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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by beetlemoth
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beetlemoth 𝔫𝔬 𝔤𝔩𝔬𝔯𝔶 𝔦𝔫 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔴𝔢𝔰𝔱

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unsteady alliance.

𝚉𝙴𝚄𝚂' 𝙷𝙾𝚄𝚂𝙴
𝙰 𝙲𝙾𝙻𝙻𝙰𝙱 𝙱𝙴𝚃𝚆𝙴𝙴𝙽 @Legion02 𝙰𝙽𝙳 @beetlemoth


The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Ares kept repeating that in his head as he made the short walk from his Mercedes to the mansion’s large front door. He let the ash of his cigarette dwindle down to the ground. Fuck he had too much to think about. Too much he didn’t want to think about. The whole business with Hephaestus was getting him nowhere and he promised his mother results. So he would have results. Even if that meant he had to team up with the worst possible person he could imagine. The literal cause of all that he knew was wrong with himself. A man who called him most hated and cast him aside in favor of all his other children. Even the memories alone were enough to work Ares up. Even though he thought he got his emotions under control. Nonetheless, desperate times require desperate measures. At least it kept his mind occupied. For now. At the front door he knocked three times, and then begged the fates that he wouldn’t be home.

Behind the door, there’s the sound of shuffling, of things being picked up and put back into place, and a muffled shout of “just a minute!” that sounded more annoyed than anything. When the door does eventually crack open, Ares is not met with the face of Zeus, but that of a woman.

She’s middle-aged, short — about 5’2” or so — with a sturdy build that spoke of a lifetime of wrangling children and hard work. Her box-blonde hair is tied up into a messy updo, held in place by an assortment of bobby pins. And with a scrutinizing narrow of her eyes, she stares up at Ares, questioning, though the intended effect is somewhat ruined by the pink t-shirt and leopard-print leggings she happened to be wearing.

“Can I help you?” she snaps, looking none too pleased at having a visitor. There’s a squeegee clutched in her right hand, and she holds it protectively in front of her chest like a xiphos. “Mr. Sarandon isn’t expecting anyone today.”

The woman’s appearance was a bit of a surprise. But then again, it wasn’t as if Zeus was a stranger to women. “No.” Ares said. “But he should have.” He then pushed the woman into the house. “Get down here dad! We have matters to handle!” Ares yelled for the entire house. Knowing full well it would probably raise a few questions from ‘Mr. Sarandon’s lady friend. Not that he cared. Not right now.

“Wh—”

The woman’s protest is cut short by an indignant squawk as she’s all but shoved aside, stumbling a little over her own feet. And for a moment, all she can do is stare, wide-eyed and gaping at the audacity of this intruder.

And since when did Dean Sarandon have a son?

But before she has the chance to think about it any further, or try to smite Ares with the sheer might of her cleaning apparatus, another voice calls out from the second floor.

“Angie, I already told you I’m not seeing any guests today. Who the hell is making all that—”

Zeus appears, rounding the corner. He’s busy typing something on his phone, brow furrowed in concentration, and doesn’t notice Ares until he looks up a few seconds later.

“—Noise.”

The expression on his face is one of surprise with just a little dash of panic thrown in, like a deer staring down the headlights of an eighteen-wheeler. And then, suddenly, as if broken from a trance, he stops staring and puts his phone away, hurriedly making his way down to the foyer where Ares was.

“You should’ve called.” Zeus chides, jaw set in a rigid line, but there’s something different about the way he looks at Ares, this time —– something soft and sad and… almost remorseful. It doesn’t last long, however, his features quickly arranging themselves back into a mask of businesslike neutrality. “But you’re right. We need to talk. Let’s take this to my office.”

He places a tentative hand on Ares’ shoulder, giving it a squeeze before turning back to the woman —– Angie.

“Hey, uh, why don’t you take the rest of the day off? Just… leave everything where it is for now, and here,” Zeus pulls out his money clip, counting out a small stack of bills and handing it to her. “What I owe you for this week and the next.”

She doesn’t waste any time in pocketing the proffered money, but gives the two of them one last look before shaking her head and moving to pack up her belongings.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Mr. Sarandon.”

Zeus just smiles, giving her a little wave as she leaves.

When the door finally clicks shut behind her, he lets out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding, and combs his fingers through the perpetually graying strands of his hair. Zeus had to wonder then just what it was that brought Ares here, though he had a sinking suspicion he already knew. The timing was too opportune.

“Shall we?” With a slight incline of his head, he gestures for Ares to follow him, striding ahead towards the office on the second floor.

Ares just let out a disinterested grunt of acknowledgement as he followed his father. The whole fatherly thing hadn’t caught with the god of war at all. Even now with the whole hand on shoulder and momentarily vulnerable look. It was all an act. Always an act. Even if the Greek god of Lightning didn’t realize it himself perhaps. Ares never believed in it, and never would. This was the man that called him most hated. The man who never even tried to hide who his favorite was. The distaste towards Zeus was so deeply rooted that pushing off the arm of his shoulder would’ve been too much. Ares simply did not care.

Once in the office he sat back on one of the sofa’s and with practiced smoothness a burning cigarette was again in his hand. Making him billow out smoke through his nostrils. The way the god of war was looking at Zeus made clear it was a challenge. “Are you hitting that?” He asked, pointing down back to the entryway of the house and clearly meaning Angie.

It takes a while for Zeus’ mind to even register the question because of how out of the blue it is, how incisive, and for a brief moment, it seems to knock him off-balance. He stares back at Ares, incredulity coloring every square inch of his face.

He couldn’t be serious.

Sure, Angie was a nice capable woman, but the mere insinuation that he would’ve had… relations with her was downright farcical. Zeus was a man who sought out beauty in his lovers, and she, in spite of her cleaning prowess, was far from his ideal partner.

Just who did Ares think he was? Priapus? Unlike that coarse, squirrelly beast, he actually had standards.

“No. Gods, no.” He shakes his head then, a quiet huff of laughter tumbling past his lips. Briefly, he shoots Ares a meaningful look, one accentuated by a raised eyebrow. He’s joking. Probably. “But if you want to, I’m not gonna stop you from trying.”

Pushing off his desk, he walks over to a glass-and-wood cabinet on the far side of the room, retrieving a bottle of amber-colored liquid and unscrewing the cap.

“You might wanna watch out for that broom, though. She’s got a mean swing. Drink?”

Zeus doesn’t wait for his son’s response before starting to pour both of them a glass, handing Ares a carved crystal tumbler as he joins him on the couch. He first pauses to take a swig, letting the taste of single malt settle on his tongue.

“So,” he begins, and the scotch in his glass keeps swirling, spurred on by rhythmic revolutions of the wrist. “Given the circumstances, I have to assume this is about Hephaestus. Did you find anything yet?”

The god of war just rolled his eyes when his father made the joke. And when the old man found it necessary to share the same couch with him, he was quick to push up and head for the drinking cabinet. Adding another finger to whatever drink Zeus would use to impress mortals. Then with the indignation of someone who would never care what you served him, Ares downed it all in one gulp. After which he poured himself another finger.

“It is about my brother indeed. And I have.” He said as he turned around to face his father, leaning against the drinking cabinet with cig still in hand. But then he turned away his attention towards pretty much anything he could find in the room. Things he could use against his father. Trophies. Pictures he would be proud of. One seemed to stand out. His father shook hands around a bunch of people, in front of just a massive field of dark-blue solar arrays. He picked it up to look closely at it. “Funny. God of lightning but has to beg his own son for power.” Ares said showing Zeus the picture. Then he opened his hand, letting it tumble to the ground. “Oops. Slipped.” He said with a coy voice.

It didn’t matter that Ares seemed intent on draining his reserves of Macallan Lalique. Zeus’ pockets ran deep. He could afford a hundred more bottles to replace the one.

And it didn’t matter that Ares was stalking about the room like an ornery feline, looking for whatever shiny object he could knock over or destroy. What did Zeus care about trophies and trinkets? His achievements would always be his own, and anyone with two working eyes could see that.

So, Zeus tells himself that it doesn’t matter. Not even when Ares directs another pointed jab towards his ego. Or when a framed photo of the inauguration of the Lycaeum Project shatters against the ground with a piercing crack.

Outside, lightning flashes, the air itself vibrating with a roll of distant thunder.

“Ares…” Zeus sighs, setting his drink aside for the moment to stand up, although he doesn’t approach Ares this time; just walks over to his desk and starts fiddling with the rolodex the way he does when some upstart, nouveau riche CEO starts talking to him like they know better. The new Zeus wouldn’t let himself be worked up into a frothing rage by mere property damage. He refused. He’s above that now.

“If you want to tear my house to shreds, be my guest. But bear in mind that you were the one who came to me, and right now, all you’re doing is wasting both of our times.”

The shadow of a smile crosses his lips —– thin, rigid, a warning for Ares to not push this further.

“So if there’s anything of use you’d like to say, please, I’m all ears. Otherwise, I don’t see the point in continuing this conversation any further.”

In a flash Ares crossed the office space to get right up in Zeus’ face. “Yes!” He said, his eyes ablaze not with quite the same intensity as at the Conclave, but nonetheless burning with anger that hadn’t gone away for half a week now. “But that is the man I need to talk to.” He continued, pointing out at the sky where the thunder and flash of lightning had come from. “The man who murdered his own father, who fought in the Titanomachy and put Atlas in eternal torment.” Then he took two paces back. Letting himself cool for a second before saying: “Can you be that man? The one I need? The one mom and Hephaestus-“ and Hebe now too “need?” Or was he already so consumed in his own ideas of self-improvement that reverting back to his old self was impossible? Was there not even a hint of the old man’s old self deep within? There had to be.

Zeus hardly reacts when, all of a sudden, he finds himself with a faceful of Ares, and he doesn’t look away even when it feels like the other’s gaze might burn right through into his skull. Ares’ wrath has always been his greatest strength and weakness —– an all-consuming fire that razes everything into the ground, but right now, it just seems… trivial. Almost puerile.

Like a slighted child throwing a tantrum.

“You know, Ares,” he begins, voice steady, but edged with something else. Something challenging. Perhaps he wanted to get a rise out of Ares, too. “You’ve always been too presumptuous for your own good.”

“What makes you think you know anything about me, hm? I built this empire from the ground up, brick by brick out of nothing.” And I made you who you are. Though they remain unsaid, the words’ implication hangs thickly in the air, and in the cool, withering stare he fixes upon Ares.

“I know what I have to do.” Zeus declares with an air of quiet finality, fingers steepled over his chest. “I also know that I’ve committed many sins in the past. Against you. Against your mother. But do not think that just because I seek recompense that I am incapable of seeing justice done.”

“You’d do well to remember that, υἱός.”

A slight grin formed on Ares’ lips. This was the man he needed. Not the old fool who brought Danishes to a Conclave that almost turned into a battlefield. Slowly he walked back, sitting down on the sofa and leaning backwards. “It’s not justice I am after.” Ares’ voice turned much, much colder. In the last few decades he had learned more lessons than Zeus could ever know of. He too had grown. “Justice is a funny word mortals use so others receive that which they deserve. It’s no more than foolish ideas of karma or destiny. What we would do wouldn’t be justice. I call it revenge, you can call it settling a score. Or if you’re feeling magnanimous: making an example.” Ares spoke plainly now and knew well what it was he wanted. But knew very well as well what the Olympians as a whole needed.

Yes, Hera needed her son’s body and after that doubtlessly she’d demand the perpetrator killed. That was revenge. The others needed to be shown they were safe. That could only be done if the other pantheons were shown an example. It was why people dangled corpses off city walls, why terror was the strongest force on a battlefield.

From the pocket of his coat he pulled the notebook his men had found in Hephaestus’ apartment and tossed it on the small table in front of him. “This was found in my brother’s place. Filled with names of minor gods… and Hebe’s. Hers is encircled several times.” Slowly he leaned forward, staring right into Zeus’ eyes. “I fear she’s next.”

Zeus is silent as he picks up the notebook, flipping through the pages with an evaluating gleam in his eyes; and just like Ares said, Hebe’s name is on the very last page, singled out from the rest by a messy scrawl of ink. Slowly, the tips of his fingers begin to grow numb with fury, pupils fixated on his beloved daughter’s name on the page. If she really was in danger…

—– No. He wouldn’t let it get to that point. Hephaestus’ death was already one too many, more blood on his hands that he could never wash off.

Disgusted, he snaps the notebook shut and casts it back onto the table.

“Call it what you like, but any act of retribution against our enemies is justified.”

As Ares had so squarely pointed out, Zeus was not the sort of man who operated in half-measures, meting out cold, bright vengeance to those who had wronged him. How he became King of the Gods in the first place was testament to that.

Cronus believed him harmless, but he thought wrong.

“You already have people out looking for your brother?” Zeus is quick to draw matters back to the practical. He understood how important it was to find Hephaestus’ body. A proper burial meant a clear path to the afterlife, even if such circumstances had been rendered nebulous by the interference of the Colossus. It disquieted him, thinking about what might happen to them after death. Without Hades there to watch over the souls of the Underworld, was there anything keeping them there?

He wonders if his brother knew the answer, if he, too, worried about the prospect of lost souls. But now, there were other, more important things to be concerned about.

Hebe. She needs someone to keep her safe. Have you spoken to her?”

“I have. This morning.” Ares said as he got up again to take the notebook back and pocketed it. “She’s safe. For now. Hasn’t talked to Hephaestus for a while.” Just like he hadn’t. “I can’t protect her.” These were the facts, but he hated them. “My people… they stand out in a university.” Of course they did, they looked like jacked up gorillas that walked into a wall and the wall broke. “Maybe an intern you trust or something could keep an eye out.” Ares offered before he walked up to the office’s window to look outside. It was cloudy. Always cloudy in Seattle.

At least his father seemed to be reverting surprisingly quickly to the old man he hated. The Zeus that felt no love for the violent god of war. “The body is still out there.” He continued after a brief pause. His eyes scanned over the skyline of Seattle. As if he would be able to see it from the window. “And I haven’t come a step closer to finding it. The only thing I have is footage of a man leaving his apartment.” The words he spoke, they were toxic. Cutting. But only towards himself. There were few things that could genuinely hurt Ares. Failure when it counted the most was one of those things. “And you? What did you find in the past two days?”

“I’ll have someone sent over, then.” Zeus makes a mental note to keep track of Hebe’s whereabouts. He would also have to spare a few members from the company’s security detail to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary, though whether they would be able to do anything when faced with somebody capable of killing a god remains to be seen.

“I take it you haven’t spoken to Athena?”

The question is more rhetorical than anything else. Zeus knows that Ares and Athena have never really seen eye to eye, even if the siblings shared more similarities than either of them would’ve liked to admit. But setting aside the bad blood that had split this family into sharp, ragged splinters, the Goddess of War was the one who stood the best chance of finding Hephaestus out of them all. “She should already be working on it, but I’ll send her a heads-up about Hebe and the notebook.”

Ares’ sudden shift in tone takes him aback, although it probably shouldn’t have. His son has always expected much of himself, and now, as he wrapped his words in thorns, a shroud of hate and weakness, Zeus wonders if there was anything he could’ve done to pick up the pieces of their relationship.

It’s too late, a part of him whispers.

But he doesn’t want it to be.

“We’ll find him.”

A promise is the best he can offer Ares for now, and as he speaks, he fixes him with a level gaze. This time, he would not allow himself to fail. Not when the safety of his family was on the line.

No doubt Athena was working on the case indeed. And before the sun was down, Ares’ father would’ve told her about the notebook. Would she come around to pick it up for evidence? Dust it for prints believing Ares hadn’t done that yet? Probably. Or she would just send some poor police officer to retrieve it. No matter, the notebook’s purpose had already been served. In truth, Ares did not believe his sister could help them now. If law and order were real, Hephaestus would be on TV now. Making some fiery speech about how the police corps of Seattle prevented an assassination. Instead he was dead and justice had failed.

With the assurance that Zeus would look after Hebe, Ares had what he needed from his father. “We will.” He said, putting down his glass. “I’ll be going then.” Ares turned away from his father to head out the door. Neither of them were, truly, of the sentimental bunch. And Ares had always been terrible at goodbyes. But as he opened the door of Zeus’ office, he stopped. Though he kept his back at his father as he said: “I know you wished it was Athena who told you all this. And I know the minute I step outside, it’s her you’ll call and tell everything.” And if Athena learned something, Ares wouldn’t hear it. He was the criminal. The black sheep. He knew it. He had accepted it. “I’m sorry I’m not the child you wished I would be.” With those words spoken he left the office, and soon Zeus’ house as well.

There were many things Zeus felt about Ares, and even more things he wished to say to him, but as he watches him walk out the door, eyes fixed on his retreating figure, he can’t bring himself to say a word.

How did he ever let things get so fucked up?

He’s still perched against his desk, a little unsteady now, like a blackbird ready to take flight at the sound of thunder. But the silence is deafening. He looks to the walls, to the expensive furniture lining every inch of the office. It all felt hollow. A pointless facade of status and artifice. Zeus lets his eyes slide shut then, drawing into his lungs a steadying breath. Ares’ words had affected him deeply, sunk their claws into him in ways he never thought possible.

Then again, his firstborn son always did have a way of bringing out the worst in him —– the king, the tyrant. Not the father he wanted to be.

Was supposed to be.

Perhaps it was too late to change, after all.

Pushing it all aside for the moment, he fishes his phone out of his pocket, dials a number that has grown all too familiar to him.

It rings once. Twice. Three times.

A quiet click on the other end of the line lets him know he’s been connected.

“Athena? There’s something I need to tell you.”

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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Rockette
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Rockette && 𝚊 𝚕 𝚙 𝚑 𝚊

Member Seen 30 days ago

B A S T E T , G O D D E S S O F P R O T E C T I O N.
𝒂 𝒎 𝒎 𝒂 𝒖 𝒃 𝒂 𝒔 𝒕 𝒆 .
𝒂 𝒎 𝒎 𝒂 𝒖 𝒃 𝒂 𝒔 𝒕 𝒆 .


[ 𝚋𝚊𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚝'𝚜 𝚊𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚝𝚖𝚎𝚗𝚝 𝚜𝚝𝚛𝚎𝚎𝚝𝚜 𝚘𝚏 𝚜𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚝𝚕𝚎 ].............
████████████████. . .████████████████. . .████████████████. . .████████████████. . .████████████████

So, a Grecian was dead. Yet life still carried on. It was a testament to these intricate fabrics of fate and time, wound and bound as they were, and refusing to surrender and still submitting life unto the crease of cruel irony. That day, children had been brought into the world and somewhere betwixt towers of steel or perhaps lost to decrepit alley ways or drowned channels, a body was waiting to be found. The Conclave had given nothing save for the confession of loss and the unknown; a faceless reaper haunted after the Gods and Bastet had turned her felines to the streets in response -- gather secrets far and wide, look to the crows, she commanded, and follow their beating wings.

That night she had toiled among ivory sheets, twisted them among her calves and wound a fist around lonely cotton as a leftover haze of rose had invaded her mind accompanied by a keen penetration of yearning and desire. Bastet had breathed his name to the stars and was rejoined with silence: a mute shelf of ice there was, a coldness that she knew as he turned away, yet again, for that was their damnation and their game. If only her own thread of fate could be sheared away from the weeping red it was undoubtedly drenched in, tinged in obsidian ends and initial knots of gold. Her evening wasn't made any better, as she worried after her sister's emotional foundation and loomed her soft gaze upon the message that had found way to her inbox. She had read the contents more than once, hesitant to respond, uncertain of her participation and thus, Bastet never answered.

Instead, she had pinged another, perhaps her dearest friend and summarized the events of the gathering the best she could. It did little justice for the dead, but she also knew that Themis would be looped and twined within the arms of her lover [another Nordic lover, Bastet had pointed out once, but who was she to judge] or taken away by obligation to her career. Such was the circumstance for those nearest to her heart. They were duty bound and she a passing fancy. Perhaps such was for the best, for there were no curious eyes prying upon her home or inquiring after her affairs, and her familiars could travel unhindered or pursued. For who would spare a simple stray in the city of Seattle a secondary glance or thought. Cats had fallen from grace, but, in exchange, the many held sway over the hidden natures of the world.

More than once she thought to contact The Morrigan to offer the eyes of her most beloved of companions, however there were a few statements that had struck out to her the most among the Conclave. Instead of offering such services to the Goddess, Bastet deemed it proper to conduct her own search for answers, and the tales proffered were interesting.

oceans returning.
moon light learning; seeking what is lost.
fallen kingdoms and their lost kings.

a soul has signed itself to the devil.
and hearts -- so many -- weep.


Bastet twirled a crow's feather delicately pinched betwixt forefinger and thumb and met the golden glare of Khufu, the Caracal looked upon her expectantly, seemingly awaiting praise. Upon either side of him preened both Hatshepsut, and Cleopatra, their tails swishing carefully in hypnotic tandem.

"You've all done well," she blessed, her voice of sweet whispers. "We can allow others to follow the crows. For now I want you three to keep close to the shadows as I make deliveries." Here, Bastet paused, her fleeting eyes landing once more upon her mobile still and silent like a prophesied specter. She had clients and patients, appointments to keep and worries to soothe of young mothers, and weekends were her only days away to shed away the layers of Amma Ubaste that encumbered her through mortal allegiance. There was no viable reason she couldn't attend to her pantheon, perhaps it was time Bastet to come away from avoidance to simply live.

"We'll make the tea house our last stop," such is a near painful utterance, but she keeps to her promise this time and answers Imentet with her intentions to at least stop by. It's the least she can do, though in her departure she secures a particular bundle of incense for their evening at the tea shop. It's a specially crafted batch intended for all of them and designed with each of them in mind, a brief little flicker of haze and smoke that'll bring memories of home and worship and festivals. Of life, and of death, and wasn't that to be fitting, Bastet considered as her trio of familiars eagerly trotted among her heels.

She made her deliveries on foot, a preference she had claimed many times in comparison to being driven or taking herself to each household or establishment. Such was easier for her companions who fled to the shadows the instance she stepped out from her complex, following their eager bodies till they vanished, but Bastet knew they'd remain close and eager to answer her call. The thought leaves the smallest of graces upon her lips as she teases her fingers through her braids, tossing them among the delicate line of her shoulders.
mentions & interactions:@Icy Hot, @Akayaofthemoon, @Gothelk, @Venus, @fledermaus.
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Danvers
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Danvers boo

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HEBE
SOMEWHERE IN SEATTLE
MOOD: NOT AGAIN



☾ ⋆*・゚:⋆*・゚:⠀ *⋆.*:・゚ .: ⋆*・゚: .⋆
A twilight breeze. The smell of summer
Familiar ageless lands
Tall grasses keep her safe; if only for a moment
But hiding is not easy
And shadows reach where light cannot
Hands rise up to clasp
to claw
to…


Hebes eyes suddenly blinked open, the cold metal of the elevator reminding her of where she was. She thought she'd only shut them for a second, enough time to try and slow her racing thoughts. Yet an unimpressed figure now stood in front of her, arms crossed rigidly across his chest. It wasn’t clear how long he'd been there but she could tell that he was mere moments away from tossing her to the curb. Opening his mouth as if to chastise her, before he could utter a breath, she had cut him short. "I'm so sorry!" The words escaped her lips in a strangled sob as she lurched to her feet, small frame brushing past the stiff board of a man that was the Maître d’Hôtel of L’Atelier Du Rhöne.

Swerving past a couple of finely dressed diners, who had equal looks of perplexion etched across their faces, she darted out of the building. Ares’ words ran through her mind like bullets, one barely having passed through before the next took its place. Why was he here? Why now? What could he possibly want? He had turned her dreams to nightmares, and now her nightmares to life once more. Life was short for mortals and she had expected that the inevitable passing of years would be enough time to remove her from his mind. All she wanted to do was forget but apparently even that was impossible.

The weary goddess began to walk, mind so clouded with fear and worry that she barely took note of where she was headed. There was no way she could go back to her dorm, so instead she focused on putting one foot in front of the other, each step feeling like a heavy weight. She could only tell she was crying, once more, by the looks of concern that strangers by sent in her direction, unwittingly ignoring the few who reached out to ask if she was okay. How many times had she done so this week? For her brother, for herself, for something else which she wasn't quite certain of. It made her want to shed tears again when she realised how weak, how fragile she must look. It wasn't as if the other gods didn't have their struggles too but only she seemed to be unable to bear her burden. Even mortals could cope in times where she was just apt to drown in her own tears.

Eventually, and without knowing how much time had passed, she reached a secluded park...one that looked like it had seen better days. The grasses grew tall, weeds sprouting up amongst the few isolated flowers, and a children's playground was filled with rusting, half-broken equipment. Ignorant to her grungy surroundings, Hebe took a seat on one of the swings, legs mindlessly swaying beneath her.

"Oh Virtus, I'm so sorry about all of this." Reaching towards her companion, she ran her fingers gently through the fur at the nape of her neck. Hebe couldn't help but feel a bloom of gratitude towards Mars, for asking her to take care of his beloved pet on this day. Of course he could have no idea how much she would need the canines presence, but she was thankful nonetheless. "This is just between you and me okay? It's our little secret." She managed a weary smile, one which only reminded her of her aching head, as she raised a finger to press gently atop Vivis nose. "Boop. Gotcha nose!" Laughing softly at the stupidity of her action, her own nose crinkled in a brief moment of delight as Virtus' tongue reached up to lap at her finger. Animals were so pure and unconditional. It was soothing to be around them and she couldn’t help but be reminded of all the hours she had spent playing with her father's eagles atop the summit of Mount Olympus.

Looking fondly down at Vivi, Hebe moved to pull her phone from her pocket — mind searching for something, anything to distract her as she slowly began to scroll through the wall of notifications. Shaky fingers passed over an image from the Snapchat group she’d been added to, a light giggle escaping her lips at the picture of Hermes' face, which was barely visible behind the two floof balls that were currently sat atop it. Always so silly Hermy. Brushing a stray tear away from her cheek, she swiped until she landed on a familiar conversation. Coco. Part of her wanted to ask for her help and, cautiously, she began to type. 'Something happened...can we talk...i don’t know what to do.' Again and again she tried to will herself to send something but her trembling hands daren’t commit. Coco was also struggling in the aftermath of the conclave and it would be unfair to expect her to help with this too. Deleting her last few words, she wrote a new message, one which she felt much happier sending.

BFF 👩‍❤️‍👩
GL with your shoot! You’ll be awesome! 🥰😘 luv u xxx


It wasn’t a lot but it was better than nothing...

As the message sent, Hebe suddenly became aware of a presence behind her. She'd been too engrossed in her own thoughts to hear the rhythmical beat of footfalls and so, when she turned her head, a scream threatened to slip from her lips. Clasping a hand over her mouth, her heart began to race as she focused on the shock of blonde hair in front of her.

"Are you okay miss?" His voice slurred slightly as he spoke, the overtones of cheap booze evident in his speech patterns. The guy looked like he was probably homeless, one of the down & out struggling in Seattle’s hidden world. Raggedy oversized clothes hung off his body and he clutched a half empty cider bottle in his hand. Thankfully, it was also clear that he was definitely not Kyle, which was what instinct had first threatened to tell her and this was at least soothing enough to allow her to clamber to her feet. Managing a small nod as she began to back away fron the stranger, Hebe kept her eyes fixed on his precariously wobbly form. Despite his intoxicated state, he seemed nice enough, simply enquiring as to her wellbeing...but she was wary nowadays. Her mind would only tell her that if you could be betrayed by someone close to you...then what could a stranger do?

"Are you sure?" His voice was a nearly incoherent mumble as he reached a shaky hand towards her, prompting a small growl from Virtus.

"Yes, t-thank you-" Her own words came out in a stutter as she took off again, not daring to look back until she had turned onto a busy street. The hustle and bustle of everyday people going about their business was comforting and she eventually slowed down to a steady pace. Looking around, she realised she had no idea where she was. Surely it couldn't be any unreasonable distance from the restaurant but still, she felt a sudden desire to rush home, to be away from this place. Well, not home. But at least she could drop Virtus off and then figure things out from there. She hoped so anyway...

Mentions: Ares @Legion02, Mars @Gothelk Coco@KZOMBI3


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KZOMBI3 thuggy-lewd-dere

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Tangled sheets of silk between smooth legs and limbs. A soft breeze blowing through the open high windows, the sounds of the bustling nightlife of the Big Apple filtering in, wrapping around the two of them as they lay bare. A giggle passing her lips, 'Time to cut it again...' as tawny hands come up to card through long sable tresses. Wait. No, that's not right... blonde, like the first rays of sunlight in the morning. Jazz tunes of saxophone, snares and high hats and trumpets mesh into hard bass and electronic beats. Blue eyes, like the clearest skies, fade into a deep chestnut, like that of the richest soil of earth. As the music refused to shift back to the jazz of the era, Tlazōlteōtl found herself no longer in the arms of the messenger but rather pushed up against the mirror residing in the bathrooms of the Jade Jaguar.

She waited, as if allowing more time to pass along in her subconscious was going to bring forth the memories of a much older time than just the other night. But she can’t escape it, especially tonight, with thoughts of him swimming around within that curly mess of a head of hers. At the time she didn't understand the second meaning caused by the infernal pink haze; a new scent taking over her senses, the scene that played out before her mind's eye... it was a mystery to her. None of it had anything to do with Hermes, though she shouldn't have been surprised. She was told by multiple others to let him go, that he wasn't worth her attention and effort and time. But, it wasn't like she could just forget the time they spent together. The way he looked at her, called to her. But, none of it was ever truly real. It wasn't until she had him there, between her legs, pressed against one another feeling the thrumming of his pulse beneath her fingers that it clicked in her head. The smell of musk that clung to him, the storm he brought with him in everything he did set her ablaze with a passion she was not accustomed to. Laz could have spent an eternity in that position, connected at the hips and mouth, tracing every single one of his veins beneath her fingertips. The heat radiating from him was enough to scorch, and she would have been content to burn alongside him, if it meant she could hold him close. If it meant that she was his and he was hers. The music was nothing more than white noise, something to fill in the gaps around them. Her lips melding perfectly with his, his hands trailing fire across her skin, setting ruin to everything before him; whispers of her name on his lips...


Vivid dream-like memories come flooding back to her as her eyes slide open catching the rays filtering through the windows, between the various plant leaves that hang around the panes of glass. Dust particles danced in the light, drifting slowly towards the apartment floor as if weighed down by the questions that plagued the furthest reaches of her mind. An audible groan is pulled from deep within her, sheets tangled around her naked frame, the fan spinning idly above her though it hardly cooled the heated skin below. So she tries to forget, push everything out of her mind and focus on the present. She wants to be numb, to feel nothing and everything at once, so devoid of thought that the body can’t help but be overstimulated. Which is where Tlazōlteōtl finds herself, lying awake in bed, overheated from a very... overstimulating dream. And she can't do anything short of screaming in frustration and disturbing her neighbors. 'Why did I have to meet her?' thoughts drifted towards the blonde, Julie, the love of his life. The one that makes him smile and laugh and do things that she couldn't ever imagine being blessed with causing, and her thoughts are a swirling mess of bitter jealousy and pity. 'If only if only...' Dangerous thoughts indeed.

The mingling of memories and daydreams and pining of the two very different men not only confuse her but piss her off. Frustration builds inside her like pressure in a valve waiting to be released. She's supposed to love Hermes, right? That's what the past and her stupid rapidly beating heart had told her, regardless of the fact that he doesn't seem to give her the time of day. Nor does he seem too bothered with the clipped tone she uses in his presence. "Not giving him too much to work with Laz..."

After an acceptable amount of time allowed for one to throw themselves a pity party had passed, the Aztec goddess flailed around for her phone while also detangling her limbs from the sheets. An email notification announcing an event to be held at Rome 1.5 hosted by Jupiter of all people was stashed away neatly in her inbox. Pursed lips and raised brows accentuated her features as she pretended to think on the idea of attending. It was a no brainer. She needed the distraction from all of this Ares and Julie business. Besides, it wasn't like she was going to run into him there and she needed a distraction. Perhaps Freya and Eros could help her with a little pampering and makeover before going? An excited giggle breached the quiet of the room and she was once again reminded of how alone she was.

