Ares stood on the beach facing Dionysus, Hephaestus and Aphrodite. He was prepared for battle this time. He gave them an evil smile as he scanned the three. They were no match for him and they all knew it.
"What a motley crew of protectors we have here," he laughed. "A cripple, a drunk and a woman against the God of War. It doesn't seem quite fair."
"You could always go away," Dionysus suggested.
"I am feeling generous today. I will only sacrifice the child and allow you three to survive for awhile longer."
"You will have to kill me first, Ares," Aphrodite spat at him, holding her dagger posed.
"None of us will yield, Ares," Hephaestus growled.
"So be it, Deicide it is," Ares laughed and launched his attack. As the God of War, Ares had no peer with a sword and shield. Effortlessly he blocked their blows while inflicting brutal damage on all three. He knew Hephaestus was the most skilled, while Aphrodite was the most desperate. Moving constantly, he gave them no angles or openings for attack. They were forced into defensive posture as he took to the offense. It wasn't one blow that shifted the tide towards him, but the accumulation of smaller injuries. Blood from all three stained the ground, but they didn't surrender.
"You show courage, but it won't be enough," he told them, continuing to press them further and further back towards the small house. All pretenses of mortality were dropped and their true selves were revealed. Again and again their swords clashed. Each time, Ares inflicted more damage on the three. He had a smile on his face the whole time as he toyed with them, allowing the drama to stretch out before his final triumph.
From her hiding place Chara peaked out to see what was happening. A few minutes ago her uncles had appeared and then her mother rushed her inside and put her in this hiding place. The sounds of metal against metal and the cries of familiar voices were too irresistible for her to not take a look. Fear gripped her young mind as she saw her mother and uncles being hurt by the big scary man. He had just appeared on the beach and she could tell he was bad. A tear came to her eye as he watched him cut her mother's arm and then smack her to the ground. Chara could see the blood running down her uncles' bodies and knew they were hurt badly. She wanted to help them, to stop the man but he was so big and she was so small. Her young mind was so afraid of what was going to happen. Someone had to help her mother fight the man. Suddenly the image of her daddy and Diana came to her. They would stop him. Daddy wouldn't let anything bad happen to her. As she suddenly focused on her father and Diana, the air around her began to shimmer and then glow. Deep inside her small body it was as if a switch was tossed. Chara was still hiding in the small house on the beach, but she was also miles away.
Diana was just finishing up a series of meetings with U.N. members about a proposal on women's rights when something caught her eye through the large conference room window. Excusing herself for a moment, she went to the window and gazed out. The street in front of the embassy had its usual traffic and tourists, but something wasn't right. Scanning the crowd, it took a moment, but then she saw her. Diana gasped as she saw Chara standing on the sidewalk staring at her. Quickly she glanced around looking for Kal or Aphrodite, but they were nowhere to be seen. Diana turned her attention back to Chara and saw tears in her eyes. Concern filled Diana and she quickly raced through the embassy towards the front door. Something was wrong, horribly wrong, Diana just knew. She was outside in only a matter of moments, but Chara was gone. I wasn't hallucinating, Diana told herself, it was a message, a warning. Something was horribly wrong and she knew Chara was in danger. Fear for the little girl's safety consumed Diana and she raced back inside, changed into her uniform and contacted the Watchtower in seconds.
The EU conference on climate control was a major event and Clark had been reporting on it for the paper all week. The speeches had wrapped up almost an hour ago and now it was time for questions from the press. The politicians' answers were the standard press release issue, but he figured maybe someone might say something new. He had asked several questions but had no more luck than any of the other reporters. He was just leaving to file his story when he heard it. Even with his powerful ears, it was just a whisper and only one word, Daddy. Instantly he was scanning the surroundings and it only took a moment to find her. Chara was standing across the street in the park crying. Clark felt fear grip him as he saw the tears in her eyes. She's in danger, screamed through his brain. Moving at top speed he was across the street and into the park, but she disappeared before his eyes. Panic set in even as he launched himself into the air.
"Watchtower to Superman," came Jonn's voice in his ear.
"Not now, Jonn."
"Kal, this is Diana, something's wrong! I saw Chara outside the Embassy! I think she's in danger," came her voice.
"I saw her too, here in Madrid," He responded, climbing higher and higher. "I'm already on my way!"
"Superman, Wonder Woman, there's some sort of magical disturbance over the coast of Cyprus," Jonn asked.
"Chara!" Clark gasped and then shifted into hyper speed, heading straight up.
