Olympus in the aftermath of Hera's departure is a battlefield of scorching arguments. Athena is furious, indignant at what she deems the queen's betrayal.
"She is nothing but a selfish wretch seeking attention."
She demands that Zeus determine proper punishment upon Hera's 'inevitable return'.
"It is the principle of things," she says, "justice."
"Where was your justice when Zeus broke his vows to his marriage bed?" sweet Hebe with her innocent grace spears Athena with a searing glare and hot headed Ares doesn't even bother to hold back a snort of laughter when Athena sputters her answer.
"Zeus is king!"
"And my mother was his queen."
The sons and daughters of Hera sit apart from the rest of the gods. They have been called to Olympus and interrogated for days now but none spoke a word against their mother.
"She's not coming back." Hephaestus says rising to his feet, "Please do not look for her." And he turns to leave, his siblings trailing after him, they do not look at Zeus.
The anticipated chaos in the mortal world never comes, man's constant stream of prayers are being answered swiftly, blessings dealt efficiently. Hera has taken care that the gods could fault her for nothing but her absence upon the throne.
Zeus sits alone, bathed in the golden light of his court, back straight, regal, and spends the day weaving apologies in his mind. He knows not what to say to his family divided; half of Olympus has offered him felicitations, Dionysus bringing him a pitcher of his finest brew, the others regard him with silent condemnation, and Zeus cannot bring himself to meet Hestia's look of pity.
Iris takes her leave abruptly.
"My place was with her majesty and now it is with her children."
Hebe waits for her at the foot of the stairs and Ares leads them away under his comforting arms.
Hera's children set not a foot upon Olympus though Zeus longs to see them. Please, he prays, to whom he does not know, please.
They avoid him as though he is a leper, each closed door, every cold shoulder chewing bits of his heart until it is nothing but a bloody, pulpy mess and he thinks his head might twist off his shoulders if he never sees Hera again.
She was thorough with the cleansing of her existence, nowhere could he find any misplaced possession, catch a whiff of her scent. He locks himself inside his room (not theirs anymore, she's gone) and weeps.
Hades comes to court once and gives him an indifferent shrug. They sit side by side on the edge of the marble fountain; the king of the underworld has no sympathy for him.
"She had been unhappy for a long time."
Two summers pass and Hera does not return. Athena's fury has melted into a viscous mire of worry and she urges Zeus to search for her.
Don't you think I've tried? He wants to scream, but he can't because he is king and Hera means nothing—except she does, she means everything and he thinks if he says her name out loud he might break in front of them all.
He visits Hephaestus, hoping, hoping…
They sit across from each other, both broken men, Zeus opens his mouth but Hephaestus speaks first.
"Please stop looking for her." His voice is low and gravelly, he is wary of the king.
"Do you know where she is?" He is hopeful, so, so hopeful.
"No," it's an old conversation and Hephaestus is tired of repeating himself, "but I'd like to think that she is happy."
Zeus nods, he likes to think so too.
a/n: I take prompts you guys, if you're interested shoot me a pm or leave a prompt in a review it can be a word, a phrase and/or a sentence with any character or pairing.