Title: Sincerely Untrue
Guest : I am glad you raised this subject and I can assure you, this was going to be the subject of the next chapter, however I have already hinted at the upcoming talk they are going to have and I hope you can until then. Perhaps you can even tell me what you thought about it. ;)
Fuyutaro son: I am sorry if there had been so many errors in my last chapter and actually, I don't have a beta, the only difference was that, since I had been in a rush, I could not give the latter a read-over ~_~', which I usually do. For that i am very sorry, I know that there are a lot of mistakes, since I do not have English my first language. However, this is chapter has been read over, a few times in fact, and i hope that this one at least it acceptable :)
Me (the author): Okay, I hope that the chapter is to your liking, I am aware of the fact that it as not as intense or exciting or thrilling as perhaps the others before had been, I hope so... at least..., but I did not want to rush things either and so, this is how it turned out, the longest chapter up until now...
Anyway, I hope this chapter is acceptable and for those, who desires for more excitement and drama and heartwrench, I promise you that you will meet this in the upcoming one, in which the conflicts, which are introduced in this chapter (with Persephone and Hades, Amphitrite and Poseidon perhaps, I still don't know about this one and Hera and Zeus, though i am not sure about this one either) will have its climax. If you have any ideas concerning those couples or even wishes you are welcome to express them to me and if you want to, actually i would very welcome this, you can even write me a few sentences or ideas or leitmotifs. However i cannot promise that i can use all of them, but i would still welcome it. *grin*
Chapter 16: Ending and Beginning Path
Some may claim that it is important how it began, but actually, what is even more important than how it began, is the way it evolves, the path it has chosen and the end of it. For example, even a love which had begun as a lie can still become the most beautiful, stable and sincere relationship, while the sweetest beginning can take its worst outcome. Perhaps the story of Romeo and Julia is the most appropriate example to convey the meaning of this.
"Where are we going?" Hera asked her mother, while she held on her mother's hand, leaving her the decision where they were heading to.
"I wanted to see Amphitrite for a last time, to say good-bye, before we are heading back", she explained. Hera frowned.
"Where-? What do you mean?" Tethys turned around and starred back in question.
"Why, back home of course, darling."
"Home…" Hera repeated her mother's word. Tethys smiled and nodded eagerly.
"Don't worry my sweet daughter. From now on, you will have nothing to worry about anymore", she patted her daughter's hand. "When we are back home, your father will await you and from then you will have all the time in the world to think about what you want to do next", she assured her daughter lovingly, in the only way that only she, the only mother figure that Hera received in her childhood, was able to.
Hera nodded and let the topic be. She touched her belly, the region where she felt the tingling sensation, almost like the stroke of wings of butterflies. It was weird how the mere thought of home in connection with her parents awoke so many emotions inside her.
She looked up to Tethys again and could not help but smile. Again she was reminded how lucky she was to have a mother like her.
"What business do you have with Amphitrite?" she asked her. Perhaps she was imagining it, but she was actually very sure that the steps of her mother slowed a little bit due to her question.
"Honestly, I am not sure whether this concerns you." Ouch. Yeah and again she was reminded what she did not like about being raised by her. Her mother was brutally honest.
"Mother," she began, "I can see that your concerns for your daughter is something that troubles you and I can understand if you do not see it appropriate for me to know of her problems, however, as beloved as your daughter is you, as beloved she is as a sister to me."
"I know what you might believe, but please, if it is as serious as you convey it to be, then I need to know it. Amphitrite is as much my sister as is Hestia. We grew up together, your daughter and thus also my sister."
"We are all related to each other." Tethys scoffed.
"But were you not the one who had taught me to not dismiss it as anyone else does in our world?" she shot back.
Tethys sighed. She knew that Hera would not leave this matter before she got her answer, she was such a stubborn child, has always been. In resignation, she gave up.
"I am worried about her, because just like the daughter in front of me," with that she fixed Hera, "she has her problems with one of the Big Threes. As you may know her marriage between her and Poseidon has not always been the best, just like you, though there are here and then a few differences, I think I can say for sure that just like you, she does not favor his behavior, for the humiliation it brought her."
Hera nodded. Yes, she had known of these problems, but to be honest, she had been to absorbed with her own failed or failing marriage to care about it.
"Has something changed?"
"I think yes and no." she replied.
"What do you mean?"