"Site to site transport, Jonn, as close as you can get me," Diana demanded.
Dionysus was down, blood pouring from his head and chest. Hephaestus had fought valiantly, but was no match for Ares. He lay writhing in agony in the surf. Aphrodite was the last line of defense between Ares and her daughter. She was coiled for his next attack, dagger at the ready. He feinted several moves and then in one swift rush, wrestled the dagger from her hand and slapped her to the ground.
"The game is over, Aphrodite," he said standing over her pointing his sword. "I told you once before I would not tolerate this abomination. Her life ends now."
"You will not harm my child!" she screamed, even as he moved the sword to her throat.
"What's to stop me?"
From out of the heavens two beams of red came. A scream that could be heard on Olympus was ripped out of Ares as the beams sliced through his arm. The sword dropped from his useless fingers, as he staggered back, his flesh burning. The beams didn't stop but continued to follow him. As blood flowed from his injured arm, it boiled under the intense heat. Grabbing a shield with his one good arm he was finally able to deflect the beams. He got no respite, as a warrior's cry came from behind him. He had just enough time to turn and see Diana's fist rushing towards his face. The force behind it launched him into the air, sending him flying towards the water. Ares was reeling and only dimly saw the imposing figure hovering in front of him. The force of another blow being delivered by Clark stopped Ares momentum. The impact of his body dug a trench almost one hundred feet long as he tumbled through the fine sand. Pain washed over his entire body. His breathing was labored. Wiping the blood from his eyes, Ares looked up and saw Superman, Wonder Woman and Aphrodite standing before him.
"It's over, Ares, you've lost," Diana said to him.
"The battle, but not the war," he rasped, stretching out his hand over the sand. The ground began to shake and then erupted as skeleton warriors began to rise. The three began to defend themselves, but more and more skeletons came. They swarmed Aphrodite and Diana, even as they fought desperately. Clark was blasting them with is heat vision, while tossing skeletons left and right trying to get the Diana. Cold dead hands crawled and grabbed at him, but he pushed forward. He could barely see, and was caught off guard when Ares stepped in front of him.
"I came prepared for you this time, Kryptonian," Ares rasped, and then pulled a kryptonite tipped dagger and plunged it into Clark's shoulder.
Clark screamed as the poison rushed through him. Ares wiped the blood from his eyes and smiled wickedly as the skeletons enveloped the wounded hero. Turning his attention to Diana, he saw her continue to fight, destroying one skeleton after another. Stepping behind her, Ares summoned a ball of energy with his good hand and fired it at her. Diana screamed as the energy surrounded her body, short-circuiting her entire system. She dropped to the ground, her body spasming in pain. Ares turned to Aphrodite.
"Your heroes have failed and now you will pay the price," he viciously said to her. The skeletons had overwhelmed her and pinned her to the sand. Ares picked up her golden dagger and looked at it. A cruel smile came to his face as he turned his gaze back to Aphrodite.
"Hephaestus made this blade to kill a God and so it shall."
Aphrodite screamed in fear as he moved towards her the dagger raised for the killing blow.
Chara had witnessed everything. Hope had filled her when Daddy and Diana had arrived to stop the evil man, but then those dead people had sprung up from the ground. She gasped when he stabbed her Daddy and started to cry when he hurt Diana. Fear filled her young mind when she saw him turn towards her mother. Panic gripped her and again something turned on inside of her. Chara's eyes shifted to completely white and energy seemed to swirl around her.
"No," she said in a tiny voice. The little beach house exploded outwards, disintegrating under the force of the blast. Ares was knocked back and looked at the remains of the house in shock. Diana, Clark and Aphrodite managed to turn just enough under the skeletons to see what had happened. Hovering several feet above the remains of the house was Chara. Pieces of wood and other household items hung suspended in the air. The space around her shimmered with energy, like a new sun had been born.
"So the abomination finally makes an appearance," Ares snarled and then commanded more skeletons to rise. Legions of dead warriors erupted from the sand and started towards the little girl. In his condition, Clark desperately fought, but was too weak to break free. Diana couldn't seem to control her limbs as the energy blast had disrupted her body completely. More skeletons pinned Aphrodite down, even as she tried desperately to reach her daughter. Ares raised the golden dagger and took a step towards the little girl. The skeletons were within a few feet of her, yet she hadn't moved.
