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Between Love And Lust

How well do we know Aphrodite? She, who was prophesied to become the ultimate Goddess of Love. Save for her love affairs, very little, I'd say. As a matter of fact, it's rather scrouded in mystery how she came to Olympos and how she felt about those men who kept on moving in and out of her life. I've given this story a try, including a more reasonable view of her 'birth'. So welcome and follow the tale of Aphrodite, a goddess who became recruited to the magnificent Olympos and there became torn between the fierce love of Ares the war god and the ingenious and gentle Hephaestos.

A word of warning to sensitive souls – this story will feature a lot of sex. It IS about Aphrodite after all...
chibichiquita.deviantart.com/g…

Other stories based upon the Greek Myths

* A first time for Everything  chibichiquita.deviantart.com/a…
I realized recently that this story has never really been told. The one about Zeus' very first love experience. The event to start all other events for the probably biggest womanizer in the myths. So I wrote it myself! 

* Daughter of War  chibichiquita.deviantart.com/g…
Achilles killed the Amazon Penthesileia on the battlefield outside Troy. Or did he? This is the story of two heroes of Homer's Illiad, taking them on a bit of a different yourney than the one Homer told. It also ties together with my one-shot Achilles' choise - see below for that one! 

* Love has its harsh ways chibichiquita.deviantart.com/g…
This is the story about Hebe and Herakles. We all know Herakles' labours and how he ascended to Olympos after his heroic life on Earth. There he met and fell in love with Hebe - his old arch enemy Hera's daughter. But how did that happen and what reactions did it trigger among the gods?

* Achilles' Choise chibichiquita.deviantart.com/a…
Achilles lies dying on the plains outside the seiged Troy with a poisonous arrow in his heel. This is when he has to make the hardest choise in his life.

* Army Postal Service - chibichiquita.deviantart.com/g…
When the Greek Army swept like wild fire trough the city all she could do was run. Run with her son in her arms, trying to save them from the Greeks and most of all from the terrible Ares himself...

* What Friends Are For chibichiquita.deviantart.com/g…
When Io betrays her best friend Hera with Hera's husband Zeus an iron rod is poled into the heart of their friendship. Can Hera ever forgive Io and will Io ever feel comfortable around Hera again. Can true friendship win over a dire mistake?

* Olympos for Beginners chibichiquita.deviantart.com/g…
This is the story about Ariadne, who leaves her home island Crete to follow her beloved Theseus to Athens, after helping him defeat the dreaded Minotaur - but nothing turns out the way she expected.

* Summer Loving chibichiquita.deviantart.com/a…
Leda, queen of Sparta goes down to the lake and watches the swans swim and do other things. And then suddenly a very special "swan" appears.

* The golden stranger chibichiquita.deviantart.com/a…
About Zeus and Danae - the parents of the hero Perseus

* Twin mother - the story of Leto chibichiquita.deviantart.com/g…
She was the goddess who had a short relation with Zeus and became the mother of the twins Apollo and Artemis. Told with her own words about her love for Zeus, her insecurity and her fear of Hera, the goddess who became Zeus' next beloved 

* Hide and Seek chibichiquita.deviantart.com/g…
Poseidon, the mighty god of the sea, wants Amphitrite, the beautiful and agile Neried. She declares "not interested" and runs into hiding. But Poseidon is not the kind of god who takes "no" for an answer. He's going to get Amphitrite one way or another. So it's hide and seek time, let the game begin! 

* Guardian of the chosen one - Amalthea's tale
chibichiquita.deviantart.com/g…
This is a story for all lovers of greek mythology - the story of how it all started. Once, way back when the world was ruled by cruel Titans. It is the story of Amalthea, a goat heardess who got the most important mission in the world - to guard the chose one, the new king of the gods to be

* Riding the Bull - About Zeus and Europa chibichiquita.deviantart.com/a…
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He was missing her!

He should've returned earlier!

He should've talked to her!

Ares balled his fists – he simply couldn't believe it! Had she taken any other god, he wouldn't have been surprised, not even that doofus Poseidon. But Hephaestos – his workaholic baby brother, who hardly poked his nose out of that workshop of his. HE had marched along and grabbed his Aphrodite while Ares was away.
"How did it happen – WHEN did it happen?" he asked with frustration in his voice.
"I dunno," Persephone shrugged and went on peeling her scrimp. "I was down under."
"But..."
"Half a year ago. I'd just left. I learned it upon my return and honestly, bro, I'm just as surprised as you are."
"Good! 'coz no one else seems to be. Nobody even bothered telling me, I learned it from a centaur, mind you. A centaur! One would think someone of the family should've bothered with informing me. But no! I have to find out on my own. Glad I didn't have to do so the hard way – by stumbling upon them!"

"You know," Persephone said and put the shrimp in her mouth, "Ares, perhaps most people though you two were history..."
"No. We weren't. I mean..."
"...in any case the two of you haven't been seen together since – when – since before Athens became Athens. And that's what – two years ago now?"
"Yeah... yeah.... I frigging know!" Ares hid his face in his hands for a few heartbeats before looking up again, regarding Persephone sitting opposite of him by the lunch table.  After that he let his eyes wander over the empty places where the nymphs had cleared away the plates after Apollo, Athena and Artemis and then his eyes darted over the rest of the few people who were still lunching in the hall that early spring day, since it was too chilly for sitting out in the Poplar Garden.

"So how's your life?" he then asked. "How's life down under?"
"I'm... getting used to it," Persephone responded and something thoughtful crossed her aspect. "You know it's... Hades is kind and sensitive. Caring. I just wish – he wasn't so unbelievable solemn all the time. That he could let his hair down a bit now and then. And down there – it's so dark all the time with no sunshine. Even if we do have enough phosphorous stones. But I guess... On the other hand I've been going there now for a bit more than a century. I should've gotten used to it by now."
"You know, some things you just don't get used to," Ares said and looked his little sister deep into her hazel eyes. "If you want you can always talk to dad and your mother about..."
"I cannot do that, Ares."
"Why not? I'm certain they would understand."

"It's not them."
"Then what?"
"Ares, it's about – well Hades. And me. I cannot abandon him."
"What do you mean, abandon?"
"He's all alone there! Can you imagine what that's like? Ok, there are other beings there but – they're not humans. Far from it. They're a strange ilk – creepy to say the least! Like cold, wet winds snaking around your ankles and whispering behind the corners."
"They scare you?"
"Not really. Not anymore, although I admit my first years down there they made me quite jumpy. Just imagine a cold bony hand suddenly on your shoulder, someone wheezing in your ear. And you never saw it coming. And Hades had to live with them all the time!"
"It's not like he didn't chose it for himself," Ares huffed.
"It's not that easy – and you know it. He tried living up here. He didn't make it."
"And when was that? During the Titan wars? 500 years ago!"

