Dedicated to Myseybee.

Most people believe that Hades is the cruelest god of all. He's that thing that lurks in the dark, the face you see in your nightmares. Hades sits in hell on a throne of bones and tears friends and loved ones away without a single warning, but people are wrong. Desperately, deeply mistaken.

You, Aphrodite, are the cruelest Olympian of all. Oh, you're so clever with the way you sweeten your voice, how your change form as easily as putting on a dress. All of the jewels, the makeup, the gowns—you do all of it simply to cover up the sadistic, little monster beneath.

Goddess of love? You abuse the title. [And you wonder why I've sworn to maidenhood.]

Although I might not act as though I do, although I don't sing ballads of it like my brother, I know what love is, Aphrodite. [Yes, I do. Perhaps more so than you.]

Love is something that can't be bound by an instruction manual, it can't be smothered, or forced…it can't even be controlled by a goddess of love. Sparks fly when soulmates meet for the first time. Without even being aware of it, people gravitate towards each other, their heartbeats quicken, their stomachs do flips—this is natural and spontaneous and, yes, I'll say it, right.

It does not, in fact, come from you, or Eros for that matter. [No, I still don't forgive him for making love arrows. I don't care if "it was only a joke," Aphrodite. It was, and is, insulting.]

Love is a little portion of a soul, and it's in every god, half-blood, mortal, and spirit. It's the fond, secret smile that creeps onto your face when your idiotic twin brother says something so ridiculous but so them. It's the chains that bind friends, and no matter how long it's been, even if it's another life entirely, you manage to find them again and absolutely nothing has changed. It's the inner guide that leads you to the one person who's sculpted perfectly to fit you just as much as you fit them.

Though it pains me to admit it, I do understand the need for you to meddle. I know how every now and then, a particularly obtuse pair, utterly blind to love, will come along and you'll need to give them a push. I can understand, and to a degree, accept that.

But Percy and Annabeth didn't need your interference.

Don't you dare tell me they were "moving too slowly." They're children, Aphrodite. They had time, they were both just beginning to understand how much they meant to one another, and you needn't have worried. You did not need to drag Rachel Elizabeth Dare into all of this.

I know your heart. I know what you have in store for her, this…"love triangle" is meant to bring Percy and Annabeth together for good, to seal their bond. A powerful pair, I must admit, but what of the mortal? When all is said and done, what does Rachel gain?

Love is a dangerous, sacred thing that only truly comes once in a life, and sometimes, it can leave you heartbroken and hurt in ways you'd never even imagined. I see it every day. I've seen it in my Hunters' eyes, though they try to hide it. I see how they suffer even centuries after they made their oath.

Zoë Nightshade, Phoebe, Thalia, Calypso [How dare you cause her even more heartache?], Medea, Echo—there are more, Aphrodite. And their sorrows are because of your doing.

I say this now because Annabeth has suffered through so much so soon and because she is very precious to Athena. Also because Percy Jackson has proved himself to be a worthy man. I know what comes from a broken heart, how they get their revenge. Rachel may be a darling, bright girl now, but so was Medea and look at what she did.

[Don't play stupid. You know of Medea's actions, how she killed Glauce to spite Jason.]

No, I'm not implying that Rachel will give Annabeth a poisoned dress, nor that Annabeth will be so foolish as to accept, I am only showing you the danger, the strife you put your "prized couples" through. Sending Percy to Calypso's island was cruel, spiteful thing to do. You're messing with his head, making him think up is down and left is right—you're doing more harm than good.

You think his little vacation was a clever way to make Annabeth face her feelings? She turned down Luke for Percy, what more reassurance could you possibly need?

You're clouding his judgment by dangling these girls in front of Percy like mere objects for sale in a market. While Annabeth has everything he needs—a sharp tongue to keep him in place, the control to his recklessness, someone to balance out his weaknesses and always have his back, Calypso was kind and gentle and compassionate, a true companion. And Rachel had never failed to put him at ease. She was open-minded and never blowing anything out of proportion. Not even when he tried to decapitate her.

[Not to mention, Poseidon and his children have always had a weakness for clear-sighted mortals.]

You think you've quickened the process? You've only caused friction between them.

I, of all people, never thought I would be giving you a lecture on matters of the heart, but here we are. Heed my words, Aphrodite, and let love run its own course.

I thought I'd attempt writing angst and Artemis (Angstemis!). Feel free to review, follow me, and check out my other stories.