A frown pulled at the corners of her lips as deft fingers traced along a familiar path atop the screen of her phone. Thankfully she was able to come back to her senses before hitting send, else she would be in a very tricky situation indeed.
To: Ares😈 Hath✨
heyy we need to chat about the other night | you wont believe | can you come over i really need you. something happened. i'll treat you to some lunch. please

Without so much as another glance the text was sent and the filth goddess flopped back onto the mess of pillows and sheets, arms thrown over her face, groaning aloud. 'This is a fucking disaster' words uttered into the relative silence that engulfed the space around her, the heater kicking on and the stalling of the ceiling fan, the cars honking and the mortals going about their daily routines outside; it's almost muffled by the static chaos running rampant in the space between her ears. A ding off to her left rouses her to a seated position before she convinces herself to start her late day, conflicting views of the two men clashing internally as she sets about preparing for Hathor to arrive.



Warmth and contentment filled her being, from the fragrant tea that made her think of autumn to the pleasant company of the man across from her. If there was ever a moment that Hathor could choose to make last, it would be this one but sadly, all good things eventually come to an end. This point being proven once again as her phone chimed, drawing her attention away from the current conversation.”Hold on, sorry, I thought I put that on silent.”, she said softly, pulling out her phone to do just that when she noticed exactly who the message was from. She tapped it open, the warmth she had felt just a few moments freezing in her veins and worry clawing at her chest to grasp her heart because of the simple message. Hathor was already standing, working on gathering her things as she spoke frantically, ”I hate to do this but an emergency came up and I have to go! I’d love to meet up again sometime soon, so don’t be a stranger.” She gave Hades a quick side hug before rushing out the door, swiftly pulling out her car keys and dumping everything onto the passenger seat.

Tires screeched to a halt as she pulled up to Tlaz apartment building, hurriedly jumping out and fumbling with her keys to lock the car. It was a miracle she hadn’t gotten in an accident or pulled over for speeding and or reckless driving. Once the car was locked up tight, Hathor made a mad dash across the complex, not stopping until she found herself at her best friend's door which she gave a few hard knocks. The worry was killing her and the wait for Tlaz to get to the door was insufferable. What could have happened to make her send that text? ’It doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, I’ll be there for her and we can sort it out.’, she thought, bouncing a bit in place before knocking on the door again. ”Tlaz, it’s Hath!”

Tea was sitting in the kettle on the stove about ready to boil over and scream into the silent apartment when the resounding smacks to her front door and Hath's concerned voice drove Laz to quickly unlock the latch, "I'm coming, I'm coming!" She wasted no time in throwing open the door and pulling a disheveled and shaken Hathor into a warm embrace. The site of one of her closest friends and confidants so visibly upset rattled within her and left her pondering more questions than producing answers.

"Hath? What's wrong?" Embracing her was something that wasn't foreign to the Aztec beauty. She and Hathor went way back, aside from snatching her up and employing her within the Jade Jag. Laz would do anything for her. So to see her so distraught shook her to her core. Laz was the first to pull away from the extended hug and usher the woman into her humble abode closing the door softly and leading her towards the tanned leather couch pushed against the wall. Yellow filtered light radiating around the room via lamps and other sources illusioned the room to be placed in a time much different than what the clocks read.

They sat there for what seemed like eons before realization dawned on her, "Hath! Oh gods! I'm a fucking aquimamatqui! The text," her hand came to smack against her forehead before sliding down her face and resting against her cheek. Gods, he was infecting every nook and cranny of her personal life where she forgets she intentionally asked for her to come over! What is wrong with her?! Tlazōlteōtl is known to bring mortals and gods alike to their knees before her. They answered her. She plagued their minds! Not the other way around… right? ’Obviously not,’ a sullen thought as Ares' disgusted face flashed before her. "It's not so life altering, er, well..." she trailed off trying to think of how best to approach the topic of conversation that prompted the club owner to seek her friend's company. There she sat, fiddling with her fingers tangling in her hair and tugging at the ends nervously, "It's got to do with Ares."

To say Hathor was confused would be a complete understatement as she found herself wrapped up in welcoming arms, worried about her instead of seeking comfort herself. She easily returned the hug, holding her close as she let her own nerves wind down from the panic that had been stirred up by the text and took notice if there was anything she should be concerned about with her closest friend. Tlaz seemed to be alright which just made her more confused on what could have happened or why she was needed. Had she misread? Was the text from someone else? Hath let herself be led inside, taking a seat on the plush tanned leather of the familiar couch that had been offered to her.

She looked to Tlaz expectedly, waiting for her to explain why she was here. Hathor had no problems with it, she always enjoyed her time with her but if something was wrong then she wouldn’t be able to help unless the two talked. It felt like an eternity had passed before the Aztec Goddess spoke up, obviously not remembering that she had practically given Hathor a heart attack but that wasn’t the major concern in her eyes. It meant something serious was on Tlaz mind which made Hath’s surprised expression twist into concern, her earlier panic trying to push its way back into place but she shoved it back. Tlaz needed her a pillar and support, panic had no place in that mix. She raised an eyebrow, keeping her mouth or comments to herself as she waited patiently for Tlaz to explain what was going on. The start wasn’t convincing that was for sure with the trail off of words, the suspense building because of the pause.

Ares being part of the mix was… well, it was not expected. The two always had something between each other but that was just their relationship in her eyes. They had an easy friendship and seemed to be able to talk, understand each other when they needed it. What had happened that was causing this flustered mess in her friend that was usually so confident? Well, she was determined to find out. ”Ares?...and what exactly happened involving Ares that has you so upset?”, Hathor asked cautiously, a sinking feeling in her gut that she wasn’t going to like that answer. Her mind tried to run through different scenarios but most didn’t see it ending happily for the God of War. She would wait though, give him the benefit of the doubt as he had done nothing to her personally that would make her think otherwise. He had always had her respect even if they stood on shaky ground because of their personalities.

"Well, you see…" the sheepishness of her nature was very unbecoming of the Filth Goddess, so unlike her usual confidence. Just a few days, a kiss and a stupid vision and she was reduced to a mess of emotions befitting even the most inept mortal. It was disgusting and very abnormal. Laz took in a deep breath and tried to figure out where to even begin, best just to rip the bandaid off quickly, "I kissed Ares. Well, he came onto me. The night of the Conclave and the fight in the club.” Words spilled from her mouth uninhibited now that she started, she confessed about everything that took place when they had retired to the bathroom. Her only intentions were to clean him up, not get swept up in new, blooming feelings, “I don’t know if I was feeling the side effects from Aphrodite’s stupid stunt from earlier and he just… Hath, I swear it was just to bandage and clean him up… but then he was so close and he looked at me like I’ve always wanted someone to see me. And, and he just kissed me.” She awaited her fate at the hands of her best friend, eyes closed with the rush of information just passed through the airwaves, head spinning at just his name. This was ridiculous.

Hearing about the kiss was surprising, mostly because as far back as she could remember, Tlaz had been hung up on another Greek entirely. Hathor didn’t see a problem with this new development, not by a long shot. She had tried to convince the goddess more than once that she shouldn’t waste her affections on someone who wasn’t interested. Of course, Hathor never listened to her own advice but it was still good advice! It was a positive thing that she was opening up to another possibility even though Tlaz couldn’t see it at this moment. It made her relieved that the situation wasn’t as dire as it first appeared when she had gotten the text message. Hath made sure to hold back an excited smile though, as her jumping on the subject before it being seen in a positive light wouldn’t be a good thing. Maybe she could set them up somehow? There were other people she could ask for help that cared about Tlaz as much as she did.

“But that’s not even the worse part,” she had to steel herself, this was the most devastating part of the entire incident, “He’s dating someone. A mortal. The blonde I was talking to… they’re in love Hath...” The words hung in the air, dripping with meanings unsaid. There was no place for her in Ares life like she wanted. He was in love with someone else. As Laz released the emotions she bottled, exposing a vulnerable side that truly only Hathor has been able to witness she felt lighter. Nothing was made clear, no revelations to be had, but there was a weight lifted from her chest. A veil from her eyes, as she looked across the cushions towards her friend.

Her plotting was cut short though at the mention there was something worse. Hathor was ready and prepared to hear some silly excuse but the next words that exited the goddess’s lips had her freezing. She felt like a bucket of frigid ice water had been dumped over her, freezing her in place as the words hit a little too close for comfort. It was a repeated loop she had experienced so many times, a wound would probably never heal. It was painful to have it happen to yourself but to see someone else you care about go through it was agony. Rage sliced through her, fast as a lightning bolt and boiled over like magma within her as she felt that familiar blood thirsty need to destroy and drown in the pleasure his pain would give her. Hathor wanted to stand, walk out of the apartment and hunt down that fucking piece of shit coward that dared to touch someone precious to her while he was “supposedly” in love with another. It was fair to neither woman but more so Tlaz who knew the truth. She doubted Ares gave his mortal the same courtesy. He would pay. He would regret. He would understand what true pain was.

Sadly, she would have to hold onto her rage, let it fester instead of acting on it because right now… Tlaz was more important. She scooted over, wrapping her into a tight hug and trying to find the words to say. None had ever made her feel better after all. Sorry made you feel pathetic and telling Tlaz she would make it right meant that she might stop her which is not an option. She tried to rack her brain on how to make her best friend feel better or distract her from the situation. That is when Hermes came back into her thoughts, not that she wanted either of them to see him right now but there were two things she thought would be helpful at this current moment.”Herm lives in this building, right? Want to break into his apartment and play with his puppies? I can also do a hostile takeover and kick him out if he is still there. What do you say?”

What could she say, sitting there still wrapped in the arms of her savior, other than a resounding, “Fuck yes.” And in a flurry of movements, quick as if to distract their minds of what just transpired, Tlazōlteōtl and Hathor were locking up the apartment and heading towards the Greek messenger’s home.


Breaking into Hermes' apartment was easy, especially since the conman used the simplest of mortal thoughts when it came to hiding his spare key; under the doormat. Soon enough, the two goddesses were standing in the foyer of the home, viciously being attacked by his precious pooches.

Too many jumbled emotions swirled within her, regardless of the well appreciated distraction the puppers provided. Laz just couldn’t get past it. “This is…helping. Yeah,” it was forced. More like she was trying to convince herself rather than the woman wrestling with the five pound dog as she went about the apartment watering his many pots of varying plants and flowers. “The Ares incident was a spur of the moment thing. Besides, there’s always Hermes.” That’s it. A mantra. Something repetitive. The average person has to repeat something over eight times in order for it to get stuck in their heads, and about twenty times for it to become a habit. So, where does that leave a goddess? A groan, deep from within her bones, wanted to crawl out of her chest but she kept it. If nothing else than to save face. It was a fool’s errand to continue to chase after the casino owner. What else was there for her?

Hathor frowned as she petted and played with one of the enthusiastic puppies. It seemed that this was not helping as much as she had hoped if the forced words were anything to go by. In all honesty, she thought cute puppy faces and loving licks would help her compress the rage rolling through her but was finding it difficult. She stood from her crouched position, heading towards the kitchen and filling a measuring cup full of water. If she couldn’t do something to distract herself then she should at least water the multitude of plants that were overflowing from all locations as payback for breaking in. At this point, she was starting to wonder if Hermes had a crush or a problem with the overwhelming amount of plants. A selfish part of her was hopeful that it was a crush and that maybe Kore would take up that offer if he got the courage to act on those feelings. Of course she wanted the two happy but it also made her feel like she might have more of a chance herself.

It was strange, knowing someone might relate to how she felt. She shook that thought way, almost wanting to groan in frustration at the denial she was hearing from her friend. She could try to fool herself but it would take a lot more than that to convince Hathor. She could say nothing, let her struggle with the hope that what she was saying was real or she could show her what she already knew. ”Do you really believe that? Or are you trying to stop the hopeless feeling that you might be falling hard and fast for someone that you think is an impossible option?” She asked with a sigh while pausing in her watering to look Tlaz straight in the eyes. ”If it is the first option, I have to ask why this is upsetting you as much as it is... if it is the second option, I can say I know exactly how that feels. That I have been in your shoes and still am in the same position in many ways. I would tell you it’s not easy but then again, when is love ever easy. I could try and rationalize why he did what he did, but only he will know that answer.”

The brutal veracity with which Hathor poured into her words jarred something within her to the same effect of grabbing her and shaking the sense into her. A heaviness encompassed the room. Senses on high alert, the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end, flesh decorated with goosebumps. Hath was right, but it didn't make the situation any less terrifying for her.

Falling to her knees, prompting the canine companions to trot up to her and nuzzle her open palms with wet noses and equally damp tongues, a shaky breath passing her lips, "Gods, I’m just a tlasohtla kokoxki fool. First with Hermes and now with Ares… am I insane for feeling this way?” It was a rhetorical question, even as she looked up at Hathor for a brief moment turning her gaze back towards Ares and Zeus - of course one of the puppies is named after the object of her struggles in the house of the other struggle. Frustration bubbled forth and out into the expanse of the room.

“Envy grips at me, Hath,” she gripped at her chest and then her mess of tangled curls standing to her feet pacing the length of the den while Hathor continued to water plants. Patiently waiting and listening to the trivial issues plaguing the Aztec, “He is in love with someone else, he practically threw me off of him and hasn’t spoken to me since. Aphrodite and her visions ka tlatelchiualli, a curse on them both. This would have never been an issue had she not exposed everyone to visions of love and whatever okse aompaneualistli, other nonsense! He spoke the words to me ‘I didn’t see who I was supposed to see…’ then why did he kiss me? Why make the first move other than to torture me?” Her breathing was rapid as she sped through her diatribe. Envy wasn’t the only powerful emotion raging within her frame and she was slowly coming to terms with the boiling in her veins. In her mind she believed that Ares saw her as a second choice, a bad habit, a spur of the moment, a convenience. She was none of those things. Laz was a goddess in a situation where love did not come easy and taking Hathor’s wisdom and experience was the best solution to the problem.

Hathor continued to fill the measuring cup and water the various plants as Tlaz spoke and questioned her feelings. She found herself biting her bottom lip as she let Tlaz talk it out but it was hard to wait for her to finish what she had to say. She was literally holding her limitless rage in check by practically a single thread and the reflection of her own worries and envy didn’t help the issue. She took a deep breath, letting the monotonous task of caring for the foliage keep her grounded to the here and now, not the wishes she desperately wanted to fulfill. She needed to be present and stay calm for Tlaz sake is what she reminded herself and set the glass down next to a random potted plant, turning to face the Aztec goddess. She really didn’t want to admit this out loud, something she had feared doing since she first felt the telltale signs of love blossoming many many years ago without her desire for it to happen. If she could avoid actually saying the whole truth then she would try but if she was questioned, she wouldn’t lie.

”You aren’t insane. In fact, if you are then I am completely bonkers and spiraling with no hope of returning to sanity.”, Hathor sighed and dropped into one of the chairs Hermes had conveniently in her area before scrubbing her hand over her face. ”I know exactly what it is like to stew in envy, to be falling for someone that only has eyes for another, to feel helpless and insignificant in comparison, to feel like the second best and wonder what you could do to make them truly look at you or value you above everyone else. Tlaz, I know how it feels because I am in the same boat as you are in this moment, only I’ve been here longer. Now, I can’t speak for Ares because I can’t comprehend to know his mind or what he is thinking. He could have been caught up in the moment, he could have seen you instead of his mortal and been confused on what that meant, maybe he has been having doubts but in any case, the only way to get answers is to seek answers. You have to be willing to face the possibility this could be the start of something new whether it be positive or negative.”, Hathor said in a calm and serious tone, her heart aching as she spoke and not just for herself but for Tlaz as well. It was something she would have to do for herself and make a choice on how she wanted to move forward or if she wanted to move forward at all. Ares had not been kind. Neither way was fair to anyone in this situation. It felt like an awkward moment, the tension in the air so thick, that someone could probably cut it with a knife.

Hearing those words awoke something within the depths of her soul. The start of something, positive or negative. It was as it was. The best course of action would be to hold off on anything dealing with Ares privately. For now. There would come a time and a place where that could change, until then it was business as usual. As the haze in her eyes dimmed and the adrenaline calmed Tlaz quieted herself as best she could. There were many more questions raised towards the meanings behind the words spoken from the Egyptian goddess, and though she should have filed that away for another time her curious and meddlesome nature prevented her from doing so.

Hathor had spent a great deal of time and effort, too much in her opinion, doting and aiding her - it was time she returned the favor. “You’re absolutely right,” as calmly as she could, which she thought was pretty damn good all things considering, she pushed the ringlets from her eyes, wiping what amount of moisture had gathered at her lash line and stood to her full height. Only then did hooded eyes lower, confidence settling back in, she had to beat back a few palm leaves that nearly smacked her in the face, “Honestly, what is with all the fuckin’ greenry. It’s like Kore’s moved in…” she stopped herself from finishing the sentence but not the thought and froze. A deep breath and she pushed through, this was a new turn of the page in a very long life. No need to dwell on anything but the woman before her.

“Aside from previous experiences with He Who Will Not Be Named because he’s a piece of shit, who is it that has the wonderful, gorgeous Mistress of Heaven in the same predicament as the Patron of Adulterers?” The irony of one of her titles being thrown was not lost on the goddess that spoke the words into existence, but like the recent thoughts of Hermes and Kore, she pushed them down and back into the furthest reaches of her mind. To be dealt with at a later time. Perhaps. Hathor was the only one that mattered.

If she was ever going to admit the truth out loud, now would be it. There was no one else she would rather share her feelings with, save for the person that her heart currently belongs to. Just saying the actual words made it all the more real which is why she kept them to herself, never letting it pass from her lips. However, Tlaz had been vulnerable and open with her, it would be only fair that she placed the same trust in her. Hathor took a deep breath, her frayed emotions and nerves soothing as she thought about the same man she had been sitting with that morning. She looked to her friend, with a gentle smile and the softest of expressions as she finally spoke, ”I’ve fallen in love with Hades….or maybe I’m still falling and hoping I’ll be caught. Either way, talk about impossible hopes, right?”

Excitement buzzed through her as the words drifted to her ears. Hathor and Hades. Tlazōlteōtl had already begun to picture the two of them together. It wasn’t an impossible hope to have and she made sure to voice that to the woman sitting before her. Nothing was, especially with everything the gods have been through; before and after the Colossus. “Hades? That old stick in the mud,” she attempted humor to ease the apprehension that hung with those words, “It is not impossible mi amor. It is like you said, you have to be willing to seek answers to get answers. You should try your luck at the charity event. I happen to know he is going to be there, because I will personally see to it.” Laz could sense the trepidation before she spotted it behind those obsidian orbs framed by long curtains of lashes.

Moving to take a seat on the plush cushions, she grabbed a hold of both hands taking them in her own, warmth enveloping them both, as Ares and Zeus ran beneath their legs yapping for attention. “Hath, you cannot live a life as I have, as you have, any longer. You deserve all the happiness in the universe. In this life and the next. And I’m going to help you get it!” She punctuated the ending of her statement with a kiss to her cheek and gentle shake of the shoulder. ”Thank you, Tlaz.”, Hath replied with a bright smile, feeling more hopeful than she had in a long time. Laz began spouting off her master plan of having Hathor approach Hades at the ball, ask him to dance, and spend some quality time with him; alone. If things were to work out, as Laz would make sure, then there was nothing to fear, though if it were to go south the strength of the liquor, that would be provided, was a surefire escape route.”Have I ever mentioned that you are the best? I’m so lucky to have you as my friend.”, she spoke, taking her hands and grinning ear to ear. ”We should probably get out of here though before Hermes gets back and I don’t know about you but I’m starved. How about that lunch you promised?”

collab: @Akayaofthemoon mentions: @Legion02 | @Danvers | @sly13
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balanced breakfast
sᴛᴀʀᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴀʏ ᴏғғ ʀɪɢʜᴛ



Anyone who deemed breakfast as the most important meal of the day should be awarded a medal. That was some golden shit right there. Odin sat there tongue laving up his morning meal, on bent knees, haunches flexed under the strain of performing in such a position for extended periods of time. He wasn't as young and spry as he used to be, gods be damned. But with age comes experience; and no one could say that Odin didn't have plenty of experience.

Mind drifted for only a moment trying to register exactly how it was he came to be here on the floor in his kitchen, while his first love laid spread out like a morning buffet across the treated counter. He remembers dipping into his personal reserves, snatching up a few bottles, nothing new just feeling the need to unwind. Besides, who was anyone to stop him? Though the further he sank into the bottom of the bottle, ice cubes not even having a chance to melt and cut the drink, that was when roamed his penthouse reminiscing on the 'old times'; at least that's how he explained it to Freya in a text, summoning her asking her to come over. She was always one to take commands well.

He snapped back to the present, eyes closing at the taste of her on his lips, dripping down his chin onto the countertop. A high-pitched noise rang out through the apartment prompting him to stand finally, wiping his face with tongue and the back of his hand. A devious smirk sent her way as he took notice of the small tremors passing through her.

"Morning gorgeous." Two consecutive phone notifications sounded somewhere within the home, Odin's interest was on his own though that didn't stop the eye roll as he reached for it on the other side of the kitchen.

Holy shit...”

To say that Freya had been surprised to receive Odin’s text message the night before would be an understatement. After their controversial break-up God knew how long ago, she had taken extraordinary measures to ensure that their interactions would either be avoided or kept to a minimum. For centuries, the Norse goddess had done her part: keeping her distance while mentally judging and crucifying the hell out of his questionable actions. But when her phone had lit up with his name on the screen the night before, she was back to being that starry-eyed, dumbstruck eighteen year-old girl who would drop everything to make sure her love was thoroughly satisfied. Sure-- she’d pretended to be annoyed to have been contacted out of the blue like this, and put on a rather convincing little act of sheer outrage. How did he have the nerve to even speak to her after what he’d done, what the hell did he want with her, what was the point of asking her over, and so on. But not even fifteen minutes later, Freya was on his lap with her dress pulled up to her midriff, and soon after their garments laid forgotten on the living room floor as the exes were passionately tangled up together, doing good on his promise of ‘reminiscing of the old days’. Their 'catching up' had kept them up in his bedroom until dawn, and had resumed in the kitchen after only a few hours of sleep.

“I have to admit it: you’ve still fucking got it, old man…” Freya confessed with a satisfied smile as she tried to catch her breath, her eyes shut and her voice still hoarse from earlier exclamations. He was great back during their first time together almost a lifetime ago in their beloved Asgard, when she was still nothing but a virginal maiden. And he was even better now, when they were both

Odin wore smug like it was tailored just for him. His eyes didn't stray too far from the beauty that is Freya, there was a reason she held domain over so many. "Well, this old man rocked your world not once, but twice," came his reply as he scoffed at the nickname she bestowed upon him. "And let us not forget your recent... reward for behaving all night," Odin took pleasure in reminding her of their recent encounter and watching the unbridled lust cloud her eyes as he did so. There was something about her that Odin couldn't find elsewhere. Something so obedient and pliable and raw. It's been difficult to replicate, but not impossible to replace -- his mind wandering to a certain charlatan. A specific someone flashing across his mind, a different head of dark locks trailing kisses like venom, scathing retorts falling from his mouth as they came together as only they could. Odin found the temperature of his skin rising with every heated thought as if fire ran through his veins. Odin turned from Freya, still catching her breath, and opened his messages making sure to send a quick something to the one occupying the forefront of his thoughts before opening and examining the Roman's email.

To: midnight trickster🗡️❤️
the rat poison was a nice touch. care to come over and try again? maybe grab some lunch before hand? neat trick by the way (:

"The 'King of Gods' has requested my appearance to a charity ball later this month? How unique of them. I'm sure you received the same invite." The tone that dripped from his lips was that of indifference. Balls and other charity events weren't his cup of mead. If anything the ones that were conducted in private back rooms with a glass of fine scotch or whiskey and thick cigar were more preferable. Even those of the rager variety caught his attention more than some stuffy waltz. Alas, the invite was sent to more than just the other Gods and therefore Arik Börson must make an appearance. Even if he was supposed to be retired.... Didn't he have upper management for shit like this?

“What are you talking about?” Freya asked curiously, finally finding the strength to slide off from the countertop and drag herself with shaky legs to where her purse waited in the living room. She plopped down on Odin’s couch, grabbed her bag and fished for her phone inside it. Eventually, she pulled out the device, unlocked it and quickly read through the email. “Huh. It looks like we are…” the brunette mused, tongue in cheek as she reread the invitation a few more times. “But an email invitation to a black tie event? That is so tacky. The Romans are usually so damn arrogant and far up their asses with most things, you would think Jupiter here would at least put a little more effort and send out actual paper invitations if the event’s as grand as he’s making it out to be.”

Odin already had some suspicion as to the original constructor behind the email, because like she pointed out, the Romans took pleasure in flaunting their status to everyone with an ear and eye to appreciate it. He scoffed instead in reply to her words, though agreed with them nonetheless. "Perhaps it was a fly of the cuff moment. One never can tell what goes on in the heads of the Romans. Least of all Jupiter." A scowl crossed his brow before he pressed on, no one seemed to understand the inner workings of Jupiter - not even his siblings were privy to that kind of knowledge. The wrinkles were gone as quickly as they appeared as he found himself opening the fridge and grabbing a decanter of orange and mango juice, pouring himself two glasses. Making his way towards her spot on his couch he extended one glass to her, "Her drikker du opp, drink up."

A beat passed as he drank his juice in peace, eyes refused to stray too long from the goddess sprawled out on his sofa sipping from the crystal clutched in her hand. From the expanse of her neck, down to her chest and then coming to rest on her legs. If there was one thing for certain Odin knew, it was that Freya was among the most beautiful of women to grace the sight of all. Snapping himself from his daydream of just hours past, he downed his drink clearing his throat breaking the ample silence that had fallen between them. There was hardly any room for idle chitchat to be had when it came to the two of them. "It was good seeing you again, gorgeous and while our evening, and breakfast were absolutely wonderful, I've got business to attend to. Du skal reise hjem og hvile, you should really go home and get some rest."

If the Freya of Asgard had been the one to find herself in this scenario, she would've been disappointed and hurt to realize she'd been treated as a booty call to merely satisfy her baby daddy's passing fancies. But the Freya that roamed the earth as Astrid Wexler knew better than that. She wasn't the same clueless young woman that had fallen in love with the Allfather all those centuries ago. Of course, that didn't mean she agreed with the haste with which she was being dismissed with. She hadn’t expected them to be all cuddles and sunshines and rainbows (especially considering this was the first time they had been alone together in a lifetime). But she definitely wasn’t expecting this kind of rushed goodbye, either. She took it all in stride, of course, and tried her best to be the better person in all of this. But for someone as petty as Freya, there was no chance of holding back from taking at least one jab at her ex.

"So after all the work I put in last night and earlier today, you mean to tell me I'm not even getting fed for it?" she asked, glaring up at him in a mock outrage that Odin would recognize as her sort of joking around with him. "You cheap old bastard."

Odin just chuckled at the biting banter she threw around so easily. They have had this kind of rapport since the fall. Times were rough until they rekindled in a way at that point in time. “If you really want some food you can always stop at McDonald’s on your way out?” The jab was all in jest a complete involuntary reaction to her, a testament of what she does to him. Drives him up the walls, and not always in the best of ways. Taking a few bills from his clip he waved them in the air to catch her attention before placing them on the countertop she was laying on just minutes before. “It’ll even be my treat. But I really do have other things to focus on this morning, so the sooner you get back home, the sooner I can get a start on my day.” As if on cue, Sága came trotting up to him, nuzzling his hand asking for her specially prepared breakfast before her routine walk. The Agouti husky turned her attention to the woman still seated on the couch as if she too were expecting her to get up and leave.

The mention of McDonald’s made Freya grimace, her beautiful face wrinkling up with disgust even if she knew that was Odin's way of clapping back at her joke. She had just looked up from her phone and opened her mouth to make some comment about how she would rather starve than eat McDonald's when, once again, the man emphasized his urgent need for her to leave his home, which only served to infuriate Freya even further.

“I heard you the first time, Grandpa. No need to rush me,” she grumbled, angrily rising from the couch and stomping to the mirror right next to the front door, promptly ignoring the money her ex had laid out for her… As if she'd been some escort he'd hired for the night and not the mother of his son and a woman he had once said to love.

Last night was a fucking mistake…

Freya scanned her reflection for a few seconds, taking in the evidence of the past night's sins: the tear tracks of black mascara running down her cheeks, the smudged eyeliner, the flushed cheeks and the remains of her liquid lipstick (which, considering how much her mouth had been put to use, had lasted a surprisingly long amount of time) before jumping straight into damage control. Without wasting any more time, the young woman wiped the mascara from her cheeks, hid the racoon eyes behind oversized Chanel sunglasses, reapplied her lipstick and ran her fingers through the mess that was her brown hair until it was presentable enough. Only after she was satisfied with the result did she turn back to Odin-- and although her scowl of annoyance was hidden behind the glasses, the venom in her words was certainly not to be missed.

“Not that there will ever be a next time-- but if there is, be enough of a gentleman to let me know exactly what time I need to be gone by instead of being an asshole and kicking me out like you just did. Though I know that ‘being a gentleman’ is asking way too much of someone like you,” she spat, squaring her shoulders while turning the knob of the front door and swinging it open. “Oh, and keep your goddamn money to yourself. I'm not some cheap whore you picked up on the side of the road, and I certainly didn’t fuck you for the cash. I can take very good care of myself. And while you're at it? Do us both a favor: get your phone, lose my number, and go be a patronizing dick to someone else. Believe me: I am not the one you want to mess with again.”

And with one last glorious display of a pink-manicured middle finger in the air towards her ex, Freya turned on her heel and stormed out of the penthouse, making sure to loudly slam the door behind her.


collab: @KZOMBI3 mentions: @fledermaus

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Icy Hot
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Icy Hot hand / crusher™

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T h e R o m a n s
𝓒𝓪𝓷𝓵𝓲𝓼 𝓡𝓮𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓾𝓻𝓪𝓷𝓽 11:30 AM
#familybondingtime




Vulcan’s strides were slow. He was still carving away at the skin of his forefingers with his thumbs, his arms dangling idly at his side as each approaching step made the event even more vivid. There they were, just like the pillars of Rome, except they were flesh and not carved stone. Regardless, they were still remarkable with their presence, casting an aura that effortlessly enforced an appropriate superiority. The three of his brothers and the once love of his life adjoined at a table with an empty chair remaining. He felt out of place, not deserving a seat at a table with gods of Rome. Vulcan set his jaw, unsure of the underlying intentions behind Janus’ beckon.

Vulcan stopped by the table side, his body in an obvious state of apprehension. He reached for the still water and filled an empty glass, though the water spilled over a little before filling the glass with ice-cold purified water. He would take a large gulp just before easing himself with a big breath.

He shoved one hand in his pocket, his eyes staring at the condensation of his glass as he swished the water around in delicate circles. “It has been a long time. I hope you all have been well.” And his introduction was weak, but his regret was strong.

Behind stoned eyes and a suddenly parched throat was a myriad of emotions most preferred unwrapped. That second glass of wine turned into a third, and a fourth and then a fifth before Vulcan took his seat. Servers watched the only woman at the table burn through seven thousand dollars as she beckoned wordlessly for another bottle of the best. Which for the elite class meant the most expensive.

A jumble of thoughts presented a challenge to the usually outspoken goddess. Venus could count on one hand, the times she had been rendered speechless, and this was the fifth occurrence. It was uncomfortable; it reached deep into a part of herself she had tried to separate from, a yearning for something outside of Rome. A desire for a love that she had deemed forbidden. Vulcan had always been a distraction to her, his love, his demands, and dedication to desire had always been the devil on her shoulder, whispering for her to give in, to give up. At this moment, after a handful of centuries believing he had fallen to their circumstances, hearing the rich gravel of his voice was both enchanting and haunting. Venus yearned to touch him, to caress his face to affirm he was real, but there was also a desire to strike him, to yell and throw a fit about his disappearance and the unease he caused to his brothers, to her.