"Very little has changed since. There's still this bright sunshine, tidal gravity affecting his blood and mood – and most of all the open sky. The things we love but which makes him uncanny."
"But you, you shouldn't have to..."
"Ares, I want it!"
"You..."
"You're right, from the beginning I had no desire to go down there to him. I hated that place and I hated myself for following him head over heels just because I was pissed with mother and wanted to get away from her influence. But now – these days – I..." then Persephone's eyes lost focus and she craned her neck. "Ares, she's there!"
"Who?" Ares asked, although he knew perfectly well whom his sister was referring to.
"Aphrodite of course. Together with that new Muse. Maplewhatshername."

"Melpomene," Ares said absent mindedly while turning to look over to the yonder end of the hall. True, there she was – Aphrodite. Together with Melpomene, chatting gaily, as if there was no cares in the world. Quite different from what she had sounded like last time he had talked to her, back then she just had been complaining about those mortal royal houses she was working with.
"Excuse me," he turned to Persephone and stood up.
"Certainly," his sister leaned back in her chair. "I was done anyway."

That wasn't really true but she knew Ares. Always with an ant-hill inside his pants. Especially when there were women involved. Persephone had to admit she had hoped it to last, she liked this Goddess of Love. Then again – Hephaestos! He was a bit peculiar but he was nice enough. And if he could win Aphrodite, then this truly was a world where everything was possible. Perhaps it was even possible to lure Hades up again. At least temporary, she thought when she regarded her brother walking up to where Aphrodite and the Muse had sat down.

***

"Hi, beautiful!" Aphrodite looked up as Ares addressed her and she groaned inside upon realizing he still affected her with his mere presence. She shouldn't have come here when she knew he was around. However she couldn't keep avoiding him forever, could she? Olympos wasn't that big.
"Hi, Ares," she replied coolly, watching him taking a chair and sitting down on the short end of the table between her and Melpomene. That panache of him! He never bothered with even guessing that he might not be welcome. Not surprising though, since he was Olympian by birth and most of those gods had never really bothered with the kind of politeness applying for 'normal' people. For good and for bad...
"Hi Mel!" he added and glanced over to the Muse, who blushed for an instance of a second before getting hold of herself. Anyone less sensitive than Aphrodite wouldn't have noticed that slight shift in countenance, but the love goddess could tell that Ares affected the young Muse as well. She also saw Persephone standing up and leave a few tables away, turning slightly back to cast a glance at them. That goddess also appeared to be concerned.

Oh, when did it all turn so complicated?

Ares didn't drop the cliché questions about 'how's it going' like everyone else. Instead he told about what Persephone thought about those creepy beings down under, telling it in a very dramatic way, almost making poor Mel scared even though it was in the middle of the day and the sun was shining brightly outside.
"I'm going to have nightmares now, Ares," Mel protested, but not without a glint in her eye.
"Imagine Persephone then! She's living it. At least half the year."
"The poor thing," Aphrodite said.
"I wouldn't say so," Mel protested and Ares did a double take. "I guess once you get used to it, it makes you feel kinda – special. Just imagine having your own pet ghosts running your errands."

"You want to see them?" Ares asked.
"Can I?"
"Ask Persephone! I bet she'd be delightful if you would come down and say hello next winter."
"Oh – well how about Hades?" Melpomene bit her lip, didn't seem that excited, not after the mention of the 'Scary God'. No matter that Ares promised her the god of the dead wouldn't be a problem at all. Actually, most gods and goddesses had a standing invitation with Persephone and her husband down under, although very few had taken advantage of it. The kingdom of the dead wasn't the most enticing last stop – not even for an immortal, who could return up whenever desired. Hecate was one of the few exceptions who tended to go down there now and then. While Melpomene was listening attentively to Ares, Aphrodite was on the brink of pouring her nectar over the head of that god who knew exactly what he was doing. Flirting with Melpomene just to trigger a reaction from Aphrodite. Well he was NOT going to have that pleasure, thanks a lot!

Instead she finished her meal as quick as possible and excused herself, told that she too wanted to go and say 'hi' to Persephone. Slightly taken aback, Ares eyed her with an inscrutable look on his face before he returned his attention to the younger goddess. As fast as possible, yet without running or showing any other sign of distress, Aphrodite hurried out of the room. Ares was certainly not going to have that pleasure from her!

As soon as she was home safe out in the hallway, she sat down on one of the settees lining the walls, resting her head against the wall and closing her eyes.
"What kind of fool am I," she asked herself. "To believe I can forget him!"

***

She didn't encounter him until dinner the next day. That was too soon. She had all but received her cup of wine and began chatting with Hemera and Erato when the God of War arrived like out of nowhere and embraced her from behind, tickling her neck and breathing in her ear – like nothing ever had been wrong between them.
"Aaaares!" Aphrodite tried to wiggle away, but he was not letting her. "Don't be such a jerk!" Had he figured out that Hephaestos was not around?
"But you love it, pretty one!" She could tell by his voice he was smirking, which made her even more irate. "What makes you think you can come here and..." Her cup fell from her hand and clanged to the floor, red wine flowing out on the white marble and she noticed others who have turned to look at them.

Then he let go, and she could feel – was he actually ashamed?!
"So sorry," he admitted. "Didn't mean to startle you!" He withdrew and before any nymph made it up to them to clean away the accident, he made a motion with his hand and the wine dried up, the other hand catching the cup again as it levitated back to him. Before Aphrodite knew it, he had refilled it with new beverage.
"I..." she stammered as she accepted the cup from him. "I guess I became –startled."
"And I shouldn't have been so raucous, dear. That was imprudent of me!"
"Apology accepted," she sighed and both Erato and Hemera were giggling. Though it was a kind and benevolent titter. As if no one was at fault, just that part of human interaction which could turn so funny from time to time.

Laying his arm upon her shoulder, Ares spun her slightly around.
"Aphrie, can we talk?" he asked. "After dinner?"
"About what?"
"I think you know, honey." At the same time she noted Erato taking Hemera's arm and steering her gently but firmly away, ostensibly comprehending that Aphrodite and Ares needed a few words together in solitude.
"You ended it," she said in a hollow voice, while looking into those dark brown eyes, feeling her cheeks heat up by the undesired fire burning inside of her.
"Yes, and that is something I regret deeply," Ares replied and regarded Aphrodite with a sad expression.
"What's done is done, Ares," she sighed although it hurt her so deeply to say that.
"That might be true, but it doesn't stop any of us from doing something about it."

"What makes you think I want that?"
"Everything about you, dear," Ares answered as he came to rest both his large hands on her slender shoulders, the heat of them smoldering through the thin fabric of her lavender tunic, affecting her. "We belong together, honey, can't you see it?"
"That might have been true earlier, Ares. But since – well – two years back, when you went down to Egypt and I didn't hear a single word from you..."
"I was busy, dear. I told you that could happen!"
"...I met someone else."

"Huh?" Ares looked really startled at the comment. Apparently he hadn't heard. Or was it just all pretention from his side?
"Yeah –'huh'. In case you haven't noticed I didn't come running to you the way I used to. Besides, after hearing that you and Ciresia..."
"Ciresia? So that's your problem. Well, let me tell you that broad didn't have anything against you. I admit I screwed her just to trigger some kind of reaction from you, Aphrodite. That was stupid and immature of me and..."
"And you expect I should forgive you just like that?" she snapped her fingers for emphasis.
"Not really. However I'm used to work hard to get what I want. So who is it this time? Zephyros again?"

