Apollo, the god of light, of reason, of proportion, harmony, number -- Apollo blinds those who press too close in worship. Don't look straight at the sun. Go into a dark bar for a bit and have a beer with Dionysios, every now and then.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

It is beautiful here, far more beautiful than ever I was led to believe of heaven. Though I seldom set foot outside this place that is his, nothing prevents me from looking, and every view is heartbreakingly lovely. So is he. He was beautiful enough in life; as he is now, I can hardly bear to look at him directly. More than ever it astounds me that he wants me here, to mar the perfection of his daily existence.

Perhaps it astounds him, too. Sometimes, stealing a glance at him, I catch the look in his eyes: affectionate but vague, as if he isn't sure what he was thinking when he acquired me. I have in fact been acquired, I think, like the statuary, and have proved less well-chosen. He is fond of me because I love him; but the part of him that loved me so deeply in turn has died. All our years together are forgotten, might never have been.

And yet he brought me here, by what manipulation of time and reality I cannot imagine, rather than let us be parted; and despite what he has said from the beginning, I know now that he is far from willing to let me go.

I love him, will always love him, would never leave him of my own will, but the solitude begins to wear on me after a while. His occasional visitors are a welcome diversion, as I suppose I am to them. Artemis treated me with the careless affection of a child for a beloved brother's friend; Aphrodite, who looked me over once, made a couple of embarrassing remarks, and dismissed me with a wink, reminded me bizarrely of Joly. But the face of Dionysus was like the face of a friend, in no way I can easily explain. He was stranger, wilder, less seemingly ordinary than the rest of them, and yet in his presence I felt somehow less out of place. I thought at the time that my lover had seen it, and left me alone with him partly out of kindness; and trusting to that, I left with him.

But he came after us, my Apollo, in such fury as I could never have been prepared for. Even in his rage he was beautiful, but there was nothing in him that I recognized, nothing of Marcelin whom I loved. There was only the god, and he was terrible.

Come with me, or follow him and be damned.

In that moment, in that skipped heartbeat, I nearly fled. I wanted to; God help me, with all my heart I wanted to flee him, who had been my beloved, for this other who was no less terrible but somehow less strange. But the look on his face told me that would not be the end of it, and I have never in life or death been able to refuse him.

I thought later of telling him that, in fairness, his brother god had a prior claim; but the man who would have laughed at that is dead, too.

Even now my heart aches a little, though he was gentle again as soon as we were alone. He is not what he was. Given time, I will come to understand who he is now; but what good will that do me, when every day he knows less of me?

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