Venus settles on a more tactful approach, her neutral gaze glued to Vulcan, “Why are you here? I thought you had been lost to the colossus Vulcan.” There is little warmth in her words, but hurt and controlled anger simmers in her tone, for a moment, she casts her eyes to Janus, who had been watching her intently. Venus feels herself bristle in response, apparently even she wasn’t off-limits to the games Janus played, and that pissed her off.

A hum dripped from Mars lips, eyes following the figure that left the elevator. They only left the men the second he seated, and soon his eyes were upon the pearl at his side, wondering as to how tight she had shut away. He could see she was torn between prying herself open and sealing herself away. Were Mars in her situation, he’s certain the same would have befallen him.

A whispered thank you honeyed his words at the server who brought his own wine, less expensive than Venus’ own, but tailored to his own tastes. He poured it himself; eyes slowly cast toward Vulcan. ”Wouldn’t that be quite the story,” Mars chimed in finally, ”Do share it, won’t you brother?”

He could feel the heat of Venus’ gaze even when it fell upon another. It soured with radiation, and Mars had to wonder at the same thing Venus likely had. But, he daren’t goad Janus on; if he wanted to reveal his hand, he would in time. Rather, Mars kept an eye on Vulcan as he grasped Venus’ wine in his own hand, twisted the top off, and graciously poured her a fifth. Sixth. Seventh? Mars lost count after her third. He carefully slid it back onto the table, not daring to taste for his own safety and peace of mind.

While everyone had their eyes on Vulcan, Jupiter had his on Janus. Jupiter trusted Janus with Rome; a good leader trusts the intuition of his advisors. If Janus thought it fit to unearth Vulcan from wherever he was hiding, then the only logical conclusion was that he had something in mind for their smithy brother. The likelihood of Janus bringing Vulcan from the aether just to piss Venus off was low; Janus had higher priorities that he aspired to. There was no way around it, Jupiter would have to ask Janus later. Not here, though, in front of the others.

“I’m also interested in hearing this story, but more importantly: why did you come from the woodworks now?” Let’s see what bait Janus dangled in front of the god of fire.

Because he missed her — an immediate response in his head that jolted from his subconscious, pulling the strings of his badly repaired heart. He felt it; the pieces of a lost love glistening like broken glass under a spotlight. And in his audience were the culprits to his morose indignation, their eyes and questions like knives to his skin.

It was true that Vulcan had a faint fantasy that a part of him hoped would come to fruition. An idea in which Venus would be ecstatic to see his face again, with gleaming eyes and open arms only to accept him back into her life as the man he once was to her. He knew her, though. He knew her voice and her tone, her mannerisms and her body. What little warmth she projected in her speech only felt like ice to his fire, extinguishing him just as she was always capable of. Vulcan replied to her without even a glance in her direction, “Why am I here? I thought you all would be a little bit more excited. Lost, yes — to the colossus, no. But if I was, I would’ve assumed you would’ve felt the least bit of happiness knowing I’ve come to resurface myself.” And his response was a mixture of fire and ice, too.

Excited? Hardly. Relieved? Definitely. Venus left her thoughts unsaid, only issuing a halfhearted scoff at his words. Even in a less than glorious appearance he still had that flame burning in him, it made her nostalgic. Their many passionate nights, anger burned into a scorching lust that sizzled into a love that was taken and rarely given on Venus’ behalf. The goddess was not unaware of the hurt she brought Vulcan nor to the selfishness she treated him with, and even that extended to this moment. She wanted him to look at her, the aversion of his gaze irritated her and her need to be acknowledged made her restless. A single finger tapping against the table top to the beat of her heart as she remained focused solely on the man of the hour.

A waitress came over to offer wine, probably in hopes to catch him up with the lack of sobriety the rest of them had, but Vulcan kindly rejected. Seeing Venus was enough, and wine was a strong association to her that he couldn’t handle in the moment. Scotch and liquor was his preferred beverage since her leaving.

Vulcan looked up to Mars, and their eyes met for a split second before Vulcan would shamefully break away. Mars was everything he depicted since birth: a god welcomed by flames, not ones similar to Vulcan, but ones of a different intimidation and menace. He wasn’t pure destruction like Vulcan, but more tactical and full of honor and glory. “There isn’t much story, or at least not one that would be thrilling enough to tell. Maybe I can bore you with it another time when there aren’t more important matters at hand.”

And Vulcan went back to the initial question that stung him. His gaze moved to Jupiter, an equally stalwart god much like his brothers, so full of might and zeal. “It seems we’re becoming too distracted by the ‘whys’ when we should be more celebratory that I’m here, right? Unless the invitation was misplaced. Perhaps we should get into the specifics of the reason we’re all here.”

“Our talented brother here is right. Tales of his journey are best suited for another day. We’ll all have plenty of time to catch up after this reunion.” Janus intervenes in an encouraging tone, though they all know he’d be the last to engage in “meaningless” catch up. The past was useless to him, he cared not what Vulcan had distracted himself with up to this point, but instead what he had to offer them here on out. “There’s a god killer frolicking about in Seattle. While you’re hardly a being of war or strategy, it’s common knowledge there is power in numbers.” Piercing blue eyes shift from Venus and land on Vulcan, and Janus offers a sly smirk before standing from the table.

“We’ve had disagreements in the past on our loyalties to our people and country. Our objectives and motivations are not the same, and while your views on Rome are damnable, you are still a Roman.” Janus looks out the bay windows again his voice commanding in tone but softer in volume as if deep in thought, ”We have an opportunity that we must capitalize on, and a mystery we have to be the first to solve. A Grecian has been murdered, and I know neither who nor how, but I do know they were in cohorts for some time. I would bet the confidence of the killer only grows as their death pool does. We need each other. We have always been the strongest when we all work together.”

Mars shifted his gaze from Vulcan, though his brows remained knitted. Disagreements would have had voice on what constituted pertinent information, but Mars conceded. Time could be made, set aside for later discussions.

With the glass pressed to his lips, Mars listened. Wine burned his tongue with sweetness as thoughts surfaced.Rome together lay in capable hands as his eyes washed over the faces of his siblings-in-arms. ”Do you have anything tangible to cement our progress, brother?” Mars asked Janus, taking a sip of his wine, ”There’s something I have on the wind, but how it connects to everything is yet to be seen. I’m afraid I’m not quite as cunning.”

Janus shakes his head slowly and his eyes focus on the city line just beyond the large lake, “Nothing concrete. Whoever killed Hephaestus did so after decoding the tip I left them. Olivia and Oliver have been combing through the transaction history on his accounts and it seems they’ve found something worthwhile. I’m meeting with Oliver this evening to go over things.” Janus turned to face the seated gods crossing his arms over his broad chest, “If the disappearances can be tied back to Hephaestus it makes a better case for my actions, if not, we’ll consider it a necessary sacrifice.”

"Any Grecian's death is a necessary sacrifice." Jupiter shrugged, downing another glass of wine. As he spoke, his phone buzzed in his pocket and the sender made his face sour. "I have a meeting of my own tonight, it seems. Poseidon wants to meet with me; I'll see what he knows of the disappearances before I cut ties with him."

The betrayal still stung his pride and Jupiter glared at the now refilled glass of wine. If he keeps throwing them back, he won't be capable enough to dig his claws into Peter and rip information out of him. Jupiter glanced out the window and the skyline taunted him; he didn't deserve to be on the ground, he was better than this and the sooner he returns to his place in the sky, the better. Jupiter sets his jaw, his eyes replacing the skyline of Seattle to a vision of Rome.

"Make no mistake, Vulcan," Jupiter said, his voice commanding like the King he is, "we may side together now, but Rome will rise again. I only hope you see sense by then."

Janus, Mars, and Venus were his equals — creators of Rome, heralds of his people. They created Rome together and that cemented their place in Jupiter's eyes. But Vulcan? Jupiter's lips twisted at the thought of considering Vulcan an equal. Vulcan was a menial god, and Jupiter was his ruler. If Vulcan refused to bow to Jupiter, Jupiter had no place for him by his side and he'll be persecuted like any of the other pantheons.

With a smirk playing at his lips, Mars took another swig of his wine. He swished it around slightly, looking up at Jupiter. ”You quite like a fist of iron, huh, brother?” Mars remarked as a chuckle shook his chest.

Venus was quickly growing disinterested with the brunch. Halfway into Janus’ speech she had given up on the attempt to get Vulcan to look at her, instead turning her attention to her phone that she was tapping away at, in between her gulps of wine. A rather risqué picture of herself found itself somehow attached to her text message to her dearest friend, but that’d be an issue to deal with another day.

To: Arty 🖤
Have I told you recently that I loooove yu???? I mis you too Arty, these men are going to rot my brain w/ their politics and scandals, plz send help 😭 maybe this pic can seal the deal 😏😉


Venus giggles to herself as she sends the text, satisfied with her bargaining skills, she knows she is hot, and now Artemis could agree with her. With a heavy hand she slams her phone on the table abruptly causing a waitress passing by to jump, “Imm tired of this,Janoos she grumbles with a short hiccup, “All this calculation is boring and pointless, you think you can all abandon your hearts to bring glory to Rome again?” she asked looking at each of them before her eyes landed on Janus icing over as she wrapped her fingers around the neck of the wine bottle, “I tried that, and look what our dear brother brought for me, I’d rather you have just slapped me in the face, vappa.”

Venus held her glare for a moment longer before stomping away, drinking from the lip of the bottle as she boarded the elevator and sent a classy middle finger to Janus as the doors shut.

"That went...swimmingly." Jupiter said, pushing his glass of wine away as if it would infect him with the same drunkenness it infected Venus with. "Mars, you should go take care of her."

It was only halfway through his venture to the elevator that he remembered Mars' detest for, er, Jupiter's suggestions. "I mean to say, will you go look after her? You are the best suited for the job. And hopefully you have the time. I do not, I have some fish to fry, unfortunately."

With that being said, Jupiter swooped through the place and into the elevator once it had arrived back up. He had a dinner date with a certain god of the sea, and this one doesn't happen to be in his pantheon. Jupiter scowls at the thought; the Greeks think they can make a fool out of him, he'll demonstrate the might of the King of the Gods.

A scowl bit Mars’ face, not bothering to throw it at the fleeing Roman. For a moment he stared at Janus, taking a few sips of his wine. Everything was digital, but if Mars listened closely he could hear his internal clock ticking. His eyes swept the remainder of the room, til they fell on Vulcan. Sadness pressed his lips into a thin line, barely budging before they turned toward Janus.Truth rang in Venus’ words and perhaps he himself should heed them.

”At least we got a few things out of the way before the madness descended,” Mars said. He rose, adjusting his suit jacket and taking out a large bundle of cash. It landed with a thud as Mars gave Janus one last look. ”Though Venus’ spoke with honesty, I think she forgot that you can’t quite lose a heart if one never beat in your chest to begin with.” He raised a brow and left the words at that, hardly giving Vulcan a side-eye before proceeding to the now empty elevator.

For a Father of Rome, he felt he had faltered at some point. Had he lost the heart he once held for Rome’s people. It took a lot to crack Mars’ face, but the man’s lips tugged down just slightly. It didn’t do to worry now, though, he had a ticking bomb ready to explode in a way he wasn’t quite ready to clean up tonight.

”Do be careful, Janus, not to tug the wrong strings.” Mars offered in his last parting words.

Seemingly unaffected by Venus’ drunk anger, Jupiter’s unamusement, and Mars’ parting advice, Janus pocketed the money Mars had dropped, intending to leave it for him back at home, “I’m sure you have your thoughts and opinions on how I tend to handle matters, but do know I have all of our best interest in mind…”

Janus handed his black card to the waitress and finished off his single glass of wine, “It’ll be in your best interest to figure out what it is you want from this world. A storm is on the horizon, and Jupiter’s patience thins with the coming winds, be diligent in your decision making, young blacksmith.” Janus offered a charming smile to the wait staff as he gathered his things, “I’ll be in touch, take care for now Vulcan.”

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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Gothelk
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Gothelk Vacancy

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ɴ ɴ ɪ ɪ ɴ ʟ
𝓒𝓪𝓷𝓵𝓲𝓼 𝓡𝓮𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓾𝓻𝓪𝓷𝓽 11:40 AM
te amo


interactions: @gothelk x @icy hot collab mentions:@fledermaus@smarty0114


Between Vulcan’s arrival and their untimely exit, Mars had made a terrible mistake. Perhaps it lay somewhere in the many glasses of wine he’d offered to someone standing in the midst of a volcano. Time not being on his side, Mars forwent the self-flagellation for finding the woman caught in Janus’ well placed eruption.

A hand through his hair, Mars felt the brisk cool of October sweep over him. He didn’t feel it pertinent to question of Venus’ whereabouts, just kinda let his feet take him. She couldn’t have gotten far when Mars fell just behind Jupiter’s steps. Pride cracked in his chest knowing his own responsibility in her actions, however small they may have been. It hurt to know what Janus had done and Mars hadn’t raised a finger in retaliation or defense for a woman who had captured his heart in years past. She still had it, albeit in a different way, today, which Mars prided himself in. He kept those he trusted with something so precious dangerously close to his chest.

Mars clenched his fist, feeling the wave of a breeze brush through his hair. The chill of Seattle burned him far hotter than the Italian summer heat. It coursed through his bones to remind him of the ache of loss, one that connected him to Venus far more than his other siblings. The bitter failure of caring for a friend sliced harder at the reminder.

Venus had only made it as far as her bottle of wine took her. When it’s contents were drained, her motivation to stumble over her own two feet quickly dissipated into a cloud of frustration and sadness that hung over her. The bottle slipped from her careless fingers, shattering upon impact with the concrete below her and drew an exasperated groan from the drunk goddess.

“Littering is bad Venus... Pan will hate you if you ruin anything else, and the fan club is getting slim.” Venus’ volume was louder than it should have been for someone talking to themselves, but given the location and scarcity of cars passing by, she’d be spared from stares and whispers. Not that she’d care about them anyways.

With her focus on the small and large glass pieces, she crouched down, balancing herself on her expensive heels and leaning her chest into her bent knees. With the sun peeking through the clouds, the fragments of glass glittered, “Just like the sea views from home…” Her heart pangs for the loss of her home, her thoughts were drifting again as she picks up the pieces of the mess she created, “why am I always making these messes of myself.” Her voice has gotten small, her hands trembling as she stacks pieces her open palm, there is a wetness on her cheeks she has convinced herself is rain, despite her shoulders being dry.

Seattle noise fell out, replaced only by the crinkling of glass and the crunch of shoes to the concrete. Mars stood in the light glare of the sun above Venus, complexion rigid and the taught line of his lips faltering. The numbness Venus subjected herself to all those years allowed the pain, the emotions, all of it to simmer in its own icy pressure cooker until it exploded. Mars witnessed it all fall apart before him as Venus crouched to pick up those pieces alone.

Mars bent to her level to rest a hand on her shoulder. ”Would you like help with that?” he asked. Pushing someone on the edge didn’t appeal to Mars and, knowing Venus, he was rather certain she’d more appreciate having a choice in the matter or not. ”Let’s get you something to eat. Something less haughty, hm?” Mars said, soft as the breeze while a finger lifted her chin. With a handkerchief retrieved from his inner jacket pocket, Mars dabbed away at the tears on her cheek.

”Funny, didn’t think there was rain in our forecast today,” Mars joked, giving Venus a sad smile, ”Well, can’t be helped. What is Seattle without its rain, after all.”

Venus blinked slowly; she wasn’t surprised to see him standing in front of her, illuminated by the sun behind him, he looked like the angels loved by Hollywood. But the Roman in her heart knew his godly name was worth more than that, the Father of Rome had always been her rock when they were lovers and even now as friends. However, her current state of mind did not have the capacity to follow down the path of optimism. Instead, she questioned herself. For all Mars had done for her in their long existence, what had she done for him out of her heart’s goodness or even as repayment?

The thought made her jerk back from his gentle affection, she wanted to thank him and yet her words were thrown out as hasty barriers to protect her heart, “I-I… I don’t need help, I’m almost done.” Her brown eyes returned to the ground as she picked up the last of what she could. When she stood she didn’t meet his eyes, delivering a quick, “I’ll meet you at your car,” before seeking out an appropriate place to dispose of the broken shards in her hands.

All Mars provided was a nod as he stood. For a moment, he watched Venus stroll away, staring after her with a pinch in his brow. What could he provide her now in their fragile states? Would he be doing this for the sake of their friendship and their past, or did Janus again tug the strings in his favor?

Mars clenched his fist. It didn’t matter what Janus did or wanted. That was something to worry about later. It wouldn’t do Venus any good for Mars to mull over the implications of their own circumstances and the consequences of such manipulations. So, Mars carried himself to his vehicle, folded his arms over his broad chest and leaned against the dark maroon of his car.

Lucky for them, the food at Canlis remained cold, and Mars’ stomach empty and grumbling. He could use a fucking burger right now, and he supposed Venus would prefer to stuff her face with something just as gross and greasy as he wanted. To shed away sensibility and decorum for good ass food and the sound of life cascading around them.

The view of the scenery just past the parking lot makes her return to his side easier. The weight of the world she placed on herself melts away as she times her breaths with the trees’ sway and the caress of the breeze on the surface of the lake. The warmth spreading to her fingertips is an indication of her still very inebriated state, but as her feet carry her forward she feels truth wiggling between the binds of sadness that grip her heart. There’s a brief pause in her steps as she awkwardly bends over to release her feet from her heels but once they’re gathered in her hand she’s running towards the man waiting for her. Patient and stoic like he’d always been.

Venus drops her shoes when she’s close enough to wrap her arms around his waist, ignoring the arms he has crossed over his chest. The thoughts from before don’t plague her as the truth echoes in her mind, encouraging her to lean into his warmth and rely on his strength. Love was unconditional and immeasurable; it was not about huge moments of sacrifice but the consistency of showing up when no one else did. In that sense Mars was infallible, and treating him like he’d ever been the cause for her broken heart wasn’t fair or honest, “I’m sorry-” Venus’ voice was muffled but the sincerity of her tone not lost in the fabric of his suit coat. The smell of crisp citrus and blazed Cyprus eased the remaining tension from her chest, her arms squeezing around him a little tighter as if he’d fly away in the moment.

Surprise overtook Mars, feeling the sudden warmth envelope his lower torso. A wave of nostalgia crept into him, seeping into his bones in remembrance at their heightened glory. Yet that came awash in the tide of a better time, full of smiles over coffee that swept the numbness away. Love graced even the gods in a number of ways and the one shared between them they’d wrought in the stardust that burned into the very fabric of this star, stalwart beneath their feet.

The imprint of her against his suit jacket creased his forehead and tugged his lips into a frown. ”No apology needed,” Mars stated. He leaned down to press his lips against her head and wrapped her tight in his arms. The words from his throat fell soft, like the hum of summer air through the trees. ”Your words may have bit deeper than I expected, but that doesn’t mean they don’t carry truth to them,” Mars said, ”I lament the apathy I’ve carried for Rome, for it needs and desires the fire and compassion that burns in your chest. The ashes of our hearts serve no purpose to an empire, and none to those we care for especially. I’ll have my cake and eat it too. Jupiter can shove his up his ass.”

Mars added, after a pause, ”Janus, too, as a matter of fact.”

Venus giggled at his choice words for their brothers, nuzzling her face in his chest for a moment before gently pushing her palms against him, the warmth of his comfort reflected in the pools of honey that met his gaze. A soft smile pulled up at the corners of her mouth, there was a lingering sadness she still needed to deal with, but she undeniably felt better. “In vino veritas, and my truth happens to be-’ the aggressive rumble of her empty stomach interrupts her words, and her cheeks gain a tint of pink as she chuckles at herself, “that I need something Joseph would never put on the menu.”

Stepping away from the safety of his arms, she feels lighter and appreciation for Mars brightens her smile. Venus scoops her heels up and walks around to the passenger side of the maroon car, leaning forward a moment to gaze at his handsome face. “thank you, and te amo.” The gentle words float in the passing breeze as Venus situates herself in the plush leather seat, her thoughts already moving on to deciding what size shake was appropriate for the amount of sad she had conquered.

Only Venus, among a few, could force Mars to chip away at the stone that held his face together. Presentation mattered to the man, but in good company that concern fell away. To which Mars gladly bared teeth in a smirk as he spun on his heels to open the door. ”Tonight is a wonderful night to clog our arteries,” Mars said.

The engine roared to life with the burn of Mars chest. To be reminded of what Rome stood upon, the pillars set there by two stalwart souls, gave Mars what he needed to earn the heart he so carelessly tossed aside.

The question arose that night, even through milkshakes and burgers: what did Rome need?

...what did he need?
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by fledermaus
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fledermaus 【INUYASHA!】

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𝗃 𝗎 𝗉 𝗂 𝗍 𝖾 𝗋
𝓟𝓪𝓵𝓲𝓼𝓪𝓭𝓮 𝓡𝓮𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓾𝓻𝓪𝓷𝓽 8:00 PM
MOOD: ᴩɪssᴇᴅ ᴏꜰꜰ.



“Yes, I saw it.” His fingers shook with rage as he secured his necktie around his neck, and it felt awfully like a proverbial noose cinching around him. Behind him, his assistant quivered, unsure of what has his temper flaring but knowing it has been lit. Jupiter doesn’t know why his assistant is so nervous, Jupiter has never been the type to take his anger out on his workers beyond clipped tones and some grunt work here and there. “Holding the charity event was a last-minute decision on my part – all the information is provided in the pamphlet I gave you, just iron out the details. And catering. If you choose the same catering as the last fundraiser, you’re fired.”

Jupiter will kill whoever set him up like this. Whoever put his name down for this mysterious event is probably another god and it gives him a lot more passion in finding out how Hephaestus’ body. Once he finds out how to kill a god, he’ll kill the perpetrator himself for trying to sully his good name. To keep up with appearances, though, Jupiter has to act as if this was his plan all along. Even with his employees. In the end, it works out, the charity this mysterious “benefactor” picked out was environmentalist in nature and it would be a chance to improve his image among that community. Hopefully, the masses don’t see the pandering for what it is.

“I have an important dinner meeting tonight.” Jupiter turned from the mirror finally, adjusting his cuffs as he looks his assistant dead in the eye, “I expect no interruptions.”

“Dinner meeting?” The assistant asked hesitantly, flipping through the papers in his arms, “I didn’t have you down for a dinner meeting.”

Jupiter sighed and looked at the faint reflection of his face in his shined shoes, “Did I stutter?” Jupiter didn’t have to explain anything to his assistant, even if his assistant was looking at him suspiciously.

Without saying anything else, Jupiter left his office with his assistant profusely apologizing to his back. For the first time in a while, Jupiter felt dread rise up from his stomach as the elevator plummeted down towards the entrance. His rendezvous with Peter – no, Poseidon – has always been a source of grounding for him. A way to bring him back to the present when he got caught up with his big ideas and the stress of his work, of bringing Rome back. Now, Jupiter has to end it. A Greek has no place in his world, in the world he is shaping, whether his Roman brethren see it the same way as him or not doesn’t matter. The other pantheons cannot rise again and muddy the new tides of Rome and a Greek will never betray another Greek.

When he got to the restraint that he designated for the dinner meeting, it was around 8 PM at night already. A late dinner, as Jupiter had other things to attend to – like getting a surprise charity event put together. Out of habit, Jupiter had chosen a seafood restaurant as he knew Peter - Poseidon - liked seafood. Guess he knows why, now.

The hostess sat him at a table near the back, somewhere with privacy, and began perusing the menu for something light to eat. A heavy dinner will just make him want to puke from the anger coursing through him right now, from Poseidon to whoever this fundraiser patron is.

Everyone wants to make a fool of Jupiter, it seems.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by baraquiel
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baraquiel Angel of Moe *:・゚✧

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BAKUNAWA
SCARLET DRAGON HQ 8:00 PM
mood: downright evil


Screams of pain echoed throughout the hallways of the main hideout of the Scarlet Dragon, a crime organization situated in Seattle. The man being subjected to numerous hours of torture was chained inside one of the spacious rooms of the organization. Inside the room were various objects made specifically to instill pain on the quite unlucky subject. The man's clothes were in tatters, his body covered in red-violet bruises, whip marks covered his back, and his face was indistinguishable from all the punching it received. Large brutes continued pounding away at the poor man, with one even grabbing his arms up to force him to stand while another delivered a series of punches at his gut.

A woman was sitting on a red velveted chair while watching the man's torture. She raised her empty wine glass at her attendant beside her and that attendant poured the contents of a wine bottle to refill their boss's glass. The woman took a sip of her drink before sighing from boredom. She snapped her fingers and the brutes immediately stopped, instantly dropping the guy down to the floor. He coughed up blood and saliva while groaning from pain as his whole body was seemingly on fire. She snapped her fingers again and two of her brutes unceremoniously dragged the guy towards her. Using her foot, she placed it under the guy's chin and lift it up to make him look at her.

"Tsk, tsk. Oh, Domingo..." Bakunawa asked the guy. Lately, she received reports of theft from one of her warehouses where her organization keeps the drugs and other illegal objects. This guy got caught redhanded stealing one of the valuables yesterday and he's been subjected to non-stop torture ever since. Bakunawa didn't understand, every single one of her henchmen and women was fairly compensated for their service. "Why would you do such a thing, Domingo? Did someone set you up? Were you forced to steal by another syndicate? I demand to know the truth, Domingo. Say it." Bakunawa sternly said.

The henchmen and women present in the room were tense. Even though she was a classy, cool, and calculating woman, Bakunawa was like a completely different person in their eyes when she gets angry. They all looked at her and Domingo, the air thick with tension and suspense on what's going to happen next. Everyone was silent except for Domingo who breathed hard after receiving a full beating. He looked up at Bakunawa for a few seconds before spitting on her face. Everyone except for Bakunawa gasped when Domingo did that and he laughed evilly while his spit dripped down Bakunawa's chin.

"You think you're so high and mighty just because you showed us kindness and mercy, took us under your wing, and made us your fucking lackeys. Oh no, no, no. I'm not just gonna sit here and do everything you say like I'm your fucking servant. At the end of the day, you're just a worthless Asian woman in a suit and heels. Your kind will be better off in the kitchen, or maybe in my bedroom. I hear exotic bitches like you have a good mo-". Domingo didn't finish what he had to say when Bakunawa slipped her heel from under his chin, letting his face fall down on the floor. He just had to be both a sexist and a racist. She just sighed and stood up, giving her unfinished wine glass to her attendant. "I've seen that I only wasted my time. I'll be-"

When her back was turned on him, Domingo seized the chance. He quickly got up and was about to get his hands on Bakunawa but the goddess was quicker and stronger than him. She turned around swiftly and lowered her head before kicking him out straight in the gut. The strike took the wind out of Domingo and he immediately fell down on his back with a thud, groaning from pain. Bakunawa glared at him and then at the brutes. "Make him suffer." She ordered to them and they replied with evil laughs and knuckles cracking. As she left the room with her attendant, all Domingo could do was scream in pain once more.

Bakunawa's staff nodded and moved out of her way as she walked down the hall. Guards were situated in every few feet of the establishment to secure the safety and protection of everyone. She passed by a glass pane where she could see some of her workers wearing N-95 masks and rubber gloves as they were in the process of creating various illegal party drugs that were a huge hit in seedy clubs and bars.

"Ma'am, Mr. Yun and his constituents have agreed to your clause." Anne, Bakunawa's attendant and who's also her secretary said. "Would you like to arrange a meeting with them right away?". Bakunawa said nothing and she kept walking. Anne had to jog in place to keep up with their boss's strides. "Ma'am, a-are you alright? Would you like me to-" Bakunawa raised her hand and Anne immediately got the message. She stayed silent as she followed her boss right at the end of the hallway. "Cancel all my meetings for tonight and the whole month. I do not want to be disturbed. Message me only when it's necessary. Am I clear?" Bakunawa said with clear authority and Anne eagerly nodded. "Yes, ma'am. Understood." Bakunawa looked back at her and gently patted her head. "This world is so evil, don't you think?" She sadly said before she opened the double wooden doors of her office and locked it shut behind her.

As Anne walked away to do her duties with her cheeks blushing a bit, Bakunawa slowly walked towards the bookcase at the other end of her office. She ran her fingers against the books before settling on one. She craned it downwards and the bookcase automatically split itself in two to reveal a secret door behind it. Bakunawa placed her thumb and eye on the scanners to open the door towards her room of secrecy. Plastered against the wall was a huge wooden board, attached with all the pictures of all the gods from all the pantheons currently alive. Several red threads ran along their faces as a symbol that either one or two of them were connected with each other. Some of the faces had red cross marks on their eyes and Bakunawa used a red pen to put some on Hephaestus' eyes.

On the other wall of the room was a huge map of Seattle marked with various pins and threads too. Bakunawa had been finding the Colossus for years but it always seemed to be out of her grasp. She managed to wait this long for that forsaken artifact so Bakunawa concluded that she could wait a few years more and instead set her sights on the gods this time. She reached out to place her hand on Jormungandr's picture and smiled naughtily. "I can't wait to get my hands on you, big boy." She then walked over to the side of the board where the moon gods were. She licked her lips as she looked at the pictures of Artemis, Menuo, and Tsukuyomi. "Just wait a little longer, my loves. Mommy's going to come and get you." She said to them before giving each picture a kiss.

Bakunawa turned her focus back at Hephaestus, running her fingers against the red thread connecting him to Hera, the Queen of Olympus and his lovely mother. She was sure the poor woman was downright distraught by the death of one of her children but Bakunawa gave Hera some time to grieve and cope with the death of her son. The Moon-Eater still had no idea how the smith god was killed but the thought that someone out there was killing them did put a smile on her face.

"I believe have waited in the shadows long enough. I guess it's time for me to come out and join the party." Bakunawa said with an evil grin.

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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Legion02
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Legion02

Member Seen 19 hrs ago



Seattle Sacred Heart Hospital
Ares & Athena

...Flashback - Morning of the 3rd...

It was a quiet day in the hospital. Four guys had been dragged in by the cops in the early morning and were patched up in the ICU. Now they were kept in the hospital to recover a little. Cops were guarding their doors, of course. They were drug dealing criminals after all. Except there was no drugs on the scene and nothing to tie them to a mob. It was a quiet day, that suddenly was interrupted by the roar of heavy German cars driving up to its entrance.

Ares marched out from the first car before it drove off again. Surrounded by three of his most trusted Spartans. From the next two cars harried lawyers that had been talking on the phone for over an hour now walked out. Followed by associates carrying piles of files and briefcases. Some more senior associates walked with notepads, jotting down every note. A few carried recording devices on their hips. They passed the income without a second glance. Having already acquired where the four victims were. The entire group of lawyers and high ranking criminals commandeered three elevators. Five minutes later they walked into the hallway. The beat cops were ready to stop them, but a quick lecture given in pure legalize let them quickly pass.

“Hello, I am Lars Johanson. Not Johnson. I will be your lawyer for the coming hours. Please remain in your beds and we shall go over some bullet points.” The lawyer pushed his small, round glasses up his nose as an associate handed him a notepad. “First point, do not talk to the press. Second point, do not talk to the cops. Third point, always plead your fifth amendment rights. fourth point,-“

Ares let the overly expensive lawyer ramble on while the desks in the room were taken over by the associates already preparing every legal defense they could summon. It was kind of funny to see them at work. Back in the law offices themselves several charges of assault and battery were prepared against the hooded individual. Just in case the cops would fail their criminal investigation. Which wouldn’t be a first. The god of war walked up to one of the dealers and sat on the chair beside him. “Tell me what happened?”

“I don’t know, sir.” The man said, clutching his ribs in pain, but not wanting to stop talking; “He came out of the dark. Was upon us fast. Too fast. I’ve never seen anyone fight like that. One moment I was just minding my own business, the next I’m bleeding on the ground.”