Aphrodite considered the wind. She had been with him three times since she had begun her relation with Ares. All of those times had happened when he had been off warring and both she and the wind had agreed upon it being nothing but a friendly encounter. Some pleasure without obligations from any side. However, with Hephaestos it was a completely different matter. He had made a lasting impression upon her, one of the kinds unable to shake.  

"No, Ares, it's your brother."
"My brother," he snorted. "Which one of them?" Yes, of course, he did have a few.
"Your other... Ares, it's Hephaestos."

She guessed she had expected rage, anger and accusations. But Ares' reaction was the complete opposite, he begun laughing like mad, apparently he thought she was pulling his leg. She had to call out his name several times before he listened.
"Ares, this is real!" she said when he had cooled down a bit. Biting her lips she noted some others staring at them. But not for long, they soon stopped paying attention and returned to what they'd been discussing before. At least one benefit with Olympos, people here were so used to outbursts and dramas of all kinds that they had stopped caring. As late as yesterday Nyx splashed her wine in the face of Poseidon over something.

Finally Ares stopped laughing.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that it is real."
"You've been having an affair with Hephaestos?"
"Yes," she nodded her head.
"I should have known, since he was the only brother left, right? Left, right, left, right – hahaha."
"Oh, come on!" Aphrodite rolled her eyes. "This is nothing to kid about."
"Well you did have both Hermes and Apollo already your very first week here if I remember correctly. And since then there has been..."
"That matters little now, Ares. I know I've been a bit too eager in that department. Field testing my abilities in a way that – well – perhaps became a bit over the top. Regardless, you and I were always on to something special. Until we blew it. I'm not going to blame either you or me for what happened, but face it, Ares, it did happen. And fact remains..."

"Fact remains this!" By these words Ares pulled her towards him and then he gave her one of his trademark kisses, those which made her hair stand on its edges and her toes curl. Had always done – and did this time too. When he let go of her, he continued his speech as if nothing had happened. "Fact remains that he cannot give you this. No matter if he made those earrings you are wearing now. Yes, I noticed them. But he does not kiss like this? Or I would've heard about it. Think about it!"

With those words Ares let go of a stunned goddess and with elongated steps he walked over to where hungry gods had started to file into the dining hall. Aphrodite remained standing in the same spot, dumbfounded and with a painful realization in her chest. No matter what had happened between her and Hephaestos, she was still in love with Ares. Madly, deeply and irreversible! She felt tears burn behind her lids at that awareness. What was she going to do? Indecision plagued her like a wild fire in her chest as she stood there, fingering her lips absent-mindedly, feeling that tickling reminiscence of his kiss. His kiss... Ares' kiss...

The next moment she swirled around. To Tartarus with the dinner! With more angered than sad steps she walked out of the large building.

***

"Ares!" Hephaestos said and regarded the woman sitting on the other side of his desk, eating a sandwich, her eyes swollen from tears, the soft headlight falling over her hair which floated like golden waves down her shoulders.  His beautiful beloved was in tears, and that made him feel guilty for some strange reason. "He's hopeless, can't take a defeat, being it war or love. Or just some stupid game with the family for that matters."
"This is not a 'game', Hephaestos," Aphrodite angrily stated.
"I know that, honey. But you may discern what I mean!"
"I think I do..."

"Hmmm... My brother is playing you. For his own benefit. He's always been a prick in that sense. A selfish brat who cannot see that he's hurting other people."
"So what do I do about him?" she asked and put down her cup of wine to be able to dry another tear. Then she took a bite of her sandwich as Hephaestos answered:
"Don't let him annoy you. Let me reason with him."
"He'll..."
"He won't mess with me," Hephaestos said dryly. "Not even he is that stupid." Then he leaned over and caressed her skin gently and in an instance it all felt much better.

"He affects me," she had to admit, looking the inventor into his kind, brown eyes. "I don't know what to do about it. But I guess I have myself to blame. I sampled too freely from all the gods available up here. So much beauty, so many clever minds. I guess I couldn't help myself. Even that thickheaded brute Kratos found his way to my bed. After a lot of wine I admit, but it's a lousy excuse. I shouldn't have behaved like that. I should've been more mature. Saner. More restrained. And I guess that's what I'm paying for now." Angrily she tore another bite off the bread.

"Don't think like that, honey!" Hephaestos leaned his chin in his hands, elbows on the desk as he regarded her thoughtfully.
"But it is true. I did quite a lot of mistakes upon coming here."
"But we all do. Definitely not the same mistakes, but we all make our fair share of slipups. That's a part of life, that's what makes us develop, turn us into humans. If we shouldn't make those mistakes ourselves, we become unable to forgive other people when they make theirs."
"You're saying... that?" she whispered. "You're so wise, man! I don't know what I'd done if I hadn't had you to talk with in this."
"You'd figured it out yourself, dear." He reached out and caressed her hand. "Eventually."

***

Yes, Hephaestos was clever of mind. But when it came to Aphrodite's situation in this game of human interaction, wisdom of the brain was not enough, at least not since her heart wasn't listening to that reason. She was still aching after Ares. Still desiring him, still longing for his large hands all over her body, his lips which so skillfully and passionately used to cover hers, his voice whispering lovely words in the shells of her ears. There was no denying that she still wanted him. She wanted to be with him, hold him, kiss him, make love to him. No matter that his younger brother Hephaestos was tender and kind – it wasn't the same consuming fire of desire as between her and Ares. How could she have forgotten that just because he had been away and she had been angered with him? Stupid!

That night she had turned down Hephaestos' advances, blaming tiredness, and now she was lying alone in her bed, tormented by insomnia as the moon was itinerant across the sky and the window rectangle kept sliding across her floor. She balled her fists in anger and despair. What was she going to do? Wasn't there any reasonable person in the world she could ask for advice?

No, as a matter of fact, people used to come with HER asking the same kind of questions. Poor souls stuck between two choices and unable to pick. People who had tangled up their love life beyond reason. Turning over in bed she asked herself what she really used to say to these people. To follow their heart... however why was it always easier offering advices to others than to try to coach oneself? Her own situation felt hundredfold more complicated than any other she had ever encountered, still she knew that was not the case. It only felt that way because she was standing in the middle of it rather than regarding it from the outside.

"Ah - to heck with this night's sleep!" she cursed when she turned once more – for what time in order she had no clue – only to discover that the sky had taken a slightly blue hue – the first signs of impending dawn. Sighing she sat up in bed and put her bare feet down on the floor – darn, it was chilly. And probably she felt it more because she was moody and overtired.