"No, because and this may be the worst, nothing between them has changed. Poseidon still carries his adulterous ways, while each conquest of his is a straw that breaks the camel's back, when it is already breaking." Tethys explained.
"Hera, they are about to end up the way you and your beloved husband are already on and the worst… or not, anyway, Poseidon is as clueless as the day he is born and I fear that, especially after your decision has made its round, will take up the same path."
"And you do not wish for her to end up like me."
"Of course, I don't." Tethys replied in an instant. Hera halted in the middle, right after hearing what her mother said. Tethys, who now realized what she said, turned around and set up to reply.
"Oh darling, please don't take this personal, I did not mean to say them the way you interpreted them", she tried to clear the misunderstanding.
"And what exactly did you meant to say?" Hera asked, taking a step from her mother.
"Hera," the fact that her daughter retreated from her broke her heart. "Please, I assure you, it was not meant to sound so…"
"What? Condescending? Judging? Or full of blame? All that you have assured me of that you would never feel towards me and my decision?"
"It is fine dear that you are hurt, as I can relate to the reason why, however, you still have to give people the chance to be listened to." Tethys tried to soothe her daughter's anger.
"What is this again? What do you want to say?" Hera asked and narrowed her eyes, not believing that her mother accused her of not listening people out. "I can listen to people very well; I listened to a lot of people. I know how important communication is! But what's the use if nothing changes, even if you do and you will only end up where you started from? It is not my fault if something does not happen the way you want it to, not if nothing happens!"
Tethys did not reply, since she did not know how. She was just still amazed by the realization that this conversation has been long gone from its first station. It was no longer about Amphitrite, or Hera's temperamental and oversensitive senses.
"Then perhaps you should listen to yourself", she whispered, as she finally found the words she needed. This time, it was Hera, who remained silent.
"Daughter," she took Hera's hand. "You carry no blame, you have tried as much as you could, as I have told you many times before this day and just like you had said recently, it is not your fault." Tethys patted her hand.
"I am sorry." Hera sighed after a second. She too had realized that she had gone too far, jumped too fast on conclusions that were not justified.
"You are stressed" Tethys smiled, acted as though it was explanation enough.
"Do you still want to tell me what troubles you?"
"About your sister?" Hera nodded. Tethys sighed and carried on. "You two may have grown up together, but there is a huge difference between the two of you when it comes to the maturity. You have always been the… calm and collected one, you knew what decision to make."
Her hand went up and stroked her cheek gently.
"You were always the one that we never had to worry about, because we knew and we trusted that you could make your decision on your own. However, your sister…" Her face wrinkled and her eyes turned darker " as well intentioned and good-hearted as she was, she never truly knew what was the best for her, or actually, she did, she just never knew what the best or right thing to do was" Tethys sighed.
"I … think I can see what you mean." Her mother nodded.
"Well, while you were calm and collected, she was more like the other side of the sea, ever-changing and unstable."
"She must have inherited it from her parents." Hera smiled. It was another reminder. Actually, it was always the reminder that Amphitrite was the biological and thus a true daughter of Oceanus and Tethys.
"She was always a wild child. She was not as gentle and reasonable as you." Tethys smiled at the younger goddess. "When she married Poseidon, I thought, as much as I resented the marriage, that she might find the peace and maturity she never could attain beneath our roof."
Hera nodded. She knew that her mother was not very fond of the matrimony marriage between the God of Sea and her beloved daughter. Back then, she and Zeus had long been wedded, she guessed that her mother had seen the horror that might await her other daughter. But it was not like she had any say concerning this marriage, just like with hers. As long as one of those three wanted something, especially a female, they got it. That was the unsaid rule.
"I think that in some ways she did grow up."
"If she did, then it is merely in places that are of no importance. Hera, she may have changed her views on what was important and interesting to her, but her ways are still that as before. Too stubborn for her own good, always merely keen to get want she wants, no matter what and too prideful."
Hera felt an uncomfortable feeling rise inside her, as she realized that those were all attributes that could have been used on her as well, however, since she avoided another unnecessary argument, she kept her mouth silent.
And so, since Tethys felt like that the conversation was over, they walked in silence towards Amphitrite's home. Hera had to admit that she felt a little bit nostalgic over that. It had been a long time since she had seen her sister, with a chance to really talk to her. Whenever she visited the Olympus with her husband, the both of them kept their distance to each other, since they were aware of the fact that their spouses were not that fond of the other as they cordially displayed and would not be pleased to see their wives would get off with each other.
