The Sun-loved Tree
There is a story of a tree that was loved ever so much by sunshine. But this tree was no normal tree at all, and the sunshine was in fact, the smitten son of Apollo and Aphrodite.
The young, lesser God was named Alfred. He spent his days playing in the clouds above Olympia, watching the humans below and delighting in the games held in the Gods' honor. Everywhere he went sunshine followed, brightening the day and illuminating the clouds that he sat upon, a charming smile seemingly ever present on his handsome face. He was much loved and if not, a bit coddled. But even though he was sheltered in the wispy clouds of the sky, Alfred couldn't prevent such a fate as falling in love.
And with a human at that.
Arthur was perfect according to Alfred. They often met in the grassy meadows outside of the city of Olympia sharing laughs and meek kisses. And even though Arthur acted severely put-upon – coming to meet the young God as he did, not once did he break his promise to see Alfred.
The romance itself was harmless and sweet. But as it continued, many of Alfred's fellow Gods grew discontent. It wasn't common for a God to take a lover for such a long time, and even less common for it to be as chaste as Alfred's romance. Many of the other Gods saw it fit to intervene.
"You can't do this!" Alfred shouted as he was held back, within the confines of the starry sky and lofty perches of rolling clouds. It was nighttime and he fought the sleep that always fell upon him when there was a lack of sun. He was at his weakest and they all knew it.
His mother touched his face gently, her beautiful features dipped in worry and care. "I'm sorry. I truly am, but it is for the best."
"No, no, no, no, no!" he chanted over and over again, until they let him go, once Apollo rode his chariot into the sky, the sun following soon after. What had they done to his love? To Arthur? He was terrified and quickly fled the clouds, rushing to the small grove where he had seen his brethren take Arthur.
There was only a small, still pond in the center of the grove, the water tinkling softly as the breeze tickled its surface. A lone ash tree stood hunched, almost as if in fear, away from the forest's edge. Alfred's heart squeezed in horror and he ran to the tree, touching the sweet scented bark with mournful caresses. "Oh… Arthur what did they do to you?"
His brethren had turned his love into a tree – and he knew this tree was Arthur; could feel it in the burning ache of his heart. The normal sunlit radiance that accompanied Alfred wherever he went had dimmed in his sadness. Tears pricked at his blue eyes as he sat on the ground beneath the boughs of the tree. What should he do? Did he seek revenge? Did he forget about his love?
Of course he could never forget Arthur; those beautiful green eyes, his soft pale skin, the way he laughed quietly, as if the whole world were sleeping and he feared he would wake them. Oh, he missed the man already.
They all thought that he couldn't love a tree – that's why they did this to Arthur. Alfred frowned. Well he was just going to have to prove them all wrong. If it was Arthur, he didn't care if the man was a tree or a squirrel – he loved him.
Every day for an entire year Alfred dutifully visited the lonesome grove. He made sure there was always pleasant light in the grove, not too hot and not too strong; he would fetch water from the still pond, cupping the crystal clear liquid between his hands and walking back to Arthur to let the water trickle down onto his roots. Alfred caressed the bark and spoke softly to the tree, reminiscing about earlier days together, and professing how much he missed his stubborn love.
The grove itself began to flourish under the young God's attention. The rains were steady and the winter was mild. But as a full year came to pass, Alfred sat under Arthur's leafy branches. "I miss you so much," he said softly, tears touching his cheeks. He knew that past the bark and the wood, there was Arthur in the center of it all. Unsure, he wrapped his arms around the truck of the tree, hoping to find comfort and warmth – he tried not to be upset when he didn't. "I love you, Arthur," he said softly. "I know you're a tree, but I still love you. I just miss talking to you, and kissing you, and seeing you – and I miss you."
Two branches eased down slowly, the tree making a woody groan as the boughs circled around Alfred's shoulders. How it happened, Alfred didn't know. His face was no longer pressed against grainy bark, but a solid and warm shoulder; the branches became arms, gentle and loving; long fingered hands carding through his hair as soft lips pressed against his forehead over and over again. "Alfred… oh my sweet Alfred…"
Overcome with shock and disbelief, Alfred wretched himself from the all too familiar embrace. "Arthur?" He held the man's hands in his own, as if the loss of contact would make this sudden vision disappear. "Is that really you?"
"It is." Arthur smiled, trembling at the strange sensations that ghosted across his skin – he had forgotten what the wind felt like. It was an entirely different experience when it simply rustled through his branches and leaves. "I'm not sure how… I just know I wanted to hold you. So I did."
Alfred pressed his nose into the junction of Arthur's neck and shoulder. There was something familiar about the sweet scent of the man's skin now. It reminded him of all the nymphs that occasionally followed him once they'd overcome their own shyness, swooning for sunlight and good favors. "Dryad." Alfred's hands began roaming across Arthur, moving from his hands to trace up his arms and over Arthur's shoulders. "Your will is so strong that you became a dryad, Arthur."
"I don't know how – Alfred! You're too bright." Arthur closed his eyes as Alfred grinned, his joy and sheer delight at the situation that he began to shine brightly. Arthur relished in the warmth of the sunlight, instinctively leaning in closer when Alfred's lips met his.
"I love you, I love you, I love you," he repeated between kisses, unable to control himself and his joy.
Arthur's smile was wry as he said, "I know. You poured water on my toes for an entire year."
The young God hesitated before pulling the newly created dryad close. "Did I help you? I was so worried…"
"I… Uhm – yes. It was refreshing, I suppose – on the hotter days." His cheeks bloomed into a pink blush. "I didn't realize… you cared so much."