"Go away," she said, barely above a whisper. A wave of raw energy erupted from her and spread out at astonishing speed. One by one the skeletons first burst into flames and then disintegrated into dust as the force of the wave hit. Their ashes swirled and disappointed into the sky. Nothing could stand against the force of the energy. Ares raised his arm up in defense, but as the wave hit him his skin was seared. A scream came from his lungs as the gall force winds began to flay the flesh from his bones. His body was being pulled apart, first flesh, then muscles and tendon. Against this holocaust he had no defense. He opened his mouth to scream in protest, but then he burst apart and was swept away like the others. As quickly as it started, it was over. The beach had been wiped clean of the skeletons, the sand polished smooth like glass. Only Diana, Aphrodite, Clark, Dionysus and Hephaestus remained. Clark managed to pull the dagger from his shoulder and then struggled to his feet. Dionysus and Hephaestus dragged themselves up the beach towards the house as all eyes were focused on the little girl. She hovered for another moment and then the energy winked out. She dropped down to the floor of the destroyed house and blinked her eyes. The suspended remains of the house came crashing down to the ground.
"Mommy? Daddy?" she said, confusion evident on her face. Aphrodite scrambled up and rushed to embrace her daughter. Clark helped Diana rise and they made their way to Chara as well.
"Is the bad man gone," she asked, hugging her mother.
"Yes, baby, yes," Aphrodite smiled in relief, tears rolling down her cheeks as she embraced her daughter. Clark winced as he reached the house and gently stroked his little girl's hair. He looked from Chara to Aphrodite to Diana, but none of them seem to know what had happened. Dionysus and Hephaestus finally managed to make it to the ruined house and then looked in wonder at the little girl.
Wayne Manor was alive with the sounds of a party. The Justice League members had been invited to celebrate Bruce and Selina's engagement. It was a beautiful day as they mingled on the back lawn. Clark stood on the patio watching Chara joyfully playing tag with Diana and Selina. It had been two weeks since the incident on the beach and no new manifestations of Chara's powers had presented themselves. The little girl didn't even remember what had happened and while outwardly calm, Clark was deeply concerned over all of this. As he watched her giggle and run around she looked so innocent, but he couldn't get the image of her from the beach out of his head.
"She's a beautiful little girl, Clark," Bruce said, walking up to him.
"What? Oh, yes, yes, she is, thank you, Bruce,' Clark replied.
"You're still worried about her powers,' Bruce stated. He had heard the story from both Clark and Diana. He had his own concerns about the power they described, but right now his friend needed reassurance.
"It sounds like a traumatic event can trigger them to me. I think you're worrying too much, Clark."
"Marrying Selina has mellowed you, Bruce," Clark offered with a small smile.
"Don't spread that around," Bruce countered. "By the way, the whole brooding thing is sort of my trademark, so knock if off."
"I'd like to, it's just I'm so worried about what might happen," Clark admitted.
"Stop, she's happy, Clark,' Bruce said, putting his hand on his friend's shoulder. "She a beautiful, innocent little girl, that's apparent to everyone. Someday her powers will manifested themselves, but don't worry about something you can't control."
"She's two, Bruce, and she already defeated a God," Clark responded.
"Good for her. I never liked Ares anyway," Bruce said. "Her mother and father were in mortal danger, Clark, it triggered those latent powers before their time. You said yourself she doesn't even remember what happened."
"I know, it's just, what if?"
"Don't," Bruce shook his head. "Take it from someone that knows, don't let your worries about what might happen in the future ruin what you have now. Carpe diem."
"That's Latin, Bruce, she's part Greek Goddess," Clark smiled.
"The points the same."
"I know and I'm sorry for worrying about all this. Today is your and Selina's day. Congratulations, by the way,' Clark said, offering his hand to his friend.
"Thank you," Bruce smiled, shaking his hand.
"So did you get a chance to buy her a ring yet?"
"I-I don't know what you're talking about," Bruce said defensively.
"I hear everything, Bruce, and I do mean everything,' Clark smiled.
"Who have you told," Bruce asked.
"No one, don't worry," Clark laughed.
"Good, keep it that way or else. And by the way, yes I did buy her a ring,' Bruce informed him.
They both chuckled and turned to see Diana and Selina coming towards them. Selina was carrying Chara and tickling her, much to the little girl's delight.
"Daddy! Make her stop," Chara cried between giggles. Selina laughed and set her down. Chara raced over and got behind her father, peaking out to look at Selina.
"Already a daddy's girl, I can see," Selina smiled. Diana came over and kissed Clark, laughing as she watched Chara.
"I hate to think about what will happen when the first boy shows up to take Chara out," Diana said with amusement.
"No need to worry, because that's not going to happen," Clark countered quickly. Both Diana and Selina broke out in laughter at this.
