So, when Hephaestus asks Aphrodite to leave the kid alone, Aphrodite puts her plan of manipulation into action.
Chapter 7: Manipulation, Goddess Style
3rd PERSON POV
Aphrodite walked into Hephaestus’ forge, a smirk planted on her perfect lips. Her husband was in a simple white cloth tunic that went from his shoulders to his mid-thigh, tying around the middle. He was working on a sword, one that could be covered by the mist, and would work on both mortals and magical beings. It was like Backbiter, Luke’s sword, except it was slightly weaker.
“Husband?” she said, sitting on a plain wooden bench, looking at her nails. “You wished to speak with me…again?”
“Stop using my son for your games,” he said simply.
She looked up from her nails. “Darling—”
“Don’t call me that.”
“—you just don’t understand. I have to prove to Annabeth that her heart belongs with—”
“Yeah, yeah, true love and all that.” He looked up from the sword, his harsh brown eyes boring into the soft blue of hers. “Don’t get him involved any further.”
“He’s hardly even involved.” She crossed her legs, allowing her pink dress to slip farther up her thigh. “It’s just some simple meddling. Percy and Annabeth are absolutely delicious. They’re disastrous, and Cupid and I—”
Hephaestus mumbled something about “the bastard Ares’ child.” It was rumored the Cupid was the illegitimate son of Aphrodite and Ares, but neither god had confirmed nor denied it, though everyone knew of their affairs.
“—can’t resist playing with them. Your son just happens to be the perfect handsome muscle to take care of Annabeth’s side. I’m still doing some digging for Percy.” Her hand rested on her chin and she gazed at nothing, thinking for a moment before continuing her thinking aloud. “Rachel belongs to Apollo, Thalia is a sister to him, and all of my daughters wouldn’t risk ruining their gorgeous faces facing Annabeth, should she get too jealous. And with what I have planned”—an evil grin broke over her lips—“she’ll get very jealous.”
The god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, metals, and fire turned quickly to his wife, a glare in his eye. He held himself up, his arms braced against his working table so not too much weight was rested on his lame leg. “Those children again? I thought Athena handled both of them.”
“Of course she did. She scared them both senseless. They’ve hardly seen each other in weeks. Percy’s thoughts are all about Nico and Grover”—she rolled her eyes—“and Annabeth thinks about Riley. She wishes Percy would do something so that she wouldn’t feel herself being drawn towards him! It all makes a wonderful story.”
“Right—but is it a romance or a tragedy?”
She shrugged. “No idea.”
“You’ve manipulated them into thinking you have it all planned out but you’re really just torturing them.” He scoffed, shrugging like, “how did I not see this?” and shook his head. “Evil. Absolutely evil.”
Aphrodite shrugged off the comment and stood from the bench, coming to stand directly in front of her husband. “How do you think it will end?”
“I’ve always been partial to happy endings, though I’ve never experienced one.” He noticed Aphrodite’s look go confused and he shook his head, trading in his somber expression for his masked one—the one that gave away nothing and asked for nothing. “It is very clear how Annabeth and Percy feel about each other. They would have immediately stopped spending time with each other when they realized who their parents were if they did not have strong feelings.”
The goddess shrugged. “Well, whatever it is that I decide to do, I won’t get rid of a very important player just because you have an issue. And you cannot convince me to stop,” she said, returning to the first matter they had been discussing—keeping Hephaestus’ son out of Aphrodite’s manipulative plans.
“I’ll take away your arrows. Cupid’s, too.”
She pouted, crossing her arms over her chest. “But my arrows are the most important part of the scheme!” she insisted.
“Oh, but just wait! When Percy gets that arrow, he won’t know what hit him! I just have to decide who he should force himself on.” She looked at her nails again. “Oh, all this thinking really is difficult.”
A chuckle came from her husband’s lips. “You need to spend more time with Athena. She could really do you good.”
“You need to spend more time with mortal women. They know how to have fun! Unlike this bunch of fuddy-duddies.” Her eyes met his unflinchingly, and this was rare for how close they were. Aphrodite generally avoided her husband, avoided getting this close to him. She preferred Ares, his mysteriousness, and he love of everything exciting, like affairs; but then here was her husband, a mysterious man. Hephaestus didn’t let anyone know anything. He was scarred, outside and in, and every god avoided him. Even being a god, an all powerful being, could suck sometimes.
He took a breath of consideration before saying, “So you need less fun and I need more fun?”
“I’ll make you a deal. I promise to go out and have ‘fun’”—he said the word sarcastically and with a roll of his eyes—“if you leave my son alone.” When Aphrodite opened her mouth he put his large hand over it. “I mean it.”
She pushed away his arm and leaned into him. He glared harshly.
“Leave him alone.”
“Go have fun.”
“I have fun here. Alone.”
Her eyebrows arched. “Oh, really? Stuck in a dark room, no one to talk to? You have fun with your little toys?”
“I’d have more fun if you’d leave.”
“Hephaestus, you’re a very boring person.” He angled his head down slightly at her words, a smirk that was nothing close to a smile on his lips and she continued. “What? Are you going to kiss your wife?” Her tone suggested it was a scandalous thing to do. He had certainly never kissed her before, and right now, with her telling him he needed to have more fun, he definitely thought kissing her would be fun.
“I believe I have the right to kiss my wife if I so choose.”
Aphrodite didn’t move from their close position but continued to stare up into his eyes. “Remind me again what you wanted to talk about when you asked me to your forge?”
His strong arms went around her tiny waist. “If my son ends up heart-broken I’m breaking all your arrows, Aphrodite.” Him saying her name made his throat hurt.
“Oh, he’ll be fine.”
“I guess I’ll have to take your word for it.”
And with that he lowered his lips to hers.
Inside her devilish little head, Aphrodite was thinking to herself, Manipulation is easy when you’re a skinny blonde around a man who hasn’t been with a real woman in centuries. She smiled. Love does always prevail.
in case you didn't understand the last line, Aphrodite's other two names are Venus and Love. So she was referring to herself when she was thinking, "Love always prevails." heehee. :) i so clever.
i hope you enjoyed it.
sorry about the 3rd person thing. i'm going back to Percy's POV in the next chapter, i promise. Aphrodite's arrows make an appearance, we see who she's selected for Percy, and watch Annabeth get a little ethically messy;)