gave way to the sudden surge of anxiety that krept pink to his cheeks. ”Sorry, sorry. I’m okay.”
Apollo grinned at Hypnos, amused by the power that resided in this adorable man’s form. Who could guess that before him was the master of sleep, the inevitability of slumber personified? Just like Eros, there was something enchanting about Hypnos, a warm tug that seemed to pull gently at his sides, pleading with him to give in. “If only you were right about that, Hyp. It’s never nothing with the Romans,” Apollo mused, his voice singsonging the end of his sentence.
“Well, there’s not much left for us to do if this is a trap, so I suggest we make the most of what we can, while we are able.” The suggestion came out in its usual sultry manner as Eros swiped three flutes of bubbly from a passing server’s tray.
“To a fun night, and getting Hypnos to be on his worst behavior.”
A pall came across Hypnos face at the idea of him being anything but the lazy, but all over non-troublesome incarnation of sleep itself. He pressed a pout to his lips while accepting one of the flutes in Eros’ hand. ”You two can do your troublemaking; I’ll watch from the sides away from all the consequences,” Hypnos let out a little ‘hmph’ of a huff as he took a light sip from the flute. To be frank, Hypnos didn’t actually know whether he would follow Eros’ wings with the sun at his heels into any kind of fire. Though, staring at the two of them now, he’d like to think maybe he would—just this once, at least.
Apollo laughed at Hypnos’ expression, and he swore then and there that he’d make a gifted troublemaker out of this sleepy god yet. “I always did like an audience,” he said, grinning as he took a glass from Eros and brought it to his lips. “Don’t suppose anyone has heard any good theories as to why we were invited to this stuffy little evening? It seems like everyone’s here tonight,” Apollo mused, lowering his voice for Hypnos’ sake.
Eros’s eyes crinkled with amusement, the suggestion was an interesting one. Trying to discern what the Roman’s planned was a task perhaps not fit for a love god, “The only scheming I’ve taken up is in love. Building nations and winning wars is best left to the likes of Athena, hmm, your sister even, she’s quite fierce.” Eros answered truthfully, scheming and planning the demise of others was hardly as interesting as the dealings of love. And that happened to be bountiful in this room, glittering in the low light were threads that connected many bodies, lovers, family, friends, he could see them all, the days of old beckoned to him, daring him to pluck and play with the heart strings of mortals and gods alike. But this was not the old days, and certainly not his playground.
A light pinch of curiosity furrowed Hypnos’ brows as he looked off into the crowd. It swayed in beautiful colors and fabrics that dazzled his eyes, accompanied by a small wave of voices that mingled and melded together. Altogether it didn’t seem like a place Hypnos often found himself in, which gave him more reason to stick close to the two companions he found himself attached to. Apollo’s question rang in his ear, yet Hypnos couldn’t find the means toward any substantial answer. ”Maybe they have something important to show us all?” Hypnos offered, shuffling his feet a bit as he caught a glimpse of Mars, the one Roman he thought he’d seen at the Conclave, though sleep had made those glimpses rather hazy.
”How do you think they know of so many deities across all of these pantheons?” Hypnos asked, turning now toward the other two, ”It’s kinda eerie if you think too hard about it. Maybe I should just go back to my pile of covers ‘n pillows, after all.”
Apollo grinned at Eros’ mention of his sister. He was right that subterfuge was his sister’s game, but he was a hunter too, just a better looking one. His eyes fell on Pan, gazing up at Mars and Jupiter, and he pointed with his hand, nudging Hypnos as he did. “Maybe he knows,” he said. “My sister always said we shouldn’t put too much faith in the goat. Now look who he’s in bed with.” Apollo shrugged, letting his implications sit in the air before finishing what was left of his glass and placing it on a passing waiter’s tray. “I want to dance. Do they do dancing at these things? Or are the Roman’s too good for that sort of thing?”
”I would rather Mars over Ares, to be honest,” Hypnos swirled his wine around with a slight pout, ”He seems less likely to shoot up a venue just ‘cause someone sneezed in his direction.”
At the mention of Ares Eros’ eyes cast towards the entrance again and found a curious sight just as he did so. Tlaz had returned to the party in a much different state than she had exited, and even without war hot on her heels. That was peculiar, Eros completely expected Tlaz to follow Freya’s terrible advice but maybe she had better taste after all. “I hate to be a terrible date, but I think a crisis of the heart has occurred and what kind of love god would I be if I didn’t provide my profound wisdom.” Eros offered Hypnos and Apollo an apologetic smile, “I think a dance is just the thing this party and Hyp needs to relax, I’ll find you two after I’ve helped a sister out, okay?” Eros gave Apollo a quick kiss and ruffled Hypnos’ hair affectionately before running after his favorite Goddess Of Filth.
Apollo’s eyes lingered on Eros as he hurried off. Each time he left his view, a small part of him, buried deep beneath his gilded exterior, still worried it would be the last. Spinning on his heel, Apollo switched his focus to Hypnos. “C’mon Sleepy,” he teased, looping his arm through Hypnos’ own, smooth as still water and with the sort of nonchalance that only a Grecian knew. “Time to request a few songs from the strings over there.”
A small cry of indignation slipped through as Hypnos’ hands shot up to run through his hair. It faded in an instant to the arm looping through his. The butterflies Eros left in his wake settled in his stomach, burning now as the sun drew close. ”Songs now? Dancing?” Hypnos stammered, tripping along his feet, ”Oh, no, no. I, uh, I just do the music making not the… not the, uh, haha. No, no.” His eyes darted to the retreating Eros, wondering at his disappearance and hoping that he’d come to swoop in for a dance of his own, just not with the sleepy god.
“Hyppie, if I took the floor myself, I’d have half these suits lining up to come home with me tonight,” Apollo said, still charging full steam ahead towards the musicians playing at the base of the stairs, “and as flattering as that might be, I’ve lost my taste for the mundane.”
The duo closed in on the quartet, and Apollo, cocky as ever, flashed them his winning smile. “Good evening, many blessings, yada, yada, yada, etcetera, etcetera.” The band stared up at the manic, golden-haired god, unaware that they were talking to the patron of their craft. “You guys know anything, I don’t know, fun? Y’know, something I can dance to?”
A man holding a cello knitted his eyebrows together, clearly unsure as to whether or not he should be taking requests. After a moment, he relented, and the music started up once more, this time as upbeat as the strings would allow.
“Now that’s more like it!” Apollo didn’t give Hypnos another chance to protest. He dragged him to the dance floor with him, one hand gripping his hip, the other taking his hand so that he might lead the way. “Just follow my lead, kay?” With that, he was off, tethered only to the rhythm. The dance began simple enough, an easy waltz that eventually welded into something, wild, untamed. It was the dance of someone who’d reveled in music far and wide, who’d been taught all numbers of dances. Eyes fell on them, but even the mortals could not resist the pull of music, and the gravity of the sun.