"You know Zeus, this is a really beautiful place for a wedding." Hera sat on a slab of quartz, staring out at the ocean and letting out a wistful sigh. Her husband sighed, sipping at his drink while he stretched out next to his queen.
"Why thank you, Hera. I've been saving this place for a while, actually."
Hera smiled, closing her eyes and leaning back, contently lying next to Zeus.
"Have you read the papers?"
"Do we get papers here?"
Hera laughed. "None at all, my love."
Aphrodite groaned, making faces at the brides. It was hard enough making Daphne look as perfect as possible for a wedding, but Artemis would be impossible to make look even passable. The last month and a half had ben chaotic. Once the bond was broken between Hades and Persephone, the god of the dead started to court Artemis in earnest. Apollo was raging with jealousy, but Daphne had always been traditional and prayed to her ancestor's gods, so actually meeting them was more of a thrill than anything. She agreed to go with them and left everything behind for Apollo, and he was determined to make Daphne happy. One of those things that would make her happy is to stay with Apollo and stay young. The gods talked it out and decided that Daphne could be raised to a status befitting her rank, which would share Apollo's gift of immortality with her, but if anything should ever happen and she didn't want it, she could return it and die as mortals did.
"Ow, Aphrodite, stop, you're hurting me!" Artemis pouted and flailed about, whining as the goddess tugged at her hair and tried to tame it.
"Shush you, I gave up my promising modeling and acting career just so I could join you!"
Aphrodite had given up her stage name of Bunnei, along with her manager Marion, after a press conference that stated she and her husband Hephaestus were going to the wedding of her relatives, double meanings meant, and then were going to retire on a deserted island where no one could find them. The news reporters were so shocked they just didn't believe the young woman, but when Marion had no client to work for and had nearly a million dollars to pay off cancellation fees of contracts for the next year, plus a hefty bonus for herself, people had to admit that Bunnei would not grace the stage again.
"You didn't have to give it all up you know!"
"Of course I did, how could you all leave me alone in that huge house!"
Daphne giggled and Aphrodite smiled, letting out a sigh. She actually liked Daphne, the girl was as up to date on fashion as the goddess was. She went a bit gentler with Artemis's hair, muttering an apology and taking her time.
Apollo and Hades sat in a room, staring at each other and cringing every few moments. Hades hated the bright youth and wished for his dark rooms again, the palace he lived in, and his river with Charon to keep him company. Apollo was repulsed by the darkness and longed for his skies, his lyre, and to hold Daphne close.
"So… Are you welcoming me into your family, or am I supposed to welcome you into mine?" Apollo raised a brow and Hades laughed nervously, shrugging, not knowing either.
"Did you see the news when Aphrodite announced she'd be retiring with her husband?"
"Oh yes, how could I miss the diva saying she was going to the wedding of her relatives…" Apollo rolled his eyes, shaking his head. Hermes had flitted about getting ready for the ceremony, gathering flowers and sending out invitations with locations on them. Ares and Poseidon were busy with the food that was being prepared, and Athena sat with Hephaestus, talking about what they would do now.
"A bunch of gods and godlings on a deserted island with no contact to the outside world? I give it five years before we're all back." He smiled, chuckling softly as Athena nodded.
Just before sunset the ceremony began. Hades waited in his black robes, waiting anxiously for Artemis. His hair was combed and tied back, he was fidgeting, as most grooms did, and he swore he would die if things didn't get underway soon. Apollo stood cooly to the side, staring out at the ocean over the cliff and sighing. Such ceremonies… Still, it would be fun. Cherubs began to play instruments and the guests turned to see the tiny winged children toss flower petals about, announcing the arrival of the brides.
Artemis walked in wearing a long white gown, silver swirls dancing up almost to her hips, a matching belt hanging low on her hips. Her veil was thick and dropped to her chest, being held up by a silver moon tiara, and her sleeves were simple straps on her shoulders. Ribbon laced from her fingers up to her elbows, glinting and winking in the disappearing sun. She carried a few lilies, a symbol of grace and simple beauty.
Next to her, Daphne walked in a dress that was merely layers of gauze, some held against her tightly, some loose, and the outermost ones colored gold and flowing with slits in them, almost like capes. Her hair was done traditionally, piled in curls upon her head with a few tendrils escaping, roses held in her hands with golden tips. Her necklace and earrings were gold as well, her veil made of gauze like her dress.