Suddenly, before any warning was given, the door swung wildly open, the annoyed face of Detective Natalia Steele and a slightly more worried-leaning face of Colin Brady entered the room, scanning it immediately. The four beds spread in a perpendicular fashion was the source of Natalia’s ire and she ignored the pleading nurse to stop, citing some nonsense about how she wasn’t allowed in the room (in addition to the weary looks of the beat cops who stood outside the room).

“I’m sorry sir, all she asked was where your client’s room was and she just--”

Athena took over, stepping to the furthest bed and she saw it for herself: the bandages, the blood still remaining on their faces, the cuts, and that face looking up at her the chair beside her. That subtle smugness hidden behind a veil of confidence that always stirred the fires of war within her. It was that face that she couldn’t stop herself from loathing. Even now, as Natalia Steele, his face made her blood boil and the urge to want to shoot him dead might make her feel justified, but in doing so, she knew she would expose them both.

So she took in the deepest breath and tried to find that peaceful center she often went to when her rage got the better of her. You’re better than he is. Control yourself. And so she did. Her eyes remained locked on him, though, but she kept it professional -- kept it in line with their mortal identities. Our mortal identities.

She cracked a smile. “Mr. Miknosos, was it?” She addressed him directly. “I wasn’t expecting to find you here.” The tone of her voice hinted at the truth they both knew to be prophecy.

Few people could summon rage in Ares’ as much as his accursed half-sister. Even as mortals, he and Athena stood opposite of each other. And now, in this room, the tension between them was not only instantly clear, it was creating an almost physical presence of pressure in the room. The mortals, both victims and lawyers, looked awkwardly at each other. Ares knew what was happening. Fear crept into their hearts. Lars Johanson, brave as he was capable, took a step towards the detective with his finger raised. Probably ready to point out some legal or technical thing that would force her out of the room. Instead he was stopped by Ares, who knew one of his better lawyers would be eaten whole on the spot if he did.

“Ah, detective Steele!” He said with an almost overly smug tone. “I would say the same but then we’d both be lying.” She and him had crossed paths many, many times. She got close to his operations sometimes. And he had gotten her reprimanded by her superiors on more than one occasion. It never changed anything. “But someone has to care for these unfortunate, low-income, lower class people. Tell me Jeffery, how is that veterinarian school going?” Ares called out.

And one of the beaten goons replied from across the room: “Good bo- sir. One more year and I’m licensed.” Ares just threw him a nice smile as he looked past Athena, before turning his attention back at her again.

“So. What will you do, detective, to capture the man that brutalized these innocent civilians of our fair city?”

She stood there for a long moment, trying not to digest so much bullshit she was being fed from Ares. Although, if there was one thing she had to commend him for, it was his ability to train those dogs to do what he doubtless told them to say. The fear in their eyes was obvious, but she couldn’t necessarily call them out for that. Given how badly they were beaten, it’s a fair assumption that any rookie would say it was due to that and not the God of War sitting next to them. “Of course, Mr. Miknosos. We--” she gestured to her partner, “--that is to say myself and my partner, Detective Brady, only want to catch the person responsible. As I’m sure you would agree, monsters who are allowed to roam free without answering for their actions is the real crime.” The entire time she spoke, her eyes hadn’t left Ares’, as if she was talking to him, and not the Alexander Miknosos alias he hid behind.

Any time before three days ago, and Ares would’ve started the verbal threat dance with Athena until both of them were basically threatening to blow up each other’s houses. And he would’ve enjoyed that as much as any fight with a mortal. Not today though. Today he had far too many worries on his mind. Between Hephaestus, Hebe and now this hooded assailant, Ares did not allow himself to risk losing control. If anything, his entire world would have to be pulled together even more. “There’s a criminal on the loose. Yet here you are talking about the philosophy behind his crimes.”

“The real crime is that these poor men were beaten and left bloody in an alleyway. I’m sure the boys here would be willing to give you a statement of their facts. If that is not why you are here, I suggest you leave this room immediately before I’ll have my lawyers here start filing complaints that will chain you desk duty for the next decade.” To back him up, ever so meekly, two of the four victims raised their legal pads upon which they had already ever so neatly written their statement of the facts and only the facts… that suited them. Leaving behind certain facts and making up a reason for why all four were together so early in the morning. Their stories would, in the broad strokes, all be the same. Each recalling vague details that may or may not be true. No statement is surgically the same but Ares’ lawyers had the art of statement creation mastered.

“So who will your prey be, Miss Steele? An actual criminal on the loose, or your metaphorical free monsters?”

As much as she wanted to say, outloud no less, that he was wrong and these four got what they deserved, that part of Athena’s being that hated it so much, had to swallow that need because Natalia didn’t have the proof to back up such a claim. “There is only one monster, Mr. Miknosos.” Her eyes left Ares’ and to one of the bloodied and bruised men that lay in the bed. “It is the man who is responsible for what they did to you. I swore an oath to serve and protect and if your ...lawyers will allow me to, I would like to ask you a few questions about the person who did this to you.”

Ares let only a small smirk of victory shine through as he stepped aside. “Gentlemen, please offer up your statement. One at the time. Mr. Johanson please make sure that everything goes according to the guidance of the law.” With that said, he sat down letting Athena take control of the room.

And that’s exactly what they did. Colin had taken the reins on the first two - Tommy and Charlie. As that happened, Athena did the same with the ...victim that was in the bed in front of her, while Ares sat on the opposite end. These weren’t her ideal circumstances, but she had to get the facts for her report. It didn’t matter to her personally because Athena knew what she was about to get out of him was fabricated; she just couldn’t prove it.

“So, if you wouldn’t mind, Jeffrey, tell me exactly what happened to you? What can you remember?”

He hesitated, one eye going to Ares shortly before he took in a breath and began speaking. “Me and my boys were just walking, ma’am. And then we got jumped by this animal.”

“Just walking? In a back alley? You’re gonna have to give me a bit more specifics.”

“Okay, so it’s like this: we’re all pretty into this mobile game, Pokemon Go.”

Athena gave both Jeffrey and Ares a dumbfounded look, shaking her head in a subtle manner. “And that’s it? You four were just playing this game and then that’s when the perp attacked you?”

Jeffrey nodded. “That’s correct ma’am. We’re all very lucky he didn’t kill us.”

“I’m sure you are.” Athena jotted down everything Jeffrey said in her notebook. “Were you able to get a good look at him? Do you remember his skin color? Or how tall he was? Or even what he was wearing?”

“I don’t know, Detective. He came at us from behind. All any of us know is he wore a blue sweatshirt. The hood was covering most of his face. I think maybe he was white. Probably with something resembling a blond goatee.”

“Right.” She scribbled more into her notebook. “Now do you know why this man would have target--”

“Excuse me, miss Steele.” Ares piped up from his corner. Interrupting what felt like more of an interrogation than someone taking a statement. Of course Athena would be fishing for a reason as to why they were attacked. “I believe this is a very clear cut case of nothing but senseless violence and bloodshed.” But it probably wasn’t. Still, all the men in the beds looked at Ares and nodded in agreement.

Much like the police, Ares had a room that was slowly being dedicated to the hooded stranger. This wasn’t the first hit on his operations, and it wouldn’t be the last. In truth though, the man was nothing more than a thorn. An annoyance. He never could get a hit on a shipment or disrupt the pipeline of product. The only thing he seemed to do so far was just beat up his dealers. Sadly, mortals were quite frail and began demanding protection against the stranger.

Then, with a simple nod towards Lars was enough to get the lawyer in now: “Alright, miss Steele. As I understand my four clients are not under arrest, so we will request your leave now. Of you and your police officers outside the door as well.” I could see in the glint of at least one associate that they had the words ‘police state’ and ‘abuse of power’ ready and loaded like they were bullets. “They will visit the police station at their earliest convenience to deliver their written statements.” Lars continued, and then motioned at the door. Which was already held open by one of the associates.

She was an idiot. If it was just the Deities of War and the “victims” in the room, Athena wouldn’t think twice about giving Ares the full extent of her ire. She would give anything to wipe that smug expression off of his face, make him know who the true alpha of the two of them are. It would be her way of unleashing some parts of her wrath that were reserved for his mother. Instead, she practiced restraint and let him see her smile.

There was a hint of fire in the way she glared at him. For anyone but them, it was an uncomfortable silence, the kind of silence that often made those who weren’t involved look elsewhere. “If I were you, Mr. Miknosos, I’d advise these men to not keep me waiting.” She, again, completely ignored the mortal lawyer as she focused all of her attention on Ares one last time.

Ares just kept the grin up. Her tone was enough. There would be no complaint, just a small mention towards the police commissioner of Seattle. Noting … abrasive behavior coming from miss Steele. It wouldn’t do much other than just annoying her but that was enough. With the detective’s exit Lars went over several more points of legalities and rights. Assuring everyone in the room that they were in fact victims of a brutal assault. Not cocaine dealing criminals. By tomorrow they would be released from the hospital’s care and ready for their statements. Despite wanting to take their sweet time for it, Lars would force them to go almost immediately after they would be released. Every interaction after they gave the statement could be seen as harassment after all.

Knowing his men were in good hands, the god of war stepped out and pursued miss Steele. “Detective!” He yelled out. “A moment of your time, please. For… a private matter concerning our shared friend.” He looked passed her at the other cops, hoping she’d get the clue and send them on. He hated the fact that they were now forced on the same team. Under the umbrella of their father who no doubt already informed her of the book and the stranger. But this wasn’t about him or her. It was about their family. It was about Hebe.

Her partner and the other cops looked at her, as if gauging whether they should leave her alone. Natalia waved them away. “It’s fine. Go on ahead without me,” she said to Colin as he and the other cops walked on ahead.

Athena faced Ares. Given their history, she didn’t know what it was he had to say to her. Usually whenever they were inches away from one another, someone’s nose was broken. So, if anything, he had her curiosity. “If we are to talk, don’t you think that maybe we should go somewhere a little more private?” She didn’t bother to wait for him to respond and walked past him in the direction of the chapel inside the hospital, which was on the same floor they were currently on.

Once inside the chapel Ares spared no time to turn towards his sister and say: “So what have you found so far in regards to our brother?” Half-brother to Athena, technically. Still, he hoped she would be willing to share the info she got. Much like he shared it with his father, knowing it would leak straight to Athena within minutes.

Athena leaned against one of the benches close to her. She crossed her arms over her chest and glanced up at Ares. “Unfortunately, I am no closer to figuring this mystery out than you are. Whoever it is, they hid their tracks well. Though, if I am being truthful here, Ares--” she sighed out, “--The lack of clarity surrounding Hephaestus’ death troubles me beyond anything this century.” It was unlike Athena to truly confide something like that in general, let alone to Ares, but given the subject matter, she made an exception.

The chapel was a dark place to Ares. Lit only by faint lights in the ceiling and the few candles burning in the front. When his sister confessed she had nothing, he didn’t feel like he had won. Even though by all rights he should’ve. The law failed where his own vengeance was at least succeeding a little bit. Still, that did not bring him joy for once. For a second he let his sister’s fear hang in the air as he pulled out a cigarette and lit it. In this day and age, it felt as if the cigarette was the new incense. With eyes closed he let out a gentle breath of smoke which rose to the ceiling.

“We’ll find who did it.” He assured her. Even if he had to face down the Godslayer himself. Still, there was so much more to do. So much more that was starting to weigh him down. For a second he let his exhaustion show as he sat down on one of the pews, letting his head fall backwards and close his eyes. In between the Hooded Man, the murder of his brother and… Tlaz he felt control slipping ever more. “You don’t have to stay, I think we’ve both said what we should’ve.” He said after taking a very long drag from his cig. But he would stay. Just for a minute. To have just a fleeting feeling of serenity for a moment.

We? Athena wasn’t sure she liked that implication. “So, that’s what it is. You and mommy dearest are going to take the law into your own hands.” The part of her that felt like she and Ares had the potential of having a civil moment was whisked away as soon as she caught onto what it was he actually meant, not that she was surprised. Maybe a little disappointed, but given the temper tantrum he threw at the Conclave, it was on her for thinking Ares was above anything else.

And how ironic that this all came out in the house of the Christian’s God. “I would ask if this was wise of you, but you were never known for thinking, were you, Ares?” She laughed at her own comment. “Because I am a fair Goddess, I will not give you any stern threat”-- not like you’d listen even if I did,-- “but do know this, brother.” She stepped closer to him and towered over him. “Though I won’t forbid you to seek out the answers to this mystery because, if I’m being completely transparent, I am also curious who killed Hephaestus, if your quest leaves a trail of bodies, you won’t just have the Hooded Stranger to worry about.” The tension was so thick, not even Zeus’ Lightning Bolt could cut through it. “Do I make myself clear, Ares?”

Ares let out a deep sigh. Of course his sister was expecting the worst of him. Again. “With ‘we’ I meant you and me.” His eyes weren’t looking at the altar straight in front of him. How strange the Christian god could be described as sometimes. Peaceful, forgiving, self-sacrificing. While at the same time he was in a way one of the greatest God Slayers around. But then he did look up and in his sister’s eyes. “Or did you think I told father about the book, the stranger on tape and Hebe by accident?” His eyes turned away from hers again. He was in no mood to have petty struggles over something as important as this. “You can’t solve this without my help, and as much as I hate it, I will need you as well.”

This was all a mess for a myriad of reasons. After her father had told her about this book, it complicated a lot of matters but it also made her consider an angle that she hadn’t: Hephaestus’ murder wasn’t random. And given the fact that Hebe’s name was circled, that stirred up Athena’s gut feeling that maybe Hera could be the main target. Or someone was aiming to hurt Hera. She would be the first person to admit that the Queen of the Gods wasn’t her favorite person, but Athena liked Hebe. She was a sweet goddess whose soul was untainted. If anything, that sold Athena on what she knew was the right thing to do: work with Ares.

“Very well, Ares.” She stared at him with a neutral gaze. “We will just have to enter a cease-fire until this is solved.”
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by sly13
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sly13

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Hades
Unknown Location, SEATTLE
GOD OF The Dead



The sound grunts and pain bounced off the walls of the old cellar never being able to escape to the outside. A man bruised and bloodied from all angles sat by himself tied to an old wood chair doing his best to regain his composure during this brief moment in between beatings. As the man let out labored breaths another much younger man squatted down in front of his face gripping tight to a baseball bat. “Just admit to it Bobby and all this can end.” not receiving an answer the younger man stood from his squatted position and began pacing around the room resting the bat on his shoulder as he continued to speak. “You know from what I hear the boss ain't happy in the slightest to hear about this. But I mean who could blame him.” As he finished the statement the bat suddenly left its resting place but quickly found a new one against the Bobbys arms currently stuck behind the chair. “We can do this all fucking night,” he said trying his best to be louder than the man's screams of pain. “We got nowhere else to be and ain't no one coming to save you.”

As he finished this exclamation the metal door slowly slid open revealing a rather well dressed old man who looked as though they didn't belong in such a place. As soon as the man stepped foot into the old cellar everything seemed to stop. “Mr. Giovanni. What are you doing here?” someone finally spoke up not sure as to why such a high ranking member would show his face at a time like this, especially considering they hadn’t broken the old bastard yet.

“Clean him up for me will you,” Giovanni said continuing to look upon the poor man who had no idea what he had brought onto himself. His words were direct, never letting a chance for a question not that anyone would dare question the man anyway. After all to disobey an underboss like Giovanni was a death sentence. “And once you're done with that please step outside. He would like to see our guest personally.” the way Giovanni emphasized He, there was no doubt in anyone's mind who that meant.




As Hades stepped into the door he was greeted by only two people. Giovanni who was currently leaning on a few crates before he stood up as a form of respect. And Bobby who was currently less bloody having been washed but still nowhere near presentable for the public. Giving Giovanni a nod, Hades stepped closer but waited to talk until the door behind him was closed once again. “I'm very disappointed in you Mr. young.” Hades finally spoke as he began to pace around the room. “May I ask why you found it fit to try and betray your brothers?”

“I.. I.. I don't know what you're talking about.”

“Come now Mr. Young please don't take me for an idiot.” by this point Hades had made it halfway around the man and was now out of sight continuing to look at the poor bastard who was practically shivering with fear. “If I didn't already know about what you did, the fear itself would be a dead give away. All I want to know is. Why? That's it.” as Hades finished his statement he rested a hand on the man's shoulder feeling him tense up out of fear. “Did I not pay enough, is that it? Greed to fill your own pockets while you sent your only family to their doom.”

“Look I didn't know”

After hearing the blatant lie Hades let go of the man's shoulder as he made his way around to the front so he could look at the man. Once he had made his way around and taken a seat in a chair just in front of Mr. Young Hades let his gaze settle. “Would you care to repeat that?” he asked in a dark tone. “And before you speak I highly suggest you not lie to me again.”

“Look I.. I.. I didn't know what else to do ok. They said they had dirt and this was my only way out.” The man said as he hung his head in defeat seemingly finally been broken. “Please, I'm sorry. I never wanted to hurt the family.”

“See was that so hard? Admitting to your own sins makes things so much easier doesn't it?” as Hades said this he began to walk around the back of the man's chair. Pulling out a knife Hades cut the rope that was currently holding Young's arms on the back of the chair. As the man stood up from the chair he had just spent the night getting beaten, Hades reached into his suit jacket pulling out a single photograph tossing it to the ground clearly visible to both of them. Once young looked at the picture his body immensely stiffened once again at the realization of what it meant. The picture showed him meeting with an agent he had agreed to work with and receiving some form of payment. Before he was even able to fully turn around Hades already had him pinned to the wall and had begun to slowly lift him by the collar.

“You're going to pay for your sins, Mr. Young.” Hades' voice became much darker much like the room whose lights had begun to dim. Already confused by what was Happening Young looked into the face of pure fear as Hades' eyes glowed a deep red only able to let out a scream of pain.




As He stepped out of the cellar and into the crisp night air Hades took in a deep breath. Adjusting his suit slightly he made his way to the car awaiting him. Entering the rather nice vehicle Hades was greeted with Giovanni seated across from him. “I assume it went well.”

“Of course. But always sad when you get betrayed by one of your own.” Hades paused for a second before reaching for the photo once again and handing it to Giovanni. “Dump the body but make sure this is on it. I want to send a message to them that this will not be tolerated. And tell Alexander to meet me as soon as possible.”
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by metanoia
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metanoia

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CASA DE ACROPOLIS, SEATTLE
Divine Protector




When his surprisingly productive workout with Ben ended and he dropped her off at the Seattle U campus, Heracles’ day was primarily spent preparing for tonight’s party. The same party that all of his main contacts, which for Jackson Drake, meant any influencer in their 20s with at least 500K followers. Between drives and uploading teases of his booze run, food, and the like, Jackson was live on Instagram all afternoon. He entertained those who plugged in, which was around five thousand of his…devoted followers.

Around 6:30, when Jackson finally made it back, he wasn’t alone. The sound of over ten cars -- all ranging from classic muscle cars to BMWs and Yakuza Motorcycles crowded the driveway and street. This was soon followed by the cries of Influencer Privilege as anyone who was anybody in Seattle was here and they were ready to...help Herc set up the party.

Nearly an hour later, what was usually messy, but a presentable home for some frat boys was transformed into the epicenter of a crowded mess of young adults and 20somethings, all who responded to Jackson’s open door invite. If you were even remotely close to any of his fifty closest friends, some of which were his own kind, then you knew where to be on this particular Saturday night. Tables were spread throughout for beer pong and refreshments, a local DJ who was also one of the more expensive kind was handling the music, which was a playlist hand-selected by Heracles himself, a bar with a paid server making drinks the right way: with flair and style, and certainly not least, just the right amount of party favors to keep anyone happy and hopefully calm.

It was going to be a good fucking night.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Gothelk
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Gothelk Vacancy

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FOREST FIRE
FOREST FIRE
ᴘᴀɴ'ꜱ ᴀʙᴏᴅᴇ
ᴇxᴛʀᴀ ꜱᴘɪᴄʏ



The morality of finding an associate and business partner’s address and then proceeding to show up unannounced likely implicated Mars in a number of very negative ways. Caring about any of that mess, however, did not fall into Mars’ purview. In fact, the idea of catching a little shit like Pan off guard excited him.

To which he gladly ordered them both a large family meal from a local restaurant. Harvest Beat provided a diverse and unpredictable display of quality vegan food in a dazzling 5-course meal of the day display. The amount of food provided served to feed a full party, though Mars felt it more appropriate to provide an array of foods to choose from if he wanted it to be a surprise. Far be it for him to provide no alternatives, so perhaps he had a few more choices stocked in a cooler in his truck. Woops.

Arriving at his destination, Mars slid a tablet into one of the bags—a safety measure, just in case Pan considered the visit weird for simply being business partners. Though, he was certain he’d read the man correctly at their dine in not a few days ago. Venus would spit laughter in his face were he to come home dejected and rejected. Still, a man of Mars stature didn’t shy away from a challenge.

Thus, he found himself staring down a beautiful eco-industrial home with a number of large bags gripped tight in his hands. Shoes clicked against the hard concrete path that lead up to the front, his suit changed from that morning into something more comfortable, if a bit on the nose for what he was attempting to do. At least, he thought so, likely because he knew his own intentions and he was certain Venus’ reaction to it meant she knew as well.

Perhaps it would slip under Pan’s nose. Taking the slip with a trickster god? Highly unlikely. Still, Mars grinned as he pressed a finger to the bell, chiming his arrival at the forest god’s lovely domain. Perhaps he wanted the god to know all of his intentions.

Inside, Pan sat on the floor, legs crossed and hands flat against the hardwood floors. The tranquil sounds of the forest poured out into the living room, his bare chest rising and falling in time with his slow, relaxed breaths. His day had been busy, filled with phone calls to and from the mayor’s office, currently scrambling in the wake of Hephaestus’ sudden disappearance, and reporters vying for more information on his new business partner. Meditation had become his escape from the mortal world, his time to recollect his thoughts before he slipped into a divine madness.

The chime of his doorbell cut through the forest sounds, and his eyes shot open. Unexpected visitors were unheard of at his house, so secluded and hidden from his prying family. Perhaps Artemis had more to say. He had no doubt that she’d found his home years ago.

He stood up, padding over to the door and swinging it open, a smirk spreading across his face at the sight of his god of war. He glanced between the bags of takeout, and Mars’ eyes. A pleasant surprise indeed. “You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you?” Pan cocked an eyebrow, and leaned against the doorframe, a rush of excitement racing through his veins as he felt Rome’s gaze wash over him.

That gaze shot up toward Pan’s eyes after a beat, heavy inhale of breath and a wolfish grin to match. ”In war a soldier must stay on his toes and keep his opponents breathless,” Mars’ grin grew to reveal the canines of his teeth. A thrill bore into him, seizing the muscles of his arms to the point where it grew harder to keep them still. So, Mars pushed forward, deliberately brushing close against Pan as he stared down at him, breath and air between them burning.

Upon entering Pan’s humble home, Mars took stock and breathed deep the smell of wooded air. It burned his chest as he turned to look at Pan with his head tilted to the side and the professional stoicism melting into something more predatory. ”I have a number of excuses for coming here,” Mars said, lifting the bags of food, ”But, I suspect you’d believe absolutely none of them. If you’d like, I can call this a team building exercise.” Even as their companies rushed to explain the partnership, worked to build communication and rapport, Mars felt the need to do the same. Perhaps it was for more selfish matters, however, and the baring white of his teeth easily gave that notion away.

Exhilaration gripped the protector of the forest, the same way it had back at the restaurant. His heart had picked up it’s rhythm, thumping against his chest as if to push him closer to the wolf who’d come to see the sheep. The relaxation brought on by his meditation had been replaced with a lust both foreign and familiar. There was a feeling that giving into this particular temptation would take him down a much different path than others had. If anything, that only made the man standing across from him more desirable. “You’re in luck. I’m famished,” Pan said.

A trickster’s grin spread across his face as he met Mars’ eyes, holding his gaze as he took one of the bags from him, slender fingers just barely grazing his hand. The smile was equal parts innocent and devilish, eyes that said ‘I know exactly what this is,’ but an attitude that said it would be Mars’ job to make it happen. He broke the stare suddenly, and led his visitor into the kitchen, where he seated himself at a stool by the island. “And you got vegan. You’re very good at this,” Pan said as his eyes fell upon the meal inside.

A swell in his chest rose to his throat at Pan’s approach, eyes locked in anticipation. The tease of something tickled at the hair of his jaw. Mars held back, eyes narrowed just the slightest at the forest trickster’s ploy. The urge to lunge felt like a gust pressing his feet forward toward a cliff of his own making. Watching Pan walk away made it all the more tempting to leap. But Mars held it, grasped in a clenched fist. He wanted this, like all the sheep baring their necks to his sharp canines, but Pan held something different in the spring of his body. Something lay beneath that guise, and the burning need to reveal him in full pressed Mars forward.

”I do my homework,” Mars said, slipping onto a stool beside Pan and setting the other bag upon the counter. He angled himself toward Pan, body leaned forward and his head mere inches away from the other’s. Huffing out a breath, Mars kept his gaze upon Pan’s form, drinking his presence in before raking his eyes away. His hands dove into the bag to retrieve the contents and display them upon the cool surface.

Though food did warrant Mars’ attention, the god of war let it lapse toward the heat beside him. ”If this does not satiate your needs,” Mars started, voice lowered into a heated breath against Pan’s cheek while one of his large hands pressed to the small of the trickster’s back, ”do say so. I ammore than happy to accommodate whatever it is you are truly famished for.”

Mars’ hand against his back stoked a fire. Pan brought a hand up, toying with Mars’ collar before running his fingers down and laying his palm flat against the stone chest that had begun to work it’s way into his thoughts. Every step forward obscured the way he’d come. There was no turning back, only forks in the road that he ignored as he barreled towards the fire that awaited him at the end.

“This will get complicated, you know,” Pan said, his voice lowering to match Mars’ hushed whispers. The words were hardly a protest. If anything, Pan seemed to welcome whatever chaos might arise from their entanglement. “Our families won’t approve,” he continued, knowing damn well neither cared. He looked up at Mars, ageless eyes daring the father of Rome to claim what was his.

That blaze dancing in Pan’s eyes seared his flesh like the fingers that sucked the air from his lungs. His hooded gaze never left Pan’s face while his other hand gripped at the trickster’s waist. Fingers dug in hot to brand the skin they gripped. Every second Mars could intake of Pan’s earthy scent, the harder it became to resist the hand pressed firm to his chest and the offer it held for him.

”I relish the challenge and I welcome it gladly,” Mars said. The fingers at Pan’s waist seared hot before they clung and pulled. The growl that rumbled Mars’ chest rose to the lips that now seized the softness of Pan’s own, vibrating his desire into the very heat of his tongue. The bonfire caught flame against the forest floor until it raged deep in Mars’ gut to press Pan flush against the stone of his chest, hands smoldering the flame into flesh.

All at once he was falling into the heat, giving into it, letting it consume him. Strong hands gripped him, leaving their mark everywhere they trailed. In one fluid motion, Pan slid off the stool and onto Mars’ lap, straddling him and returning to the fire of his lips. His own hands navigated Mars’ body like experienced trackers, gripping his shoulders before sliding down and under the cloth obstacle that was his shirt. Stubble scratched against his cheeks, only invigorating him further, driving him deeper into the inferno.

Never had Mars let a fire burn so bright, lost to the whims of his own wants and needs and fueled by the bough of another so willingly tossed. Mars dove, hands gripping and pressing against a heat he wanted to claim. Another growl, deliberate and loud tore through his lips at the sudden weight pressed into his lap and Pan’s hands hot against the seized muscles flexed beneath the tightness of his shirt.

Yet, Mars paused, staring down at the ravished forest protector straddled atop him. He bared his fangs, a hand that gripped at Pan’s waist now pressed to the god’s neck, raising him by jaw and waist to the counter. Wolf’s eyes stared at the sheep he’d claimed, fangs ready to sink into soft flesh. ”This is truly what you hunger for, Pan?” he whispered, leaning forward to tug Pan’s head back to allow Mars to examine the prey set before him.

Pan grinned as he felt his hair pull his head back, and his entire body yearned for more. His legs wrapped around Mars’ waist, pulling him closer. He knew what happened when flames gripped the forest; it was born again from the ashes, stronger than before. He wondered if this might be the same. Desire had ensnared him, gotten him drunk on the touch of the man before him. His mind, filled with witty lines just moments before, could only push a single word past his lips, half gasped. “Yes.”

That’s all Mars needed to ignite him into a ball of flame, aching to consume the forest whole, burn the wood to embers that smoldered between them. Yet, he desired only to tame it, allow it not to take from him all that he wanted. It would lick at the bark, run the ground to ashes in its heat and from it Mars would claim and be claimed by the fire and wood.

Mars pressed the heat of his body against Pan, head lunging toward the sheep’s neck, exposed and soft to the press of his teeth. Tongue, hot, brushed skin and teeth tugged the flesh to bruise and press its print against the bark that he’d claimed with his own heat and fire. Mars’ hands continued to roam against Pan, pressing the pads of his finger to his rib cage, to the tight muscles of his sides, until they tugged at the locks of hair at his head. He wanted Pan to know, fully and deep into the very heart of his soul, what he desired and what he claimed for himself.

A twinge of pain in his neck brought a moan to his lips, eyes closed as he basked in the heat. Any control he’d had over the situation had been surrendered to the wolf that was staring at him so hungrily. The marble of the counter was cold against his back as he leaned back, hands gripping Mars’ collar and pulling him down, a silent plea for more.

Hunger tipped the edge of Mars’ teeth, but his head snapped upward at the tug and plea. Mars lips curved up as he denied the request, instead lifting away from the trickster’s offer. His fingers slid like hot coals against Pan’s stomach, trailing up his bare chest until they closed around his taught neck. He pressed fingers hard to the veins pumping hot. Fire coursed through Pan, through them both, and Mars could feel it raging between his fingers. Desire bid Mars to claim that fire, to stoke it and let it blaze until they could both melt into each other.

”Use your words,” Mars demanded, words hard like hammer to nail striking hot with fingers a grip of steel.

Dark eyes bore into him, a gaze that seemed to weaken the inhibitions he’d built up so carefully. He’d promised not to lose himself like this again, but here he was, lost in a field of flame, relishing in the heat. “Please,” he said, half whisper, half moan. Did Mars realize what that meant? What it was to bring the Great God Pan to his knees, to get him to beg? “Make me yours.”

The begging, the moan, it settled into Mars' broad chest and he squeezed before slipping his hands beneath Pan’s body. With a grunt, he lifted the smaller man to slot him perfectly against his torso. ”To think how easy that came out,” Mars teased, digging his fingers into the back of Pan’s hair to tug and expose his neck once more. Without a warning, however, Mars spun them to the wall, colliding the arch Pan’s back against the hard surface.

With a wolf’s growl, Mars lunged forward to claim the wanting, moaning lips that had seconds ago pleaded to him. Hands gripped and held tight to Pan’s bottom, clawing at the sweats in possessive greed. Fire wanted, consumed, demanded more and more and Mars let that control him, control his hips as they ground against the great god in his arms, controlled the hot tongue that pressed greedy and hungry at his lips, and the hands that claimed and pressed heat to skin in the inferno of their bodies.

Held aloft by Mars, Pan’s wit had fallen away leaving only a blinding need. His hands tore at Mars’ shirt, his movements rushed now as passion overtook him. Calloused hands, the hands of a soldier, sent electricity across his bare skin, piercing through the haze of lust that muddled his thoughts. He’d be happy if this grip never released, if they spent their days up against this wall, twisted around each other. There was only him and Mars now, and if this fire spread to burn down the whole world, so be it; just so long as they could rule over the ashes.

And over ashes Mars would take him again and again, until all that existed between them was a blaze. The embers of his fingers pressed needy to the lithe muscles of Pan’s skin. Mars knew, even before he stepped foot in the forest, that nothing but these flames licking between them would ever satisfy the father of Rome again. He let Pan know that in the bites and licks, the rough pads of his fingers against smooth skin and the grind that lighting sparks that urged Pan forward.

