|Apollo and Daphne
Author: elizabeth's lullaby PM
Apollo and Daphne's love story... from Apollo's POV.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Apollo - Words: 1,874 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 2 - Published: 12-01-10 - id: 6520012
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
In the Green Forest, the air is sticky and heavy in my face, and I can feel my hair sticking to me. I tiptoe quietly over the brushwood and dried leaves, towards a thorn bush, over which I can see a pretty tan doe. Her brown side is turned to me, and I can see creamy-white spots on her flank. Quietly, I draw an arrow from my quiver, and fit it to the bow. A trickle of sweat creeps down my temple with focus. The doe senses someone watching her, and brings her head up to look at me just as I loose the arrow and it careers straight through her heart, so she doesn't feel a thing.
I'm finally happy with this new bow strung for me by nymphs local to this wood.
I came across a group of them the day before, gossiping and eating by a brook. Not knowing I was a god, they asked me to sit with them. The whole group of us talked and flirted, and drank wine, far too sweet for my taste. The girl who placed the goblet in my hand was named Daphne, her hair was loose and untidy with green leaves in it, and she smelt of grass and evergreen. I tried not to catch her eye when she smiled at me flirtatiously. As the conversation in the group turned to hunting, I confessed that my bow was broken. The nymphs (who were all very obliging and sweet minded) insisted that they would make me a new one, then and there.
It took them a matter of thirty minutes, felling branch of willow. When it was done, I gave them each a golden drachma, even the girl with leaves in her hair, Daphne.
And now, I walk over to the deer, and pull my arrow out of its' side. Slinging its' still warm body over my shoulder, I run to the edge of the forest, because being a god, I know exactly where I am in a labyrinth such as this.
I reach the edge of the forest without bumping into any creatures, instead to find a chubby young boy with wings, stabbing a shaking rabbit with an arrow on the muddy ground. He's dressed in a purple tunic, with a quiver of arrows beside him. Such a boy could only be Cupid.
I slink up behind him as he continues to torture the rabbit, his tongue stuck out with concentration. I reach for one of an arrow, and shoot the rabbit out of its misery between the boys' fingers, narrowly missing his hand on purpose.
"What the—" the boy started, shrilly.
"You should not be playing with these." I tell him.
Cupid looks angry and kicks the rabbit away as he stands up to face me. "Why shouldn't I? I'm old enough to hunt. And my mother gave me these arrows. I'm meant to use them, see?"
"Except you can't fire one in a straight line, I'll wager. A boy your age shouldn't be using war weapons, you can't handle them." I decide to show off a bit then, show this brat of a boy up "After all, did I not just slay mighty Python, with my arrows? I'm surely the right age to handle them. Try again when you are older, little boy."
"I'm not a little boy!" Cupid protests, rage screwing up his piggy face.
I turn away from him, deer over shoulder, and start to walk away from the forest, into the open air toward Olympus. But I turn one last time, to tell the boy to go home to his pretty mummy, and in a brief second, I feel a cold shaft pierce my chest, just above my heart.
There is no pain, more a sense of numbness. It's like when you chew on a clove, and you cannot feel your mouth, but in my chest. I feel airy, and I can smell something heady, like rosemary being burnt on a fire. I can see Cupid laughing two feet below me, but it's more of a cackle than anything else.
And then, a rush of heat is flooding through me, and I pull out the arrow from my chest. It's fairly blunt, with a painted pink tip. No blood remains on the arrow or my torso, but a small, heart-shaped scar did.
I am overcome by a wave of passion, such as I have never known for anything. I just don't know who for.
My head heavy with the mental images racing through it (something to do with pinning someone against a tree) I decide to run it off by getting to Olympus the long way – back through the forest. Running and running away from that child (who should long have been with Hades). Sweat seems like a blessing because my body's on fire. I dropped the deer a while back, and I'm tempted to leave my quiver and bow somewhere, to lighten my body in its passionate frenzy.
There's someone running nearby, lighter footed than me. There's a layer of vines and bushes that block them from my view. But I can see Cupid, flying above the tree tops, aiming at whoever it is with an arrow that looks sharper, and more deadly than the one he shot at me.
