"And this is my concern because…?" Hera asked as she surveyed a scroll, barely having moved her eyes up to look at the distraught Apollo.
"Because he means to make him one of us!" the sun god explained exacerbated, his arm flying wildly about to indicate the subjects who were not around. "He's a thief! And a liar!"
"I fail to see this as my concern," Hera replied calmly again, a single eyebrow lifting on her forehead as she finally looked to the younger god over the scroll. He frowned, clearly uncomfortable in her presence. He shifted from one foot to the next, trying to avoid eye contact without seeming weak. The goddess sighed, placing the scroll down on the table next to her. "Hermes has proved himself a useful companion of Olympus. His nature may be contrary to your own, but it does not demean his accomplishments. I will not fight this for you."
"But –" Apollo began but it was his final word; the look Hera flashed him was a warning that he heeded immediately. He gave a stiff bow and turned out of her room, escaping within seconds. She took a few steps towards the door and began to shut it when her large husband appeared from the right, his arm perched against the wall and that terrible, lustful grin spread across his face. She looked up at him, pausing only for a moment before she continued to shut the door.
"Hey!" Zeus exclaimed as he put his hand out, stopping the door's movement and opened it completely, only to see Hera turn her back on him and walk into her room. "What's this about?"
"I have nothing to say to you," she easily spat out, reaching out for a shawl to pull over her shoulders as a further warning she was in no mood to greet him favorably.
"Even better," he joked as he took a step into the room but he froze when she turned around, glaring at him. Somehow he had been unable to read her cold nature, forcing her into being blunt.
"Do you mistake me for one of your conquests?" she rhetorically demanded, taking a step forward as she clutched a portion of her shawl. "And before you even dare: don't answer that. I will not be your fuck for tonight. Go find someone else."
"Hear that?" Zeus shouted out with a laugh, his grin causing more anger to flare up in her. His arms spread out wide, as if taking her stinging attacks with ease and he spun around, looking for witness to confirm her words. "Now where is a scribe when you need one?"
Hera rolled her eyes but stood her ground; this was her room and should she not wish him there, he was to leave. That was her firm belief, but unfortunately, Zeus did not step further out, but rather closer to her.
"My dear wife," he began, his arms lowering to land on her shoulders but she dodged him quickly. Suddenly the corners of his mouth began to lose their upward turn and he realized this was no game or bicker. She was, in fact, denying him and expecting him to leave. His eyes narrowed slightly as he turned to face her. "And what could it be this time?"
"Why, how should I know, my dear husband?" she contended with dripping sarcasm. "Do you intend to make anymore of your children a part of the council?"
"Ah, of course," he groaned, rolling his eyes upwards. "Hermes."
"No," she scolded quickly, his nose turning up at his mannerisms. "No, Zeus, it is not Hermes. It is not Athena or Apollo or Artemis or Maia or Metis. It is all of them! You welcome my humiliation with open arms and expect me to love them all the same. You come to my bed, unashamed and find yourself forgiven if I don't fight you off like all your virgin victims!"
"I don't need your forgiveness!" he proclaimed, nearly stepping over her last words.
"Then you don't need my BED!" she shrieked in reply and the words clashed against him like a sword. Immediately he had felt the threat and he reached out, grabbing only one of her wrists as the other she had moved in time. She let out a terrible scream, kicking her leg up to slam it into his thigh. It did nothing to deter him; he pushed her back against a wall and put his face a mere inch close to hers.
"You will not deny me what is mine," he threatened as his hand squeezed around her wrist. Hera's free hand flew out, slapping him across the face. The sharp pain that stung his face caused him to pause and realize what he was doing; Hera noticed the change in his face and took that moment to kick him again. In his stunned state, he released her and stepped back, his eyes floating between his hands as if to question what they had been doing without his consent. Hera leaned against the wall and closed her eyes, breathing heavily from the panic she had felt but successfully hid.
"Get out," she whispered as she placed a hand on her chest, trying to calm herself.
"Hera, you know I didn't mean that," Zeus replied quietly, finally looking up at her and feeling the shame of his actions washing over him.
"I said get out," she repeated again in a calm tone, but her heart was racing. She opened her eyes to glare at him, warning him to heed her demand. He shook his head, for although he knew it would be better to leave, it was contrary to his nature to leave the situation as it stood – or to take anyone else's order.
"I love you, lamb," Zeus stated honestly, stepping towards her with his arms open in hopes she would take his offer. She shook her head, tempted to reply but she simply closed her eyes and turned her head to the side. Though she would fight him again, she would rather not incite his blind rage so soon again. He sighed, taking a hand to run through his hair and he looked to the ground, trying to come up with something to fix this. "I bed them once, never twice. They aren't … the same, no matter who it is. I always come back to you –"
"Is this supposed to make me feel better?" Hera snapped, pushing against the wall but following it, just out of his reach. He moved to follow her and she stopped walking, turning to face him and stared him down.
"I love you," he repeated as he reached out to take her hand and slowly, though at first she resisted, he pulled her in towards him.
"I love you when I'm angry. I love you when you try to kill my children," he grinned slightly at that and her nose turned up a bit. "I love you when you think you can beat me. And I love you when you do win. No matter what I do and how terrible you see me, I love you."
By this time, he had her against his chest and she stared down to the ground, fighting the urge to pull away from him. He was comforting; he was warm, inviting and it felt good to let it go, to enjoy his company no matter how terrible he treated her. She frowned as she hid her face in his chest, becoming angry with herself for not fighting this further. But she was tired of being angry at him; it had been so long since they last were this close and though she would regret it tomorrow, she collapsed on him with a content sigh and let him hold her up in his strong arms.
"I love you," he whispered again as he kissed the top of her head. "even when I'm an asshole."