”Tell me what you need,” Mars demanded, breath hot against Pan. He could breathe him in, inhale the scent of himself against Pan’s skin even. A low growl rumbled in his chest, ”Let me hear you beg, Pan. What can the father of Rome provide for you?” He pressed forward, breath against Pan’s ear, voice dripping with lust like liquid flame to his trickster’s skin—low and raking gravel rumbling in his chest.

If he hadn’t been so preoccupied, Pan might’ve laughed. Mars clearly took pleasure in teasing him like this. The sweats he wore on his legs had become a prison, to which only Mars held the key. He felt the god of war grind up against him once more, as if trying to coax an answer from his lips. “Please, Mars,” he whined, his chest rising and falling rapidly. “I need you.” He’d never spoken a truer thing.

”Oh?” Mars drew back slightly to press free fingers to Pan’s jaws. He gripped hard and tilted the trickster’s head to the side, ”Has the forest been so easily tamed?” If Pan had voiced it, Mars could not deny the truth in the satisfaction of his teasing. Though, the opposite of his words were truer still than that statement alone. Pan could so easily move and bring Rome to his knees, yet Mars never let that information grace his lips.

Instead, the god of war shoved against him, feeling the fabric of Pan’s sweats scrape just right. Mars fell forward, head to Pan’s neck. ”Bedroom. Where? Now.” he barked, unable to restrain himself with the fire reaching a breaking point. The flames rose high, threatened to leave them only ashes before barely taking each other in. Mars wanted—needed to relish in this. He wanted to burn that knowledge into Pan’s skin until it caught flame.

Grinning now that he finally had what he wanted, the Grecian wasted no time in following Mars’ command and pointing towards the bedroom. As they moved, Pan buried his face into the crook of Mars’ neck, lips burning their insignia into his skin. One hand dropped down to toy with the button on his pants, the other ran through his jet black hair. Mars had claimed him and now, Pan claimed Mars, memorizing every curve that made up his body. “Είμαι δικός σου και είσαι δικός μου,” he whispered, the tongue of his homeland flowing from his lips like a song.

One hand against the small of his back and the other tight against Pan’s thighs, Mars marched forward with his eyes ablaze with unquenchable desire. Though, he tipped his head forward, lips brushing soft skin as Pan filled his lungs. A grunt left him faltering in his step, hand clenched to Pan’s thigh as the trickster’s hands grazed the button of his pants. ”You’ll know nothing but Rome on your tongue by the end of the night,” Mars growled with his mouth to Pan’s ear.

The door to Pan’s room burst open, unceremonious as the fire spread from one room to the next. That flame carried Mars to the bed, unable to let go of the god in his grasp as he fell to the folds of the sheets. His hands already came to the hem of Pan’s sweats. Yet, with the trickster nestled to the crease of his hips, a lump caught in his throat to which he swallowed down and bared his teeth in a grin. ”I’m not so certain you’re prepared for what comes next, vulpes mea,” Mars said, tugging the sweats lower to tease.

Pan’s lips curled into his infamous smirk. “Try me,” he said. His hands fell down to Mars’ wrists and pushed them further, sliding his sweats further down. Rome and Greece met, and the forest burned, a wildfire that refused to be contained, a blaze destined to cleanse the earth.


interactions: @Gothelk x @smarty0114
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by KZOMBI3
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KZOMBI3 thuggy-lewd-dere

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ᴍ ᴏ ᴅ ᴇ ʟ ʙ ᴇ ʜ ᴀ ᴠ ɪ ᴏ ʀ
ᴀᴇᴏɴ ᴘʜᴏᴛᴏ sʜᴏᴏᴛ

Before Heracles' Party

Aphrodite sighed dreamily as she recounted the day she met the charming Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. He was oozing with so much manliness and confidence with every movement that he took, making the love goddess swoon like a damsel being offered a song by one of her suitors back in the day. She bit her bottom lip when she remembered the way the waters dripped down his muscular body, and she closed her eyes and sighed softly when she remembered how warm he was to the touch when she dried him up.

She snapped back into reality when the coordinator suddenly raised their voice when they realized one model was missing. Just as in cue, Aphrodite received a message from Comus, saying that she'll be late again and asking if Helen could keep the coordinator busy. Aphrodite smiled sweetly and approached the coordinator. She physically touched their arm and used a little bit of her power on him. Thankfully, it worked and the coordinator seemed more peaceful now more than ever.

The coordinator ushered her back to her seat before leaving with a spring in their step. Aphrodite sighed and went back to her chair, looking at the text Comus sent her. Even to this day, the love goddess would never imagine being friends with a child of Dionysus. Their spheres of influence were nothing alike so they rarely saw each other back at Mt. Olympus, yet now they grew closer together because of the Colossus stripping them of their godliness. Aphrodite was glad to have met Comus, she was a very interesting young woman who seemed to be very smart and thoughtful for being a goddess of revelries. She also felt guilt because of what happened at the last Conclave. She didn't know if her mist had a good or bad effect on Comus but she still can't help but feel bad to those who were affected by it. She would definitely find a way to say sorry to Comus but she couldn't think of anything at the moment.

Comus had easily crossed the studio towards the Grecian love goddess, passing her her specific drink of choice, a judging look as she did so. "Definitely not my preference but whatever…" a laugh danced in the air before they were called to attention and were pulled in varying directions. Makeup and hair and outfits perfectly coordinated in time with the bookings and scheduling, all to perfectly showcase Venus' very expensive fashion line.

She brightened up when she saw Comus arrive with her drink. "Hello, Coco. So lovely to see you again, my dear." She said to her, giving her a peck on her cheeks each before taking her drink. "What? I think it's really delicious!" She replied to Comus' comment about her drink before taking a sip, groaning a bit when they were now called to attention. "Oh well. I'll get back to you later." Aphrodite said to her drink, setting it to the side as she got ready along with the rest of the models.

The studio was thriving, bodies of half naked models traipsing atop stained concrete floors, their hair billowing behind them - some hairstyles completed, others not so much. A sigh escaped Comus at the thought of which piece of atrocious bunches of fabrics she was going to be stuffed into all for the sake of modeling. ’Designers are fucking weird…’ the thought crossed her mind more than once as she sat there next to Aphrodite.

"You seem a bit more… relaxed than usual~" the coyness of her tone was easily discernible as she raked her gaze towards her fellow Greek. A hand rested under her chin as she leaned into the questioning making her stylist pout and work twice as hard in the inconvenient position. "Do anyone particularly enjoyable recently?" It wasn't like she needed to be a fly on the wall to know that the love doctor was already over and done with the passing of her late husband. The annoyance at the memory of her antics the other day still resonated within her, and she did little to cover the annoyance even now. So the light teasing was doing wonders for her take on a more passive aggressive take. She honestly couldn't be bothered with her answer, though she would be lying if she said she didn't delight in a little bit of gossip and drama.

Comus was perceptive as usual and Aphrodite can’t help but blush and giggle a bit. ”Well, I did meet up with a guy a couple of days ago. Oh, that man, that big hunk of a man. We hit it off right away but we didn’t do anything yet, which was a bummer but oh well. It just makes me more excited for the next time we meet.” Aphrodite said with a smile as she couldn’t help but bite her bottom lip again after remembering Neptune. She knew she had to feel guilty when she was already seeing another man after her husband mysteriously died but on the other hand, she didn’t feel guilty cheating on Hephaestus while he was alive either.

Movement caught her attention, like a dog to a squirrel, though she slid a quick glance in the direction of one of the head photographers. A familiar face in this line of work. One of the few mortals that Coco enjoyed on a more strictly friend based relationship. Gods knew she had too many overly friendly relations of the mortal, and godly, variety. "Heyyy Juju Bee!" Coco never was one for subtlety, waving her arms around in a wide obnoxious motion.

Julie was talking to one of Aeon’s designers. The rack near them was filled with the newest dresses designed by none other than Leona herself. Going over the themes and colors and looks. Aeon’s dresses always felt like they were elevated above the other fashion brands. Leona’s talent could not be overstated. The designer was rolling away the rack right when Julie heard a familiar voice call her by a nickname only one person used. She hadn’t checked with which models she’d be working. Could it be? Julie turned around and instantly broke into a sprint, rushing over to the young rebel while yelling: “Coco!” She stopped near, noticing that Coley was sitting in the make-up chair. For now she’d hold the hug in so the stylist could do her work without any more inconveniences. “Oh my god, I didn’t know you were modeling today! How have you been?”

The high pitched squeal that left her at the approach of the mortal woman had her disregarding the stylist completely. "Oh! C'mere! Talia doesn't mind do you Talia?" "Well I need to-," "See, perfectly fine!" Comus completely disregarded the woman, who in turn just rolled her eyes and set off to find a different model to work on for the time being. Comus tossed her own eye roll before hopping down and throwing her arms around the blonde. It had been far too long since the last time they were together and Coco missed having someone so naive and innocent to play with. She could only stand to pick on Kore and Hypnos for so long before everyone else - Hermes - made her feel guilty. Rather, try to. It took quite a bit to get the chaos to feel something as base as guilt.

Pushing the thoughts of guilt or not guilt she returned her own dazzling smile towards the woman, answering in the only way Comus knew how - eccentrically, "Life has not been the same without your eye for detail~," she feigned a breathy performance, "It's been here and there. Not enough time to spend with family but sometimes that's a good thing." The comment was offhandedly thrown about, sure, yes technically she met up with family recently, but it wasn't like they hung out or anything. Other than Heebs. That thought alone brought back the giddiness in Coco.

Nonetheless the anarchist stood there nearly buzzing out of her skin with energy as she pulled away, steely greys traveling the expanse of the former model's figure, Aphrodite still ignored, "You are looking great! Lost some more weight, have you?" Coco smirked devilishly, wiggling her brows as if to drive a point home, "Or maybe it's just the glow of a morning after~. How is that wonderful boy toy of yours anyways," her shamefulness knew no bounds.

When Coco threw her arms around Julie, the mortal girl mouthed ‘I’m sorry.’ to the stylist with an apologetic face. Their job was already hard enough without models making it worse. But Coco was who she was. Fierce and independent. Somehow she managed to hold on to that rebelliousness. Julie admired that about her.

“Family’s important though.” Julie said as her friend talked about not having spent enough time with the family. “You never know. One day they’re here, the next they’re gone for good.” Sometimes she wished she had a family as big as Coco’s. The endless stories the model could tell about her cousins and siblings and aunts and what not. It felt amazing how so many stories could’ve occurred in just one lifetime.

“Hey!” Julie said, playfully hitting Coco’s arm with her fist. “I haven’t lost weight. I never had to lose weight!” Some could see what the model said as an insult, but not Julie. They were Coco’s jokes and they were always a little provocative. “And Alex is not my boy toy!” She then defended with only a small smirk on her lips as hitting Coco on her arm again, only a little harder this time around. “It’s the morning yoga you’re probably seeing.” And definitely not the glow of a morning after… Considering Alex hasn’t been back home for almost three days now.

In an effort to quickly turn around the subject Julie turned to the model beside her friend. One Julie had seen before, but couldn’t quite place. “I’m so sorry, I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Julie and I’ll be the photographer for today.” She said with a big smile as she offered Aphrodite a hand.

Aphrodite looked at the way Comus talked to a mortal as if she seemed to be the goddess’ close friend. Seeing them so close together made the love goddess think of the past, back when gods looked at mortals like mere small gnats or toys that were easily broken. Never in a million years would Aphrodite think that mortals could live together in harmony with the gods. It was something Aphrodite still couldn’t comprehend fully even after living in the mortal world for hundreds and hundreds of years.

There’s also something about this particular mortal, as if Aphrodite could swear she knew who she was yet she couldn’t put a finger on it. She must’ve seen this woman way back when she was a child or perhaps something entirely else too. Either way, Aphrodite smiled sweetly and shook Julie’s hand. ”A pleasure to meet you, Julie. My name’s Helen and I’m so excited to be working with you.” She said happily at the woman, though the name Alex did ring a bell. Where did she last hear that name again? ”I’m very interested in knowing how the two of you meet. Perhaps after this shoot, we can all hang out in a restaurant for lunch? Don’t worry, it’ll be my treat.” Aphrodite said to the two of them with a wink.

Comus wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about Aphrodite’s generous offer of paying for lunch for the three of them. There was something behind those sparkling eyes that screamed dangerous; Coco had witnessed it enough times to know when something felt off. Having someone like Aphrodite dissect and then potentially twist the story around was not something Comus was looking forward to. She was quite aware of how some of the Firsts viewed relationships with mortals and looked down on the union as a whole - not like Aphrodite was one to talk. That was theirs to deal with. Though, she figures she should be a bit more concerned about it when the time comes. For now she smiles back and rubs Julie’s shoulder affectionately, motioning for them to get the photo shoot started.




The shoot started and finished off great. Julie was really good in directing the models and all her photographs were amazing. She worked well with everybody and made sure the whole studio was in such a good mood. Aphrodite was very impressed on how Julie managed to make the goddess more beautiful and look sexier than she already was. Of course, Aphrodite gave it her best too. She found it really enjoyable to work with a photographer who was very professional and very talented in their craft. They were all having such a good time that they were finished before they even knew it.

After everyone was finished packing, Aphrodite did indeed invite Comus and Julie over to a French-themed restaurant not far from where they were shooting. She didn’t really have any ill-intentions in having a lunch date with the women, she just generally wanted to hang out with them. This was also Aphrodite’s way of saying sorry for Comus because of what happened at the last Conclave but of course she will have to personally apologize for it later after this.

Nevertheless, it was a very quaint yet beautiful restaurant that gave off positive and relaxing vibes. Aphrodite waved a waiter over to give the three of them menus. ”Get whatever you want, ladies. It’s all on me today.” She said to them with a wink.

The mortal among the two goddesses pursed her lips for a second, fighting the battle that always raged in her mind when she held a menu. Her eyes looked up for a second. Darting between one of her best friends and one of the most beautiful women she had ever seen. Who had just given her permission to get whatever they wanted. In her heart she just yearned for a big, juicy steak with French fries with a nice pepper sauce, but it was a pricey item so it would be rude. “I’ll… just have a salad, thank you.”

The exhaustion that typically occupies Comus' being after a tiresome shoot was quickly replaced with elation as they sat at the quaint little table within the French themed eatery. Julie's mouth watering at the steaks and their delicious sauces but ordering something as boring as a salad gave the goddess an idea. As the garçon stood there, a scowl settling on their face, waiting for the revelrous Grecian to settle on and choose her meal she instead ordered for some flank steak to be placed on Julie's salad before then placing her own order of the Boudin Noir Aux Pommes with a bottle of red Bordeaux on the side. Petty shock and awe crossed the waiter's features, a mask then sliding back into place as they then turned their attention towards Aphrodite, but Coco couldn't be bothered to pay attention. A side look from Julie and she shrugged, "She said it's on her," no remorse or regret. Purely, wholly Comus, "'Sides, you were eyeing the steak section like you were staring up at someone from their coc-,"

The second Julie realized her salad was replaced with a big, juicy, perfectly à point flank steak she threw her best friend a frown. She didn’t want to be rude and just order one of the most expensive meals on the menu! But her frown quickly changed into a smile and a soundless ‘thank you’. This was why she loved Coco so much. She did things Julie would never in her life dare to do, and it pushed her to be more adventurous as well. And luckily Coco hadn’t ordered any wine for her.

A very pointed cough and a clearing of someone's throat got Coco chuckling, entirely because of her previous train of thought, "Will that be all for you ladies?" Voice pitched up, nose stuffed high into the air, a strand of greased hair falling slightly out of place, most likely due to the tension in his body. Comus brought a delicate finger to her chin, feigning thought, though ultimately it was up to Aphrodite since she was the one footing the bill today. Didn't mean that she wasn't going to have some fun while they were there.

The love goddess smiled amusingly at her lovely friends and then at the waiter. ”I’ll have a Sole Meunière and a glass of 2017 Vins Auvigue Pouilly-Fuissé Solutré. I would also like to order one large plate of crinkle-cut fries as our appetizer. That is all.” She said to the waiter as he nodded. Before he could say anything, Aphrodite put her hand over his. ”Take it easy, handsome.” She said with a wink. The waiter audibly gulped and nodded. ”I-I will, m-ma’am. Thank… Thank you.” He stammered nervously, a bead of sweat dripping down his brow as he tripped while making his way back to the kitchen.

”Poor guy. So uptight.” Aphrodite sighed as she watched him trip before turning her attention back to the ladies. ”I’m so happy and thankful you girls are here with me. It’s so nice to finally be able to talk to friends instead of just clients. I just feel so relaxed when I’m in good company.” She said to the both of them with a sweet smile. ”Also, and this is embarrassing, I just don’t get to have a lot of girl time now. I mean, I know some people and they’re just minutes away from me if I want to hang out with them but I feel like there’s this vast ocean between us. No matter how much I swim towards them, they just keep swimming away from me. Almost as if… They’re afraid of me.” Aphrodite finished and glanced at Comus’ direction. ”I’m sorry, I must’ve rambled on, huh? Enough about me, I want to learn how the two of you girls meet!”

With pursed lips and tongue dancing behind her teeth Coco could only send a short glare towards the love goddess in response to her comment. It wasn’t like Julie would have picked up on the subtle nuance though how could she not with the blatant jab. In any normal situation the chaotic being wouldn't allow the words to fall into the air without some sort of retaliation. However, given the present company they kept she refrained. Besides, this was supposed to be a reformative lunch date, the least she could do is be somewhat civil. She closed her eyes and sat back, arms raised in a shrug, "Nah, don’t apologize, it has been much too long that we've been together and had a chat that wasn't model centric...” a sip from her presented wine had her pausing in reply, "Oh, yes. Our origin story is one befitting the two of us." Comus couldn't help but shoot Julie a knowing smirk.

The words Helen spoke felt almost melancholic to Julie. To her, the woman had clearly gone through something. Something that had brought her pain. The way she told them about how others seemed to swim away from her. Well, she wouldn’t swim away from her! Even if she barely knew her, she wanted to see her happy. But Coco’s rather casual demeanor towards her fellow model’s hardships caught Julie a bit off guard. For a second she wondered if something had happened between the two. But that thought was quickly shrugged off when Helen asked about how Coco and Julie met.

The memory alone made Julie turn beet red. “Well…” She tried to stall. Coco, obviously, was far more excited about the tale. Probably too excited. Julie would have to make sure the right facts were told. “We already kind of knew each other back when we were both models. One night some guy-“ Some asshole who couldn’t stop hitting on both of them. “-invited both of us to party in one of those big clubs with bottle service. The party...was a bit dull so me and Coco just said our goodbyes.”

Comus snapped to attention, setting her glass down gingerly and eyes finding Julie's, "Don't be so modest Juju!" it was like a whine being pulled from her as Coco picked up where she purposefully left off, "We stole a bottle of the fanciest champagne sitting on the table before bolting outta there!" The laugh that passed through wine kissed lips was mirthful at the memory, "Truth be told that malakas deserved much worse than that… here Juju, have a glass you'll love this one," Coco all but shoved a filled wine glass into Julie's hand.

The entire time Coco spoke Julie was looking down at her plate, red of shame. To grinning from ear to ear at the memory. She had never done that before. Then she got a glass shoved in her hand by her friend who told her she’d love it. “I-I… you know I shouldn’t.” She said, making a meager attempt at refusing Coco. She was a lightweight and Coco knew that! One glass was enough for her to get a second, and maybe a third then! Before she’d know it she would be loud and clumsy and she’d have to call Alex to pick her up.

“But to conclude that story-“ Or rather to end it as fast as possible before Coco could blab on even more about it. “-We just strolled a bit through Seattle while drinking the champagne and talking. It was a really nice night.” She said. Looking with almost pleading eyes at Coco. Hoping she would catch on and not tell the truth. She didn’t regret that night. Far from it. But Julie only just met Helen and she didn’t want to give a horrible first impression.

"Psht don't worry, I'll take you home if need be," Coco shushed her friend's anxiety about the one drink but plowed through the story making sure to patch up the holes so blatantly ignored. "You're forgetting the best part." Attention now placed towards Aphrodite, "We absconded to Discovery Park, Krug Vintage Brut in hand and sat on the beach in the dark," a wicked knowing smirk on her lips as her eyes slid back towards the mortal, a lick of her lips and she was exposing their late night dalliance for anyone who would be paying any attention to the trio.

"I can still remember the way your lips tasted of spiced dried figs and ripe quince, truly an adventure." Her tone took on a sultry spice, not unlike that of the champagne they shared nearly five years ago. The night was chilly, biting at their skins, but it was nothing as they sat in the light of the moon in the sand passing the emerald bottle between them both. It had surprised the goddess at the time, though she should have noticed the brazen twinkle in the mortal's eyes as she gripped Coco's face between both her hands and kissed her hard. Her lips tasting like salt and spice and who was Coco to pass up the opportunity to partake in one's experimental phase?

She was soon brought out from her memories, feeling a slight kick under the table only to catch the sight of a rosy cheeked Julie.

Aphrodite stayed silent and watched the two women as they both recounted the time they first crossed paths. She smiled the whole time and even giggled at some parts. Although she could tell that wasn't the whole story, Aphrodite didn't want to pry any further. Just as Comus and Julie were finished with their story, the waiters came along with their food. The aroma of their freshly-cooked meals wafted from their table. The waiters put everyone's order on their side of the table, including the wine they ordered, and they even apologized about serving the appetizer at the same time as the main course because there's been a problem at the kitchen. Aphrodite smiled sweetly at them to tell them it wasn't a big deal before they wished them to enjoy their meal and left. "That was equal parts exciting and wonderful, ladies. Quite the journey you both got into too. Now, let's all enjoy ourselves with our lovely food!"

Aphrodite raised her glass to the two ladies. "A toast. For old friends and new. For new beginnings and a flourishing life for all of us. Cheers!" She cheerfully said, glancing at Comus especially with a warm smile on her face.

A glance that did not go unnoticed by the only mortal at the table. Julie, once again, felt like there was an odd relationship between Coco and Helen. Perhaps Helen was her mentor in the modeling business? Still, beaming a bright smile at both old and new friends, Julie raised her own glass to join the toast. “To old friends and new ones!” She said while clinking her glass as she gingerly sipped the wine. Coco was right! She totally loved the wine!

There was something stirring within her at the entire theatrics of the midday get together. Julie being present offered Comus a well appreciated distraction from it all but it wasn't like she could completely disregard everything that's happened within the last few days. This is not the time it seems to bring up an issue that would darken the mood. Instead, Coco grabs her wine glass and toasted with the rest of them, trying her hardest to flash a warm smile towards Aphrodite. An unspoken agreement passing between them, a notion to be civil and leave previous offenses where they belong.

"To old friends and new, the ones we have and the ones we've lost and the ones we make along the way. Stin ygeiá sas!"

collab with: @baraquiel @Legion02
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𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐏𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐚
𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐏𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐚
ᴄᴀɴɴɪʙɪꜱᴛʀᴏ
ꜰʟᴜꜰꜰʏ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴄᴏᴛᴛᴏɴ ᴄᴀɴᴅʏ



Walks should always end in some kind of catharsis or epiphany, especially autumnal walks. Something about the crisp air and the burnt leaves shaking loose from their boughs at the trembling wind carried a wisdom to it. It carried the voice of the universe.

Yet, Jormungandr felt further lost to the throes of an existential crisis, to the unfair grasp of family he loved but could not have. Hel touched fingertips to his before reeling away. Guilt ached in his stomach, grumbling its discomfort. That Jormungandr would feel worse at the prospect of his sister reaching out only to carry that with him in childish contempt made for a nasty concoction of guilt and the feeling of someone scorned.

If a damnable walk wouldn’t clear his head, Jormungandr would have to settle with cooking. And more cooking. Maybe a little too much cooking because now he had giant balls of dough just out on his counter waiting to be cut into freshly made pasta. He shouldn’t have closed early. Now he felt bad on two fronts.

With a sigh, Jormungandr began kneading the dough to its right consistency until he could feed it through his little pasta maker. The man dwarfed his equipment, yet he still somehow managed to glide through the kitchen with airy effort and gentle care. Despite the sadness that ached him and settled in the lines of his face, Jormungandr still poured his love into each and every dish. Nothing less for anyone; he’d keep the tears from the pasta, maybe save that for his dinner later.

Whilst the downcast form of the norse god worked on his craft, one rather excitable con-man had snuck up behind him, hand reaching up to his mouth as he tried desperately not to let out the laugh that threatened to burst from his chest. A mischievous glint brimmed just under the surface of Hermes’ gaze as he revelled in the pleasure of being able to slip in unnoticed. It reminded him of those times when he had traced the furtive footsteps of lowly thieves, giving them a nudge of good luck so that they would be able to take that coveted loaf of bread or pouch of precious coins without fear of persecution.

Finally reaching the taller male, blue eyes peered round his well-defined shoulders to focus on the rhythmical movement of skilled hands as they folded and refolded the dough. It was surprisingly relaxing to watch someone work so cleanly and effortlessly, and he couldn’t help but admire his ability to focus so dedicatedly on one task. It required a patience that Hermes had never, and was unlikely to ever, possess.

“Watcha cooking?” His voice abruptly broke the near silence, chin practically resting on Jormungandr's shoulder as he spoke up. "Need any help? I’ve been told I’m good with my hands..." The trickster god couldn't help the gentle tease that slipped from his mouth, corners of his lips pulling into a small smile at his words. The offer was, unfortunately, an empty one, for his skill in the kitchen was akin to that of an easily distracted toddler. At best he would simply go hungry and at worst he was required to call the fire brigade.

A solemn face stared in a near dazed expression at the dough pressed in Jormungandr’s hands. He’d not heard the sneakthief until the man had nearly pressed up against him. The counter shook at Jorm’s strength as the snake god jumped, releasing an unceremonious yelp in the process. ”You’re gonna make me regret giving you access to my kitchen,” Jorm said. A smile bit at his lips, but it felt hard to keep it there even with a friend like Hermes and his constant high energy radiating behind him.

”I’m makin’ pasta, at the moment. Just a buncha noodles. Still need to figure out the sauce,” Jorm said, turn back to stare at the dough. He knew the god’s offer was likely sincere, but Jorm knew the extent of Hermes’ cooking skill. Still, looking at the chipper face of a friend who somehow found it reasonable to drop in unannounced whenever he felt like—honestly, though, did Jorm really care? He welcomed the arrival of the messenger boy. Revelled in it, honestly, as among the gods he knew, Hermes was the best guy to call when he was in a funk.

”Kneading dough is different from kneading other things, Herm,” Jorm grinned, ”But, yeah, yeah. Run this through my little pasta maker over there. You’ll be my noodle boy tonight.” Somehow, Jorm knew Hermes would crank the machine once before something shiny caught his attention.

“I think you mean noodle man.” Hermes corrected, shooting him a cheeky grin before reluctantly stepping away. He had quite enjoyed the closeness of their bodies, even if it had only been for the briefest of moments. “Okay, you’re the boss! But I’ll have you know that there is no-one better in Seattle than me at cooking a pot noodle.” Seeming genuinely proud of what could barely be called an accomplishment, Hermes wandered over to the pasta thingy…the pasta…the shiny thing Jorm had pointed out.

Grabbing the lump of dough, Hermes proceeded to unceremoniously plonk it on top of the machine. His head tilted in concentration as he began to crank the lever, a small frown knitting his brows together when the dough sat firmly in place, refusing to move through the contraption. Hermes furiously wound the lever for a whole minute before deciding that it was not going to work. There was clearly nothing he could do and Jorm would just have to buy a new machine. “I think it’s broken.” He finally announced, turning to look back over at the man in question. “Guess we’ll have to eat something else! Wait- why are you cooking if the restaurant is shut?” His gaze roved over his friends face as he suddenly realised how unusual it was for Cannibistro to be shut, especially when there were always plenty of willing patrons.

The heat left him and Jorm could only frown at the absence, only to wipe it away at the sight of Hermes attempting to jam a ball of dough into his pasta maker. Jorm cackled, feeling a smile return to him as he moved over, standing close to the shorter man. The dough squished in his hand as he sprinkled flour atop it, flattened it, and then fed it through the machine. ”You just gotta, keep feedin’ it through till it’s flat and long enough to make some thin noodle slices,” Jorm said, smiling at him only to frown at Hermes' question. That he really didn’t feel like answering, or rather he didn’t quite have the answer for him. Jorm instead scratched the back of his head and looked toward a batch of small containers already filled with cooked noodles.

”Just one of those days you feel like making a giant supply of noodles, you know?” Jorm said as if that was something every average person did. Just make about a hundred containers of noodles and the sauce to match for no other reason than just because? He could feel the heat rising to his cheeks and Jorm averted his gaze as his lips pressed together and his brows knitted. ”Just felt like it, yeah? The homeless shelter nearby always needs a hefty supply of food and rations, so I just thought, why not? Haha,” Jorm nearly looked on the brink of sweating, eyes awkwardly flitting from Hermes to his pile of dough on the other counter.

”Hey! Come on, Noodle Boy lemme show you my new stand mixer!” Jorm immediately changed the subject, hoping something else shinier would distract Hermes for a spell.

“Man…” Hermes couldn’t help the small pout that graced his features this time, his focus briefly flitting back to the dough as Jorm expertly showed him how to use the thingamajig. It looked extremely laborious, requiring a multitude of repeated steps, and he found his gaze straying back over to the head chef instead. Eyes flitting across his face, the smile that was often a fixed staple of Hermes’ features dropped for a moment. His job practically relied on him being able to astutely read body language, and he couldn’t help but notice the small shift in Jorms expression as he spoke. “For the homeless, huh? Guess they won’t be going hungry tonight!” He smiled, giving Jorm a gentle pat on the shoulder as he moved to place himself between the god and the mixer he was trying to show him.

“You’re acting weird.” He pointed out bluntly, reaching up to gently prod him in the centre of his chest. “Are you high or something? Oh! Is that why you shut up shop?” Hermes let out a small laugh at the idea of Jorm trying to serve customers whilst high as a kite. “Lemme have a look at your eyes!” Tongue between his teeth as he moved towards him, Hermes closed the distance between their bodies once more, his face a picture of focused concentration as he tried to ascertain whether his pupils were in fact dilated. “Hm, looks normal to me…” He eventually concluded, a quizzical expression flitting across his face.

Jorm gave a nod to him, smiling softly. ”Yeah, figure I got the money and the resources, so why not—” Jorm promptly caught his breath at the sudden intrusion into his personal space. The distance between them concerned Jorm, though he felt torn between the sudden drying of his throat and the desire to maybe scoot a little, tiny bit closer. No words reached his addled mind trying to make sense of his current situation.

”Huh? High?” He said with the most dumbfounded expression slacking his face. From this distance, Jorm could make out every line of Hermes’ face, the expression he wore, the tongue slipped from between his teeth like that of an inquisitive puppy. A breeze passed through him, surrounding him until it nearly pushed him forward until his eyes widened. ”Wha-what? I mean… what’re… what do you mean? I’m not actin’ weird, you’re weird. Weirdo,” Jorm retaliated, lips pushed into a light pout as he slouched forward. He couldn’t stop his eyes flitting from Herm’s own and down to the speedster god’s lips, which brought even more heat to his face.

To battle melancholy, nerves, and the desire to smoosh Hermes’ cheeks together and demand why the bastard was so endearingly cute. Everything burned and the sadness that stilled gripped him grasped at his throat while Hermes gaze clenched around his heart. He felt it more and more irresistible to just yell and roar his frustrations.

”Noodle…” Jorm said with some kind of pouting finality.

Hermes’ lips pulled into a smirk at the gods sulky demeanour. “Tell me.” He urged softly, eyes flitted over that perfect jawline, gaze briefly trailing down to his collarbone before darting back up to his face. “Or I’ll make you.” The heralds expression was a mixture of light humour and mischief, parted lips mere inches away from touching those opposite. As his chest moved softly in and out, he felt his senses flooded by the woody scent of a steady bonfire, only to be washed over by a fresh sea breeze and a floral scent he didn’t quite recognise.