Standing up she picked a shawl from the chair it was hanging over, sweeping it around her slender, naked alabaster-pale form. She put her feet in a pair of warm woolen slippers, went over and pushed the balcony door open and soon she found herself standing outside, head tilted slightly back and regarding the stars, trying to memorize some of the stories told about the constellations. The Milky Way – or the Silver Bridge as it was called where she came from – was spanning the sky and hundreds of other stars were pinpointed up there, looking down upon her like so many curious eyes, probably wonder what this goddess of love was doing up in the late of the night.

This early in spring the nights were still a tad chilly and she felt herself shield against the damp coldness as she walked over to the railing and looked out over the lake, which was covered with a thick layer of moonlit mist, slightly undulating and whirling in the wind. A forefinger traced a line in the dew of the railing, painting a snaking line as she tried to collect her thoughts. However it wasn't easier just because she had gone out here, it changed her perspective just a little but it didn't help.

The moment she was about to turn and go back inside she heard a soft voice call her name. Turning her head, she wasn't sure if she had heard it or if she was just imagining things. No, there it was again.
"Aphrodite? – Aphrie?"
"Ares? That you?" Dumb question, she did recognize his deep baritone after all.
"Honey – may I... come up."

"I'm sorry. We need to talk things over." the voice down there went on as she hesitated in her reply.
"You think so?" she walked over to where she was hearing him and looked down to the ground. Yes, there he stood by the tree line, his open right hand holding a flame of green divine light, which reflected in the dew-wet leaves and his faint divine aura shone red and white around him. Seeing him like this if felt like the most wondrous thing she had ever beheld. As if cut right out of her wishful thinking. Still...
"May I come up?" Ares repeated his question. "Please?"
"Ares, I... I couldn't sleep."
"Neither could I. I haven't been able to get you out of my mind. I behaved like a dork before dinner today. I should've been more – well – considerate of your feelings and not just ambled right into your life as if nothing had happened. Now, please – let me come up to you! Standing down here feels so – inadequate."

"But come on then," she beckoned him with her hand and as a response he took one graceful, levitating leap up to her balcony, landing just about an inch from her. Before she knew it, he had swept her into his arms and his lips were ravaging hers, filling her veins with a storm of desire.
"Ares," she hesitated when he disconnected to draw breath. "I thought you meant TALK."
"I lied," he replied before he was kissing her again. Protestingly she repeated his name while she tried to push him away, knowing this to be her last chance before she exploded in a blaze of passion and became swept away with that ardor. But the war god's fervor was unrelenting. For a short second he disconnected to whisper.
"Oral activities or oral activities, they're just the same anyway."

Aphrodite snorted out a curt chortle before she finally gave in to her own emotions and let the war god have his way. It didn't take long before he had steered her back into the bedroom and somewhere along the way she had dropped her shawl before helping him off with his short tunic and then pulling him with her down into bed. Still with his lips connected to hers had she landed on top of him. No matter that they had done this an endless amount of times earlier, she was still almost surprised by the shower of emotions which began flowing as her lover kept on exploring her body with hands and with lips, sending waves and waves of desire through her while she did her best to evoke his bodily lust – it didn't take that much. To tell the truth he had been hard already on the balcony...

***

"Can we talk now?" Aphrodite asked as they rested in the lethargy of love making's the aftermaths. The sun was coming up, colouring the room in soft secondary light as it was reflected against the greenery outside the bedroom  windows.
"Uhm – what is there to talk about?" Ares returned as he traced her cheek-line with an index finger, sensing the peachy softness of her skin beneath his fingertip.
"You ask me? It was you who wanted to talk. Remember saying that?"
"Maybe. Still – I don't think you and I really need to talk that much. We've always been aligned alongside each other anyway."
"Uh?" she wrinkled her brow at Ares' words.
"We are so much alike. We know what the other one thinks. You and I - we understand each other, Aphrie."

"That's... your impression." Picking her words carefully Aphrodite went on. "I still feel a bit at loss at your antics last spring when you just left without saying goodbye. And words had it that you had a tryst with - Ciresia.  Of all people. When you know I cannot stand her. To me that felt almost like – you wanted to... hurt me."
"It did?"
"Yes, Ares it did." Looking in his brown eyes she could tell that these were not the words he had expected from her. Still he didn't seem put off by them – or even irritated. Just confused. "What happened really?" she pressed on. "What did you do with Ciresia."

"A tryst," Ares confessed matter of factly. "Yes, I put it inside of her. Being drunk as a skunk and horny as a goat I found my way inside of her skirts and took advantage of the fact that she was barely sober either. Or she wouldn't have let me touch her with a stick."
"Why?" Aphrodite asked.
"Because I just needed to put it somewhere, you were not around and she just happened to be in handy. I know that's not a good excuse, but that was what happened. Then I guess I was a bit incensed with you as well, and sort of used this tryst to get even with you. Childish, I know, but I was not really within my wits at that time."
"I understand," she huffed. "That doesn't mean I'm fine with it, far from. Only that I comprehend what took place. Now, what I wonder is what you mean with that statement that she wouldn't have let you touch her with a stick."

"Oh, miss prudent herself!" Ares huffed.
"Did I just miss something?" Aphrodite's confusion showing in her voice. "She should be prudent? Are we talking about the same Ciresia, because she doesn't come off that chaste in my eyes."
"Oh, well I believe she thinks she can score some points with Hestia by playing virtuous. How little does she know, they all think Tia is some kind of virgin. Just because she's not out there very much."

"I've always wondered about that. How come?"
"I don't know. Frankly, that's none of my business. But I guess she's never really been that interested in playing around. Perhaps she's waiting around for Mr. Right, what do I know? She's my aunt, so I don't really care! Whatever, I was with Ciresia – and then I got ambushed by my bad conscience. Defeated, humiliated, my pride cast by the way side, the only thing remaining being the burning shame of my inability to face you. So I just split. Went off that war, because I didn't know what to say to you. I behaved like an ass – I know. Can you forgive me, dearest?"

"I guess I can," she replied in earnest. "But let's just forget it happened."
"How about my brother then?" he asked.
"Whom? Hephaestos?"
"Exactly."
"I've... It was never... what I mean is... He was an adventure. Someone to comfort myself with when I felt that you had abandoned me. Besides, he needed some good sex as well, to get over the feeling of being worth so little. I think he can find someone one day, if he just goes out there more and partake in life instead of just isolate himself in that workshop."
"But you're not that one?" Ares asked.
"No," Aphrodite said. "I'm yours. I love you, Ares!"  
"And I love you, Aphrodite."
It took a few months for Aphrodite to find a good match for Alcmaeon of Argos. First she had tried with a noblewoman from Mycenae, a lady about a decade younger than the Argos King and thus still in fertile ages. Having a past which included two young daughters, she was in a way at the same state in life as Alcmaeon. But what had first looked like a likeable combination proved less favourable the long run, since this Algetha, although she seemed empathic, had a bit hard to cope with Alcmaeon's dealing with his loss. Perhaps his heart wasn't in it for real either. Alcmaeon was still too preoccupied with his memories of the late Mylasia. No, Aphrodite realized that the Argos King should have someone quite a bit different from his old to make it really work. Someone who could challenge him, make him see things from a different perspective, understanding that life had to go on. That it was still worth living.

