The Political Marriage - Hephaestus and Aphrodite

He watched her with envy, with resentment, with an anger he couldn't trace. Her beauty was undeniable, yet her person, who she was left something to be desired. Or did it?

More than once he'd been left asking that very question. He'd seen her cry. He'd seen her vulnerable. And he'd seen her move in ways which indicated humility, in ways which indicated . . .

. . . which indicated that she may love him.

But that was impossible. She'd made it clear that she would never love him. Their marriage was political, exclusively so. Her body, her beautiful, sensual, soft body, was off limits.

And he had known that. He had been more than happy to stay away from her. She was petty and conceded, as vain as Narcissus.

So why was it that now, in the middle of the night, he'd been unable to sleep? Why was it that her head had found its way to his chest, and his arms had wrapped themselves around her?

Her head was warm on his chest, her golden blonde hair the smell of the Elysium Fields. He sighed and closed his eyes, allowing himself to, just for this one moment, enjoy the feel of her curves and the way they seemed to mold so perfectly to him.

She awoke, startled, having had a bad dream but being unable to discern what had happened. She immediately felt the arms around her, and realized her head was no longer lying on her pillow. He didn't know she was awake. She heard him sigh, a sad sound.

Had this been Ares, he would have pushed her off him by now. Had this been Ares, he would have been unable to make a sound with that degree of emotion, of sadness, of longing. Had this been any other man she'd given herself to, he would have made her feel small, silly, for wanting this closeness. But Hephaestus was not Ares, and she had not given herself to him.

It was Hephaestus who she now found herself content with. His arms closed tighter around her, and his calloused hand brushed ever so lightly across her arm, so lightly she questioned whether the motion had been intentional. He touched her arm again, lightly, timidly, as if seeking permission. He stroked her arm, almost up to her shoulder, then stopped, and began tracing soft patterns on her arm with his fingers, brushing against her soft skin, tickling it.

His touch was careful, unsure, almost self-conscious, not wanting to wake her. He moved his hand back down her arm and then stopped, as if realizing what he'd been doing.

She did not want him to stop.

"Don't." She whispered.

He was silent. Had she meant to speak? Her hand moved to touch his chest, lightly, the way he'd touched her, but her hands were more delicate, the patterns she traced intricate and defined.

He caught her hand in his, a bold, demanding move. Her head moved, allowing her eyes to meet this.

They laid there, staring, breathing in unison. Without taking his eyes off of her, he slowly lifted her hand which was still grasped in his, and lightly pressed it against his lips.

She watched him kiss her hand, gently, his sad eyes still glued to hers. His lips slowly left her hand and they were still again. He lifted it as if to repeat his action, but she stopped him, pulling her hand away.

"Not that." She breathed, crawling closer to him. He watched her come closer, propping herself up and making her way towards him, cautiously, curiously. He moved his hand to her shoulders, then in towards the base of her neck. He brushed her hair behind her shoulder, and his hands explored the length of her neck, slowly moving to her chin. One hand tucked her hair behind her ear, while the other slowly stroked her cheek.

She let his rough hands explore her face. She closed her eyes, leaned into him, yearning for more but scared to ask for it.

His fingers found their way to her nose, down to her mouth. His hands stopped moving. Her eyes opened. She leaned forward and so did he. His hands became tangled in the hair at the nape of her neck as her hands went around his head, wrapping themselves around his neck. He kissed her, warmly, passionately, and she kissed him back. They became lost in each other's touch, in the feel of their bodies together, husband and wife. His hands explored more of her, all of her, and she kissed his neck, his shoulder, his chest.

She took away his anger and he took away her tears. The world became hot, blurry, sweaty; a mixture of soft and rough, goddess of beauty and god of fire.

A/N - This was my first time writing these characters, so I hope you enjoyed it. I would be happy to continue this and add more one shots of this intriguing couple but I'd like to see if there is any interest for it first.

Thank you, and please review! I love reviews, and I'd happily take any suggestions and other feedback.

Happy Reading,

Nikki Mouse :)