A/N: I'm a fan of mythologies, especially Greek Mythology. I admit though, it was the Percy Jackson movie that rekindled my love of mythology. Having said that, I was disheartened to see so little stories about Hephaestus D:
"Do gods ever get cast out of Olympus?" the young goddess looked up from her station on her uncle's good leg, seated amongst Mount Olympus' greenery, overlooking the sunrise as Helios rode the skies and banished the storm clouds. She thought she saw anguish flash in his good eye before dismissing it as a trick of the sun when the God of Fire spoke warmly.
"No, of course not." He smiled at her. "Maybe if you were really, really bad, you'd be banished from Olympus, but never hurled off the mountain, no, no."
"Really?" her voice quivered as her worried eyes looked up at him. "Grandfather's anger is legendary, I heard, and his strength more so. Is it not possible for him to become blinded by rage? I don't think even my father will be able to stop him when he's really mad."
"Your father is a great many things, young one. So great, in fact, that you'll have nothing to fear from my father's anger. And even if your father will be unable to stop him, I will not allow any harm to befall you or any of your siblings. That's a promise." His eye clouded briefly before it hardened with his resolve. "There is nothing for you to fear. We are gods; a simple fall from Olympus will not keep us down."
She saw only truth in his eye and the warmth he gave off reassured her in ways no words could. She gave him a small smile to which he responded by patting the top of her head affectionately.
Amongst all the gods residing in Mount Olympus, the lame god was probably her favorite, second only to her mother. While her mother showered her with love and affection, the god of fire showered her double and more. He spent as much time with her as with her other siblings, but only she cherished his presence. He had a soothing quality her mother lacked and it was moments like this when she would seek him out for comfort.
"You have nothing to fear." Her uncle reassured her as his red locks swayed with the morning breeze; it was almost impossible to believe that the skies cackled with Zeus' anger mere moments before. The young goddess hugged her uncle before standing up and straightening her dress. She gave a quick twirl before facing him, her back against the sun.
"Thank you, Uncle Hephaestus, for cheering me up again." She smiled gratefully at him and the god of fire couldn't help but smile back. "I'm sorry; grandfather's rages and accompanying thunderstorms are just so frightening- I needed someone and mother and father were . . . busy." she spoke uneasily, knowing the relationship between the god in front of her and her mother's. If he was hurt, it didn't show as his eyes continued to sparkle warmly at her, soothing her. "I'm really grateful."
"Think nothing of it, young Harmonia. I can always make time for you or any of your siblings. I, too, enjoy your presence." I, too, enjoy being able to spend time with whom I consider family he added in his thoughts, unwilling to burden Aphrodite and Ares' child with his troubles.
He smiled when the young goddess waved goodbye and headed back home. He watched her figure disappear in the distance before he grabbed his cane and brought it close, about to hoist himself upwards when a familiar voice spoke.
"You'd make a good father, Hephaestus." He turned around to find the goddess of wisdom leaning against a tree, her tresses free as she held her helmet under one arm as her trusty owl rested on her shoulder. She pushed herself off the tree and approached him. "A pity you are married to that promiscuous harlot."
"Now, Athena, be nice. It was not her fault I became her husband."
"Hmph." She sat down to his right, facing the opposite direction from him, and set her helmet to her left. "It's hard to believe such a goddess can produce a sweet young girl like Harmonia." She leaned back to give him a sideways glance. "It makes me question if Ares is her true father or not."
"He is." Hephaestus ran a hand through his flame-colored locks to hide his grimace at the war god's name. "You know as well as everyone that Aphrodite would not sleep in the same bed as I, what more perform our marital duties?" He smirked in sour humor at the impossible thought. "What business do you have, anyway? Do you need another sword made or repaired?"
Athena's gaze turned upwards. "Not at the moment. Do I need a reason to speak with you?"
"No but it is rare for another god or goddess from my generation to want anything to do with me aside from the use of my talents." Call him jaded but Hephaestus couldn't fathom any of the twelve gods of Olympus to want just a casual conversation with him. Tartarus, his conversations with his own mother always had something to do with a new piece of furniture for her house.
"If you must know, I was making my way back from Hellas when I heard your voice. Naturally, I was curious and ended up listening in on your conversation with Harmonia. That's pretty much it. " She paused before realizing something. "Oh, apologies for eavesdropping."
"Good. Now back to my earlier observation; you would make a good father. Ever thought of divorcing Aphrodite and finding some other woman, immortal or whatever, and siring a little mischief or two?" Athena asked him in good jest as she patted her owl. "I assure you, out of all the gods in Olympus, none would be more suited to the life of fatherhood than you are."
"Siring a child? The only children I can sire are made of metal from my forge; no other woman in her right state of mind would stay with a hideous god such as me." He felt Athena stiffen beside him. He looked towards the sun in front of him before shaking his head; he had pondered these thoughts before and it only lead to more depression. "Sorry. I have to get back to my forge soon. Hermes wanted a new pair of sandals and my wife wants another necklace." He stood up and began limping his way back. ". . . For what it's worth, Athena, thank you for your compliment."