Alfred's only response was to kiss the man, pulling him towards the still pond and helping Arthur with his ungainly first steps. He pulled off his linen tunic and splashed into the pond, smiling and enjoying the cool water on his bare legs. "Sit here," Alfred said, his hand patting the green grass next to the edge of the pond. Carefully Arthur did as he was told, watching as Alfred gripped his ankles and pulled his feet into the cold water. "There… how does that feel?" he asked lowly, smiling as Arthur shivered pleasantly.
"It feels… nice…" He flushed as Alfred began trailing his wet fingers up Arthur's calves, the water beading up and running down his leg in small rivulets. "Oh, Alfred…" Arthur reached out for Alfred, folding his fingers behind the young God's head and pulling him in for a long kiss, their tongues slipping together and tasting each other.
"I'm so sorry all this happened to you," Alfred whispered, his hands crawling across Arthur's naked body, attempting to memorize the exact muscles and swells beneath his fingertips.
Arthur hummed, contenting himself within Alfred's arms. He had been victimized by the very Gods they were supposed to honor, spilling extra wine at banquets and sacrificing the best of their flock – Arthur wanted to be angry and spiteful, but Alfred had worn it out of him over the year. His soft whispering against Arthur's bark… he could almost hear it still; comforting and lovely. "They told me they did it because I had not lain with you, and therefore you wouldn't… ah… move on." Arthur grimaced at himself. "I… well… wanted to… but you ah – uhm… never offered…"
There was a pregnant silence between them. Alfred's blue, blue eyes stared into Arthur's green ones. "I didn't realize you wanted to… But Arthur, I could lay with you every night and never, ever tire of you. Not once."
"Prove it." And there was the stubbornness that Alfred had missed so much over the past year. Because even though Arthur was just a mortal, he didn't weep and bend beneath him. Arthur was strong of heart and of will. He kept his peace with the Gods and did not needlessly fear them. And now – now Arthur was no longer mortal. He didn't have to fear or mourn the day when Arthur would inevitably meet his fate.
Alfred eased himself out of the water and between Arthur's legs. "I will."
Arthur lay back as Alfred began to please him, his hands warm and gentle against Arthur's skin. Alfred left searing, open mouthed kisses across his body as his own hands scrambled to touch every inch of the attractively shining God above him. This would be his first time, and his last if Alfred lost interest in him.
If that were the case, turning back into a tree forever wouldn't be an awful fate.
"Tell me if I hurt you," Alfred breathed against his throat, two fingers pushing inside of his entrance. Arthur writhed, his toes curling into the muddy banks of the pond, causing the water to splash whenever he jerked in pleasure. Alfred was already hard, his erection flushed with excitement at it poked into Arthur's thigh. The young God's fingers curled massaging and searching until he found the small spot that made Arthur whine in the back of his throat. He planted kisses wherever his mouth could reach, watching as Arthur's body bloomed into an aroused flush.
It had hurt when Alfred slowly pushed his cock inside. Arthur wanted to root himself into the ground, his fingers clawing into the dirt as if to do just that, but on the same token, Alfred was inside of him, touching him and holding him close. A honeyed sigh fell from his lips as Alfred began moving, gently rocking into him and drawing out every breath. Arthur wanted to remain like this forever, like this with Alfred. The pond water made small, lapping noises as the breeze wafted over them, the sweaty slap of skin and hot sighs dominating the noise of the rustling leaves. Arthur's nails pulled from the grasses to scratch along Alfred's back, attempting to meet the God's thrusts with an equal push of his hips.
He was so close, and with the rhythmic pace that Alfred set slowly descending into discorded chaos, Arthur knew that Alfred was almost there. He nipped at Alfred's collar bone, lapping at the sweat that had beaded along the God's neckline, groaning and crying and pleading for more and more until finally he came with the shudder of his entire body – Alfred quickly following suit and toppling over onto him.
When they were both finished, lying in a heap of sweaty limbs and semen, Alfred brushed a lock of hair from Arthur's face. "You're gorgeous," he murmured. He sat up only to find that beneath them a patch of vibrant red anemone had bloomed. With a small smile he picked one of the flowers, tucking it behind Arthur's ear, despite the disgruntled grimace his lover gave him. "I promise you that someday, we will fill this entire field of anemone."
Arthur was at a loss for words. He desperately wanted to believe his love, but Alfred was a God, and most Gods, if nothing, were promiscuous. Instead he kissed Alfred tenderly, unwilling to say anything. And when the young God was back in the clouds for the night, he sighed sadly, raising his arms and letting himself succumb to the form forced upon him by the Gods.
He was bathing in the pond the next day, his legs restless and jittery from being still for so long, when Alfred returned, a smile on his face and an intoxicating stream of sunlight behind him. Almost immediately Arthur turned his face to him, hoping to bask in the warmth of the light. "You came back," he muttered, marveling at the young God. "I… didn't think you would."
"Of course I would! I promised after all." He waited until Arthur was out of the water before grabbing the dryad by the hips and pulling him close, despite the dampness of his skin. "And maybe I just couldn't wait to fill the fields with flowers." He glanced out meaningfully towards the field that set before the grove.
Arthur harrumphed, torn between being amused and offended. "You act more like a beast in heat than that of a God," he snipped.
"Ha! But you don't deny wanting it!" His hands slid down to grope Arthur's bare bottom, only to be slapped away. "Arthur? I did promise you every day! Don't… I mean… hey now… I didn't mean to tease."
Arthur stormed off to the edge of the forest that enclosed the grove on three sides. He set his hands on his hips huffily. "Well, I'll not be here simply for your pleasure, oh young God! If you waited a year, surely you can last another day." He paused an impish smile carving onto his face. "Until then, you should stick to watering toes."
Two could play at this game, and swiftly Arthur turned into a tree before Alfred could say anything further. They had the rest of time to fill the field with flowers.
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Unimportant Notes: Written for the usxuk community's Olympic Event. :U