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a sip of forever

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Alexander loves the press of John's skin against his own. It's slightly chilled, compared to a mortal’s. John says the chill entwines with the soul if one remains too long in the Underworld. Alexander would not know such things, although it makes sense from what he has learned about the realm of the Dead.

Yes, Alexander loves the chill in John's skin, the strength in his limbs, those beautiful arms and legs that tangle with Alexander's own, the sweet nothings on John's breath. If he could lie in his lover's embrace for eternity, he would, but he is not a foolish nymph. He is a man of learning, a son of Zeus, and he has a universe's worth of almighty beings to impress. He needs to create a legacy; he needs to find a way to scrawl his name in his father's stars.

And he is quickly running out of time.

One frustrating aspect of having a god for a lover is that John has no concept of time. He has no need for it; he will live until everything dies, and once everything dies, death becomes insignificant. He will not age, but will have his body forever young and handsome, his mind forever nimble and sharp. Alexander has no such luxuries - he will slowly crumble into the dust from which he came.

This is why he is quick to anger when John applies the word ‘forever’ to him, to them. Only John has that yawning span of time. There is no John and Alexander, there is no Alexander at all. And if John means to imply that he will love Alexander long after his bones are dust and his spirit fades away, then he is both naïve and moronic. Time rots even the purest of notions.

Alexander cannot waste time faulting John for his short-sightedness, however. He summons his god back to their bed just days after sending him away. John comes as soon as his father releases him from his duties.

And so, Alexander finds himself curled under John's arm, his cool chest to Alexander's back. Flowers of all shapes, sizes, and colors fill the room, and the air hangs heavy with the scent of their clashing perfumes. They used to give Alexander a headache; now they're something of an aphrodisiac.

“My Alexander,” John murmurs in his ear, and though he should be affronted that John is suggesting possession over him, the phrase actually sends a pleasant tingle down his spine. “Tell me what upset you when I was here last.”

“You will not love me forever,” Alexander says bluntly. John's arm tightens around him; he could not escape, even if he wanted to.

“Why won't I?”

“I am mortal. I have only fifty years or so left - do you know how little time that is?” Alexander demands, cross that he has to explain something so simple to such a powerful being.

John is silent for a moment. “You're… concerned about your mortality?”

Alexander makes a noncommittal noise.

“So your issue is not with my love for you as it stands now?”

Alexander rolls over within John's grip. They're face-to-face, chest-to-chest, breaths mingling in the air between them. Alexander can feel his own heart pounding loudly in his ears. John has no heart, though Alexander cannot begin to comprehend the anatomy he has in its place. “Of course not.”

John laughs, like there was a hidden joke woven into Alexander's response. “Then stay with me forever.”

Has John heard nothing? “John, I cannot-”

John cuts him off with a wave of his hand. Alexander reflexively moves out of the way when John releases him and raises his hands. Small vines appear out of nowhere, curling and growing around John's fingers, shaping into a tightly woven goblet that rests in one hand when he is finished. He waves his other hand over the top, and a rich, golden liquid fills the goblet.

“A sip of nectar, and you can have forever, Alexander. No one will begrudge me a permanent lover. Your own father has his fair share.”

Alexander peers into the goblet. The liquid inside looks purer than spring water, and it has a glimmering sheen to it. Just a sip. He could do everything. Discover everything. Learn everything. He would have John's touch on him from now until the end of the universe. No legacy, no pressure. No pesky mortality to interfere with his joy.

“No,” he whispers.