"Wait." He turned around and saw that the war goddess had also risen from her spot, hard and sincere eyes trained on his. ". . . You are not hideous. Scarred, doubtlessly so. You walk with a limp and aren't really the strongest of the gods." She saw him grimace and she let out a small smile. "But you are the most even-tempered and your art is amazing. Your mortal followers are devoted and creative. Though you can't swing a sword or throw a lightning bolt as well as some, you more than make up for it with your plans and creativity." She had slowly approached him as she spoke until now they stood face-to-face. She slowly brought her hand up to cup his cheek with as much tenderness as she could muster. "Aphrodite doesn't know what she's missing by not giving you a chance. I speak truthfully when I say you would make a great father. So . . . give it some thought, alright?"
Hephaestus pulled back from her touch and turned away then started walking. Athena looked down, thinking that she had failed to lighten the mood of the god of forge before she heard the gentle breeze carry his words.
". . .Thank you."
She looked up and smiled before putting on her helmet and strode forward to walk beside him.
The rest of the short walk back was in tranquil silence. They parted ways when they entered the hall of the gods, Athena heading towards the stables as Hephaestus made his way back to his room to change his clothes before heading to the forge. His mind had already pieced together what his wife was doing in their room and he sighed, releasing whatever anger that was starting to build up with that one breath.
There is no point in getting angry he thought grimly, resigned to his fate. He continued his way before stepping outside his bedroom door, listening in on the conversation from the other side.
". . . husband. . . back soon, lover. . .time . . . to leave."
He could imagine them both, tangled up under the white sheets and nuzzling against each other.
". . . sn't matter, 'Dite. . . ather doesn't care, anyways."
Hephaestus looked down at where his hand was gripping his cane and realized he no longer had the strength to be angry.
". . . golden net. . . again, do you?"
He heard Ares laugh and he smiled ruefully as he remembered the lack of satisfaction that fiasco brought.
". . . fool out of himself! More than us!"
He heard Aphrodite's melodious laughter join her current lover's and he shook his head, trying to banish the image of how the gods laughed at the couple for the show but mostly at him for his stupidity. They mocked him that such acts of infidelity on Aphrodite's part was expected given how unwanted Hephaestus was. He bit his tongue when he realized the bitter truth; that neither his father, nor mother, nor even his wife loved him. They cared for him, yes, but only because he was able to provide them with wondrous constructs. Rather than a fellow god, he was nothing more than a Cyclops in their eyes.
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he stilled his breath and knocked on the bedroom door. The voices from the other side immediately hushed and he heard the clanking of metallic clothing being strapped on. He stood there, waiting a few moments longer. When he realized nothing was going to happen if he continued staying still, he opened the door and immediately narrowed his eyes at the sight before him.
Ares, fully clothed, was leaning forward on the bed to passionately kiss the Goddess of Love, her naked body hidden under the white bed sheets. They broke off a moment later, Ares righting himself before smirking at him while Aphrodite gazed at the God of War hazily.
"Good morning, brother." Ares approached him and patted him on the back jovially before walking out the door in a self-confident stride. He continued walking away from the room, speaking over his shoulder. "She is a fine lover, indeed."
Hephaestus closed his eyes, banishing the image from his mind and wondering why he continued to torture himself so. He opened his eyes to find that his wife had already left the bed and was picking up her clothing from the floor, putting them on the side and taking out a fresh set of robes, not even paying attention towards him.
A tense silence filled the room before he took a deep breath. "I was with Harmonia, earlier." He began. "She distressed last night and would have loved her mother's company." Aphrodite hummed as she pondered his words while she brushed her hair. "But you were . . . busy . . . with Ares. Again."
"Yes well, I met up with him as he returned from another of his exploits." She smiled fondly as she recalled how captivating the war god looked the day previous. "Naturally, one thing lead to another and here we landed."
"You did not have to spend the night with that oafish brute in our bed. You did not have to soil our bed, again." His tone rose slightly and he had to quickly think of another angle before this turned into yet another one of his shouting fits. Aphrodite never cared for his fits and it only ended with him in a sour mood for the rest of the day. "Harmonia would've appreciated your company."
"And my company she will be having." She stood up, placing her golden brush down on the table and walked passed him. "Be a dear and change the sheets, would you?"
The God of Fire felt another headache coming. "'Dite . . . please, I love you more than Ares ever could." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "And I know you don't love me back but you can at least clean up after yourself."
Aphrodite suddenly froze before glaring at him. "Are you implying that I'm some sort of animal?" Her clear blue eyes narrowed at him. "Listen here, husband-" she spat out that last word. "-you are right in saying I hold no love for you. This marriage is a farce. Our father forced our hands together therefore I have the right to pursue whomever I want to pursue. That does not mean I am some loose animal that jumps from one bed to another!" She huffed and stared walking. "I am going to my daughter now to see how she is faring. Good day!"
She stormed off passed him, leaving him alone in their bedroom. He stared at her withdrawing figure before turning back to the bed. He approached it before proceeding to change the sheets. He was not changing it because she told him to; he was changing it because he wouldn't be able to sleep if the sheets were mixed with their scents.
He gritted his teeth, changing the sheets mechanically, his thoughts focused on his forge and how he was going to create even more, wondrous creations. He couldn't afford to think of his situation . . .
He just couldn't.
A/N: and there you have it~ prologue done~ let's see if I can continue this story or if this will be buried in a large pile of once-in-a-blue-moon updates D:
constructive review, please ^__^ I haven't written any story in ages so I fear my grammar and vocabulary have regressed _