A/N: I was kinda thinking what if Athena was also wounded
When Revenge Is Bitter
She slowly opened her tired eyes, seeing the visions clear from a slow blur. A golden chandelier hanging by the high marble ceiling, lit with small flickering fire from its candles, was the first thing that had met her sight. She then reminded herself once more, that she was now clouded with a certain disability. The wound on her right abdomen has come to her mind. She moved a tired hand to rest upon her wound, and let out a sigh. Moments before she slept, she knew her father had come for a visit, reminding her to have the fullest care. Despite herself in his presence, she grabbed the spear beside her bed and weakly tried to sit up, telling her father that she can still fight. He held her by the shoulders and forced her to lie down and rest.
Rest. She closed her eyes, and for once in her life she had felt weak and useless. Being a goddess of war and a patron of peace, she has now laid down: helpless, immovable, and dependent. As she was pondering upon the thoughts of being trapped in her own temple by the order of her father, a faint sound of footsteps caught her ears. The footsteps were light and dainty, much like of a female's, and she tilted her head towards the entrance to her chamber, anticipating the entrance of whoever has thought of her.
"Artemis…" Athena smiled faintly, watching the other enter the chamber. Artemis made no greeting, one deed that bewildered Athena. Usually she would be wearing the face of a happy youth, with the light curve on her lips, and looking up unto Athena with amazed eyes. They had been sisters by company, though wishing they had been sisters by blood.
Athena watched Artemis' back facing her, looking at the arms that are manipulating whatever she can: a small golden bowl which she filled with water from the jug, and a piece of cloth she took nearby the pile of bandages. She tied her auburn hair, and wore the usual tunic she dresses herself while on her adventures in the woods. Finally Artemis, carrying the bowl and dipping the cloth into it, faced Athena's bed. She walked lightly, and sat by the bedside. Athena felt the side of the futon sink when the other sat with the damp cloth. She stretched her fair hand and wiped Athena's forehead gently, after squeezing its excess water.
"How have you been?" Artemis asked with a soft voice, looking at the other's tired grey eyes. She pulled the cloth away from Athena's forehead and dipped them once more into the bowl of cool water. Athena sighed, "I finally understand the suicidal feelings of disabled men," and let out a soft chuckle. "Pretty much… you look terrible," Artemis commented back, without a light jest in her eyes which Athena could not fathom why.
"Have you been drinking?" Athena asked quickly, smelling the light spirits on Artemis' breath. The other paused and their eyes met. She finally smiled, "I… uh… a little bit."
Athena's eyebrows rose with amazement, "haven't you had the heart to let me see your lips touch a goblet of wine?"
"It doesn't matter," Artemis replied, back to her serious expression. Her eyes had a certain fire that Athena had, for the first time, saw. To her surprise, Artemis placed the bowl of water and cloth above the wooden table by the bedside, and cupped her hand on Athena's cheek. Athena felt herself stop a beat, while watching the expressionless face of her dear friend near hers, the thin rosy lips meeting her pale ones.
Athena smirked, raised a hand, and gently placed two dainty fingers on Artemis' lips. The other stopped and looked at the grey eyes clouded with mystery and hidden spark.
"You know it is a grave sin to embody a god," she sighed, looking straight into the wondering eyes before her, "isn't it…Ares?"
Artemis smiled and pulled her face away from Athena. She lowered her lashes while fixing herself by the bedside. "How can you be sure it is I?" she asked playfully. Athena fixed her eyes upon the other with a faint laugh, "Artemis wouldn't drink wine as much as you do, and…" she tilted her head to see the bowl by the bedside, "you know very well I am not ailing from fever,"
Artemis swallowed an invisible food. She had begun to think what on Greece was she doing with lowering the temperature of a wounded goddess. Once again she looked down and shook her head with a polite chuckle. "My, you're such a bad impersonator…" Athena responded, looking briefly at the other's face. Artemis glanced at her, brown eyes searching for a reason. Athena pointed at the other's eyes and smirked, "you missed the mole beside the right brow,"
"Oh," Artemis touched her brow, and a faint light sparked between her fingers. With a gentle move, she brushed her fingers like a magic wand beside the brow, and a small spot appeared. She looked at the one lying down with a smile, "better?"
"Is that how you gauge me, Ares? Falling for one of my same kind?" Athena asked serenely, lightness on her voice, one that had always attracted the other: calm and wise, a perfect mask to unravel the mystique Athena inside the bright grey orbs. "How can I not conclude m'lady? You always keep yourself in a company of women."