Boreas and Oreithyia though – that was a deed Aphrodite was more than pleased with. The god of the Northern Wind had carefully been courting the Attican goddess for a bit more than a season. Mostly by hanging around in her cottage, giving her a hand with practical issues, hunting and cooking for her and being a friend in general. Then one day had he lured her away to Olympos for the first time, convincing her that it wasn't a dangerous place and that the "Big Twelve" didn't bite. Surprisingly, Oreithyia had been unexpectedly cool about arriving at Olympos. She could think of returning, she loved Boreas' affluent bathroom and the food served at the Poplar Garden Square.

"And she's sure coming back!" Boreas had cheered and given Aphrodite a big hug. "All thanks to you!"
"Oh, it's you who've done most of the work," Aphrodite humbly replied. "You've been taking Oreithyia where she wanted to go with a relation, you've been loving and trusting all the way, and that was what this girl needed. In any case she didn't want to admit to being lonely!"
"But you had to convince me to do these things, Aphrodite! You had to convince me to go ahead and dare! Or I wouldn't even had taken the first step. I'd only feared it'd be the same as with Sekmeth."
"Forget her now," Aphrodite challenged him.
"I already have," came the self-assured response.

Meanwhile Aphrodite had her own life – and her own love to take care of. Ares had dashed off to yet another war – almost as if he was avoiding a confrontation with her about having spent some lovely time with her worst enemy – Ciresia! Coward! Aphrodite had never thought that of him! Naturally she was disappointed. However right now that felt like the only grain in the cup (although a quite large one at that!). She had performed another great achievement down in Thebes and she had some ideas about whom to pair up Alcmaeon with next. She just had to work the two of them over a bit in her mind...

Meanwhile, on a hot day in early September she returned to Olympos. Feeling that she needed a cooling swim, she went down to the lake. Not a soul was there oddly enough, not even some childish off-duty nymphs with no cares in the world splashing at each other. The blue surface lay untouched, only softly stirred by a mild wind and beckoning her to jump in. She decided to enjoy this moment of rare solitude, climbed up at the highest rock, tripped off her thin, white peplo and dived head-first down in the crystal clear water.

That lake is deep, Aphrodite dived some fifty metres, or at least until she hardly saw the green daylight, before she turned and began to swim upwards with strong beats of her able arms. She rested a while just below the surface, admired the bubbles sneaking out of her closed mouth, watched them dance their way up to the mercury-like surface and killing themselves by joining it. The sun beams were shining down like silver rays in the water and the world was so overly beautiful she felt she could kiss everything. So by an impulse she made a promise down there – she promised to kiss the first male she would encounter upon returning up.

Given that she finally broke surface and gazed around her. The sun was beating down at the shimmering lake, almost blinding her and she had to cover her eyes with her hand. When she looked again she saw him. A stranger god sitting at a rock, splashing his feet in the water, humming to himself. He was good-looking with his light-brown hair still wet from swimming and a fine-tuned although a bit pale body. On top of that, his aura radiated with an impressive power rivalled by few others and Aphrodite understood that he had to be one of Zeus' children. But hadn't she met them all? At least those mighty ones living at Olympos? Surprised, the goddess gasped at his appearance. Who was he?

Nevertheless she still had to keep her promise, so she swam up to the god who hadn't noticed her yet, so lost in his own contemplation was he. She had almost reached the rock he was sitting on, when he finally looked up and saw her.
"Hi there…"

He never got further because Aphrodite jumped up like a mermaid and kissed him right on those full, sensual lips. Surprising him of course, but only for some milliseconds, his mind worked fast like a true god, and before she knew it he had gripped her with large, strong hands and was kissing her back. Sensual lips exploring her, tricking them into opening up so he could familiarize himself with her tongue too. That kiss wasn't shy or awkward in any way; still there was something in it which told Aphrodite that a long time had passed since he had kissed a woman for real.

When he let go, the goddess was gasping for air and he smiled at her and asked:
"Now what did I do to receive such an honour?"
"You were there, and I felt like kissing someone so I kissed you."
"You sure are full of surprises, Aphrodite!"
"You know my name?"
"Of course I do. Who doesn't? The Goddess of Love, most beautiful of them all."
"I thought that was Hera."
"And since she's my mother I have nothing to say about that," the stranger smiled.

"You're a child of Hera?" astonished she regarded him more thoroughly, yes those large, round eyes ought to have given him away, they were the same as Ares', even if they were quite a bit lighter in colour than the pair of the War God.
"And of Zeus." The god replied with a smile.
"So where have you been all the time? It's been more than a year since I came here and..."
"Working, I guess. Most of the time."
"Where? When, and with what?" Curious, Aphrodite sat down next to the god.
"Oh, this and that. Magic locks for divine secrets, better flying chariots, sundials, armour, abacuses… gizmos and gadgets of all kinds. Including some little trinkets to enhance a woman's beauty. Like this!"

The god held out a hand, and suddenly there was something glittering, golden there. Something he had brought through the ultra-dimension on a whim. Curious, Aphrodite looked closer and saw that it was a bracelet - and one of the most beautiful ones she'd ever seen. Audaciously, she poked at it, and in return the god took it and fastened it around one of her slender wrists.
"You want me to have it?"
"Of course!"
"What for?"
"For kissing me."

"That was just a whim," she felt herself blush.
"Perhaps, although it saved a day I thought sucked until then."
"Your day sucked? Why?"
"I hurt my foot."
"Oh, poor you! Let me see it!"

"Oh, don't worry, it's healed since long."
"What's the problem then?"
"I dropped an iron bulk on it and it hurt like a blast and made me lose concentration on what I was working on, and then I realized I had been working on the same kind of bloody self-playing piano for more than 48 hours without really getting anywhere. So I decided I needed a break, and went up here to take a swim before I'd go grab something to eat and hit the bunk."
"Poor you. That sounds… lonely."
"Yeah, perhaps. No one enjoys my company anyhow."
"Why do you say so?" Aphrodite raised a brow in puzzlement. "You seem nice enough to me."
"But I work odd hours to say the least. And I tend to forget people around me when I do that. My former wife Aglaia left me because she couldn't stand me paying so little attention to her."

"She did? Poor you! Just like that?"
"Ah, well she placed an ultimatum, told me it was either my latest invention or her."
"And what did you say then?"
"Nothing, because this sad, ugly sod didn't even hear her, I just kept on working, and the next day she was gone. Packed everything and left when I was down in the forge."
"This was recently?"
"Fifty years or so. Or sixty. Yeah, more like sixty."

At those words Aphrodite noticed that the god had got tears in his dark eyes so naturally she leaned over and gave him a hug and for a long time they just sat like that, she with the beautiful bracelet holding on to a god who's name she did not know. So upon releasing him she asked for it. "You mean… you don't even know me? Have I really been that off the social scene lately? That's dreadful!! I really must get a life. I'm Hephaestos."