I run on faster; until I feel like I'm ahead of my chase, then dive through the vines between us, just as I hear the arrow being loosed from Cupids' bow. I land, my quarry lands with me, and I find a beautiful girl in my arms. I've met her before, it's Daphne, the girl whose hair I thought messy, now it is just imaginably decorated with twigs and leaves, framing her face which I can see is full of pain. A dark, lead arrow is protruding out of her shoulder, bleeding blackly through her sky blue tunic. Her perfect eyes are leaking tears, a single valiant sob escaping her rosebud mouth. I prop her up in my arms.
"Do you know me, Daphne?" I ask her, hardly daring to believe that she came to be in my arms, for I see now I love her with all my heart, and even if she cannot love me, I shall still save her from this wound.
But Daphne lies in my arms, asking me to help her. I pull a flask of nectar from my belt, and give her a sip; it should help her with the pain. The blood flow is decreasing a little, so I think she's ready to have the arrow taken out. She's been groaning all this time, and each cry hurts me like it hurts her. I can't bear to see my love in pain. Her body is shaking, gold hair soaking up some of the blood. But she knows what must be done, and I move her carefully so she is facing me. I trace my hand around her back, so I am nearly touching the arrow. Bending my head toward her so to kiss her lips, but not quite meeting them, I pull the shaft out her back.
What happened next puzzles me no end. Instead of falling into me, the arrow out, Daphne takes on look at my face near hers, and scrambles up to her feet, no trace of pain in her body.
"What are you doing?" she almost screams, and hits me across the face.
It must be down to the pain of the arrow being removed, and I also decide I like this new, feisty version of Daphne more than the old one.
"Well, I just pulled an arrow out of your shoulder…"
"It's but a flesh wound." A piece of hair flutters onto her face, and she blows it away crossly. Annoyed, Daphne rips off a corner of her dress to use as a head band, meaning no tempting tendrils hang over her face.
"Thank you for helping me sir, good day."
"But, what?" I was so confused. One moment, she was weak and helpless, the next… what?
It only starts to hit home when she's running out of the clearing, away from me. My whole body cries to know; why was my love running away?
I ask her to stop, and she turns back to me, three metres away.
"Look," she tells me, not quite reaching my eyes "Thank you, for helping me, but I… have a sort of phobia of men. I don't like to be around them. Please just, just leave me alone."
How can I leave her alone? Her beauty shines through her face as she leaves. I decide to follow her.
"Daphne, please!" I implore her. "Please, do you know who I am?"
She ignores me, running again, the arrow wound on her shoulder a perfect imperfection on her white skin.
"Daphne! I am—" -dodge a tree- "I am the Lord of Delphi, the God of music—" she turns around "Apollo!"
"Try pulling that one on some girl who cares!" she shouts to me "I am like Diana. I will be a virgin huntress forever and no man can seduce me!"
Running, always running. She's always one step ahead, until we reach a musically bubbling stream, where she stops, and mutters something under her breath.
Then I realise who her father is, and who she is praying to. She could ask for anything…
"No!" I shout as I catch her in my arms, but too late. Her bare feet, cut red from the ground, are becoming spiralling roots, her body twisting so her legs become a knotted trunk. Her fingers, which I'm clutching become delicate twigs, curling and winding. Her smooth skin is being calloused by rough bark, and her beautiful hair is spiralling into branches.
The wood spreads up her neck, and I just have one moment to place our first, last and only kiss on her lips, which instantly turn into wood.
Then, she's not there. A tree stands in front of me showing no sign of life, apart from the branch which her hand had been, I can feel a slow, woody pulse beating from it, it's the only thing to tell you the soul of a girl is inside. I pressed my lips once again to the bark, and again. The tree seemed to shudder at my touch.
"From now on," I say to it, my voice all but breaking with love, and the tears I'm painfully choking back "You shall be Apollo's tree. I shall make my arrows from your bark so as to always to carry you with me, my love, and the victors in my Pythian games shall decorate their heads with your leaves, as you once adorned your own hair."
I kiss the bark one more time, like a prayer, and let a tear roll down my cheek. And, grief taking over me, I curl up at the Daphne's feet, and cry like a baby. Because we're all little boys in love, aren't we?