"Come on, Clark, she's a little beauty already. She'll have to beat them off with a stick," Selina said.
"Not if I see them first," Clark replied, seriously. Before Selina could reply, Chara had snuck up behind her.
"Tag!' The little girl shouted and then raced down the steps and out onto the lawn laughing. A mischievous smile came to Selina's face as she watched Chara.
"I could get to like this, Bruce. Something to keep in mind," she said and then started after the little girl.
"Thanks, Clark," Bruce frowned. "What is it and the women around you that have to give me so much grief?"
"Hey," Diana protested.
"Present company, excluded," Bruce quickly added. "Now you've got Selina thinking of children. That can't be good."
"Whipped," Clark said under his breath.
"Excuse me," Bruce said, turning and giving him a stern look.
"Nothing," Clark replied, with his most innocent smile. Bruce gave him his best Batman glare before turning back to watch Selina.
"What does whipped mean," Diana asked. Bruce spun around and glared at Clark again.
"It's just a joke, Diana," Clark explained, smiling even more as he felt Bruce's glare.
"I don't understand," Diana replied, looking from Clark to Bruce.
"Your boyfriend's joke means that in a relationship the woman is the one in charge," Bruce gruffly said.
"Oh, I see," Diana nodded. "So it's like our relationship, right, Kal?"
"How's that,' he said, looking at her in surprise. A smile now came to Bruce's face.
"Well, I am the dominant one in our relationship, so I guess that means you're whipped, correct?" Diana explained.
"Exactly," Bruce offered.
"No! No, it doesn't," Clark protested. "Just for the record, what makes you think you're the dominant one, Diana?"
"Are you saying I'm not Kal," Diana softly said, giving him a sad look.
"I didn't say, I mean, it's just," Clark stammered.
"You wouldn't do anything for me, Kal," She asked, her eyes wide and her lips turned down.
"I didn't say that, of course I would, it's just that doesn't mean," he stumbled to reply.
"See, I told you I was in charge," Diana suddenly said with a big smile.
"That's just underhanded and shameless, Princess,' Clark observed, shaking his head in disbelief. He received a punch in the shoulder for his troubles.
"I told you before, Kal," Diana started, but he cut her off.
"I know, don't tease the Amazon," he said with a wince.
"Diana! Help," came Chara's voice. Selina had caught her and was tickling her mercilessly. Diana laughed and started towards them.
"Duty calls," she said to Clark and Bruce and then went down to join in the game. Clark looked over at Bruce and saw him smiling.
"Enjoying yourself, Bruce," Clark said sarcastically.
"Yes, as a matter of fact I am," Bruce replied.
"You're making me rethink something I was going to ask you," Clark responded unhappily.
"Oh, come on, there's worse things than being the whipped boyfriend of Wonder Woman, Clark," Bruce pointed out with a laugh.
"That is true," Clark admitted. "Or the whipped husband of Catwoman, Bruce."
The two friends laughed and turned to watch Selina and Diana playing with Chara. All three of them seemed so happy.
"So what did you want to ask me, Clark? Another favor," Bruce said.
"Yes, something important, Bruce," Clark replied, turning to look at him.
"I'm listening," Bruce answered, turning all his attention to Clark.
"After what happen, Aphrodite and I talked about the future for our daughter. We both agreed we'd like it to be as normal as possible. We'd like to surround her with a support network of sorts. Dionysus and Hephaestus have already agreed to be her patrons for that side of the family. Chara's already sort of adopted Diana, but I wanted to ask you to be her patron or godfather, Bruce," Clark said to him.
"What? Why," Bruce asked, shocked by the request.
"You said it yourself, Bruce, for all her potential powers, she's just a little girl. I've always believed the best thing that ever happened to me was being raised by the Kents. They kept me grounded and instilled in me a sense of respect and honor. There's no one I respect or trust more than you, Bruce. My daughter will need all the help and guidance she can get as she gets older. It would mean a lot to me if you would be one of those that helped her."
Bruce had been completely caught off guard by the request. That his friend trusted him that much touched him more than he could say.
"I'd be honored, Clark," Bruce sincerely said, shaking his friend's hand.
"Thank you, my friend,' Clark replied, touched that Bruce had agreed.
"Well, someone has to counterbalance all the spoiling you're going to do to her," Bruce smiled.
"Oh, like you'd be any different."
"We're not talking about me here, Clark."
"Just wait, I'm going to remind you about this one day,' Clark laughed.