But that did not mean that they never talked. Whenever they got the chance, as rare as it was, they would hide in the shadows and share parts of their lives, just as they did when they were children and each time, Hera was sure of that, the both of them loved the feeling of doing so. The sneaking around, the small laughers in the shadows and sharing whatever part of yourself with the other were assuring reminiscences of a long time called childhood and it was a very beautiful time for the both of them, careless and full of serenity.
"Amphitrite, are you there?" Tethys asked. Hera realized that they were underwater now. She had grown up with Titans of the sea and was therefore granted with the ability to breathe underwater. How they did it, she did not know for sure, she had been too small to know it and when she grew older, she had other matters to care about. Like her cheating husband, her (mentally-) troubled children and her wounded pride.
"Are you sure she is here? I was very certain to have felt Poseidon's aura when-"
"Oh nothing to worry about dear, I know for a fact that Poseidon is indeed on Olympus."
"Then why are we here? Should she not be beside her husband?"
"Would you accompany your husband when you suspect him to entertain his mistress during a journey where you do not even feel like home?"
"I guess not, but-"
"She is one step away from divorcing him; do you think she would care if he would put one last notch to his board?"
If it were her and if she did not know that Zeus was now trying to win her back, because his pride was too big to let her go, then she would not want to experience it either, to wonder whether he was courting another mistress in front of her and behind her back.
"Mother, is it you?" A serenely fluent voice sounded and in the place where it came from, small and big bubbles in different shades began to collect there. Slowly, it took its form and the whole act was rounded with a dark blue light, revealing, after one blink of the eye, the goddess of the sea, spouse of Poseidon and the true mistress of the underwater-world.
"Amphitrite." Tethys smiled and swam to her daughter, whom she enveloped in a long hug. Hera watched the two of them. Tethys hair was now painted in the ocean's warm blue with strands which shone with a sea green color, whenever the Helios' beams reached underneath the watery surface. Even her usual pale complexion was now more like a light blue. And even though she did not see her sister's face completely, she had seen her many times in her youth to be able to say for sure that her sister resembled her mother like a daughter ought to. It was the same blue hair color with sea green strands, reminding the watcher of emeralds, the same light bluish complexion that can be compared with the sky; they were the sky underneath the water and they even moved the same way, with the same grace and elegance that ought to be as their duty and born right as the water world's superiority.
"I have missed you so much", she heard one of the woman say, though she was not sure which one it was. A lot of time had passed and along with the time, her youth had passed as well and in exchange, Amphitrite had gained age, though not in the negative way. She was now grown up, and each time she saw her, she resembled more and more her mother. Even their voices could barely be differentiated by outsiders. It hurt Hera to know that she had missed so much time with both of them that she could not either.
"Look, who I brought along with me." Tethys stepped back and motioned to her.
"Hera." The way she spoke that name made clear of the awe she felt at her sight. Hera smiled, nervously, though she had hoped that it was not that obvious. She was not sure if her sister would be pleased at her sight. She could imagine that she resented her for … something. There was so much that anybody could resent her for that she could not even tell the reason for sure anymore.
But before she could wallow in misery and continue to act on self-doubt, she felt two strong arms wrap themselves around her. In surprise, she stiffened, while she felt her Amphitrite tighten her hold around her.
"Hera" she repeated again. "I have missed you, too." Even though Hera could not see it, her younger woman was smiling. However, still in surprise, Hera's back had stiffened. A matter that Titan daughter noticed as well. Embarrassed, she unwrapped her, thinking that she had done something wrong. Yet, when she did, she was in turn stopped by Hera, whose turn it was now to hug her sister.
"I was surprised", she explained in a whisper and added, "I have missed you as well, Phi." The addressed woman felt tears rise inside her, as she heard the pet name that her older sister had always referred her with. Nostalgic memories began to rise along and with the addition of her mother, it could not be more perfect. It had been so long since the three of them were reunited.
"It is a shame that father is not here." Hera's eyes shone with accordance, for she too, shared the opinion of her adopted sister.
"It is, dear, however, let me say that your father was too… outraged by everything to come along." For one, he still claimed to be insulted by Hera's action and for two, Tethys knew that this was the real reason, he, on her advice, decided to stay away from the scene first, as neither of them knew how his wrath would turn out when he realized how his beloved daughters were being treated, or degraded as he liked to call it, by their spouses or like he preferred to say, bastards.
