A/N: For an alphabet challenge ages ago. "Q" is for "Quiver".
At risk of underestimating my readers, here is a run-down of the Roman gods mentioned in this fic:
Minerva: Goddess of Wisdom
Cupid: God of Love
Psyche: not a god; a woman Cupid fell madly in love with. His mother hated her.
Venus: Goddess of Love, Cupid's mother
Bacchus: God of Wine
Mercury: Messenger to the gods
Jupiter: God of All
Aesculapius: God of Health and Medicine
Sol: God of the Sun
Saturn: Protector of the Sower and the Seeds
He slowly reached over his shoulder and pulled the long arrow from the quiver. Not once taking his eye off his prey, he fit the bowstring into the arrow nock and laid the point on the arrow rest. With his bow arm straight, his drawing hand pulled the string back until it was against his cheekbone, and with a final short burst of air to blow the thick lock of blonde hair from his eyes, he let the arrow go.
"Ah, that's a fuckin' beauty!" he exclaimed in pride.
"What are you doing?"
The young god jumped back. "Fer cryin' out loud! You nearly scared me to death, Minerva!"
"Nonsense," the goddess waved, "you're a god; you can't die. I ask again, what are you doing?"
"I've got a bow and arrow and I'm the God of Love. Whattya think I'm doin'?"
Minerva looked at the microscopic scene below them. "You hit her from here?" When Cupid nodded, she couldn't help but praise him. "Well done! New bow?"
"Mercury delivered it this morning. Found it on something called 'eBay'."
She nodded appreciatively. "You're very talented, Cupid." Looking down again, she froze. Bending closer, her eyes narrowed and she pulled back in dismay. "Have you been shooting with that blindfold on again? Did you see who you hit with that blasted arrow of yours?"
"Well, if I'm as good as you say I am, I hit Nikki Wade."
"You did that on purpose?"
"Course I did. The old arrow wore off. Serves me right for trusting Bacchus. 'I know just the fletcher for you.' Bloody drunkard."
Minerva blinked several times as she tried to follow the blonde rogue's train of thought. "So let me get this straight. The arrows you used for Nikki Wade and her girlfriend the first time were faulty?"
"That's why you're the Goddess of Wisdom, Min; yer a quick one."
She towered over him and glared. "Careful, or your mother will find out about a certain Psyche." The god blanched. "Oh, you didn't think I knew about that, did you? Well, as you so aptly reminded me, I am the Goddess of Wisdom."
"My mother will kill me," Cupid whined. "You won't tell her, will you?"
Rather than answering, Minerva tilted her head to the scene below her. "So you hit Nikki Wade. Who's the other arrow for?"
He scratched his temple with the limb tip of the bow. "I was thinkin' Yvonne Atkins."
The goddess' eyes went as wide as saucers and she clutched her chest until she could collect enough air to speak. Even then, it came out as a squeak. "Yvonne Atkins?"
The young god quickly backpedaled. "Or, you know, maybe not." He watched Minerva's mouth open and close like a fish on dry land. He couldn't help but frown and ask, "What's so wrong with Atkins?"
"Oh, for Jupiter's sake!" she sighed, finally finding her voice. "Yvonne Atkins? The mob wife? The straight mob wife?" She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and pressed her fingers to her forehead. "Please, Aesculapius, give me something for this headache," she whispered.
Cupid shrugged, acknowledging the problem. "Yeah, all right, I see where you're comin' from. But I felt bad about that whole 'Nikki-bein'-dumped-by-her-girlfriend' situation. She shouldn't have to pay for my mistake, yeah?"
"So your plan is to simply hit the closest one to her, is that it?"
"Please, give me some credit. How fast would the doors of the underworld open if I was that careless? Imagine if I was that oblivious and hit Michelle Dockley?"
The older woman couldn't prevent the little smirk from sneaking out the corner of her mouth. "That might be interesting for a day."
Cupid's face lit up. "Can you imagine? A coupla temporary spells on Nikki Wade and Michelle Dockley? I'd sell tickets. Too bad I already hit Nikki with the good one."
Minerva laughed, then quickly covered it up. "Er, right. So where were we? Not Atkins and certainly not Dockley."
"It's okay," he replied. "If I don't find anyone else to hit in the next 24 hours, the spell wears off. No harm, no foul."
Minerva looked down once more. "How is she feeling?"
"Ah, she'll be okay," Cupid answered. "She's probably feelin' a bit randy right now, but she's a tough nut to crack, so she ain't gonna get herself into trouble."
"Must you use such poor language around me? You know it offends my sensibilities."
"Brainiac," he muttered.
"I heard that."
They watched as things unfolded beneath them; mortals going about their business, unaware of their fates or their fortunes. Nikki Wade in particular was in a mood of unexpected bliss, considering her state in life. In a white sleeveless shirt and her gardening overalls pushed off her shoulders and tied around her waist, she was lounging in the yard of the prison, basking in the works of Sol as if she didn't have a care in the world.
"She looks remarkably happy," Minerva noted.
"Saturn's got a huge hard-on for -" Cupid saw Minerva's mouth drop open, and he quickly corrected himself. "Saturn really likes her, so things have been good."
It was the entrance of another person that caught Minerva's eye. "Get your arrow ready, my boy."
Cupid looked down, his eyes scanning wildly as he tried to find the person who so caught Minerva's attention. "I don't see her."
"Right there," she pointed.
Cupid pulled back. "Are you windin' me up?"
She put her arm around the god. "Who's the brainiac again?"
Hesitantly, he pulled out the matching arrow to Nikki Wade's. He went through the motions that thousands of years had perfected, but even as he could hear the taut hum of the string by his ear, he looked at Minerva. "You're absolutely sure about this?"
"All right. Yer the know-it-all." With fingers released, the bow propelled the arrow straight and true, and they watched as the scene played out.
"Hiya, Nikki," the short woman greeted with inexplicable happiness in her voice.
Nikki caught sight of the person she suddenly couldn't get out of her mind. "Miss Stewart!"
Cupid could only shake his head in amazement. Looking at a beaming Minerva, he admitted, "Yer amazin'."
"Knock it off, Romeo," the goddess retorted. "And I mean that- knock it off, at least for today."
"Yes, miss," he glumly promised.
She took one last look at the two women below and smiled. Walking away quite pleased with herself, she whispered, "Yvonne Atkins! Honestly!"