'The sooty god' Aphrodite thought and stopped herself from saying it out loud while Hephaestos held out a hand. Relieved, she took it and it struck her how odd it seemed that an encounter should start with a kiss and lead up to a hand-shake instead of the other way around. Then the love goddess realized why she hadn't recognized Hephaestos earlier, it was the first time she had seen him clean! When she told Hephaestos that, laugher came to his eyes instead of tears, and Aphrodite became all warm and fuzzy when realizing that she had picked this man out of his misery by just one little kiss and some moments of positive attention.
"Let me help you getting your social life back, Heph!" she offered.
"And in return?"
"I want a matching necklace, and perhaps earrings to go with it."
"Deal!" Hephaestos squeezed her hand slightly harder, and she became aware of the restive strength in those arms. This sure was a man used to working hard.

She had in fact been joking about the necklace and earrings but Hephaestos insisted on giving her these things – and a lot of other items of beauty in return for dragging him out of his workshop, getting him a haircut and some decent clothing. Not to mention taking him to all those parties held at Zeus' palace. Soon enough Aphrodite decided Hephaestos needed someone to not end up in that vicious circle again, someone more stubborn and proud than sweet and soft Aglaia. A woman who could tell him off when he was skipping social events to spend time at work, and to if push came to show grab him by that ponytail and drag him headfirst off the work bench. Aphrodite decided to match Hephaestos.

It was always hard with those children of Zeus because they are so many and so loud. Dominating the scene. Aphrodite kept hearing them all the time and everywhere wile a lot of other gods and goddesses remained unnoticed. Regardless, she made a list of possible candidates for Hephaestos. First out was Eos, goddess of dawn. Eos made sure to get Hephaestos in bed faster than a thunderbolt of Zeus – and then out of it again even faster, because she thought there was someone better to be found around the corner. She always did, and poor Hephaestos was left consternated and not just a little bit sad.

After having cheered Hephaestos up, Aphrodite realized she would have to talk with Eos as well. Not only about her behaviour towards the blacksmith god, but her general approach when it came to men and love. The way she kept on jumping from lover to lover was precarious, one day that lady was going to get burned, that was for sure! And Aphrodite didn't want to be around when that was happening, because most of the time it turned out nasty and a love goddess generally stood the risk of getting the blame, even if she had done nothing but being in the vicinity.  

Aphrodite then tried to pair Hephaestos with some Nereids, but they soon got overwhelmed by their longing for the sea, and after them Taigeta, one of Atlas' daughters, but she ran off to nail down Zeus instead. And trust Zeus to seize that opportunity! Selene declared "not interested" and Leto felt it too embarrassing to date "a stepson". Hello! Young Hecate was in it for a one night stand and that was it and Nemesis was just as annoyed as Aglaia had been at the lack of attention she received from the god. She wanted hot steaming love-making, not bling-bling.

After them Aphrodite tried to match Hephaestos with Nike, but they were soon fighting like angry sea-monsters.
"Why should I, the goddess of victory, team up with a loser like you?" Nike growled and then she left, slamming the door so the western regions of Olympos shook and all the nymphs ran off on burning feet to tell the gossip to the very next one they met.

Nyx was no use trying, a morning person like Heph wouldn't stand a chance with her. Then Hemera happened to have fallen for the Cretan god Velchanos and consequently she was out of the loop, at least for the time being. Then there were all those ladies who Aphrodite had come to know during her time up here: Astella, Coronis, Cleeia, Phaeote, Pedile, Polyxo, Cleis, Aesyle and Eudora. However among them only Cleis, Aesyle and Astella were somewhat fit, and none of them were actually interested. Coronis for instance was cleverly avoiding Apollo's persistent wooing. So throwing poor Heph in the mix too wouldn't do none of the parts any good, it would just become over the top complicated. Of course, Olympos loved complicated, but Aphrodite wasn't out to create any drama at the moment, she just wanted to make this god happy. Which had proven way harder than she ever would've thought.  

So that left her with – what? Nymphs? Aphrodite suddenly felt so miserable and useless at what she was doing. Now she was the one crying and Hephaestos who offered comfort instead.
"You're not useless, Deete," he soothed her. "You've just had some bad luck. And fate knows I'm a hard nut to crack. Perhaps I'm better off alone."
"No, you're not, you deserve someone. In fact everyone do. I mean, look at weird Hades, even he could get someone. So why not you?"
"Because…"
"Because what?"
"Because she hasn't got it yet!"

"Who? Who are you talking about? Is there anyone I have overlooked?"
"Yes there is."
"Who?"
"Yourself!"

She hadn't known if to laugh or to cry even more at that bold statement from the Blacksmith god. However he saved her from that predicament by just taking her in his strong arms and holding her and chuckling lightly right down in her blonde hair.
"What do you think?" he asked her. "Could we make it work? You and I?"
"I..." actually she hadn't even given it a thought. She and Hephaestos? To be true Aphrodite still nurtured some naive idea about patching it up with Ares although that felt so vain and unrealistic now. He was off warrying again and hadn't even bothered with telling her goodbye before he left. So when thinking about it, the idea of her and Hephaestos together felt strangely appealing as soon as she gave it a little bit more mulling over.

"Let's do it!" she heard herself say. "But beware! I can be a bit over the top sometimes. Demanding."
"That's okay," he mumbled down in her hair. "...I guess..." he added after a while. Almost as an afterthought.
"You see I'm no Aglaia. I'm no sweet and shy little one. I don't wait until it's too late. I'll come and pull you out of that workshop if I think you spend too much time in there and neglect those people around you who care."
"Very few do."
"O stop pitying yourself," she detached herself from him. "I don't appreciate that behaviour either. You're ever as likeable as, say Ares. If not even more. Honestly, he's not the most social person either, the way he prefers his wars all the time. You can have at least as much social life as he up here; you're at home and can be around for the evening events, when your day work is done. While he's away butchering up some northern tribal god you can show off your latest invention instead. I'm sure that is going to meet appreciation."

"I thought you liked Ares."
"I do! Well, in a way. He was – entertaining."
"Entertaining!" Hephaestos looked puzzled first. Then he shrugged. "I bet I don't really fall in the category of 'entertaining'."
"Oh, come on! Do you want this or not? If you're already getting second thoughts about it, then spit it out! I don't intend to hang around an indecisive lad who thinks he's a loser. Especially when it's not true!"
"You don't think so?"
"No I do not. Or I wouldn't frigging saying it! And if you like to compare yourself to your big brother, then at least dust off your benefits as much as your shortcomings!"
"I'm sorr..."

With a sigh Aphrodite put her hand across his mouth.
"And don't ever say you're sorry like that, man! You have nothing to be sorry for. Now what?" Perplexed she removed her hand as the god started to laugh, tickling her palm in a quite unusual way.
"Whaaaat?" she pressed on.
"You!" Hephaestos began to laugh even more. "You're just... like my mama!"
"Like Hera – oh!"
"Yes, she's always like that too. Don't Hephaestos! Don't, don't, don't! Don't this – don't that!"
"That's my mother too," Aphrodite had to admit as she felt herself starting to titter too. "I guess it comes with the territory."
"Territory?"
"Of being a mother."