"By the look in Selina's eye that will be sooner than I thought," Bruce groaned, watching his fiancée having a ball playing with Diana and Chara.
On Chara's next visit to her father, Diana informed him they were going to visit her mother and sisters. It seemed Hippolyta had been asking when they were going to come so she could speak with Clark.
"Are you sure we can't put this off," Clark hopefully asked, as they made their way towards the palace.
"That's what you've been doing this whole time, Kal," Diana countered. "Don't worry, mother said she just wants to talk to you."
"That's why I've been putting it off," he muttered.
"Chara, we're going to meet my mother, Queen Hippolyta," Diana said to the little girl, ignoring Clark's protest.
"A Queen," Chara asked in awe.
"Yes, she's the queen of the Amazons," Diana smiled. The little girl smiled wide as she heard the news. Her head had been on a swivel since they arrived, trying to take in all the wondrous things around her. She was dressed in her best Sunday dress and held both Clark and Diana's hands. Amazons mingled around as the trio walked through the courtyard, all eyes on the little girl. They all had heard she was the daughter of the Goddess and looked in wonder at her.
"Princess Diana, it's good to have you home," General Phillipus said as they reached the palace. "Your mother has been eager for your arrival."
Clark gave a little groan, but said nothing. Diana flashed him a look and then turned to Phillipus.
"It's good to be back home, General. Where is my mother?"
"She's waiting for you in her chambers."
With a bow, Phillipus escorted them through the hallways to the queen's chambers. She knocked and a voice called out to enter. The door opened and Hippolyta was standing wiping down a rather large sword.
"Come in," she said, smiling at her daughter and then giving Clark a look, before putting the sword back in it's place on the wall. Clark cringed a little, as the idea of just where she would want to use that sword filled his mind. They entered and walked over to Hippolyta. She embraced Diana and kissed her before turning to the others.
"And who is this little one," Hippolyta asked, spying Chara.
"This is Chara, mother," Diana said and then leaned down to the little girl. "Chara, this is my mother, Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons."
Chara looked in wonder at the queen and then did her best to curtsey. Hippolyta tried to keep a straight face, but a smile slipped through as she looked at the little girl. She bent down and extended her hand to Chara.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Chara," Hippolyta said.
"Hi," Chara smiled and shook her hand.
"Hi," Hippolyta replied, a little laugh coming from her lips. As she straightened up, the smile vanished as she looked at Clark.
"Hello, your majesty," he said in all sincerity, feeling more nervous by the second.
"Diana, why don't you show are little guest some of the sights of the island. Would you like to see the horses, Chara?"
Chara beamed at the news, and nodded vigorously.
"Good, that will give your father and I some time to talk," she said, flashing Clark another look.
"Are you sure, mother, I mean, we just arrived," she nervously started, worried for Clark.
"Nonsense, you two go have a good time," Hippolyta smiled. Reluctantly, Diana allowed Chara to pull her from the room. The door closed and Hippolyta and Clark were alone.
"You have a beautiful young daughter, Superman."
"Thank you, your Majesty," he replied.
"I have to wonder about your bringing her today," Hippolyta said, moving over and pouring two glasses of wine. She handed one to Clark and continued. "First it seems you've been avoiding me and now you show up with your daughter. It makes me think you have an alternative motive in bringing her."
"Actually, two, your majesty," Clark admitted, blushing a little.
"And what would they be?"
"I figured if you were really unhappy with my being with Diana it might slow down any swordplay," he nervously said.
"Swordplay? Why would there be swordplay," she asked, confused.
"Well, ah, um, Diana told me the-the penalty for being with her was, um, ah, well, severe," he nervously spoke, still not able to say the word castration. Hippolyta turned at looked at him for a moment and then broke out laughing.
"Oh, my, I didn't realize Diana had such a cruel sense of humor," she said between laughs.
"She told you that was why I wanted to see you?"
"Y-Yes," he said, confused by her reaction. His answer only made her laugh harder. She moved over to the door and opened it, gesturing for Phillipus to come closer. When Hippolyta told the general of what Clark thought, she joined the Queen in laughing. The two women had tears in their eyes as they looked at the expression on Clark's face. The general left to tell the others, while Hippolyta closed the door and went over and sat down.
"Oh, I haven't laughed that hard in ages," she said, wiping the tears from her eyes.
"I'm a little confused here," Clark said.
"Sit down Superman, I'm afraid my daughter has been having a little fun with you."
Clark sat, waiting for an explanation. Hippolyta finally got herself under control and smiled at him.
