Firelight

And by the light of the fire, she was even more beautiful.

"Who was it?" Perseus asked eventually.

Io looked up and smiled slightly. "Who was whom?" She asked.

"The god whose advances you rejected."

"Ares," she told him.

Perseus raised an eyebrow and gave a low whistle. "God of War," he murmured. "I would not wish to anger Ares."

"No," Io agreed.

"Why did you reject him?"

Io regarded Perseus carefully for a moment, as though deciding whether or not to answer. "Because I did not find him attractive," she said eventually.

"You did not find him attractive."

"No."

"You were cursed with agelessness because the god of war did not entice your fancy."

"Well, when you put it like that..." Io laughed. "I was not aware I would be cursed for rejecting him."

"Would it have made a difference?" Perseus asked.

"Had I known I'd be cursed should I refuse, would I have coupled with him?"

Perseus nodded.

"No," Io told him. "Would you? Have you? Been with a woman you did not find attractive?"

"All women are beautiful," said Perseus.

Io smiled at that. "A charming answer," she said. "And a vague one. It is no answer at all."

"You have been watching over me all my life," he told her. "Why ask a question when you already know the answer?"

"I do not see into your mind, or your heart!" Io told him indignantly. "Nor have I... watched you... every moment of every day!" She held his gaze for a moment before cutting her eyes away, heat rising in her cheeks.

Perseus smiled, his teeth white in his sun-tanned face, and Io's blush deepened when she caught his eye again. "So I do have some secrets from you," he said.

"Of course you do," said Io, deeply flustered. She drew her cloaks around her and rose to her feet, walking a few steps from the fire before half turning. "Good night, Perseus."