"Fathers ain't the same."
"I don't know. I hardly know mine. I have more fingers on my hands than encounters with him." She held up her hands for emphasis and he grabbed one of them and placed a firm kiss on her palm. Oh my, he was charming that man, there was no denying it.
"Too bad. Zeus is more like – the other way around. Giving orders. Dealing out errands. Do! Do! Do! Do! And then it happens more often than not that he goes Do and mother goes Don't."
"And what do you do then?" Aphrodite asked with a smile playing around her lips. She could very well imagine Zeus and Hera in disagreement about things their children should be engaged in.
"Earlier in life I used to take one or the other's side and get involved, and then it usually got nasty. The fights we had! I'm surprised sometimes Olympos is still standing. These days..." he shrugged and made a face. "These days I let them straighten out things between them first. And if it takes them too long, I do it the way I consider it best instead."

"Clever boy! And the others?"
"What do you mean?"
"Your siblings?"
"Ah, Ares! He hardly ever cares what anyone tells him. Auxesia sometimes plays mum and dad against each other for her own benefit. Dangerous, I know, but I guess she gets some odd kick out of it. And the others – well they are only half-sibs. They tend to listen to THEIR parents and hardly bother what the other one thinks. But I guess you know that already."
"Yeah I've noticed. Some of those Olympians doesn't seem to care about ANY of their parents. However, that's not exactly our business. And I'll try to sound less like Hera in the future."
"Sounds fine by me, one mother is enough."

His eyes had been glittering with laughter when he said that. Once again Aphrodite had to ask herself, how could she have missed this so original and charming man for so long? To instead fooling around with his brothers who at the moment didn't feel half as interesting. Not even Ares to be true. Well – almost – not even Ares. There was an uncertainty there grating at her mind, although she decided to not give it any room no longer. Ares had chosen to end it just like he did with his foes – just snuffing it with no further thoughts and no looking back. And if he couldn't care more, then neither should she!  

***

"I guess I've must've been about 18. Or 20. Or 21. I'm not really sure I remember," Hephaestos said and leaned back in the bed, stretching his hands over his head, lazily content after their intense love making. "Back then I was quite the brat. Didn't care for nothing, just running around, getting drunk and trying to bed every nymph I could lay my eyes and my hands upon. Becoming more and more bored for every day that was passing. Needless to say my folks didn't approve. So they decided to do something."

"So they threw you off the mountain?" Aphrodite asked as she walked her fingers across his bare torso, softly pressing down the pale skin which stretched across his rippled muscles, enjoying the resistance therein and the distracting effect it had on the god lying next to her in her wide bed. "Sorry, but that's how the story goes at least."
"And it's more or less true," the god chuckled. "I wasn't really anybody's role model back then. Mum and dad had tried to reason with me zillions of time, but did I listen to any of it? No way! I guess I might've given some nonsense reply and then went on in the same manner as before. What they said just didn't stuck. But I guess every kid goes through one of these periods in life when what mama and papa say are as pointless as anything can be."

He laughed again and she flattened out her hand, stroking him gently, feeling the hairs on his torso tickling her. He was perhaps even hairier than Ares, she thought.
"What happened," she whispered mesmerized.
"I was kicked out of the mountaintop. Actually, I became sent away, to the oceanides Eurynome and Thetis to – um – try to raise me into a man. A working god. You know, these ladies have a special talent – a way of seeing where everyone's secret aptitude lies. They look at the aura and see ulterior skills. Gifts to bring forward and develop. And that's what they did with me. Very patiently and persistently did they unfold the real me. Found out that inside the surly slacker hid a little creator who had a knack for beautiful and ingenious things."

"They helped me setting up my first workshop, they showed me how to sketch up the designs I had in mind, first in sand and then upon papyrus. To prototype in wood and to later on cast it in metal, heating it up and then cooling it down with water, hardening it. They taught me to dare, to realize a mistake wasn't everything, that it was possible to forget and re-learn and try again. And again. They taught me patience and endurance – and to rest where the working day was over. Although the latter had a bit hard to stick. I became so mesmerized with what I was doing I found it hard to stop."
"And you turned into the well-known workaholic?" she asked smilingly.

"Sort of. But not immediately, mind you. Living with Eurynome and Thetis in their seaside home, I watched the water flow and meander, bend and curve back to its origin. I saw thousands and thousands of possible forms in those currents, waves and bubbles. And I made them possible – I made them real!"
"Awesome!" Aphrodite exhaled, while looking into his brown eyes. They were burning with the kind of frenzy only true commitment can give, as he went on with telling her of all the things he had created for his landladies. He spoke of earrings made out of glass and gold, inspired by the air bubbles in the sea. He had made broches inspired by sea-shells and necklaces looking like sea-weed. And a lot of practical things to be used in a house hold and elsewhere. He had invented the first cogwheel, a construction he had had no idea what to do with from the start. It was just the idea for another broche, he admitted. It wasn't until he returned to Olympos and started making more complicated machinery; he began to understand the real benefit of this little thing.

"For nine and twenty years did I stay with Eurynome and Thetis. 29 amazing years, I'll never forget them."
"And then – did you just go back to Olympos like nothing had happened?"
"No, I realized there were so much more to learn and to see out there, knowledge I couldn't pass on. So I went travelling in the divine and in mortal world. I met engineers and blacksmiths all over the place, went as far south as Egypt and helped these people with their pyramids. Believe me, those are going to stand for millennia! And I went north and worked with irrigation and mining. Somewhere along these journeys I learned to harvest the power of water and the wind to run engines and fires. I designed the very first watermills and the first pair of bellows the second last year of these trips and then I finally felt ready to go back home. I'd been away for almost a century at that time. Postponing and postponing my return until I felt it was impossible to keep doing it anymore. So I came back."

"Received with open arms?"
"Not really. Oh, mum and dad were overjoyed to see me again, but some of my siblings seemed more like – who's that? So much had changed here and I hardly knew anyone anymore. A lot of deities had left, others had taken their place. Prometheus, Moneta, Melethe, Talos and Kres were not around anymore. Instead there were quite a few newcomers, including two ladies called 'The Muses.' Calliope and Thalia. Wonderful beings."
"So they were the first ones?"
"They were. Daughters of Mnemosyne. Full of creativity and energy, impossible to shop listen to, whatever they sang, told stories or recited poems. Or just being generally funny. And I – was trying to fit in. I played some pranks on people, made a kind of high-chair you got stuck into when sitting down into it. And dear fate, I remember Mama trying it out it when I wasn't at home. Let's just say she did not appreciate being trapped in it!"

Aphrodite couldn't help laughing until her eyes teared at the thought of the haughty Hera trapped in a high-backed chair.
"Oh, that must've been a sight for sore eyes," she blurted out when she was able to make coherent talking again. "Hera! Trapped in a magic throne – oh my!"
"It sure was," Hephaestos said. "I guess most people considered it 'payback time' for being expelled in such a humiliating way back in the last century."
"So anyone who embarrass Hephaestos gets tied up in some ingenious trap as revenge?" Aphrodite grinned and kissed him on the chest. As a response he rolled over with her so that he came to be positioned on top of her instead.
"Yes I might, try to remember that, sweetheart," he jested.
"So what was that fo..." she began but was cut off when he caught her mouth and started to kiss her.