Normally he wouldn’t have spared a second before he closed the gap between them, but Hermes knew that they were just friends...even if he could still remember the thrill of that one drunken kiss. Of course, that didn’t mean he was at all opposed to using a little sprinkle of charm to get his own way. Reaching up a hand, he moved to gently brush away a dash of flour that had been smeared across Jorms cheek, fingertips lingering for a moment too long. “C’mon. We’re friends, right? I’m great at keeping secrets if that’s what you’re worried about…” His tongue moved to wet his suddenly dry lips, Hermes stubbornly refusing to budge an inch away from the snake god.

Stealing his breath away had to be a speciality of Hermes’. Jormungandr had determined quite a while ago that, yes, that was the truth in its entirety. If it didn’t throw him into such awkward situations such as the one where he currently found himself staring at the hint of pink slipping between lips. Cowardice took him like it did everytime, like it had that night when he could taste the peppermint on his tongue. It felt like rain, warm in summer heat, quenched the parched bite clinging to his throat. He wanted to feel that again and nearly did, so close to the wheat on summer air, but he threw himself against the gust of wind at his back and turned his head.

Not today. His nerves caught him too quickly this time and dragged him from the confession on his lips.

”Ye-yeah, we are, but what’ll you do to make me?” Jormungandr asked. Despite the tint of pink to his cheeks and the anxiety that clawed at himi, he’d rebel against it just this once—just this small, tiny bit. With his eyes unable to stare at just one feature, they had to drink all of Hermes in: the clean cut of the man’s jaw, the trickster’s smile that stretched the cupid’s bow of his lips, and the sharp crease of his collar that dipped to his lithe chest. He snapped back up, catching the soft blue of his eyes that reminded him of the tip between sky and sea that he’d peer at those days ago, yearning for something only to yearn for the vanishing point of Hermes’ gaze. It set a light pout to his lips that he couldn’t stop.

Everything slowed down as Hermes caught the blush on the gods cheeks...the way his eyes moved back and forth over his own. It was less about the trick now and more about the desire welling up in the pit of his stomach. A haze of want overcame him, clouding his senses so that he was barely able to acknowledge the hesitant words that were uttered. “What’ll I-…” His breath hitched in his throat, the ever impatient god no longer able to withstand the pull within him. Without warning, lips moved to press against his, softly at first and then more insistently as a hunger he hadn’t realised was there took over. A hand moved to grip at his neck, demandingly pulling the gods face closer, until there was only heat and yearning desire left between them.

Nerves and awkwardness melted away into nothing but the press of lips to his. It left him rigid, at first, eyes wide open as he hunched down slightly. His hands hovered over Hermes’ sides, unsure of themselves, of what they would do to something that felt like glass in his grip. But he allowed the rain to cool his heated skin and willed his arms to grasp and hold tight to Hermes, pull him gentle against him.

He could recall the haze of alcohol that bit him so long ago and the feel of Hermes’ against him now made the drunken mist feel like a numb swipe of lips. The sobriety and lucidity of this moment trumped the dark nights alone, sighing to himself, wanting what he dumbly figured he couldn’t have. Though, maybe he still couldn’t and the lick of his tongue against the crease of Hermes’ lips faltered.

A gasp left his throat when cowardice took him again and Jormungandr pressed his hands to Hermes' sides. Battling against the need that overtook him felt like fighting against a downpour, but he persisted. ”Herm,” he said, face red and lips redder still, ”I don’t think… I-I’m sorry.” He stepped away just slightly, head tilted down with his face pinched in defeat. The smallness of his moment now overwhelmed him, as if he could look up and see Hermes towering above him. He wanted to flee, but he’d planted himself to the tile of his kitchen floor.

”I don’t think you want what I want,” Jorm said, voice barely a whisper. To see himself, the snake that wound himself around the world, fall to meekness at the gaze of another caught him in a cycle of shame. One he wasn't sure he could release himself from on his own.

A brief flash of hurt crossed the Grecian's face when the body he so ached to be near pulled away from his own. He wished to reach out and pull him demandingly back but the downtrodden expression that faced him, stopped him from doing little more than bring an unsure hand up to his own lips, still relishing in the faint taste of salt and firewood.

“Oh.” The word slipped out as he tried to hide the sudden disappointment that he felt. Had he been mistaken? Perhaps the norse god truly only sought his friendship. After all, whenever someone looked this way, it usually meant Hermes had done something wrong. He also usually didn’t feel guilty but he couldn’t help the knot that had begun to form in the pit of his stomach. To have made him look so upset, so unsure...that was the worst thing he could’ve done.

“Guess I shouldn’t have done that, eh?” He let out a dry laugh, forcing a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Ah shit, my bad. I’m sorry Jorm!” Running a hand awkwardly through his brunette locks, Hermes glanced around the kitchen, trying desperately not to look at Jorm for fear that he would want to kiss those sweet lips once more. “I should go! I can go…” He finally concluded, the despondent tone weighing heavy in his words. Shooting Jorm another lacklustre smile, he headed for the door, not daring to look back.

Fumbling seemed to be the only thing Jorm could do these days and the look of hurt on Hermes pierced his gut. It was so quick, but in that moment of shame and fear, it was the only thing Jorm saw. The chill froze him to the ground even though he begged his body to move. Do something. Yet, he felt as if he were that small serpent again, choked by the hand of the Allfather, ripped away from love and life and tossed to the ice cold seas.

That felt so long ago. No, it was so long ago and now he was free to make the choices he wanted, to be the kind of god he wanted so desperately to be. Even if his own sister refused to see that, Jorm couldn’t wrap himself in the security of his own fear.

As soon as Hermes passed him, Jorm bid his arm to move. It latched out, grasping the other god’s arm in a vice grip before spinning them both to face each other. ”That’s not what I meant Herm,” Jorm said, holding onto Hermes’ shoulders like he was dangling from a cliff. This surge of confidence would wane soon and he just needed Hermes to understand, just this once exactly what he meant.

”I don’t just wanna be your friend,” Jorm started, eyes wide and suddenly gripped with anxiety, ”I mean, I… I wanna be. Like, just, um… you and me… you know like you would be my friend—no, boy that’s a friend. A friend that, uh, you know with… no, I’m not making any sense.”

Jorm let out a loud huff, taking a moment to let the words come to him. ”I wanna be your friendboy! No. Agh. Date me, Hermes.”

When Jorm had gripped onto his arm, Hermes willingly let himself be pulled back to him, eyes instantly fixing on the gods nervous form. The hurt quickly switched to confusion, and then finally to playfulness as bursts of laughter suddenly began to rise from his chest. “Friend…boy…?” He managed to utter the words through the endless giggles, hands taking to rest against Jorms perfectly defined chest as he attempted to steady himself.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” He finally conceded, body shaking with silent laughter as he looked up at Jorm, sky blue eyes wide with delight. Fingers closed gently around the annoyingly present fabric of his shirt as he eventually managed to catch his breath long enough to speak normally once more.

“Sooooo…you wanna date me? I’m that great, huh?” A cocky grin graced his features as he teased Jorm, gaze now freely roaming over his face and body and well...everywhere. “I suppose I can fit time in my busy schedule to do that.” Biting down on his bottom lip, he gently chewed at the delicate skin, breathing becoming more shallow as his ever traitorous thoughts strayed to more pleasurable ideas. “But I think we might need to practice that kiss again first…”

A pout set in at the sudden laughter shaking the man he held in his grasp. ”Don’t laugh at me!” Jorm said, lips set in a light pout. He let his hands slide against Hermes’ shoulders, sliding down to grip at the man’s sides. A weight fell from Jorm’s shoulders, replaced with that warm air surrounding them that gently grazed the light sea of his mind. With a sigh, he let his shoulders fall and his hands slide back to pull Hermes ever closer toward him.

”Well, I mean… don’t let it get to your head, but yeah,” Jorm grinned, eyelids falling just slightly as he breathed Hermes in. He felt the fresh breeze, the summer rains, could feel it surround them instead of the warm kitchen. ”You’re gonna have to show me how friendbo—I mean… don’t say anything, just…” Jorm stumbled again, pinching his eyes shut as his cheeks burned.

Whilst Jorm spoke, hands moved to rove over his chest, gently feeling every indentation before moving up to clasp gently behind his neck. “Fuck...” For once the trickster god was caught speechless, unwilling or unable to let his usual ramblings interfere with the opportunity to taste the god once more. Pressing their bodies together, Hermes slowly began to pepper kisses anywhere but on his lips. On his neck, on his jawline, on his cheeks... Hooded eyes looked mischievously up at him, daring Jorm to submit first, to be the one to delve where they both sought so desperately to go.

Yet it was he who eventually cracked. Hermes, body thrumming with an almost insufferable tension, leaned in to kiss him. Lips pressed furiously against his, hands roaming up into his soft hair as he held them there, unwilling to let go.

More words came to Jorm’s lips, just mindless rambling that his nerves drove into him until Hermes literally knocked the air. Like he’d been thrown from earth to the space that clouded his visions, Jorm couldn’t breath. The lips that pressed into him, his neck, his jaw, took his own lips in a soft press that quickly turned to hunger. What could he do but melt into the gentle rain of Hermes’ lips, the smell of summer around him.

All while his hands grasped in dire need to ensure that Hermes was real, that the feel of his warmth against him was truer than the worry on his mind. Everything slipped away: the letter, the awkward zeal that held him hostage, the cool AC that hummed above them. All of it turned to the need that sat in his chest for so long that he hadn’t known the exhilaration of finding himself free of it.

Jormungandr didn’t wait, merely bent low into the kiss until his hands grasped Hermes waist and hoisted him up. It took a while, getting used to the sudden weight in his arms, and then between heated kisses and trailing wetness of his tongue against Hermes’, Jormungandr found his way out. Shoving through the kitchen doorway, Jormungandr could only really get a few feet before he stumbled, however.

A yelp left him as he immediately spun so that his back took the brunt of the fall, though the pain quickly vanished in light of his new predicament. ”I’m glad I closed up early,” Jormungandr grinned, still slightly dazed as he now stared up at the man atop him. It wasn’t what he intended, but at least from here no one could sneak a peek at the circumstance Hermes and Jormungandr found themselves in. Still, he squeezed Hermes side as he lifted himself up, balanced on an elbow as he immediately pulled the other god to taste the freshness of mint that wafted off his tongue.

”You okay? Not hurt?” Jorm asked between each taste, unable to stop grinning as laughter spilled like honey from his reddened lips.

Hermes nodded, grinning back against the lips that kissed him. “Oh, I’m fine. Are you? Jorms happiness was delightfully infectious, his laughter filling the room with its sweet dulcet tones, and for a moment he was glad that he had the sound all to himself.

“Infact, I couldn’t be happier…” His eyes twinkled mischievously, thoughts of what he could do to the man pinned under him flooding through his head. So many delicious ideas came to mind that he knew there was no way he could do them all right now. It was no worry though...they had plenty of time as friendboys to explore all that intrigued him.

Purposefully making his movements slow & laborious, Hermes moved to straddle Jorms hips properly, staring keenly down at the god when he was done. “Now…” He laughed, suddenly moving to pin Jorms arms above his head. The trickster may not have been as fast as he once was atop Mount Olympus but he still was difficult to keep up with when he wanted to be. “I do see one problem here.” He shook his head in mock disappointment as he leaned down to nip gently against his captives bottom lip. “You’re wearing far too many clothes...”

If he had any concerns, they immediately left him the second Hermes took charge. Jorm snapped his teeth, grinning up at Hermes. ”I think it’s unfair to say that when you’re a part of the problem, Herms,” Jorm said, planting his feet on the ground to buck his hips upward in an attempt to off-kilter the god on top of him. He used that moment to steal a heated kiss from Hermes’ lips, stealing the air from the speedster’s mouth like it was his own to claim.

”Tit-for-tat? You solve your problem and I solve mine?” Jorm laughed again, the sound rolling in his chest like thunder as he flexed his wrists caught in Hermes’ hands. ”Don’t be mean, Noodle Boy, you’ve just started cheering me up,” Jorm said. The laugh melted away into a barely contained pout that begged to widen into a toothy grin.

Hermes remained stubbornly in place despite Jorms attempts to fling him off, his hands lifting the gods wrists up momentarily before pinning them back firmly into place on the cold wooden floor. “Noodle man.” He playfully corrected once more, lips moving to mimic the pout that Jorm was currently sporting. Tit-for-tat was all well and fair, but Hermes really only cared about the attire of one immortal being.

“You drive a hard bargain Jormy.” Releasing his hold on him, Hermes leaned backwards to slowly strip the shirt from his back, muscles tensing in restless apprehension. From this vantage point he could perfectly admire Jorms body and his gaze unabashedly strayed wherever it liked, unperturbed by the obvious nature of his admiration. “Your turn.” He grinned, tilting his head eagerly as he waited.

Air caught in Jormungandr’s throat at the sight of Hermes. He kept himself still, though his hands, once unpinned, moved to hover over Hermes’ form. The pads of his fingers traced over the lines of musculature leading from Hermes’ sides to his stomach. Then, like drizzle misting Hermes’ body, his fingers found their way to his chest. His breath shallowed before it heaved a great sigh that lifted his chest.

Undoing the trance Jorm fell into with a shake of his head, he gulped down his nerves. ”R-right. Yeah… my, uh… turn,” Jorm said, tongue sweeping out to quench his parched lips. It took a moment to register his own words until he let out a small, ”Oh!” and immediately leaned forward to rip the shirt from his torso and toss it aside. Again, his chest heaved as he lay back down, hands already back to grasping at Hermes’ sides. He looked up at him, eyes flitting from the god’s eyes to his neck to his chest.

”Haha, oh jeeze,” Jorm said, light air under his breath.

The nervous energy radiating from Jorm caused Hermes’ gaze to soften, hands moving to mindlessly toy with the stiff fabric at the top of his jeans. He so badly wanted to rush in head first, to let his hunger push him into realms of ecstasy and sensual delights. And at any other time...with any other person, he wouldn’t have given it a second thought; but the god seemed so nervous, so unsure...and he felt a sudden urge to make sure he was okay. Resisting the temptation to delve his hands into unknown territories, the exposed skin of their chests instead met as Hermes leant down to chastely press their lips together. Tongue briefly brushed against his, before he reluctantly pulled back. “We can stop if you want...” He muttered quietly, hooded eyes making it clear that he wanted to do anything but that, but for Jorm, he would ignore it. Or at least try to…

”Why would we stop?” Jorm asked, quiet with his lips hovering so close to Hermes’. The nervous twinge that worried a crease on his brow likely gave Hermes the idea that maybe he didn’t want to go further. Or maybe Hermes himself didn’t want to push beyond the boundaries of their relationship. Jorm’s hands glided along Hermes’ side, fingers twitching slightly in concern. He sucked his lip in, stared at Hermes mouth, then looked to lock eyes with the speedster.

”Do—do you want to stop?” Jorm asked, even quieter as his chest shook out a sigh. Despite the nerves, he shook his head, wrapping his arms tight around Hermes back to draw him closer still despite their chests pressing flat against each other. ”I want…” Jorm paused, hesitant to voice the truth in his thoughts for fear of rejection even in spite of the man literally laying half-naked atop him, ”I wanna be with you in every way possible, Herm.” The confession released from his lips came out so softly and with reverence, though the quiet shake of his voice seemed odd coming from the mouth of a giant such as Jorm.

“You do?” It was Hermes’ turn to blush this time, the barest hint of pink flaring up against the skin of his cheeks. Embarrassment was something he rarely felt but no-one had ever put it to him so sweetly before. He’d always been the one night stand, or the brief fling guy, but the way Jorm spoke made it seem like something more than that was possible. Something he’d never even considered having...

“Well, now that I know that...” Trying to hide his brief moment of shyness, Hermes shot him a lopsided grin, eyes narrowing playfully. “I’m not letting you go anywhere.” The trickster pressed his body hard against that beneath him, teeth once more nipping at his bottom lip, before moving to trail fiery kisses down his neck.

The words washed over him to the point Jorm’s lips hurt from smiling so wide. It should have been burning between them, but Jorm only felt the careful warmth of Hermes light him up from the inside. It swelled inside him, staring at the man who nipped at his lips and pressed kisses to steamed skin. Jorm’s hand came up, running his fingers through the brunette hair as he bit his lips.

”Course I do, Herm,” he said, lifting Herm to meet him for one last lock of their lips. He tasted the sweet bite of mint on his tongue, savored it with a rumble in his chest before letting Hermes continue his descent. Cheeks tinted red, Jorm watched, chest rising in shallow puffs that grew even lighter at the beat of his chest, at the thought that this would be the first of many. Jorm couldn’t stop the wide, full smile at the thought while his hands roamed the arch of Hermes’ back, the tousled hair that smelled like hot rain that melded into the rolling waves.

collab interactions: @Danvers x @Gothelk
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Gothelk
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Gothelk Vacancy

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Tea Time
Tea Time
ʟɪᴛᴛʟᴇ ᴍᴀʀᴊᴏʀᴀᴍ ; 8:00 ᴘ.ᴍ.
ᴏᴘᴇɴ ᴛʜᴇ ꜰʟᴏᴏᴅ ɢᴀᴛᴇꜱ



What happened to the sun when he dipped beneath the line of the ocean, or the tide of trees that washed over the hillside? Let the dusk consume the sky in a brilliant display of purple, casting the curtain aside to make way for the stars that dipped into the sheet of black that enveloped them.

Today had met Imentet with a busy sight, though as the sun sank to the horizon, time slowed to give the goddess of respite a moment to herself. Beneath the bustle of the city, she wiped down each glass encased desert that served as her tables—purple sand to symbolize the shift between day and night, life and death—then ensured each of her cases contained all the tea she would need for the night. The curtains fit and adjusted to just the right amount and the array of lights above to serve as her stars each blinked slow and asynchronous from each other. The dim light of dusk that her secret cafe held fit just right for the patrons that would find themselves calling to her in search for guidance and hospitality.

Tonight, only a few souls sat in the low lying chairs or the soft cushions of her seats, which left the rest available for the myriad of guest she'd welcome. The room was smaller than the top, but all the cozier for it with an assortment of cushions and seats for her patrons to find themselves. Most of the decor came in that same North African, desert theme she used to remind herself and her friends of a home they yearned to return to. Unlike the day and dawn theme that the top provided, Imentet used an array of dark purples and blacks with some darker blues mixed into the furniture and decor. The veil that cut day into night cast itself over the entirety of her humble cafe and to it she allowed herself to fall into.

At exactly eight o'clock, Imentet send a number of texts to her friends and anyone she considered a non-troublemaker to stop on by, that the bottom cafe was open for business.

To: Whomever & Egyptians
Little Marjoram: After Dark is all properly set up. If you're not afraid of a little wayward souls here and there, feel free to stop on by.😉
No roughhousing or I s2g...

With that sent off, Imentet settled into one of the corners full of blankets and soft pillows and a very low lying table. A book cracked open in her lap, she read and waited for the first deity to set foot into her establishment. Her eyes made sure to flit up every now and then, perhaps a little eager for friendly company after skipping on the latest Conclave.


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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Icy Hot
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Icy Hot hand / crusher™

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𝓤𝓷𝓻𝓪𝓿𝓮𝓵
𝓤𝓷𝓻𝓪𝓿𝓮𝓵
ʜᴏᴍᴇ 𝟾:𝟹𝟶 AM
it is about the war not the battles.



The pieces of the puzzle were slowly falling into place for Janus, though certainly not without a few headaches in the day. The derailed brunch included. There was more he wanted to cover, ideas to verbalize and information to gather, but so be it the ticking time bomb exploded before he had a chance to do so. Janus was no stranger to Venus’ emotions and had witnessed the scars of history that still pained her to this day. The fall of Rome had struck its Mother the deepest, and that made her all the more valuable to Janus. Venus had a debt to Rome and would submit to her own suffering for millennia if it meant returning her home to its former glory. Janus wouldn’t admit to ever considering the weight of her drunken words, but it was undeniable that what she said rang true for them all in that room, herself included.

There were many truths revealed to him that day, some more irking than others, but in time they’d all become a means to an end. There was never a god or man Janus had lost a battle of strategy and wits to; it hadn’t been in his realm of possibility, and he wasn’t about to open it up to failure now. The muscles in his hands tightened around the steering wheel’s leather, and his foot pressured the gas, allowing the 720 to roar through its acceleration as the irritation rippled through him. Clare Delune was interrupted by the shrill ring of his phone, and he answered with a clipped greeting, or tried to anyways but was promptly cut-off.

“$23,000,000.”

The second roar of the car and lurch of the sudden acceleration was the only indication of the fury that burned in the stone-faced god. The vehicle grew quiet, icy from the humanity that seeped out of Janus as he pondered every possible means of getting what he wanted without playing these games. How easy it’d be to stretch his influence and money into other avenues to teach the money-hungry mortals manners, but the image of a scowl unfitting for such pretty lips flashed in his mind and promptly ended that brief line of thought.

“Jan-“

“I heard you, Oliver.” The tone of his voice was no less than an angry snap, and he released a sigh, rolling his shoulders as he eased up on the speeding and stretched his fingers out before he damaged the impeccable pieces of machinery he rode in. “You’re sure you saw the right number of 0s?”

Oliver responded with a nervous chuckle, “Yeah… all six of them, I counted it ten times before calling you. And he wants it in 48 hours-- cash, or he starts an auction.”

It was Janus’ turn to issue a chuckle, though the sound of his was far from nervous, it was a dangerous sound that issued an uneasy groan from Oliver who immediately started babbling.

“Fuck. I’m sorry, he shot the price up when he found out Julius of Initium was the interested buyer. The asshole pulled one over on me! Me, the ultimate con artist getting outconned, I can’t believe it and now it’s going to cost you the key to the she-“ “Have Olivia transfer the funds from the business account.

“Excuse me? You’re going to give that bloke millions of dollars for the keys of a shed on the outskirts of Seattle? There aren’t even houses in that area worth a quarter of that! He’s obviously onl-“

“I’m well aware Oliver. The avarice of humans truly knows no bounds, and apparently neither does their ignorance.” Janus pulled into the parking spot of his destination and killed the engine, giving another sigh “Pull out the cash tomorrow and set up a time for us all to sit down and meet. A nice high rise restaurant, throw my name around if you have trouble getting a table. I can’t talk any longer, Oliver, I have other matters to tend to.”

“ Oh, you’re a brave man. Hopefully you keep your balls after tonight, give an extra big smooch to Miss Si-“ idiot

Janus brushes off the front of his suit coat as he exited the supercar. Among the surroundings the luxury vehicle stood out like a sore thumb, in fact, just his existence in the less than exquisite place seemed out of sorts. Nonetheless, aside from the Roman’s shared estate, this humble apartment complex was something of a second home to him, despite the verbal berating he often gave it.

Ascending the flight of stairs he stood outside apartment 3C, there was a brief moment of hesitance as he rose his fist, what’s the worst that could happen? Janus rapped his knuckles against the metal door in quick succession before taking a half step back awaiting the door to open.

It did open a beat and a half later, allowing a small peek into the apartment that must have had a grandmother for an interior designer. She appeared then, peering around the door with her hair mussed and dressed comfortably in an oversized shirt plus ill-fitting boxers that certainly weren’t hers. Despite her warm surroundings and welcoming appearance, she took one look at Janus and promptly shut the door in his face.

“The audacity.” She murmured to herself, grabbing a pillow and tucking herself onto the couch. Her unfinished papers lay forgotten on the table and she glares at them as if they should answer for her irritation. Oh, she would let Janus in eventually. Eventually. But she wanted to hear him beg to her door, first. She made sure to turn the TV slightly down so she can hear his pleas, and oh how he better plead.

Janus released the breath he had been holding, expecting a more violent reaction to his surprise visit, but perhaps he had spent too much time around Venus and her interactions with her ex-lover. So the door in his face was greatly appreciated before it turned into an object of annoyance. A part of him hoped she’d perhaps gotten over the… agreement he didn’t uphold in days past, but this reaction was an indication of anything but that.

“I drove across town just to spend my night with you, don’t let some last-minute RSVP changes sour our fun.” Janus’ voice barely rose in volume, his pride not daring to let his voice echo into the night sky. There was no discernible movement or sound from the other side of the door and he let out an annoyed grumble, “I understand a man is only as good as his word, and despite the circumstances that led to me giving you my word, I still went back on it. So allow me to make amends, little crow.”

Inside the apartment, the Morrigan was rolling her eyes, unimpressed and unsurprised. This man - no, god - really favored his pride over their reconciliation.

In truth, it wasn’t just that he never showed up that really made her angry. It was that he told her he would; Janus knew how worried she was about Hephaestus and how shaken up she had been. In all the long years she had lived, the millenniums and eons, she had never encountered a snipped thread. It was unnatural and it frightened her enough that she sought Janus out the same night to help her sleep. The Conclave was an important issue for her and she had hoped Janus being there would somehow help manage the other pantheons, just his presence would give her the strength. And he didn’t show. It occurred to her, then, that she couldn’t count on him.

Still, the Morrigan guesses this is the best she’s going to get from the other god. The door cracked slightly and she peeped up at him. She scowled, at him and because even looking at him had her yearning, “Is that the best you have, Janus?”

“Morrigan.” Her name rolls off his tongue in a way only he’s able to manage, an effortless tone of casual desire that draws a smirk to his lips. Janus steps forward, his palm pressing against the door, but not with enough pressure to push his way in, he wouldn’t dare risk pushing the mood into an unsalvageable territory, “I’m certain you’re quite familiar with the ‘best I have’, but maybe it’s due time for a refresher?” The suggestion wasn’t subtle as he leaned against her door frame. Janus’ eyes trailed the parts of her he was allowed to see through the small opening of the door. The sight of the goddess of War donning his missing pair of “lucky” boxers brought warmth to the corner of his lips, “Before that why don’t you let me in while you check your email?

The Morrigan eyed him up and down before letting him in with a grumbled, “Fine.”

Janus smiles victoriously, though makes sure to tone it down, as he steps into the cozily decorated apartment. The warmth that greets him demands his thick suit coat be hung near the door, and his frequent visits have his shoes left at the door. Nimble fingers work at the tie around his neck and the top buttons of his shirt as he wanders into the homey living space just behind the Morrigan.

Curious now, the Morrigan sits on the couch and picks up her phone, flipping through the apps until she arrives at her emails. She swipes through the many emails she has from students, resolving to answer them later when she’s less annoyed and busy when she arrives at a mysterious email from Janus titled ‘I won’t coerce you into this one’. Inside the email was a listed location with seating charts, catering, the whole nine yards, and it was all for the next Conclave. A small smile that she tried to push down came to her lips.

“It wasn’t coercion.” She defended, crossing her legs and looking at Janus with a small teasing smirk. Even though, and the Morrigan will only admit this to herself, she might have been coercing him at the time. In her defense, he was loving it.

Janus is more than familiar with the glint in her eyes, the trademark smirk of his own finding its throne, “I believe the circumstance you engineered to get my RSVP certainly fits the bill for coercion..” Janus stops in front of the Morrigan, a caress of his hand along the side of her face has her chin tilted up towards him, “Not that I minded in the least, it’s cute to see you put up a fight, little crow.” Desire entangled with a hint of belittlement weaves into his tone, the iciness he carried in his gaze all day had melted away into pools of a warm, welcoming ocean, and his thumb ran a gentle path along her bottom lip.

The Morrigan parts her legs and pulls Janus closer to her by his belt loops. She looks up at him with her innocent doe eyes and she can feel her heart dancing in her chest. Only Janus has ever made her feel alight like this, like a blazing fire in a blizzard. He was unpredictable to her, but maybe she could rely on him. It feels like it's the twenties again with the hesitancy of trust weighing on her shoulders. This is Janus though, he would never hurt her. He would be there if she needed him, wouldn't he?

“Coercion implies I had some control over you, Janus.” The Morrigan replies cheekily, biting the tip of his thumb, “Are you saying that your little crow can make the big bad Roman lose control?"

There’s a fire igniting in him, one only she had the means to spark. Janus bends at the hip, a storm of lust brewing in his eyes as his hand slips from her face to her throat, gently but not without command he moves both of them further against the couch. A knee bent on the cushion of the couch flush against her keeping her thighs parted, his face inches from hers, hovering above her, and moving closer yet, his lips ghosting against hers with each whispered word, “Would you like to see just how much control I can lose, multum magna meretrix?”

The Morrigan pressed into Janus, letting herself become encompassed in everything that was him. From his scent to the way the pads of his fingers pushed into her skin. The rational bit of her mind said she has to work in two days and makeup is expensive; the other part of her mind wished his fingers would leave bruises. “I want to see you come undone, macushla.”

A deep chuckle rumbled in the depths of his chest, those words swirling out of her pretty mouth appeased him. Only in these heated moments, in the comfort of a home that was not his did he ever unravel. To many gods, Janus appears cold and unmoving like a statue, the warm flesh of his was but a placebo effect to make them believe he was anything but an unfeeling god. Which he often believed of himself too, but it was moments like this, in the heat of passion did he hear the own beat of his heart in his ears and the desires of man urging him to fall further.

“Allow me then, to grant your wishes, little crow.” Janus’ words are cut short by a heated meeting of their lips. With practiced ease, Janus takes the Morrigan in his arms, lifting her from the couch and starting his path to a much-needed end to a long day.

The Morrigan wraps her legs around Janus, falling easily into their practiced dance. Her arms come around his neck and she peppers kisses along his collarbone; all of her misgivings melted away under his hot touch. He may have made a mistake, but he will always fall back into her arms. Her heart yearns to claim her arms as his home, that it is where he belongs; the rational part of her brain tells her to be careful, Janus belongs to no one.

Now is not the time for such sobering thoughts.

Janus takes her to her bedroom and the Morrigan leans backward, seeking her bed and taking Janus down with her. She’ll wrap around him so tight, envelope him, until all he knows is her arms, if only for this moment. Nails scrape down his body as she impatiently tugs at his shirt and belt, determined to feel him under her skin.

The Morrigan struggles with his belt, her fingers shaking and fumbling with excitement and anxiety. Their dance, their battles, are nothing new to the Morrigan; every time, though, the Morrigan feels herself light up with nervousness like a maiden. Only Janus has this effect on her.

“Janus, I need you.” She pants, giving his belt a frustrated yank when it doesn’t give under her trembling fingers.

“And you shall have me, Morrigan” Janus unbuckled the belt her finger had clumsily navigated. The expensive accessory fell to the ground at the same moment his luxury brand trousers met the same fate. Everything once on his body amounted to a price tag equal to that of the monthly rent for an apartment such as this. The same notion was reflected in the rest of his life, expensive cars, designer brands, luxury housing, his life was filled with riches, and to him it all meant nothing. The only thing Janus ever desired was spread before him, yearning to be taken and claimed as his. A wolffish grin appeared on his lips, his fingers pressing into the skin of her soft thighs, avarice controlled him now. Morrigan was his, and he’d take all she offered to him. Starting with the body that writhed and quivered beneath him.




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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Legion02
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Legion02

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The Blind Tiger
Ares & Hades


“Did you betray them?”

The question had been hanging in the air ever since the summons. In the car during the late night drive it was a formidable presence to the mortals. Like a stone upon their hearts. They were curious but still full of fear. Few were called to that particular bar and rarely for good news. Ares turned his gaze away from the car’s window and looked at the one Spartan who spoke up. If he told them now that yes, he had betrayed the Three, they would swallow deeply and prepare their MP5s. They were those few chosen who were more loyal to him than to the three in the mob. That loyalty was important, for Ares was the only one who could operate in and around the mob without being a complete part of its hierarchy. Because he didn’t answer to the Three. He answered to the One. The one that not even his Spartans knew about. The puppet master behind the mob empire that was, of all places, ran from Seattle.

“I didn’t.” He said coldly and instantly everyone let out a sigh of relief. They knew it to be true. Ares did not lie to them about these things. But they still had those curious looks in their eyes. Like a dog wondering what you were chopping on the counter. “It took them long enough to summon me anyway.” He said, to feed that curiosity a little, before looking away back outside. Into the streetlamp illuminated night in Seattle.