The two walked in time to their waiting grooms, smiling at them as they approached. Artemis stood back to back with Daphne, Hades to the left, Apollo to the right. Zeus conducted the ceremony with Hera, the duo starting the ceremony that would bond the two pairs together as long as possible. Gods, goddesses, nymphs, satyrs, cherubs, centaurs, and demigods littered the audience. As the ceremony came to a close, the couples were invited to kiss, which each did, and then told to show a leap of faith, right over the edge of the cliff and into the waiting waters below.
It was a ceremony that had been passed down through the ages by immortals, jumping off a high cliff into the waiting waters below. Artemis and Hades looked at each other, her veil lifted, silver make-up giving her an otherworldly glow, and then they jumped, holding hands and splashing into the water below.
Daphne did not look as excited for the ceremony, but she grasped Apollo's upper arms, clinging to them practically, and he laughed, grabbing his wife around the waist and holding her tightly before they both took the plunge. Daphne screamed, but Apollo silenced her with a kiss, laughing as they hit the water.
The two couples surfaced, completely unharmed, and the banquet for them started on the beach as they left the water.
"That was so scary!" Daphne was dripping wet, but she was grinning. Apollo carried his bride out of the waves, throwing his head back and laughing before he set her down on the beach, kissing her again and again before getting her delicious fruits to eat.
"Don't run Artemis, you'll-" Hades sighed, watching the eager goddess trip and fall into the water. He picked her up, grunting softly before muttering, "Your dress is obnoxiously heavy. Should I remove it?" Artemis flushed crimson, hiding her mouth and the smile she had.
"Hurry up, I'm hungry!" Aphrodite stood on the beach, pouting. Leave it to the lovebirds to make everyone else wait. Whose day did they think it was, anyway?
Ten years passed and the gods were just waking up for their days. Aphrodite had taken on the role of her younger sister and began her modeling career, determined to have fun this time. She lived on the island of course, but she traveled to her jobs on perfumed winds. Marion became her manager again and was strangely fond of this new diva who went by the name Venus and had the stage name Kitten.
Hephaestus brought back old fashioned, handmade jewelry, and sold it online when he could, although he still needed help from Athena on how to use computers.
Hermes continued to deliver messages to the gods and specialized with culture who traveled the world, seeing new places, meeting new people, and eating as much as possible. He was always on the move, but he stopped home about once a week. His favorite place so far was Katmandu.
Apollo and Daphne chose to live with the gods after a long debate, but since it had only been ten years, they were still in their honeymoon phase and rarely went anywhere without each other. Daphne loved children and small animals, often cooing over the cherubs that were freshly born. Apollo joined Hermes on his trips sometimes, but it was normally an excuse to pick up something exotic for his wife.
Artemis and Hades lived together in their own house on the island, but it was close to the main house and they visited any time they could. Artemis helped to guide the Underworld, bringing a sense of childishness that relaxed many of the souls there. Hades had been known to smile more, and when no one was looking, would whisper into Artemis's ear, making her blush and stutter, too shocked to speak. Their dragon was often curled up between them, staring contently at its mistress and master, or was playing with Cerberus when they were busy.
Zeus and Hera continued their counseling, but it was with more confidence now. Although Zeus sometimes still snuck off to frolic with the mortals, it was rare enough that a withering glance from Hera would make him apologize and bring her a gift. Hera found this gift giving idea to be wonderful and was glad someone had put it into his mind.
Poseidon went back to acting, even doing a series of movies with Venus "Kitten" Pallas, the sweet and bubbly stage presence. They went well and the god of the sea favored most places with good rains and winds.
Ares and Athena finally put their differences aside, for now, and worked on their video games together. Athena made them challenging, while Ares made them destructive. The result was a game company that produced some of the best titles geeks had seen in ages. They also went to conventions around the world and talked about their inspirations, but it wasn't too often or with much enthusiasm. They rather enjoyed having a party with the other gods every now and then, which happened more often than not on the mainland, in a similar mansion, in a similar place, with similar faces throwing it.
A/N: It's done, finally. I hope that you all like this story, I'm quite fond of it myself. Sorry it took so long to finish, it's surprisingly hard to be inspired by anything of late. Thank you for all of you who stuck around this long to read it!