"Then I assume that you have reported father…"
"There is no need to, for even if he had not heard it from me, he would have it from anyone else. You know how immortals love to gossip", yes, it was true. Each of them could confirm this. Gossip was the only thing that lightened up their immortal day most of the times. "Aside from the many spies he had put inside your household."
"Then perhaps it is indeed better if he is not here." And although she said it, her mother could see her sadness. Amphitrite had always been daddy's girl.
"He loves you very much." She took her daughter's hand and patted it softly, like she always did to comfort her daughters and it had its effects. Amphitrite managed to smile. She always knew the right thing to say at the right moment.
"I know." She averted her eyes for a little second. Hera touched her arm gently. She looked up and smiled. Indeed, she had missed her older sister, especially her touches. It was terrible for her to be so near and yet so far from her, never knowing what it felt like to feel the soft and comforting touch of compassion and innocent love.
"I am glad you are here", she said and held her hand over older sister's one.
Tethys' heart warmed, finally, after such a heart-breaking day, at the sight of her two daughters united. How long had it been since she had seen the two together? It was unbelievable, especially considering the many times they had seen each other but could not be.
"I am glad to have the two of you, father here or not."
She knew that her daughters blamed it on their spouses, but what neither of them admitted was that they possessed too much pride to show the compassionate and loving side to anyone but their family members and because of their need to keep face and façade, they abandoned each other. But like an unsaid treaty, none of them complained or raised a word of it.
Their pride was one of the rare characteristics they shared.
"Tell me, are those rumors true?"
"You mean about the divorce?"
"Yes, those had spread over time, almost as fast as though it was Hermes, who sent them personally."
"I doubt that he would have the time." Tethys snorted. Both of her daughters turned around and looked at her questioningly. She set to explain. "Hera, do not believe that it was easy to find you. The first person I approached, before Hades, who was interestingly the only person who was able to give me an, as vague as it was, good answer-"
"You asked him?"
"-was Iris." Tethys finished her sentence.
"What did he say?" Amphitrite asked curiously. She never knew up until a few days ago what kind of relationship her sister had shared with the God of the Underworld, she just knew that there was something deep and special going on between them and she even suspected a romantic link, but like she said, she was never sure.
"I found Hera and that was all I wanted."
"I thought you found me by yourself." Again, Tethys snorted.
"Sure." She snorted. "There is no one in the world able to get inside your crazy head, as lovely as this crazy mind of yours is."
"Besides Hades." The sea goddess added and thus teased her older sister, which earned her a light shove in the stomach.
"Mom, just continue talking where you left off." Hera proposed, not wanting to ride on this topic.
"Well, it was quite interesting. I merely sought out your beloved messenger servant." Hera nodded, even though she was not fond of the way her mother called Iris. Beside Hestia and Amphitrite, Iris as one of the very very rare woman she could trust to have not slept with her husband. Although she was not quite sure, since she did not knew what to expect from Poseidon and his bedly perferences.
"She was in the middle of a conversation of which I could sadly not understand by the tone and volume they were speaking. Actually it is amazing to see how low they can whisper and still understand each other merely thanks to their gifts as gods of messages. Anyway, it was not even necessary what they were talking about. Their body language told me everything."
"You are speaking about Hermes and Iris?" Hera asked.
"Yes, do you in fact know something you would like to share with us?" Tethys and Amphitrite looked very curious towards her. She knew she could, but she shook her head, to the disappointment of her family members. Hera knew that she would not repay Iris loyalty by betraying her secret, even though she was not sure whether it was even true and even though she was her mistress and by de facto could demand loyalty. She had lived long enough with Zeus to know that loyalty meant nothing when your life depended on it and with Zeus, everything was life threatening.
"Well, then perhaps you would like to hear what I have to say. They stood dangerously near to each other and the way they looked at each other, how they were even able to look into each other's eyes… it seemed that they knew each other deeper than the mere bond they shared due to the duty. They seemed really… near. There was something and if I did not know it better, I would have claimed that there were sparks I had not seen before for a long time."
"Mother, I hope you have merely told us. It would be dangerous to spread such things. Iris is a married woman and I know that on the contrary to many immortal and even mortal women, she intends on keeping her vow, something that she has to be credited for."
And besides, Iris was Hera's friend.