Minutes later his car drove off. Leaving him alone in a neighborhood most wouldn’t want to be caught in at night. The houses were pressed up against each other, tall and old. There was nothing remarkable about the building in front of him. No broken windows. No extravaganza on display. The house itself though, didn’t matter. It was the apparent cellar door below it. Only a few stairs down from the street. After Ares tossed the half-burned cig, he went inside.

The bouncer let Ares into the empty bar. At first glance you’d think it was just a faithful recreation to a roaring twenties speakeasy. In truth, it was one and the décor had been specially shipped over Washington. The wood still smelled of cigar smoke while the neatly cleaned countertop had that faint hint of Scottish whiskey and champagne combined with moonshine. Parts of the hardwood floor were covered by carpets, seemingly thrown around chaotically. If there were normal patrons, Ares knew they wouldn’t pay it any mind. Criminals like him though, knew where the blood splatters had fallen. Right now the bar was empty. So the god of war did what anyone would do. He took off his jacket, strapped up his sleeves and poured himself a mid-shelf whiskey.

The door shut quietly behind Hades as he made his way towards the bar that Ares had stationed himself at. Releasing a long breath Hades allowed for a large billow of smoke to escape his lips from the cigar he was currently working on. This place had been the result of so many “disappearances” over the years it had basically become an urban legend to criminals. Never sit under a chair without a carpet they used to say. The thought itself made him laugh inwardly. The mortals were always a superstitious bunch especially when their lives were put in danger. Finally making it to the bar Hades looked over the various liquors adorning the wall all ragning in quality and price. “Grab that for me will you.” Hades said as he looked towards one of the more expensive bottles resting on the shelf. “We have a lot to discuss, and it's been a long day.” turning around slightly Hades scanned the room once more looking over the various chairs and tables. Turning back and grabbing the glass off the counter Hades began moving to a table positioned in the middle of the empty bar. “Come sit, might as well get this over with.”

“It has been, indeed.” Ares agreed with Hades on the long day. And even though it had been so long, it still felt far too short. There weren’t enough hours in a day anymore. It used to be simpler, but Ares was never one to wallow in the past like some. As his boss asked, the god of war took one of the finest, upper-shelf whiskey, his own glass and walked around the bar towards the middle table where his boss said. Putting his own glass down before pouring Hades’. With a sigh he almost threw himself back into the old, wooden chairs. One without a carpet underneath. He took his own glass and raised it as if he just gave a silent toasted, and sipped it. It was fine for the probably unpleasant conversation that was about to follow.

Brining the glass to his lips after the small toast Hades sipped some of the amber liquid resting in the glass. The beautiful liquid stung a bit as it went down but no the less was a welcome taste for the crime boss. “How did the hospital go? I assume your lovely sister gave you hell as always.” as Hades placed the glass back onto the table he eyed Ares with a bit of a grin. He knew all too well how little the two could stand each other. He'd go so far as to say it would take a miracle or a catastrophe for the two to not be at each other's throats, then again, it wasn't any better than his brothers were.

“She did. But I put her in checkmate. She will hunt the hooded stranger as well.” Ares said after the almost liquid smoke tasting drink washed down. Under any normal circumstances, that would’ve been the highlight of his day. The one thing that could make him proud. He outplayed his sister. Used the chains to the police and the law against her. But today was not a normal day, and there was not a hint of pride in Ares’ voice. “Did the traitor confess?” The god of war returned then. This was their small talk. Manipulating the law and torturing traitors. Compared with what both did on a daily basis as gods, it really did pale.

“More or less.” Hades said in an even tone taking another sip from his glass with a grin on his face. “I am glad to hear your sister so graciously offered to help us with this matter.” as Hades let out a large puff of smoke from his lips his demeanor shifted slightly becoming more serious. “Have you found anything about Hephaestus?” Hades waited watching Ares and any reaction he would have. He knew this was going to be a sore subject for a while with Ares, hell it still was for him even if it was to lesser degree, but nonetheless it had to be done. “I have my suspicions already but i'd rather not start a war until necessary.” he finished letting his words hang on the end of the sentence that was clearly directed at Ares.

Ares’ face soured as he was once again reminded of his failure. “No.” The word stung far more than the whiskey he just downed in one gulp. It didn’t wash away that bitter taste. With disgust, mostly towards himself, he almost seemed to toss the glass upon the table. It didn’t break though. “I’ve found a notebook.” He followed up. “In his apartment. With a bunch of names in it. Names of minor gods and… Hebe. Hers was circled several times. There was also someone caught on tape entering his apartment. But I haven’t been able to find out who it was.” He should be taking pride in the fact that he had a lot more than Athena already. Instead he hated the fact that it still wasn’t nearly enough. “As much as I’d love a good war now.” That was a lie, but a well told one. There was another thing he wanted so much more than a war now. And he already fucked it up. “I wouldn’t start one over suspicions.” If they did, then they would be at war with the Romans for about 1699 years now. “It’s pissing me off.” Many things were pissing Ares off now and the sourness combined with the slow slipping of control made that evident.

“Well that is interesting now isn't it?” Hades said, beginning to mull over the facts that had just been laid out for him. “But we do need to be careful on how we move forward. Whoever did this targeted Hephaestus for a reason, and I don't think it was because they didn't like him.” Hades let his statement hang for a time as he poured himself more of the Whiskey thinking about everything that was happening. It was so odd that so many things were beginning to happen all at once. “We need to keep an eye on Hebe too. She doesn't need to be part of this, any of it.” Hades said in a serious tone. He may not have had much if love left for his brother and his wife but those same feelings did not apply to his niece.

“Oh don't worry I don't plan to start anything just yet. But I am preparing for it.” Hades looked off into the corner of the room looking over the various old pictures and items from years passed that now adorned the old bar, these were the only witnesses to the conversation himself and Ares were having. “The main problem I have now is knowing what pieces are on the board… and on what side.” Hades finished his eye ever so slightly glancing back at his nephew.

“Hebe’s already covered.” Ares said, as he poured himself another glass of whiskey. This time from the expensive bottle. “Zeus and Athena will look after her. I couldn’t. The Spartans won’t blend in with the whole…school setting.” He loved his sister, but why couldn’t she just go somewhere else but a school? Well, he shouldn’t admonish her for that. She was probably already becoming smarter than half the Greek pantheon. She probably was smarter than him. Ares didn’t catch Hades’ eye though. He just looked straight in front of him. Like a fire would erupt any second from where he was looking. Instead he just took another gulp of the whiskey.

“Killing Heph wasn’t the goal though.” Ares said after a fairly long break of silence. It just didn’t make sense. Gears kept turning but nothing made sense. Slowly he leaned back in his chair. Pondering over the facts. “I mean, the man who killed him had to know he was a god. And they had a god slaying weapon with them.” That much was evident of The Morrigan’s speech about his threads of fate being so suddenly cut. He wasn’t just moved out of Seattle for sure. “But if you have all that, then why go after Heph? Why not you or me or Jupiter or Mars. Any of tens of other gods that are vastly more dangerous even in their mortal form? That leaves only two more options: his death was a message…or they weren’t sure whatever kills gods actually could kill them.”

Hades shifted slightly at the mention of his brother being the one to look after Hebe, sure it was his daughter but he doubted his brother had what it took anymore. “Well I'm sure Athena can handle it, you two may never get along but you're both too stubborn to fail.” Hades kept his eyes where they were still thinking about what the death of hephaestus meant and more importantly how to narrow down his suspicions. Releasing another puff of smoke hades turned his body back towards Ares before placing the cigar on the table. “Ah but that's where you’re wrong Ares. Hephestus is quite the dangerous god, or at least in special circumstances. Let me ask you something. Of any of us who do you think stood the best chance of understanding that stupid stone that leavs us chained here?” Hades paused for a brief moment to let it sink in for Ares and let the gears turn some in his own head. “Cause while I may be wise and smart I was never a forge god nor was I one particularly skilled in that form of magic.”

“That would only matter if we actually knew where the bloody thing is.” Ares said after a brief pause as he waltzed the whiskey in his glass. He maintained his course of thoughts. Right now the biggest threats to any pantheon were still alive. Hathor, Jupiter, Loki, all still breathing and happy. Half of them would be easy enough to get alone. Use just the right words and you could make anyone go anywhere. Instead Hephaestus was dead. “It had to be a message. He was too public. Too visible even to the mortals.” He took another sip of the liquid. Even as he had said the words, he knew he wasn’t absolutely sure of them. “Whoever did it… they left no trace.” No trace, barely a clue. “They had to be in deep. Erasing camera footage. Forging alibi’s. Have locations to work at.” How else could they just have the Seattle mayor vanish so suddenly? “Nothing of this is making sense.” And he wasn’t talking about Hephaestus alone.

“True I suppose. But something still feels off about this whole thing.” Hades began looking up to the ceiling for a second as if hoping to pull out an answer from nothing. “Why does this news happen now? And more so why does Mars drop by at that precise moment acting as if he cares if one of us was the one to pass?” Hades' gaze settled back on Ares. “And then to top it all off my Brother” Hades let the last part come out in slight disgust “shows up after 2000 years of thinking he had died to the colossus.” These questions were more rhetorical than anything he supposed, there wasn't nearly enough to go off of yet and what they did have were accusations at best. “I do sense something is coming though, and we need to pick those close to us very carefully.”

Ares, in a way of agreeing, raised his glace and then downed it. His boss was right on all counts, but there were other things bugging him as well. Ares was perhaps in the unique position of not fearing Hades as much as a mortal would. But he was still the Greek god of the dead. Which meant, when the really unpleasant questions arose, Ares preferred to keep a distance between them. Which he did by getting up and walking over to the bar, grabbing the low shelf stuff. It felt more worthy of the pit that was slowly being dug below the god of war. Silence fell over the bar as Ares pondered upon the words spoken.

“And did you pick Hathor?” The question was thrown like a dagger, shattering the serene calm. Are stood with both his palms resting on the countertop, leaning over slightly as his burning eyes looked straight at Hades. He respected Hathor, and he acknowledged her in a way he acknowledged only a few gods. But that didn’t mean that he trusted her. To him, the series of suspicious events Hades had just summoned up was added upon: ‘And Hathor suddenly inching closer to you.’

Hades stiffened for a moment as the question came out of Ares lips. Hades wasn't entirely sure how to describe how he felt at the way the question was asked. Part of him was angry by the way Ares seemed to suggest that Hathor couldn't be trusted. “And if I did?” Hades said in a more serious tone turning his gaze to lock on Ares never flinching. “She has helped me in the past and made it clear she would be willing to help in the future should I need it.” as Hades finished he stood from his seated position and began moving towards Ares at the bar. “I trust her. Do you have any objections to that?” Hades said in a dangerous tone almost daring the war god to challenge him on the subject.

“I do.” Ares said, never averting his gaze. Even as he said, he knew it wouldn’t matter. Hades was master of his own fate and actions, as much as Ares was master of his own. And the both of them were far too headstrong to admit to the other one without good reason. Or could it be that he distrusted Hathor for another reason. A more personal one? No, that was impossible. “We’re marching to war against a foe we don’t know. What if everything she did so far was just an act? A ruse building up to this?”

“I've known her since the 20’s so I highly doubt she would be willing to put on an act for this long. I owe a great deal of my success to her and all she has done for this organization.” Hades hated the fact that Ares suggested the fact that Hathor could have been lying to him this whole time. Though if he was being honest himself it wasn't the furthest thing that could be true. Very few times in his life could he say that people, gods and mortals alike, were ever kind simply for kindness's sake when it came to him. As a god most did it as a favor to retrieve a loved one from his domain or out of fear of what he could bring, while trapped on earth it was that same. Fear of what he could do or greed for what he had. “If she has tricked me up until this point then I should congratulate her when she does betray me for being so convincing. But until then I have elected to trust her.”

Ares let out a sigh as he leaned back, turned around and took two more glasses. Which he placed before his boss and himself, and then filled each to one finger with some of the other top-shelf amber liquids the place had. “That’s the first time I’ve heard you speak so highly of someone.” He said as he poured. Which was still suspicious to Ares. Hades was not one to make such connections lightly. Even after twenty years Ares felt like little more than a dog sometimes. Not that he minded. With Hades his skills were at least respected. Under his own father he was kicked and ridiculed. Still, when he was done pouring he raised his glass once more. “I suppose that I will remember that from now on.” The god of war wouldn’t trust the goddess yet. That would be insane. But if Hades trusted her for a damned century now… maybe she wasn’t aiming to get the god of the underworld killed. That didn’t mean she could be without motive though. He would find that motive though. As insurance.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by KZOMBI3
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KZOMBI3 thuggy-lewd-dere

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Seattle Public Graveyard >> Comus’ Appartement >> Acropolis
Hebe, Comus & Hel



“Evening Ma’am.” One of the diggers said as they both waved towards Hel. Who threw them a small wave and smile back. They were diligent men. Digging the graves where soon a coffin would be placed in. They often worked in the evening. When Hel appeared to tend the many graves. She returned to the grave she was tending the night before. She knelt before it and began to clean the grime and filth off of it. With that out of the way she could see the simple letters etched in the stone again. Her fingers trailed over them, letting her feel the depth etched in the stone. Like many, the rain had weather the stone slightly. So with a chisel and hammer, she slowly but surely re-etched the name and the years. 2005. Was that a long time ago?

When Hel’s breath turned to vapor, she didn’t stop. Instead she just smiled. “Evening…Elise.” She said, as she read the name off the tombstone which she kept her gaze upon. Some dead didn’t like to be seen. Others preferred it. If they wanted her full attention, they would ask for it. Life was that simple. Ask of the Goddess of Helheim, and she will help.

“You…can hear me?” The ethereal voice asked. “I…you are the first.” Her words seemingly echoed off of invisible walls.

“Do you want me to see you?” Hel asked, still keeping her eyes on the stone. The last year was almost done.

“Yes… Please.” The Ethereal voice said. And Hel obliged, Rising up from her knees to turn around. They always stood behind her. Though the goddess never knew why. Nor did she ask. The girl before her looked sweet, but young. No older than twenty. Dressed in a white gown. But with blood staining the front of her dress. “You can… see me as well?” The girl asked. Hel just nodded. What was odd about the girl was the blood running from her mouth. It was just a trickle.

Hel slightly cocked her head. “You’re bleeding.” She noted, dryly. The ghost, for her part, didn’t seem too bothered about this either. She just softly touched the blood from her chin. “Someone is calling for you.” The goddess remarked. Humans were terrible at saying goodbye. They would remember people after decades even. People they never really knew.

The ethereal girl closed her eyes for a second. “I think…my sister. She is…asking for me.” But then the ghost’s eyes opened up again. “I cannot…leave this place. Could you…help me?”

Hel smiled fully now. “Yes, and I will. Whatever you need, I will help you.”

“Could you tell my sister…that I love her. And that I miss her. And that…I’m really sorry for kissing Derrek. She’s…south from here. I think. I can see her. Surrounded by people. It's loud. There’s music. Laughter. It feels…warm.”

“Okay. I will find her and tell her.” Hel said, as she took a step closer, and took the ghost in her arms. The ghost, to her own surprise, felt the only tangible form she had felt in years probably. The goddess’ embrace. Elise put her head on Hel’s shoulder and whispered: “Thank you.” Before vanishing immediately.

With the spirit put to rest again, Hel pulled out her phone. Laughter. Young people. Warmth. She had no idea where that was. But one person in Seattle would.

To: Comus
I have a favor to ask. I need to find somewhere warm, with lots of laughing young people and loud music. Would you know where such a thing would be in the Southern side of this city?



Hebe, after that disaster of a morning, had only been able to think of one person to go to. One person who she knew would be able to cheer her up, who’d be able to stop her from just moping about, eating ice cream & watching endless TikToks. Not that she didn’t enjoy that, but it would also have allowed the not so desirable thoughts to creep in. So instead, she had headed over to Coco’s, after telling her a teeny tiny fib about why she couldn’t stay in her dorm anymore. Not long after there’d been the instagram posts about the party. She’d tried not to keep clicking on the stories, for the way it sent her heart racing, and although the idea of the party made such physical sensations even worse…she was unable to say no to spending time with Coco.

Now sat in the middle of the living room, Hebes tongue moved to stick out the corner of her mouth, soft brown eyes narrowing in concentration as her slender hands worked, not so deftly, on their craft. Fingers briefly came up to rub her nose as she suddenly got an itch, a smattering of glitter being left in its wake. Twitching her nose, she resisted the urge to sneeze, not wanting to ruin her delicate work.

“Look so good, yeah, look so sweet~” Hebes soft voice tinkled about the room as she absentmindedly begun to sing, “Baby, you deserve a treat~” Nodding her head along, she picked up a final daisy-shaped piece of paper, applying some glue to the back, before adding it to her creation. Carefully placing it back on the floor, her hands came to clap excitedly together.

“Coco is gonna look so cute in this!” She squeaked in delight, gaze finally looking up from her spot on the soft carpet. Hebe was surrounded by what could only be described as an explosion of paper and sparkles, the mess having somehow expanded to cover half the floor, and part of the couch. “I’m done!” She called out to her best friend, bouncing up from her cross-legged position to show her the flower crown.

As Comus danced around her apartment unwinding from the stress that was the after photo shoot luncheon, she was called to attention at the sound of Hebe’s words. When she eventually poked her head out from around the corner into the living area she was greeted with a sight so chaotic it had her blood pumping and a large smile plastered on her lips.

"Ooooh Heebs!" The anarchic entity squealed with unbridled excitement, taking the offering presented her with attempted delicacy. But that was a lot harder to do when someone like Coco was already buzzing with energy. "It's perfect~!" Placing the flower crown atop her head she pulled the brunette into a bone crushing embrace only to break away when her phone went off in her back pocket. Upon closer inspection the sender isn't what surprised her but rather the message sent. Turning the screen towards Hebe she broached the questions, "Why? Think she means Herc's party?" It was more for her own benefit as she didn't even wait for Hebe's response, instead typing out her own.
To: Hel
yeah! i think i know exactly whatcha mean. heebs and i will swing by in a few.

After thinking for a moment and mulling over the fact that this is Hel she's conversing with she typed out another reply informing the death goddess to wear something comfy that isn’t work attire. Satisfied she placed her phone into her back pocket and proceeded to finish prepping for the frat party.

Hebe had been happy to hear that Hel would be joining them. She hadn’t known she liked parties (especially the Frat kind) but the goddess of death was so beautiful, and had always been nice to her during their brief interactions, so she was sure that she’d be super fun to hang out with. After Coco had text her back, the two finished putting the final touches to their outfits — which had taken a little longer than it should have, for the pair kept getting distracted by dancing and mock bouts of karaoke — but eventually, they were ready.

“You look so pretty!” Hebe chimed happily to Coco as she admired their finished looks, taking ahold of her hand and playfully twirling her about the room in time to the music they had blaring in the background. “Oh, speaking of - you have to show me the photos from your shoot when you get them! Pretty please!” Nose crinkled in excitement at the thought of getting to see Coco modelling. Especially with Aphrodite too!

“I wonder what Hel's going to be wearing…” She pondered as she let go of her gentle grip on Cocos hand, finally making her way to the front door. Luckily she’d made extra flower crowns so Hel would be able to have one too if she wanted..which Hebe really hoped she would. She bet she’d look so cute in one.

The second they rang the bell the door of Hel’s genuinely humble adobe opened up. Revealing the goddess of death dressed in a long, timeless black dress with a rather plunging neckline. Her blonde tresses were flowing one sided to her shoulder. As two beautiful but simple silver clasps on the other side kept her hair in check and cherry red lipstick hid the coldness of her lips. She hoped it would be enough. It was for a party after all. If she had more time she would’ve taken one of her more intricate dresses and put her hair up in that ancient shieldmaiden style she loved so much. Yet when she saw the two girls, dressed not in dresses but…strange colorful t-shirts. “Oh…” Hel’s smile collapsed as she realized she was dressed very wrong for the occasion. “Dear.”

"Hel… oh," Coco's normal excitable disposition came to a complete stop at seeing how dolled up her friend had decided to dress. "Um, yeah, well it's not work clothes but it works! C'mon!" It took only a moment for the initial shock to wear off before she was gripping the blonde by her wrist and dragging her past the threshold of her home.

It was an odd combination of assembled goddesses, if the other pantheons were to mention anything of it. Death, Chaos and Eternal Youth. Almost like the mythos of the fates; the maiden, the mother and crone. Though as anyone with eyes, mortal or not, would see that neither fit the description of the old hag. Comus shivers at remembering how decrepit and ancient she was when she tried to play with the locks of her hair anytime she would make trips down to the underworld accompanying her father. Even more so based on attire alone it would look as if an elder sister were stuck babysitting the younger two; the tie dyed duo probably even looked like they ruined Hel's date night with how contrasting they were.

"So, um, we're gonna need a ride to get there unless you guys wanna walk the next thirty blocks. Hel, mind if we took the 'cedes?" Coco purposefully asked the goddess, given she works best with upfront bluntness.

Hebe had been watching the other two in silent veneration, eagerly nodding along with everything that Comus said. “I don’t mind walking! Though it is kinda cold…” She rubbed a free hand against one of her arms, where goosebumps had quickly begun to appear, the friction providing only a brief moment of warmth. Their outfits may have been cute and fun, but they definitely weren’t the most suitable thing for a brisk October night. “But that’s okay!” She quickly added on, not wanting to make Hel feel like they had to go in her car…even if she secretly did want to sneak a peek in the Mercedes.

As she waited on her decision, Hebe's eyes widened as she suddenly remembered the gift she had brought. “Oh!” She blurted out, “You don’t have to wear it…but I made this for you!” Her face lit up as she held out the flower crown, hands gripping it carefully to make sure she didn’t squish her delicate work. “I thought it might be nice if we were all matching…” Hebe was practically bouncing on her tiptoes as she waited to see if Hel would take it, eyes eagerly flitting across her face.

The death goddess, for her part, was quite surprised by the gift. Her father was prone to give her things, but never anyone else. She was quiet for a second. Blinking twice at Hebe. Then her face lit up as well. “Thank you!” Hel said as a smile grew on her lips. With the same care as Hebe was holding the crown, so too did Hel take it. Slowly she put it on her own head. In all honestly she fully expected half of it to rot away immediately. Have the flowers their life drained out of them. To her surprise, she felt no such change. Her smile grew, though it rather painfully reminded her of her own, lonely crown. “Thank you again! It’s so nice.” Hel said, again. For a second she took a small step towards Hebe as she opened her arms. But quickly pulled back again. Realizing the young Goddess wasn’t one of the dead. Her hugs would feel freezing and icy.

It was then that she noticed the goosebumps on Hebe’s arm. Hel herself couldn’t feel the cold breeze, but clearly the girls could. “Oh no! We are certainly taking my car!” Hel quickly said, and from her clutch she pulled the Mercedes’ keys. Behind the two young goddesses a Mercedes S-Class beeped. Marking it as her car. Better yet, it was already warming the air within. But that would only do during the trip. How would they stay warm once at the party!? “Are you sure neither of you would want like… a sweater or something? I have plenty of clothes you could take.”

“I’m just glad I didn’t have to break into another vehicle, getting here was a pain…” before the Ruler of Helheim could shoot her a very motherly disapproving look, she soldiered on informing her that no, she didn’t leave the stolen borrowed vehicle anywhere near her residency. A playful smile danced across her lips as she gave a nonchalant shrug at the situation of it all before they piled into the sleek transport. Letting Hebe sit up front this go round.

“Nah we should be fine once we get there, I don’t really see us going outside too much unless there’s a fire going,” it was almost like she was speaking aloud to herself thinking about any of the mischief she could get up to while there. For sure on top of that list was to reconnect Heebs and Herc. After so long apart this was a much needed distraction from the god killing perpetrator; public enemy number one. It seemed foolish that just a few days ago they found out about this… person, and yet here she was on her way to a frat party as if it were all a terrible dream.

A sigh passed her lips, “Thank you though, for the offer. You are too kind of a soul.”

Hebe, seeing Hel step closer, had instantly pulled the goddess into a brief hug, before plopping herself down in the passenger seat of the car. Although her embrace had felt bitterly cold against her skin, Hebe cared little. A hug was a hug. Of course it was nice when someone warm wrapped their arms around you but in the end, the gesture itself was enough. “I’m glad you like it.” She beamed as she turned to face her, “It looks great on you!”

After pulling the seat belt across her body and clicking it into place, Hebe couldn’t help but glance down at her phone again, several more notifications having popped up on the screen. Before she’d been able to distract herself with crafts and dancing and laughing, but now…now they were definitely going to the party. Nervously chewing on her bottom lip, she tried to ignore the sudden sensation of butterflies fluttering madly around her stomach, instead turning back to look at Comus. “I wonder who else is going to be there…” She pondered, shooting her a small smile.

Chaotic energy back in full swing at the innocence of Hebe’s ponderings got Coco excited to tease her all the way to the party. “Oh, you know. A bunch of impressionable mortals and a few gods from way back. Herc is hosting~” she was not subtle in her wink she shot to the front of the car.

Once again Hebe managed to surprise the goddess of the dead. This time with a hug. Though in truth Hel was more afraid of her hugging her than enjoying it. She knew how her hugs felt to the living. Nobody really should be subject to it. Though she kept silent. When Hebe released her, Hel only offered a weak, almost pitiful smile. The child should not want to subject herself to such coldness just for a gesture. Alas, Hel was really happy about the crown still.

Comus, on the other hand, elicited a more worried stare. She stole a car!? But… what about the police? Wouldn’t she be caught and arrested? Oh dear. And what about the owner of the car? She would have to call it in the morning. Though before that she would need something like a license plate from Coco. Something she didn’t want to ask just yet. There were more pressing matters as Hel stepped into her car as well. Within seconds they sped off.

The nervous energy basically radiated off of Hebe as she kept glancing at her phone. The teasing of Coco didn’t keep things quite a secret for long. Even the goddess of Helheim knew what those lingering gazes meant. She had seen them countless times already. “Heracles?” She noted. “Are you and him well acquainted?” Hel asked as she expertly wove through the Seattle evening traffic. She hoped they were. She hoped they were close and just a kiss away. Maybe even less than a kiss. It was perhaps an odd thing, but Hel was fond of love and wished to see it flourish in all.

A blush had instantly flared up on Hebe's cheeks at mention of Herc and she quickly turned back to face the front, hands reaching up to cover her burning face. Staring intently at the tie-dye pattern splashed across her t-shirt, the pink tinge deepened at Hel's offhand comment. “I-what..I mean…we-” She mumbled, gaze still fixed anywhere but on her two companions. “W-we were friends…I mean close…no I-we, we knew each other on Mount Olympus. But I haven’t…” She trailed off, taking a deep breath of air as she tried to calm herself. Why was she freaking out already? And why did Coco have to mention him in front of Hel? It was embarrassing how the mere mention of his name had her so easily flustered. She must look so silly for acting this way...

Coco could do nothing more than provide a sly smile, enjoying in the light torment she caused her cousin. It was all in good fun and it wasn't like the words and their hidden meanings were untrue. "They were very close once upon a time. Very close." Even though her voice carried she was overlooked, as to be expected of Heebs in the embarrassed state she was in.

“It’s…it’s been a while.” Hebe eventually managed to blurt out the words she was trying so hard to say, her face now half-hidden under the edge of her oversized t-shirt. “So, so…do you go to parties often Hel?” She quickly added, trying to move the conversation to anything but one particular demigod.

Her curiosity was piqued as well and she nudged the woman in the seat before her, "Oooh~ yes do tell. What're the events, a goddess such as yourself, usually get up to?" Her piercing greys shone with a wild abandonment, seeking knowledge she hoped would involve some kind of debauchery. Her track record with this particular goddess was one of a losing streak, but still Coco held out for something interesting.

“Not much really.” Hel revealed without reservations. The kind of party she was going to now, well any kind of party, was not really her place in this world. She was perfectly content to spent the nights tending the graves of the forgotten and the lonely. Every now and then a ghost would appear and have a nice conversation with her. Of course, that was probably not the answer either of them were looking for. “Well… I suppose that ball is approaching.” The ball her father so graciously invited everyone to. In the name of Jupiter. No, no that probably wasn’t going to be a good party. “And…Oh and what do mortals call it again? Night of Witches? Samhain?” Hel realized she was almost blabbering now. But truly she could not remember. Mortals were so prone to change. She didn’t always understand it. Whatever it was called, it was perhaps the one of the two days she was excited for.

At the mention of a few festivals Comus claps her hands together, an excited sigh on her lips as if remembering a far off memory, "Ah, yeah, Samhain~" But then she remembered the words about the ball and her mood somewhat paled, "I'm not entirely sure about this ball the impostors are throwing. Romans and their ilk, bane of my existence…" her words tapered off in a grumble as she huffed and pouted turning back towards the windows and the cool night.

Hebe had a brief moment of relief when the conversation moved away from her and Heracles, only for Coco to then bring up the Romans. She couldn’t help but feel awkward at her friends' clear dislike of that particular pantheon; one that she had shared more time with recently than her own. “I dunno, they don’t seem that bad…” She piped up quietly, hands distractedly playing with a strand of her long brunette hair. The fact she worked for Janus wasn’t exactly a secret but the idea of the other Greeks finding out (mainly her mother, if she was being entirely honest with herself) made her stomach tie up in knots. “And...and Virtus is really cute!” She added, smiling softly to herself at the thought of Mars’ dog. Though she may not have been her own pet, Hebe loved her as much as if she were.

Comus' head spun as if on a well greased swivel with how fast she spun her gaze back to the front, “I’m sorry, what? Virtus?” The gears were turning in that chaotic head of hers and it wasn’t something that could easily be calmed, not at the moment, “As in Virtus, that cute, white fluffy pupper?” Her words seemed innocent enough, her tone switched to light and airy, but there was an underlying tense to it all. As if the smile on her face was a lie, because it was wholly. “As in Mars’ fuckin’ dog?! Heebs! What are you doing with their dog?”

The explosion coming from the back of the car would have been a whole lot worse off for the people in her warpath, however because it was Hebe with whom her frustrations were set upon Coco reeled back a lot of the bite. Opting for more bark than anything. It was true that she didn’t appreciate or particularly care for the Romans, always shifting their messes onto the Greeks, ’We have enough to deal with as is,’ not to mention the death of one of her own and they all of sudden pop back up in the world. She would be lying if she said she hadn't celebrated the possibilities. Now she comes to piece together and finds out that her wonderful, sweet, semi-innocent cousin, who she hasn’t seen in years, has been gallivanting around with them?! At least enough to know the dog of Mars on a personal level. A terrifying thought crossed her mind, “Have they touched you? Are you dating Mars? No, wait, that can’t be right. He’s about as straight as a limp noodle…” her trail of thoughts and insults were running out of steam sitting there, leaned forward with elbows resting on either seat as her eyes bore holes into the side of the young woman’s head.

Shaking her head furiously, Hebe's face reddened once more. “Am I-what, no! Of- of course not!” The Greek goddess could think of nothing further from the truth; Mars being more like a father figure to her, if she were being totally honest. Moving to twist her body, Hebe’s hands came to grip gently on the back of her seat as she glanced over at Coco. Oh no...she looked really mad. It wasn’t like she hadn’t seen her angry before but it was usually directed at someone else, and she hated that she’d made her feel this way. “I- I just look after Vivi sometimes. Like walk her and stuff! She’s so adorable Coco...and she knows loads of tricks!” Hebe blurted out, unable to stop herself from gushing about the canine in question.

Heart beginning to pound nervously in her chest, Hebe’s gaze strayed over Coco’s face as she realized that there was one other thing she hadn’t told her...and she really really didn’t want to keep even more secrets from her best friend. “I er...I also kind of work for Janus...” Her voice trailed off for a moment, barely audible as she hesitantly forced the words out. “But please please pleeeeease don’t tell mother!” Eyes wide, she reached back to grip one of Cocos hands in her own. “You know what she can be like! And they really are kinda nice...” Tears began to well up in her eyes as her gaze remained fixed on the chaotic goddess, hoping desperately that she hadn’t made their reunion a short-lived one. “I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you!”