"But never slept with them." Athena quickly answered, looking away from the other. "Alright." Artemis sighed and let the spark from her hands light once more. It almost illuminated the whole chamber, drawing Athena's attention. Her eyes widened. In front of her was her own self, looking down on her with a playful smile, wearing her warrior look: long almond brown hair tied behind her head, its trailing softly flowing until her waist, the silver aegis wrapping her body as a breastplate, and the long white silken tunic covering only one of her legs. Both grey eyes were meeting, and she found herself looking into a mirror. Athena was completely speechless, not a single sound escaped from her lips.
She finally gathered the nerve to speak. "Why are you doing this?" she murmured, still holding the other's gaze. Her identical self bit her lower lip and held a hand in front of herself, scanning the long dainty fingers, "Just to let you see," she spoke with the same voice as Athena's, "How beautiful you are."
The real one stopped her breath, and let it come out in a quick sigh, "Don't even think of touching any of my…" she gulped, and felt herself warm up a little. She placed a palm on her eyes, looking away from the fake, who laughed.
"Just to let you know, o wise one…my body hasn't changed one bit. It is your eyes that are deceived,"
Athena quickly opened her eyes upon hearing the familiar manly voice. Her eyes fixed upon the impostor, now in his real self, looking intently at her with certain flame which she had always felt whenever she would catch a glimpse of them. Ares smiled as he ran a hand on his jet black hair, "look at you," he towered over her, leaning a hand beside Athena's neck, completely casting a shadow on her face, "how does it feel to be locked up?"
She looked straight up to him, and he finally saw the same eyes – apathetic and serious – that he always wanted to see. The same grey color that aroused the heat inside him, the same orbs that fired his senses, concealing his want for pleasure. But he was too cunning to hide his hidden desire for her, when he secretly watched her over the council meetings, his throne across her, and scanning her every move which silently paralyzed him and made him swallow endlessly. It was she that would always appear once he shut his eyes, her poisonous beauty had always hunted him. She, on the other hand, sees him as a plain nuisance, an unintelligent and stupid goon, who always challenges her during battles. She knew his sadistic nature, and figures him as a god with a beastly spirit, one with an unending obsession for slaughter and sex.
"Ares, spit it out, what do you want?" She commanded calmly, "have you only come to poke fun at me?"
"I've always wanted to," he breathed, "I'd give heaven and earth to see you maimed like this."
"It will be temporary, and right now I am too tired to deal with –"
She stopped once he wrapped his free fingers around her neck, and gave a light squeeze, feeling the warm and strong pulse. "I have always wished to see this day," Ares whispered with an ignited fire in his scarlet eyes, "that look had always intimidated me; you've tortured me with words I cannot sip, and even scarred my very flesh,"
Athena slowly opened her mouth to breathe, feeling a little whiz on her vision, but never whimpered. Ares drove his fingers deeper, "Can you feel it now? The same suffocation I suffer from your hands." Yet no matter how he wanted her to feel the pain, the only response he could have was a silent treatment, and soft steady breaths, along with those grey eyes that never looked away from him. They were steady, firm, and courageous. He finally squeezed his other hand and both gave a force that stopped her breathing. She sucked in air, but he closed both his fists and breathed.
"I won't be this gentle for long, Athena," he smiled sadistically, the same smirk that surfaces when he drives a spear into one's heart, when he lets the blood splatter on his armor, and when the screams of fear and agony of dying men fill the air, "Give me the sorry face, the one that pleads for me to stop." He looked down her chest covered with the thin blanket, "I know very well that beneath this cloth is your own bare flesh. You are alone, Athena, and who knows what I would have to tread to feast on you, and bring your humiliation."
He saw her eyes narrowing, forming into a formidable glare that seemed to drive a dagger in his heart. It was the fire that had often cooled him, the one that had made him tremble deep within.
"Scream." He breathed, "Call for help"
But it seemed that his eyebrows began to meet in frustration. His gaze never looked away, and he had begun to be weakened by her unread expression. There was no fear, no malice, no desperation, and plea that spoke in her face. It was he that can feel the small droplets on his forehead, and a strange confusion in his troubled mind. He lifted her by the neck, "I can kill you here! Can't you realize that!" his angry words filled the chamber. She breathed lightly, and slowly lifted an arm to his.
"You are dying!" He gave a slight shake as he screamed, angry tones that slowly turn to whispers "How… can you be… so calm?"