"Of course, dear. I merely told you to be more careful around Hermes. I feel that his intention towards her is very contrasting to what she wants. He might lust for her and… perhaps, by the way he looked at her, even desired her to a point where I would say that he loved her."
"Hermes loves no one." Just like this father.
"Yes, but the way he looked…"
"Love and hate are very similar, just like infatuation is a kind of love, but not is."
"You are right, daughter, however, I had already seen that look before."
"And when?" Amphitrite asked, catching her mother off-guard, since she now had to give an answer she did not want to give.
She knew that both of them would ask and she knew that they were waiting for another example to reinforce her statement, however, she was for one not sure whether they wanted to hear it nor if they would believe her if she said it.
But if she had the chance, then she would it to them like this:
It was the same look Poseidon had looked at her daughter with, when she opened the door, stepped inside the room and announced that she had relented and would marry him. It was also the same look she had seen on Zeus' face when he had asked for her daughter's hand in front of them, when he dared to eye her from the corner of his eyes, knowing or rather feeling her presence behind the curtains or the time when she walked in her diamond mounted dress of many colors, ready to enter the holy bond of matrimony with him, knowing or anticipating the time the both of them would spend in eternity with each other.
It was the same look she knew she should and would never take for granted in her husband's eyes, when they woke up next to each other and when they lay asleep in each other's arm at night.
"Just forget it." She smiled.
Tethys knew that none of her daughters were in the mood to hear it, not the one who was divorcing her husband or the one who was just about to take the same path.
Yes, it was the truth, when she said that she liked neither of her daughter's spouses, however, it does not mean that she believed that they had not loved them. On the contrary, she knew that they loved her daughters, after all she had looked into their eyes and see what the felt for them. Something was like was no infatuation, no puppy small love and surely not a crush. This was real hard-core and heartbreaking love. Though more of the last than she would have liked it to be.
"Perhaps you are right, mother." Hera agreed. "Of course, it is likely to be something inferior, not as serious as you portrayed it, something ridiculous. It might be a misunderstanding… But still, it would not hurt, right…"
"Of course." Both women nodded their head in approval to each word she said.
"Say mother, you have yet to tell me the reason I owe my thanks to you it brought you here."
"But before you do, may I propose that we change into some other place, somewhere more comfortable than this."
"Of course my dear." Tethys smiled.
Amphitrite took the hands of Hera and Tethys and swam towards the ground of the ocean. They were heading towards one of the many shells on the floor. They saw how with each move they got closer towards it, it grew larger and finally, when they almost reached it, the shell opened and instead of a white pearl, there was a white light in the middle of the shell, bright and flash. Each of them closed their eyes once the light shone brightly and the next time they would open them, they would no longer be surrounded by water and underwater beings.
"It is very nice here." The atmosphere was very homely and Hera liked the way she decorated her room. The style was probably inspired by the childhood and the lifestyle of Tethys and Oceanus.
"Thank you. Luckily Poseidon let me have free hand when I came here and decorated the room."
Amphitrite smiled, when she remembered the first time she came here. She knew that he had wanted her to feel as comfortable as possible. Back then, he would have fulfilled her every wish, read her every whim from her lips, if he could.
"I like it very much." Tethys said and beamed at them with a smile. Just like her daughter she had noticed as well that when she decorated her room, she had her home in mind.
"Indeed, is it not? I loved decorating this room," she could not be more thankful for him. "This is my sanctuary" she explained.
Hera smile sadly. Just like the Elysian Fields were her sanctuary, Amphitrite had her room. Once upon a time it used to be the seas, the big wide ocean where she sought her escape, but she had long given up on that. And she could even tell the date.
It was the day Poseidon had traced her and she knew that not even her beloved water could give her the asylum she craved.
She placed one hand over her shoulder, trying to give her the comfort she could not express in words. Amphitrite looked up and smiled back, thanking her silently.
"How are you doing?" she asked.
"I am doing fine", she replied back with a soft whisper.
"You know that this is not what she asked for." Tethys interfered.
"Yes, she did" she shot back. "She asked how I was doing. She said you and there is only me."
She knew what they were talking about, but they had to understand her. There was only her and she would count him and her as one.
"Don't tell me this is what you wanted to talk about. If so, then you can leave as well. I am not in the mood to talk about him" she declared and crossed her arms over her arms over her light and shiny scaly skin
"Be reasonable", her mother warned her. Hera watched them.