“Comus.” Hel said, the smile she had maintained had vanished from her lips as her eyes peered into the back mirror. Her gaze was transfixed upon the chaotic goddess in the backseat. “I think-” I know. “You should hold on to Hebe’s secrets. They’re yours now too.” Her tone was stern. Though in her heart she felt out of place. She shouldn’t have been privy to this conversation at all. It was not her business and she doubted either one of them really wanted her to know. Hebe, however, seemed rather distraught about the confessions. She wanted to spare the young goddess. And while the goddess of endless youth hadn’t asked her, Hel swore a silent oath that she would take the secret into Ragnarök.

“And I think you shouldn’t judge Hebe’s friends too harshly.” Not for the sake of the Romans, but for the sake of Hebe. She clearly cared for them. And considering she was working for one and tending the animal of another, they clearly trusted her as well. Hel herself had no real problem with that pantheon’s gods. Well…she only had a problem with one of them. “She’s your friend as well.” And then that faint smile returned on Hel’s face, before she averted her eyes and looked back in front of her.

The audacity these two had, placing her under an extreme amount of guilt. Coco felt compelled to snap back just out of pettiness, but she knew she was being unreasonable. Hel's words rang true, Hebe was being honest with her, now only after having been caught. Still didn't mean she was happy about it. Comus made an indignant sound at the mention that she worked for Janus but that feeling bubbling up in her was squashed with the driver's clipped, icy tone.

So, Coco just sat back, arms crossed over her tie dyed chest, an annoyed pout fixed to her face, "Ugh, fine. But only because it's you, Heebs. I'm going to have to swing by and check up on them and their faculties. They need my seal of approval." And with an addition of an ever dramatic eye roll she concluded that no, she was not going to speak of this to Hera. Gods knew that woman hated Coco enough she didn't need to add anymore reasons to that extensive list.

“Oh, sure…” Hebe mumbled quietly, shooting Hel a small, grateful smile as she turned back to the front. There was so much more that she wanted to say to Comus but now didn’t seem like the right time...maybe she’d be able to explain things better tomorrow. So instead, she took to staring out of the window, chestnut eyes watching the darkening streets, mind drifting off into the depths of her own thoughts.

Thankfully, the slightly tense and awkward silence was soon broken by the booming of bass and the shouts of already drunken voices. “We’re here!” Hebe chirped, mood instantly lifting as her eyes lit up at the sight before her. The street was packed tight with cars, people swerving among them as they headed for the home that was clearly the source of the music they’d been able to hear from the end of the street. Whilst the other gods may think otherwise, Hebe really did love parties. To her they were the embodiment of youth. They were a place where you could have fun and be free, without anyone telling you otherwise. Of course, this party was a little different but she tried to push her nerves aside as she hopped out of the passenger seat.

Turning to Coco when they stepped onto the pavement, she shot the goddess her best ‘I’m so sorry, please don’t be mad’ look, before taking a hold of her hand once again. “I’ll make you the strongest drink I can?” She added, smiling gingerly at her peace offering. “And…and I’ll buy you breakfast tomorrow? You too Hel!” Hebe turned to the other woman, reaching out to also grab her hand. “As a thank you for driving…”

As Hel exited her car, she could feel that faint siren call. Like a whisper upon the wind. Faint, yet she knew it would lure her to the one she needed. Despite it’s only soft, almost distant sensation it did somehow mute out the exceptionally loud music. Hel was distracted and sadly even Hebe’s words were drowned out by impossibly quiet words. It was only when the young goddess took her hand that Hel was released from the influence. “Oh…” she said, suddenly realizing she was spoken to but didn’t know what the goddess of youth, who doubtlessly must feel perfectly at home at a party like this, had said. So Hel just nodded with that faint smile. Feeling the tingle of the lure still on her mind.

She put her own hand over the one of Hebe and then said, to both goddesses: “You two have fun. When you want to go home just find me. I’ll drive you safely to wherever you need to be in Seattle. But I’m afraid I really have to be going now.” She had an obligation to fulfill. “Thank you both for getting me here.” With that Hel released Hebe’s hand and walked away towards the party. Alone. Of course alone. Two goddesses like Comus and Hebe wouldn’t want to be seen at a party like this with old Hel. She only hoped both of them would remain safe and remember to just find her when they wanted to go home. With plenty of water and blankets in the car, she would be sure they’d get home safe and comfortable. For now though, she had her duty alone to think of.

"Oooookay?" It was an odd situation but then again with Hel most things were. As she watched the blonde drift through the overflowing crowd and disappear she then turned to her cousin. Linking arms with the matching woman beside her, all traces of earlier gone with the thumping of bass pulsing from the house Coco flashed her a warm and wild grin, "C'mon let's go see the host~"

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Mason’s Bar
Destruction & War



Mason’s Bar was everything the Blind Tiger wasn’t. It was a hole on the outskirts of Seattle. Surrounded by parking space for lorries. The highway was near enough that you could just still hear the roar of heavy trucks passing over them. It was an urban wasteland. Concrete and asphalt and old industrial buildings as far as the eye could see. Its pink neon sign outside has been flickering for as long as Ares could remember now, which was only five years. Yet he was certain it had flickered for a lot longer. Inside the place had no charm. No personality. The floor was cold concrete and the old, plastic chairs had none of the venerable age the wooden chairs at the Tiger had.

Inside music played but nobody danced. Everyone but the two guys who played pool in a dark corner sat down. Drinking beer, looking at the TV or their phone or nothing. Despite being lit well enough, the bar felt dark. It was a place where you wasted away some time until you had to leave again. It was only slightly better than standing outside alone. At least this place served beer. Lukewarm beer if you were unfortunate though.

Ares, in his custom fitted suit, stuck out like a sore thumb. He didn’t matter. The bar was practically his. Nobody inside interfered as he sat down. The barman came from behind his plastic, classless, pink-neon lit bar to put a bottle of beer in front of Ares before going back. And then Ares waited.

Hathor had planned to join her pantheon at Little Marjoram that evening to relieve the stress that had built from the nightmares, the Conclave, the unknown information on Hephaestus’s death, the nervousness on showing her true feelings, and now the situation with Tlaz but that is not where she found herself. Instead of standing before the wonderfully decorated building of Imentet’s shop, she was under flickering pink neon, curling and uncurling her fists as she tried to repeatedly remind herself that Tlaz wouldn’t want him broken beyond all repair, seeing as how her best friend was falling for the man despite the predicament. Hades also might not appreciate one of his men torn to shreds and having to watch to see if the God of War could stitch himself back together. There were also mortals to consider as jail was not the preferable option.

She took a deep breath, tucking the straightened tresses of her hair behind her ear before tugging the leather jacket she wore closer to her frame and finally taking a step forward through the entrance. Boots clunked against the concrete floors, her foot falling much less gracefully than usual as she stomp forward, obsidian eyes glaring darkly as they locked onto the man sitting at the bar. The one that had called her to this very location for reasons she couldn’t possibly fathom but it got her closer to her goal so who was she to complain. The destructive and all consuming rage she felt when she first learned the news of Ares kissing one of her most precious people, only to have her tossed aside as a mortal already held his heart, returned with vigor at that moment. Hathor had planned to sit down, get answers and maybe punch his face in one or two times but that plan moved out the window instantaneously the second she caught sight of him. She just prayed she had enough control to stop herself once she started, keeping in mind that those two didn’t want to see Ares harmed to the degree she could unleash.

She didn’t even give him a moment to react to her presence or speak, her fingers roughly lacing into his dark locks, a tingle of power rushing through her hand before swiftly shoving or more slamming his head into the countertop of the bar with a sickening crack. Hathor took the probable confusion and amplified pain she had inflicted to her advantage to kick out the chair legs from under him. She glared down, death possibly more inviting than her stare as she spoke with venom in her voice,”You’ve got a lot of gall, calling me out for drinks after the fucking bullshit you’ve pulled.” She took a few steps back to pace, ready for him to fight back but trying to keep herself together, not to black out in rage.

Her body was already shaking, fear running through her from the wrath swimming in her veins wanting to be unleashed but there was also that familiar pleasure she got from punishing those that deserve their fate. He had bought and paid for it the moment she had to hear Tlaz hurt over being a second choice or even possibly being a second choice. He was not being fair to Tlaz or his mortal. In her mind, he was being a coward and that was not a word that stuck well with this God. She wanted to know why. She wanted to know information….and there was a perfect way to get someone to talk as well as get some sense into them. The shaking stopped, her resolve hardened and she stopped restricting herself or giving into fear. She paused in her pacing, her eyes locking onto him as they sparkled with blood lust, a sadistic grin etching it’s way onto her features as she gazed into his eyes. ”I am going to teach you a lesson, one you will never forget. I won’t stop until it engrains on your soul and you understand every single word I speak.”

Quite slowly Ares got up, with his open hands up and arms outstretched. Showing Hathor he wasn’t fighting. “Let’s all just…stay calm.” He said, but inside his heart was raging. Blood trickled from his nose. The hit on the countertop did more than just daze him. The pain seemed to wake him up. Made him realize he had been sleepwalking for the better part of five years. Only when he fought was he truly, fully awake. But he couldn’t. As quickly as he felt it, he made it disappear again. He couldn’t unleash it. Not here. Not now. His eyes carefully trailed towards the mortals all around. Half of them were ready to attempt to drag the ‘crazy bitch’ away. Ares had noticed the shaking though, and it stopping as well. Anyone who touched her would die.

“Steady guys.” He said to the mortals. “I think you should leave now.” The mortals looked at each other for a second, then nodded and walked out. Leaving only Hathor and Ares. “Let’s just… all stay calm.” Let me stay calm. “We can talk about this over a beer.” Of course, it could only be about one thing. Tlaz. The vexing question that tore him to shreds now. His breathing remained ragged, but he was making a real effort to slow it down, and calm his heart. No matter what, he couldn’t allow himself to wake up. So he almost desperately begged Hathor just needed to vent something before sitting down.

The mortals had long been forgotten during her fit of rage, her attention solely on Ares. She watched every small movement he made, like a lioness stalking its prey and ready to pounce. The others were meaningless for the moment in her eyes but at least they were now out of the way, just the two of them remaining. Ares could take what she dished out but mortals were a lot more vulnerable and accidents could happen. Hathor wanted him to attack, wanted him to be riled up so that this would at least be a worthy challenge but so far she was greeted with disappointment. He was speaking, the voice feeling distant and far away but his body language said he didn’t want to start anything with her. It just irked her more, to see him acting so pathetically weak. What happened to the God of War? What happened to fist first and talking later? What happened to the Ares at the Conclave who pulled guns?

Hathor stalked forward, her powers rushing through her as her frustration grew. ”Ooohhh, now you want to talk? Huh!?? It’s a little late for that don’t you think or have you just been so far gone that nothing matters!?!, she growled, grabbing one of the chairs and tossing it into a nearby wall in his direction. ”You left her! You left her even after saying what you said and doing what you did!?!”, she hissed, grabbing the front of his shirt to yank him into a punch to the face. ”She made herself vulnerable and you used it before abandoning her with no explanation!”, Hathor added with another harsh punch to the other side of his face. ”And worst of all, that isn’t even what makes you a goddamn coward!”, she spoke dangerously before harshly shoving him backwards to create some distance. ”No, you don’t get to sit down and talk with me, God of War. I’m going to make sure that every tear she shed is a notch out of your hide. I’m going to get my answers from you and anything I don’t like is going to be met with more blood.”

Dangerous didn’t even begin to describe what was happening. Ares felt the pain surge through him. Like his skin and flesh underneath was burning. It had been so long. So long since he felt this good. His mind awakened. Everything appeared distant now. He even laughed as he hung on the bar, blood dripping from his split lip. “You should stop this.” He said with a massive smile on his face. His blood was already heating up. Fires were being fanned. In his mind it felt as if light was piercing a dense fog. This brawl, it could not continue. For both their sakes. For everyone’s sake. Yet he wanted it. So, so badly. He fought the next words: “Or I’ll have to start fighting back.”

Fury bubbled over within her, the limit to her patience reached by not only his lack of acknowledgement in her words but also telling her that she should stop before he decided to fight back. It was laughable but proved that it would take a lot more than words to get through that thick head of his. If he wanted his ego to get knocked a few pegs before begging for forgiveness or giving her some decent answers then that was fine by her. It would be a pleasure to show him exactly why some wars were lost but how destruction always reigned supreme when it was brought forth. She would demonstrate why it had taken all have her patheon to stop her last time. This time, no one would be there to save him if she took it too far and right now, she was tempted. ”You can try.”, she stated with a simple sweet smile before rearing her leg up, placing her full body force forward and spartan kicking him directly into the edge of the bar with every intention to try and break his back or making it excruciatingly painful.

The kick broke the bar. An audible crack came from where Ares’ back hit the cheap plastic, slamming into the hard concrete behind it. The neon lights in it snapped, instantly making the bar look darker and taking away the last bit of color it had. Yet Ares never dropped his smile. Even though he knew he was bleeding from wounds suffering on his back. The pain was good. It was what he needed right now. For a second it felt as if his blood boiled, but then that warmth spread through his muscles. He shouldn’t give in. It was dangerous…

But he needed it now. Suddenly he felt more alive than ever. His heart didn’t beat as feverishly before, but it was beating strong in his chest. Every pulse it sent his strength around. That lethal concoction of painkillers and the strongest stimulants in the world coursed through his veins now. Called for Ares’ addiction to resurface. Slowly, he wedged himself free from the broken bar. Bits of concrete fell down. It sounded so clear.

A dash, a punch. Explosive movement. Straight towards Hathor. Aiming from her stomach. Shoulder locked, one step past her. He wasn’t trying to hit her. He was trying to hit through her and throw her backwards.

She knew there would be retaliation, that he would start to fight her but she had not expected him to come out of the wreckage quite like that. It gave her little to no time to block the oncoming punch so she didn’t. It should have been painful, it should have irritated her that he landed a punch in any part of her person but instead, she found herself laughing and filled with joy as Hathor laid among the debris of a broken table. She rolled her body onto her shoulders before springing up onto her feet into a fighting stance. She shrugged out of her jacket, tossing it to a random side of the bar and letting it be forgotten. Finally! Finally, he was being serious and open so that she could tear down his walls bit by bit as he was broken bone by bone. Hathor didn’t want a mask of himself. She did want to deal with Alex. She wanted to fight, ruin, and destroy Ares. He had just made it possible. ”Now we are getting somewhere.”, her eyes glittering with her amusement and a twisted grin locked into place on her face, ready now to turn his hits and strength against him.

For a second Ares breathed out slowly. Trying to calm himself one last time as Hathor threw her jacket away. He shouldn’t. He shouldn’t! No. He was in too deep already. Those eyes of Hathor. He recognized them. He had seen them in a mirror far too many times. That inner voice, the one he had buried underneath the words of what he thought was the love of his life, came crawling up to. Whispering those sweet promises in his ear. Not of salvation or forgiveness or redemption. They were whispers of hatred and the fall. Promises that things could only improve if he gave in. If he fell. If he hit his lowest point and gave in to the basest animal he was.

Ares answered Hathor by grabbing a chair and throwing it straight at her. He followed the piece of furniture quickly. Dashing forward with a right hook ready to hit her square in the face.

Hathor swiftly batted the chair out of the way with her right hand while her left one came up, palm flat out as she pushed his punch off course and she tilted her head to make sure it was avoided. She could have taken the opportunity to punch back, the shot open but his face was already beautifully bloodied and she wanted to make sure every inch of him felt pain. Instead of taking that opening, she grabbed his shoulders and brought her knee up solidly into his gut as a punishment for the punch to her own before working to do a roundhouse kick, hoping to land it into the side of his head or at least land it to create some distance again. It was harder to deflect up close and personal which meant taking some punches while changing tactics to hit his vulnerable spots with precision instead.

Ares took the knee to the gut. His abs screamed. He didn’t care. Pain was muted. The voice continued. More. More. More! The roundhouse came. Ares weaved under it. Then stepped in closer. He’d give her no quarter, no space to move. Right hook, left hook, right hook. He pumped up the pressure. Ready to weave around her attacks. Eyes not burning but focused. Looking for gaps.

She hissed at the counter attack, the hooks gathering in strength and force with each hit. She needed to get him out of her personal space so with growl, she waited for the next incoming punch, wrapping her arm around his own, yanking him forward to slam her head into his nose before roughly kicking at his kneecap and swiftly backing herself away. She needed to be careful how close she let him get and his arms needed to be taken out when the opportunity presented itself. For now, she needed to do a lot more than hits since it wasn’t going to affect him much. She spat out some of the blood pooling in her mouth and kept her defense up.

Ares had to stop his relentless onslaught as suddenly Hathor locked his arm. The headbutt was unexpected. It hit him right in the face. Though it didn’t daze him. Wounds on his face began to bleed through. He was in time to see the kick and turned his knee. Hathor’s kick fell on the side of his knee. A pang of pain shot through unmuted. Making him wince for a second. Before his mind sealed off that receptor as well. His body was screaming out, but it was distant. Unimportant.

Ares didn’t relent though. Every time he got pushed back, he came in close again. Keeping his guard up. Defending when he had to, or tanking the hits from Hathor as they came. Blood and sweat stained his shirt. Some hits from Hathor caused pain to shoot through him, unmuted, like a bullet. Though he kept up the pressure. Staying close. Fighting back. Hathor hit him more than he hit her but he could take it. It kept him focused and pushed away those others' thoughts. Yet every time she nearly broke an arm or a leg, there was a second of distance between them. A moment of respite he desperately did not want. Every time he fought to get close again. To have his mind singularly focused on one thing: breaking Hathor. He rolled away, dodging a femur-breaking stomp from the goddess by an inch. Distance again. His mind wandered towards Hathor’s words. Coward. Tlaz’s tears. He left her. The thoughts caused him to shiver as he came up close again. Again their sparred. Fists blocked. Palms deflected. A knee cracked one of his ribs. Blood began to flow from the both of them. It wasn’t enough. Every time she nearly broke a bone, her words began to cut him. Until he couldn’t bear them any longer. He burst into a charge, ready to grab Hathor and break her through a concrete pillar.

Hathor was ready for the sudden charge this time, waiting for him to get close before jumping up and using Ares own shoulders to push herself up and over his body so she was behind him. She swiftly turned to face his back once more, using his own momentum plus her body weight to shove him into the very pillar he was planning to use against her. She brought her leg up to keep him pinned, both hands tightly grabbing his wrist in an iron steel grip and yanked his whole arm harshly backwards, continuously pulling the full force of her strength until she heard the satisfying pop before backing off. She had no doubt that the wound she had dealt him would be handled eventually but for now, he was down a limb which meant she had on less obstacle.

His arm hung limp. Coldness gripped it. Wrongness gripped it. The pain, even numbed, was feelable. Like a glow radiating from it. Telling him it was all sorts of wrong. He didn’t care. Hathor made a mistake. She gave him space. Distance. With one hand he grabbed his limp arm. His teeth were clenched, and yet through them he roared as the sharp pang of pain shot through him. But with his arm set again, he could move it at least. It would hurt like hell tomorrow, but in Ares’ mind there was no more tomorrow. This was the end. “It’s not fair...” He whispered. His breathing ragged. Ares looked down at his own hand as he tried to close it in a fist again. As he opened the balled fist again his fingers were shaking and a tear dropped onto it. “My life… was finally good. I was finally...happy.” His voice was shaking. It sounded exhausted. Not just physically. He felt the reins of his mind slip, and no matter how hard he clutched, they didn’t stop getting away from him. He closed his fist again. His eyes looked up but his head remained downcast. He saw Hathor, and a faint smile crept along his lips. “You wouldn’t understand it...would you?” He said with a taunting, arrogant tone. “Always loving. Never loved…enough.”

Hathor leaned back lightly against one of the tables they hadn’t managed to break, wiping some of the blood from her face while biting back a hiss from the bruising as she listened to Ares speak. She acted like he wasn’t a threat but while her body may have looked relaxed, she was ready for him in case he decided to pick up where he left off. His words weren’t confusing to her, the conflict clear but in her opinion he was blinded before, living in a fantasy. The reason it wasn’t fair was because he was in the world real once more and he wanted to hold onto a fantasy. She didn’t have a chance to speak though as the next words he spoke were barbed. A dog lashing out to bite because it was convenient and because it was a wound for her. One that when taunted, utterly infuriated her and it wasn’t hard to notice. She hadn’t hid how her love life had been and how sensitive a mark it was.

She already felt her muscles tense, her hands slamming down on the edge of the table and gripping it as if for dear life. Hathor met his gaze, hatred and anger swirling in their depths as she wanted to wipe that smile from his lips. She wanted to tear into him but if he wanted to fling barbed words then two could play at that game.”At least I don’t live a lie.”, she growled out before continuing.”Tell me, does your mortal know you? The real you? All that you are? Could you be certain she would accept this?”, her hand gesturing up and down to the way he appeared right now before her.”You haven’t given all of your heart….if you can’t show all that you are and have them accept you anyway with all your flaws, then you are living a lie and fooling yourself. How many times have you lied to her? Do you even feel guilt for what you are doing to both these women by being a coward? By not being honest.”

“Every day.”

“But she accepted more of me than my entire family ever could!”
How could she understand? He was going to tell her as well. Tell her everything. His divinity. His domain. All of it. Before he would ever think of offering her the ring he was now subconsciously fiddling with in his pocket with. “And someday I would have to stop lying to her.” That he knew in his heart. His face turned away. “It should’ve been her I saw.” But it wasn’t, and if he didn’t know Aphrodite’s trick for many centuries already, he would’ve believed she just spun some yarn. The problem was that he just lied again. There was one person he never had to hide himself from. One person who accepted him in every way. His oldest friend.

He was losing himself in his own thoughts again. Now he couldn’t fight it anymore. Everything he felt and knew would refuse to go away again. But that voice whispered in his ear again. If he could not push it away, flagellation would numb the guilt and the pain and the weakness. Another grin formed over his lips. “But of course you’re not lying are you? To yourself…about Hades.”

The words that he just spoke were ones that drew her back to what Tlaz had told her. The words that he had spoken to her that day were ones that gave her a sneaky suspicion but being confirmed to be correct, made her heart jump. Tlaz wasn’t like her. She wasn’t a second choice. It was a harsh reality that Ares had to face and come to terms with. Hearts have always been a fickle thing. The question was, was he going to let a true chance slip through his fingers or not? Love was something she could help other people see and sort out. It was part of who she was and maybe she could help him figure this out.

Her thoughts froze when Hades was mentioned, her gaze sharpening as she removed herself from the table to kick her leg back, letting the sound of wood crashing against concrete echo. She stalked forward, reeling her hand up and slapping him viciously across the face. ”It would do you well to hold your tongue before I cut it out.”, she hissed before slamming up against a pillar and holding him there. ”I don’t lie to myself, Ares. That is all you deserve to know.”, she stated coldly. Hathor had never lied to herself about her feelings. She knew that for a fact but his words still set her off and made her blood boil because while he hadn’t hit the right mark, he still was able to remind her that she had been being a coward same as him but just in a different way. Ares didn’t want to see that he had come to a fork on the road on his path of life. Hathor had been sitting continuously at a crossroad, afraid to choose the wrong path and not be able to turn back.

She had kept her feelings locked away from others as much as she could and hadn’t spoken them to Hades because of that fear but Tlaz had made her realize that she was done sitting at the crossroads. If she never tried, then she would stay longing which wasn’t pleasant. She had her heart broken before and had been able to place it back together. The problem was that she cherished his friendship, just as much as she wanted him to love her. Hathor had realized though that even if she was rejected, she had to put her trust in Hades just like she always had. She needed to trust that their built friendship would still be there even if things didn’t go as hoped. It was why she had made her decision on what path to take. Now, Ares needed to get his shit together and make his because unlike the time she had been graced with, she wasn’t going to let him have that much time. He needed to figure it out because she never wanted to see Tlaz hurt like that ever again. She deserved someone worthy of her and she was going to make sure that Ares proved himself or got lost.

With Ares’ shirt finally so tattered that it fell off his shoulders, it didn’t just reveal his stone-chiseled body, but also the faint red glow burning in his chest. And Hathor could see it grow. He didn’t answer her, instead aggressively shoving her off him before he grabbed the furniture around him and started to throw it at the goddess. Tables, chairs, anything that wasn’t bolted to the floor ended up being thrown. Either to be destroyed at Hathor’s hand, or broken against the wall. The fight continued. Both sides interlocking. Hathor continued fighting and keeping her distance. Ares kept getting close but dropped his guard. Hits landed, bruising his body. Steam rose from the wounds, healing and sealing them. He stopped blocking the goddess, and instead launched into a flurry of kicks and punches of his own. His body turned bloody and bruised but healed again and again and again. It screamed out. He ignored it.

His assault was reaching its peak now. Ares found the gaps in Hathor’s defence. Fist and kicks began to land. Until finally the god of war broke her balance. With a bullrush he managed to send her flying through the bar. Hathor slammed into the wall and the pool cue rack falling from the force.

She winced when her back and head came in contact with the wall, her body crumpling and sliding down as cues tumbled the ground along with her. Her back ached, a dark bruise probably building under the skin but luckily, nothing appeared to be broken as she carefully moved onto all fours. Her feeble mortal body screamed at her to stop from all the various cuts and bruises she had received but she shook that off, the thought of ‘it will heal’ setting the desire to halt aside. She took deep breaths, trying desperately to calm herself once more as she was playing a razor edge of trying not to take it too far. She had kept it to mostly hits and trying to break bones but right now, he was royally pissing her off and aggravating her. Hades and Tlaz cycled through her mind, but even that wasn’t quelling the need as it had been earlier. A shiver ran up her spine at the thought of causing him true harm, the clawing beast she forever kept locked away begging to show him more. It begged to be set free, lose who she was, let the wrath and destruction reign so he could see just how worse it could be.

Hathor’s eyes drifted to the pool cues scattered about, that flutter of excitement gripping her as she thought again, ‘it will heal’. She felt the slip in her control, the world becoming hazy while she curled her fingers around the smooth wood of the cue. She stood slowly as if in a daze, her fingernails cutting into her hand at how hard she gripped the cue but it wasn’t even acknowledged to her. She moved it out horizontally in front of her, her free hand coming up to grip the other side before slamming the middle section down on her bent knee to break the instrument in two. Now having two sharpened ends to deal damage with, the thought and need to make him bleed was the only thing in her mind at the moment as she paced from the side of the pool table she had landed behind to his.

Hathor picked up her slow, almost lazy pace, to charge forward at full force but instead of slamming into him as he had done to her or even drop kicking into his chest as she might have done earlier, she moved into a slide and deeply stabbed his thigh with one of the broken spikes while moving past him. She rolled, flipping herself back onto her feet before thrusting the second spike into the shoulder, not as deeply as the first but good enough to bleed before slashing down to drag diagonally across his back. The flow of blood paused the thirst for a moment, the nagging feeling of guilt crawling up as she tried to remember why she should care if her prey was badly hurt or not. Why feel bad at all? Why should a predator feel bad for taking what it needed? A cheshire grin split on her face, ready to strike again and seeing how he dealt with a joint being attacked when she paused right before breaking the skin on his shoulder.

Everything loudly screamed to back off so she moved away, listening to the instinct and placed her hands loosely over her ears with the weapon still in hand. She tried to focus, shake away the haze and remember what she was doing and why she was here. Why was she here? Protection. It was always to protect, but who? One of her precious people…..the female…which one…..Tlaz….that’s right, she had been hurt. She was trying to make Ares see reason. She felt herself gripping control again, shoving the haze a little further away and got back in defense. She had given him too much space while she was gaining control and with what she just did...the result couldn’t be pretty.

The god of war had been forced to his knee. His body felt as if it was ripping itself apart. The open wounds healed, but never fast enough and never without more pain. Pain that was no longer dulled but at the same time didn’t seem to matter. Blood streamed from the open wounds as he once more rose up. The fire in his chest kept growing, but he knew he was reaching his peak. Slowly he hauled himself upright, holding on to a broken piece of a concrete column. “So much…blood. For something you don’t understand.” He said, sounding full and truly exhausted. The pain really did help make things clear. “Never the one to break hearts. Always the one to get broken.” He murmured that more to himself than to Hathor. But then he did look up to face the goddess. “You know how much that hurts. I bet you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. Then why are you wishing it upon a mortal who never did anything but love?”

He didn’t want to break Julie’s heart. She didn’t deserve that. Two weeks ago he wouldn’t even have thought about it. Now…the accursed pink smoke screwed everything up. No… No not just the smoke. It wasn’t that simple. He had to know. And he knew, from the kiss, that what he saw was true. That kiss burned still inside of him. A beacon towards what was right. What he had to do. Hathor was right. He was a coward for not going there, but despite what everyone said, he wasn’t cruel either.

Hathor looked at him, her face calm even though the emotional wounds of her own heart were bleeding. Yes, she had never broken a heart. Yes, her own had been broken time and again. Did she pity the mortal for what she was going to feel? Yes. She was not cruel. It gave her no pleasure to see that hurt on another. However, with her experiences came understanding and this was one thing she knew to be true. ”I do not wish it on her to be cruel. I wish it on her to be kind. Broken hearts can be fixed. Betrayal and broken promises create wounds so deep, that they do not heal. They can be sewn and patched but just a fragile prick, it all comes spilling back. If that pain isn’t enough, then it’s the future they poison. Will this one do the same? Will this one be fake? Can I trust him? Ares, no matter how you look at it….you have already betrayed her. She doesn’t know all of you and you can say you will tell her one day but if you haven’t done it yet…it’s hard to say when you will find the right time. She has shown you love which is a gift but she is loving only a portion. You have kissed another, someone who has already seen and accepted what you are as you are. Can you say with fact that you would not do it again or want to? Am I wrong? Your mortal, deserves someone that will put her first and be able to fully hand over his heart to her. Would you deny her that? Would you allow Tlaz to believe she is second best?”

He couldn’t help it. His body surrendered to the inevitable as he sank through his legs again. Hathor had extinguished his fire. Leaving him with nothing but pain, regret and sadness. There was nothing left to fend off his demons. Nothing left to protect him. Another tear fell from his eyes. Then another. ”NO!” He yelled as he slammed his head back against the concrete pillar. He could hear a dry crack from behind him. A wave of sickness washed over him. HIs stomach shrunk to nothing, making him feel as if he had to vomit. His eyes wandered. Taking in, for the first time, the full devastation the both of them had wrought.

Everything on the inside of the bar had been reduced to rubble and splinters. Only a handful of lights still flickered. Broken cues laid scattered around. Many of the coated in Ares’ blood. Concrete was reduced to broken stone and dust. In his mind he could retrace every step they had taken as if it was a choreographed dance of violence. Where had hit her, where he hit her. Every spat of blood he could tell whose it was.

It didn’t stop the tears from flowing freely now. “I was happy.” He sounded meek. Hathor kept talking about the mortal. About Tlaz. How he was harming them both. She was right. She was right about it all. He was poisoning Julie’s future. But at the same time, his heart was already broken. It had been shattered for three days and he couldn’t accept it. Not then, and he desperately wished the goddess hadn’t forced him to accept it now. Yet she had forced his hand and now he was reduced to sobs. His eyes looked up at the ugly, grey ceiling. “I’m sorry Julie. You deserve someone better than me.”

She watched him break and crumble before her. Guilt and sorrow weighed on her heart as she watched in silence. This is what she did. This is who she was but...it wasn’t all of who she was. Hathor stepped forward, leaning down to gently wrap her arms around him as a mother would to comfort a child. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes tightly, preparing herself for what she was about to do. The familiar rush of power flowed through her as she held him, this time not to amplify or harm but to sooth. She wouldn’t take his physical pain, her own body was already objecting too much for that but she could give him a reprieve from his emotional pain. It would give him a head start to fix his own heart before having to do the hard task ahead. Hathor felt tears spill down her cheeks, that crushing pain of having to hurt something you love. The guilt, the broken, and the horrible emptiness that came with his turbulent emotions. She let go of him, walking away to a random portion of the bar to kick away the debris and retrieved her leather jacket before slipping it on. ”Go...and make ….this right, Ares., she sobbed, the tears never stopping even as she exited the building.

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