After having assaulted her mouth for a while he withdrew and replied:
"For being such a teasing wench."
"Then I think I'll continue being that, because I really liked that trap," she smirked back, which provoked even more kisses and nuzzling from the blacksmith god.

***

Ares stopped and turned at the sound of women's laughter. There, in the second floor anteroom by the landing of the grand staircase he spotted his father together with Menmosyne, Erato, Calliope, Clio and a fourth girl with the same, flaming coppery hair as Erato and the same pointy nose as Calliope. She seemed to be about 18, having about two or three years until her prime, when she reached the point where immortals Remained for the rest of eternity.
"So, Mel, what do you say? You like to stay with your sisters and see what's being a Muse is all about?" Menmosyne was asking.
"I..." Mel hesitated and glanced over at the other. Then she shrugged with a carefree smile. "I'll give it a try! If I don't like it – well, I'll go back to that theatre I guess."
"So... " Zeus began before spotting Ares. "Hello, son! Come over here! Meet Melpomene, the youngest sister of the Muses!"

The war god grinned at the beauty as he sauntered over and took her hand, then she bent down and kissed it the way Apollo usually did and became rewarded with the girl's cheeks turning into raspberries.
"Mel, this is Ares," Zeus went on and the young girl tittered, as did her older sisters.
"Nice making your acquaintance!" Ares said as he lifted his head and met Melpomene's sparkling, verdant eyes. "You're to become a Muse too?"
"I..." Melpomene staggered. "I dunno... We'll see. You're the... war god, ain't you?" she asked of Ares, looking him up and down.
"I am," Ares fought to not let pride leak into his voice, he had no idea how this young girl was regarding the art of warfare. Some seemed to loath it and he didn't want to alienate her the first thing he did. But he wouldn't have to worry about it.
"That sounds exciting!" she grinned and regarded the brawny man in front of her. "You must tell me one day. But I'm going with Zeus now and then my sisters are supposed to show me around."

"You're my sister?" Ares had to ask before Melpomene left and when she smiled at him again, he noted that she had a small gap between her front teeth.
"No, Ouranos is my father," she told and shook her head, making that long, red hair flying. "What if I were?"
"Then I couldn't flirt with you," Ares replied. "The way I cannot with Erato, Thalia and Ourania."
"Watch out for him, Mel, I'm warning you!" Clio warned, waving a gracious index finger, but with laughter in her cerulean eyes.  
"Come on, girls!" Zeus urged them on. "We got things to do!"

Ares watched the four goddesses leave with Zeus and then he turned to Menmosyne who was leaning against the back end of a chair, regarding them as well.
"I must say you've inherited your father's charm," Menmosyne said after a few moments and Ares breathed in.
"I – didn't mean to flirt her down," he answered more or less truthfully, regarding the redhead goddess who let go of the chair to straighten out some imagined wrinkles on her ice blue peplo. "Sorry if it came out that way."
"Oh, I don't mind, Ares," Menmosyne tilted her head as if regarding the war god for real for the first time. "Mel is almost a grown up woman now and she has to learn to deal with men. With gods. And the persistence in their dallying. They're not like mortals whom she can have as  - um – toys. And throw away when she tires of them. Gods are the real thing. And it's more your father I'm worried about."
"You think he'll..."
"Not today. Not tomorrow. Or next week. But perhaps... within a year or two. And speaking for myself – Zeus is hard to resist. Although hadn't I fallen for him there wouldn't 've been any Erato, Thalia or Ourania. Or...."

Ares raised a brow at how Menmosyne suddenly stopped talking.
"Or..."
"Ah – Oups, I did it again!" once again the goddess pulled at her dress and Ares suddenly understood.
"You're pregnant once more, with one of father's children?"
"Yes – another daughter. I think I'm going to call her Euterpe. What do I do?!" she shrugged and laughed lightly.
"Just go with the flow, I guess," Ares replied, as much at lost as the older woman, who laughed a bit more while balling her fist and hit lightly across Ares' right shoulder.
"So how's it with you and the lovely Aphrodite?" she enquired and Ares felt his belly contract.
"She's..." he stopped right there.

"Oh, don't tell me it didn't work out!" Menmosyne almost pouted. "Erato said you two were so lovely together! You danced so wonderfully."
"I'm not sure, Meni," he admitted. "She's been – I've been away busying myself with those perimeter problems in Trachea. Lot of disturbances up there. Tribal clashes, warlords, road pirates. Alliances forming and breaking up, treason and blackmailing. Wicked magic and foul weapons in use. A general mess. Has been taken a lot of my time. Since it's not a regular, clean-cut conflict, but an all against everyone confusion with no clear sides. The kind of war which only breeds losers in the long time, and thus it has to be contained and if possible finished. Oh, am I boring you, Meni?"
"Not at all, however I can't say I know anything about warfare. So how about Aphrodite?"

"She – well, she's been busy too. Mother keeps her busy with mortal royal houses. So we've been seeing too little of each other for it to work. Actually – I think there's been more than a year since we danced with each other."
"That's too sad, Ares. But don't let it hinder you from trying to start all over with her. If that's what you want, of course. Then remember, you have to make sure you two give each other the time together. Sometimes the most beautiful connection can be severed just by absence."
"I'll think about what you said," Ares said and looked down upon the hand Mnemosyne had placed on his arm. It was exactly the thoughts he had nurtured over the last few weeks.

He was missing her!

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:iconsilverexpress:
silverexpress Featured By Owner 5 days ago
:iconheartdanceplz::iconthankslove::iconheartdanceplz:
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:iconblingblingbabe:
blingblingbabe Featured By Owner 5 days ago
Purple Hearts - Free to use by Undead-Academy:iconthankyouscript1::iconthankyouscript2::iconthankyouscript3:Purple Hearts - Free to use by Undead-Academy
Set of 3- free to use by Undead-AcademyPurple Hearts - Free to use by Undead-AcademySet of 3- free to use by Undead-Academy
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Pacific-Time Featured By Owner 5 days ago
:iconsaaptewt::iconfaveplz:
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Luddox Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Panda Emoji-31 (Hello) [V2] by Jerikuto.:Thank you little bear:. by Chipi-Chiu
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kosv01 Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Professional Digital Artist
Thx a lot for the fav!
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Lolita-Artz Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
thank you very much for the fav!!Shout beauty in bloom by Lolita-Artz   Thank You (9) by daniya-ART  Lolita Artz by SilviaMS
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chibichiquita Featured By Owner 6 days ago
:D I love that shout emot!!
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Lolita-Artz Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Professional Digital Artist
me too :dance:
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vesssel Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2016
Thanks for the fave! Feel free to check out my Facebook page for more art. :D
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KariLiimatainen Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
:bow: for :+fav:
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