"Phi", she said after a while. "Tell us, why you not came along with him to Olympus. I knew that he was there, I could feel his presence. But then why-"
"I have my reasons."
"Do your reasons involve anything in relation with the word divorce?" Tethys asked.
"Why do you care?" Amphitrite scoffed and turned around.
"We are only worried about you." Hera set to explain, however, when her mother held her hands up to stop her, she had no other choice but stay silent, while waiting for her mother to take the word.
"We think that you are doing a mistake." Tethys proclaimed calmly.
"What?" Hera asked surprised. "Since when did you talk for me? I never said anything." Tethys eyed her daughter.
"Do you want to say that you want her to stay with good for nothing husband?"
"I never said that either."
"Well then, tell me what you think."
"I don't know, okay? I am confused!"
"Fine," she huffed, "Then I want to tell you what I think." She turned around to face Amphitrite again.
"I think that you are doing a mistake" she repeated a second time, this time putting more emphasis on her words by stating them slowly and as calm as a mother could.
"Well, who cares what you think, right Hera."
"I don't think that it is fair to put me between you. As I have already said, I have not decided yet which side to take and I would find it very courteous of you to give me the necessary time to make up my mind; thank you very much."
She had not even finished her sentence, when Amphitrite suddenly began to shout towards her mother, dismissing Hera's words, even though she was the one to ask her, ending in the result that the last part of Hera's speech was drowned in accusing and to some extent annoyed words.
"Why do you have to meddle in everything? Why can you not just leave me be?"
"Leave you be? I beg you, Amphitrite, no sane mother, who cares for her children would let a daughter like you be. I possess something that is called responsibility, perhaps you would understand me if you have this as well, since this is what drives me here!" And to underline her words, Tethys rolled her eyes, something that, according to Hera, was absolutely not of necessity.
"Oh, then perhaps I should ask Hera if she has some to lend it to me."
"What is this supposed to mean?" Tethys asked with flashing eyes, which should act as a warning for her daughter. Hera asked the same question in her mind as well.
"Hera divorces her husband, but you it seems that you have no problem with that."
"Daughter, you are speaking in riddles, to which I have neither the time nor the necessary comprehension to understand it. Therefore, if you might grace us with the answer, tell us what you plan, since I guess that none of us here knows it for sure."
"Why? It's easy. Hera divorces her husband, which is much more of a scandal than me, because she is the goddess of marriage and yet, you act so forgiving and graceful towards her. You accept everything she makes and me-"
"Don't you dare, little lady! Do not compare yourself with Hera, you have no right." Tethys began to rage and Hera was sure that if she turned around, she would notice the flowing anger in her stormy eyes.
"Oh and why, may I ask please? Because you love her more? Because she is more important?-"
"It is because I trust her!" Tethys finally shouted.
"You are too rash with your decisions! You are like those little mortal girls, you see something you like and you want it, without making use of your mind and senses. You go after what is like fashion to you, someone does it and you think you can do as well. Have you ever thought that it might not suit you, that you are better off without it and that perhaps you would be more beautiful with something else?"
"So you are saying that I should stay by him? Please, mother, do not kid yourself. From anyone, besides father, you were the one who opposed our marriage the most, even when I finally relented-"
"And see where it brought you! You did not truly thought about the consequences, what it would mean to be married to him. You merely decided that you were tired from escaping from him and the thought of marrying him pleased you more!"
This was the reason why they did not accept her marriage. Because they knew that it was a mistake.
"Your sister had spent a lot of time thinking whether she should marry Zeus and even though we knew from the beginning that it would be a mistake, we let her, with more acceptance than you, because we trusted her enough to let her make her own decision. Because she used her mind."
She did not notice how Hera flinched. Hera knew that her mother had trusted her and that she broke her trust, but to hear her say it so concretely made it hurt even more.
"And you don't trust me." Amphitrite concluded.
Tethys sighed. She wished that she could have denied that. She wanted to assure her daughter that she trusted her, give her the confidence she had even lacked of when she was a child, but she never lied, especially not in front of her daughters.
"No, I don't."
"How honest of you." Amphitrite mocked and crossed her arms over her chest again. She leaned back, supporting her back with the wall. She tried to take a deep breath without her mother noticing. And her mother had indeed not taken notice of it, meaning it would have succeeded, if it were not for Hera.
When she opened her eyes again, Hera saw that the storm inside her eyes that turned her cornflower blue eyes into a black and bottomless sea had disappeared.