"I only wanted to speak with you to find out your intentions towards my daughter, Superman."
"You mean you didn't want to…well, you know, with a sword?"
"Heavens no! That is, unless you hurt her, than yes, I would."
"And she knew this the whole time?!" Clark gasped.
"Of course," Hippolyta confirmed.
"Oh, I owe her one," Clark said, shaking his head. "She's had me in terror for the last few months! I even wore a cup today! I'm going to make her pay!"
"You realize you're talking about my daughter, don't you Superman," Hippolyta pointed out to him.
"Oh, please, don't misunderstand, I would never hurt her, I just want to get her back for this trick she's pulled," he quickly explained.
"I know, I was just having some fun with you," Hippolyta smiled.
"I see it runs in the family," Clark absently grumbled.
"Oh, come on, would you rather I get the sword down?"
"No! No, that's quite all right," he quickly answered.
"So now, tell me of your feelings for my daughter," she said, still smiling, but a serious look in her eye.
"I love her," he simply said. Hippolyta looked at him for several moments and could see he was being totally honest.
"And she loves you."
"Yes, I believe she does."
"So what are your intentions beyond that?"
"My intentions are simple, your majesty," he started. "I love Diana with all my heart and will do anything in my power to make her happy."
"Marriage," she asked.
"If that's what she desires, I would gladly do it today," he honestly replied.
"If she wants them, yes, but I won't try and force her into anything she doesn't feel ready for."
"So you have no desires of your own," Hippolyta asked.
"Yes, of course, but they all revolve around your daughter, your majesty. Just being with her is more than I ever hoped for."
Hippolyta studied him for several minutes in silence. The honesty of his words was plain to her. When he spoke of loving Diana, she knew he was telling her the truth. It warmed her heart that Diana had found a man that truly appreciated her for who she was.
"You have my blessing, Superman, Kal-El," she smiled.
"Thank you, your majesty," he smiled in return. "There is a request I have of you, too."
"Oh? What is it," she asked, surprised by him.
"Would you do me the honor of being my daughter's patron?"
Hippolyta sat looking at him, stunned by his request.
"What?" she finally managed to say.
"Just as Diana has patrons that give her strength, wisdom and beauty, I wish my daughter to have people in her life that play that role for her."
"But Diana's patrons are Gods, Kal-El," Hippolyta protested.
"Yes, and Chara will have those as well from her mother. I believe she should have others as well. My own parents have passed away, so I have no relatives other than Chara in this world. I know the importance of family in a child's life and want that for my daughter. I've always admired the bond you've instilled in Diana for this place and people. She may have been molded from clay, but you are the one that molded her into the person she is today. I can think of no one better to help guide and shape my daughter."
Hippolyta looked at him, gratified by his words.
"Yes, Kal-El, I will gladly be your daughter's patron. From this moment forward I will think of her as my family," she earnestly said.
The crackle of a small fire mixed with the sound of the waves. Sitting on the beach were Hephaestus, Aphrodite and Dionysus. Their injuries had healed and now they shared a quiet moment together. Hephaestus had rebuilt the little beach house back to its original form. They could have been a million different places tonight, but found this was the only place they wanted to be. They sat around the fire, each in their thoughts.
"Ares is still alive," Hephaestus finally said.
"I know, we couldn't be that lucky," Aphrodite replied.
"He will be a long time recovering," Dionysus added.
"But he will return and want revenge."
"I told you once before, I will do anything to protect her and I reiterate my pledge," Dionysus told Aphrodite.
"As do I," Hephaestus added.
"Thank you both," she smiled.
"It seems quiet without her," Hephaestus admitted.
"Yes, but she needs to spend time with her father."
"He's a good man," Dionysus remarked.
"Yes, and he will protect her."
"Along with Diana," Aphrodite added.
"The little one has made me hope again," Hephaestus admitted.
"I know what you mean, I feel I have purpose in my life again," Dionysus confessed.
"That is the gift she has given us all," Aphrodite smiled. "She is the hope for both Gods and Heroes."
"I think that deserves a toast," Dionysus smiled, and then took out a bottle of wine. He poured each of them a glass and then raised his.
"To Chara, the hope of Gods and Heroes!"
"To Gods and Heroes," Aphrodite said, raising her glass, and Hephaestus followed suit.
"Gods and Heroes."
A/N: This story was originally meant as Ephemera. I was just going to leave it up for a week or two, but decided to keep it up longer. For those that read it, thank you. For those that read and reviewed it, a very special thank you. I did read and appreciate all the comments.