His strength finally drained away, and there was a sudden spark of concern in his eyes that he threw her back to her pillows. In a blink he let the confused anger in his fists break the wooden table by the bedside. Everything flew: the golden bowl made metallic clanks on the marble floor, and every part of the table had turned into a pulp. She twisted and held her neck, giving soft coughs and catching her breath. She felt the pain of her wound sting and she immediately held her abdomen. He walked around; his mind caught in a web of frustration, and started messing up: wiping the tables clean with a swift swipe from his arm and overturning anything he could. She watched him drive his fist over the concrete wall. It almost broke the building. Dust fell from the ceiling, and the candle holders shook. Finally he calmed, walking towards the window breathing hard. He opened and closed his fists simultaneously, wishing to satisfy the itch that sought for blood.
He glanced back at her and for a moment his heart skipped a beat. She quietly sat by the bedside, a palm on the bandaged wound, and the other on her neck. She didn't look at him, her eyes fixed below. The blanket had only covered half of her body. He can see the division between her breasts, the tender curve of her small waist, and her fair long thighs. The armor had always hidden such a lithe – a perfect – complexion that he has never, and will never, see again. Even in the dim lights her skin seemed to illuminate, and he cannot deny she was extremely and undeniably…beautiful.
"I never knew how you loathed me. It is out of my mind you seemed to be stepped down," she gently spoke, and finally looked at his amazed eyes. She sighed, "All this time I thought you would never take anything too seriously, Ares, I'm wrong." He seemed to melt upon hearing his name sweetly drip from her lips, "I'm sorry."
He was completely stunned, like a dog caught in a heavy snowstorm. Someone has tied his lips together. "I am wounded. If my life is enough to fill the anger, then you would be glad to drive another spear within me." She lowered her head in complete dismay. She looked up to hear Ares' dagger unsheathed the sharp sound of blade. He walked towards her with the image of a bloodthirsty warrior, and she remained as calm and knowing, prepared for any consequence.
She felt his hand form into a fist in within her hair. He pulled her strands to lift her face and meet her eyes as he towered over her. The edge of the dagger touched her neck and she can feel the burning sharpness of it against her flesh. She closed her eyes in expectation of her death, but opened them in surprise to hear the dagger fall, and his palm cupped her cheek. Her eyes grew wide watching him nearing his face to hers but stopped. He tilted her head to her side, and pressed his lips against her neck, below her ear.
Athena's heart began to race an invisible path. She felt him gently sucking on her flesh, and she let out a long and tense sigh. Her eyes began to feel heavy, and she cannot stop the warm burning sensations crawling on her skin. He leaned on her, and held her head as both landed on the bed. Ares closed his eyes and closed his fist on her hair. He felt her pulse. All the anxiety he had been holding against her had slowly melted. I do not loath you. He went still, unmoved, unable fight the warm feeling of her neck. He had wished that time would stop, and that he would be glad to remain by her side till eternity. There was a light feeling of joy beneath his anger. I only wanted… A certain feeling of peace began to surface, and he had only wanted to remain like this shackled man as he is now. Yet a crisp sadness began to lurk, knowing that everything had to be as they were. Only wanted… That she had to remain as she is forever: independent, single, and virgin. And within his mind he knew he had to respect whatever she has to be, if that were to prove his love for her.
…a fragment of your affection.
She opened her eyes when his lips let go of her neck, leaving a warm red mark beneath her ear. He kissed the spot neck once more, a tender kiss from a war god. He was silent and slow as he covered her nearly naked body, slipped his arms on her back and beneath her knees to carry her. He felt her pretty light and fixed her to be positioned as she is when he came. She helplessly watched him pick his dagger, sheathed it, and looked at her once more as he took a step towards the door. She lifted a hand and her fingers touched the mark he had left. His steps filled the air, slowly fading.
Ares tilted his head but never looked back. He only gave a signal that he was listening.
"You know I would love you…" Athena sighed, her chest heavy with conscience like weights as she continues: "…if only I could."
He gave time to let the words sink in his mind. Finally he turned his head to where he was going, and continued to walk away. His footsteps vibrated through the hall, as well as his mind had been reeling with many thoughts. His throat ached, as if he had drank a jug of vinegar. He went out of the temple, rode his chariot with the same disgust and pity he had for himself. He was near to his success: to trample her, or slice her neck, or bury her alive. Yet he had no other choice but to accept his loss, yet another loss, to admit how love can be as strong as death is.
Thanks for reviews.