"You always thought that your little Hera is precious; she was always the better one, smarter, prettier and more graceful. She could do no wrong, not even when she was naïve enough to let that son of a bastard tricked her out and wronged her innocence."
Hera flinched at her words, she looked back to her mother, who had turned ghostly pale, even under the ocean's light. Before her mother could do even more damage, she decided to intervene itself, however, she knew she had to be more eloquent and show more sensitiveness than her mother and sister had before.
"Okay Phi, I get it, you are angry, you are hurt and because of this you are acting very irrational now and you want to hurt us. I understand this, but still, this does not give you the right to talk like this." Hera tried to appease and at the same time shut her sister up.
"Just shut up, Hera. I don't want to know what you think, or believe, but the truth is the truth and I can't change that. Bite-"
"Mother-" Hera rushed over to her mother's side, trying to soothe her. "Okay, this is getting out of hand." She rubbed her mother's back and arm, hoping for all of them that she would not say something she would regret and the same went for Amphitrite.
"Don't call me that!"
Hera sighed and wondered what had gone wrong. This was so getting out of hand, they were not even talking about what they came here for and worse, she had suddenly become the replacement for the actual subject, something she was not fond of.
"Amphitrite", she began conciliatingly "We only want the best for you and I am sorry if we made you believe that we don't consider you-"
"What?" she asked provokingly.
"Listen, we love you and we care for you. We were worried, this is the reason why-" Suddenly Hera was interrupted by a shrill sound. She remembered the sound, as it was familiar with the alarm signal she was used to during her childhood.
Amphitrite gave one of those typical womanly high screeches of annoyance and went towards her mirror. Her hand flew over the mirror and along with her movement the mirror changed its image. She realized she had been far too long away from home, as she had abandoned her ability to decipher those watery lines in the glassy surface.
Amphitrite sighed in annoyance and turned to Hera.
"I don't know why, but I have a feeling that this guest is not here for my lovely presence, but yours."
"What do you mean?" Hera asked.
"Hestia is standing in my hall – do not ask me how she got there- and I doubt that she came here for the sake of my marriage."
"Send her away." Hera replied.
"I can't." she simply said.
"Why? This is your home."
"For one, exactly because it is my home, I cannot send her away. I welcome anyone that has not slept with my husband, that is quite known throughout the immortal and mortal world. Second, I doubt that she will let me send her away." Hestia was quite stubborn.
"I think it might be the best if you go to her now." In other words, it was better if Hera left now. Hera turned her head away and from the corner of her eyes, she noted that her mother saw the meaning behind her words as well.
"Don't you think that is a little bit too harsh of you, Amphitrite?"
"No. no, I don't think so and I believe that Hera shares my opinion." She looked to Hera, who felt as though she had no other choice but to nod.
"Yeah, maybe it is the best." She had a vague feeling that her presence would act as a fuel towards the fire between them. She turned around and left. If there was a thing she had not mislearned then it was how to leave.
"What are you doing here?" Hestia wanted to reply. "No, there is no need. I already know, you want to persuade me to return to him, right? I am sorry to disappoint you, but I will not, so if there is nothing else you want to talk to me, then I ask you to leave."
"It was hard to find you." Hestia began, as though she had not heard Hera's words. "But after Iris told me that your mother found you, it was getting easier to track you."
Hera eyed her. Hestia had this certain intuition, she knew what was missing with her family members to a point that it was scary. Perhaps she was aware of the problem between Amphitrite and Poseidon as well. She could have guessed that the relationship between Hestia and Poseidon was pretty amicable, on the other hand, Hestia was amicable to everyone. Aside from Eris, perhaps.
"Seriously, Hestia. I do not have the time-"
"Go to Zeus", she pleaded.
"I knew it." She threw her arms in the air theatrically and turned around-
"Please", Hestia begged. "I never said you have to forgive him or anything. Just look after him. I am worried, he is… He is not well…"
"Oh please, not even a day has passed-"
"But no one can reach him, not mother, not Themis, not even me or Athena."
Hera sighed. This was absolutely not her problem.
"I am truly sorry to disappoint you, Hestia" or not. "But right now I have other things to worry about, in form of a hysterical and out of control sister, who has the power to cause havoc on earth that is beyond human's understanding."
"So troubling, huh?"
"I don't know what her problem is. I mean, this is not something we do to hurt or belittle her. We care for her and we only want her to have the best."
"You want her to understand you."
"Of course I do."
"And you wish she would understand."
"Is this too much so ask for?"
"I don't know. Is it?"
Hera finally halted, realizing what her sister was unknowingly implying.
Hestia smiled, when realization dawned on her sister.
"You may not see it this way, but for me you are family and I love, adore and care for you. It hurts me to see you hurt and perhaps you can are right, perhaps it is true that I don't give you the chance to make your own decisions and that I don't trust you the way Tethys and Oceanus and whoever may does, but you have to understand; I love you."
Hera sighed and looked away.
"I am as much as your sister as Amphitrite and any other Nereid born of Tethys and Oceanus is."
"I know you are-"
"Do you?" Hestia questioned. "Don't misunderstand me, Hera. I know you loved me, but I don't think it was the way I loved you. I always saw in you my sister, a member of my own blood, someone-"
"Blood relations means nothing in our world", Hera intervened.
"Perhaps, but to me it does." Somehow this reminded Hera of her mother Tethys, who always tried to teach her the very same thing.
"And this is why I love you", she replied.
"See. You don't love me as your sister. I remember well that in the beginning, you were interested in no one in our family, you wanted to know nothing about them; those were your exact words." Indeed, Hera remembered it as well. "You only conversed with people of the family you were raised in, everyone that by blood belonged to Tethys and Oceanus' bloodline, other than Hades, for whom you harbored no familial sentiments for.
"You cannot blame me for shunning them, I have every reason to." Hera tried to defend herself, recalling in her mind the disgust she feels towards her family members. Self-absorbed, arrogant Poseidon, with more vanity than power and enough foolishness to believe that the world should bow down to him or complacent Demeter, as arrogant as said brother, believing herself to be as holier than the virgin goddesses and possessed morals that went far lower than she believed herself to be high.
"But at that time you did not know it."
Hera hesitated to answer.
"No… no I did not." But the truth could not be ignored.
"You don't know how long it took to get you to trust me." Hestia smiled. "But it was worth it. Even I had never believed how our relationship would turn out so well."
Hera could not deny this either.
"I am happy as well. To tell the truth, I am grateful that you never gave up or otherwise I would have never had the chance to have you in my life."
It was weird, it was Hestia's stubbornness and her constant will to never give up and try until she had the person where she wanted her to be, usually for her own good, at least according to her and now, it was this very stubbornness, the driving will to make everyone make the choice that she believed to be the best for them that now tore them apart.
"Why do you have to be so stubborn?"
"Why are you so stubborn?" Hera shot back.
"Perhaps it is in my family." Hestia replied with a smile.
She had thought this over for a long time, choosing between facing him right now, asking him every question that has burned on her mind since she realized it was not truly her that he loved or just staying away from him, letting him cool down and perhaps coming back and pretending as if nothing had happened. She had made up her mind by choosing the first, knowing that she would never find peace and because she could not live with being second choice, even though it was so damn hard and so tempting to just give in and live in the little happiness that was left, for it was actually enough.
She had made up her mind.
So then why was she standing nervously in front of the gate which she reigned over? Nervously fidgeting her dress and looking down on the earth, while being caught up in her confusion.
"How long do you plan on standing there?"
She should have known that his powers went even beyond the realm of the Underworld.
"I don't know." She was still keeping her head bowed down.
"Persephone", he sighed and she knew that he was coming closer to her. "just come with me inside." She felt the familiar presence behind her back. She would have shivered, feeling his comforting and yet menacing aura of power and temptation, but this time, she stayed calm. She knew she had do.
Slowly, she rose her head and turned around, so that both of them could look into each other's eyes. And Hades flinched when he did, upon what he saw inside of them. There was agony, heartbreaking confusion over their unknown future of what both of them had always been sure of, nervousness and worst, the dread, because this time this dread was not something he could assert her of being silly and he knew it was his fault that all of this what he never wanted to see was his fault.
"Okay." she whispered.
Just because we know the beginning, does not mean that we know the ending as well. And just because a man and a woman has finally tied the knots does not equally mean that they would live happily ever after from then. The love of the man which borders on obsession does not necessarily mean that he would always treat her right, like the romance between a forced princess and a abductor king still has the chance at their happy ending - perhaps even more than the former- and very much like the love story between a couple appeared to be strong and able to withstand every hindrance can break.