Author Topic: Greek Sunset (AU)  (Read 812 times)

Ayden

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Greek Sunset (AU)
« on: February 21, 2014, 08:44:55 AM »
[size=9]November 18th, 2012[/size][/b]

The tour of the villa and gardens ended late that afternoon with the guest house, which overlooked the beach and featured a view of the bay, shimmering in the late afternoon sun like a blue diamond. Though the house was small, it was quaint and cozy, painted in pastel shades of yellow and peach and surrounded by flowering gardens and greenery of its own. The furniture that filled the house was as modern as that in the villa, with upholstery done in muted florals in a soothing palate that gave the interior an air of summer, no matter the season. It was a bright, sunny place, separated from the villa by a small copse of trees and bushes that offered more privacy than could be found at the villa.  

Ares had arranged to have a sumptuous dinner set out on the patio that afforded a view of not only the beach and the bay beyond it, but a glorious view of the setting sun. A table for two had been set on the patio, and for the time being, one servant was in attendance to tend to their needs. The meal featured roast lamb, along with roasted potatoes, various cheeses and breads, olives, and a side dish featuring eggplant and zucchini. A bottle of wine was left chilling in a bucket of ice, and there was coffee and cake for dessert.

When, finally, Ayden had been convinced to part from him for a little while, it was to find that a change of clothes had been laid out on the bed in the second bedroom of the little guest house. The dressmaker had been busy, it seemed, if she had managed to alter a dress and provide underwear and shoes in a single day. Less than an hour later, freshened by a shower, she surveyed herself in the full length mirror that stood in a corner, trying to work out if she looked any different. Would her family be able to tell what had happened between herself and Ares, or would that remain her secret for as long as she tried to keep it from them, she wondered. She couldn't see any difference in herself, no real clue that she was a woman after the tender sharing in his temple.

Shaking her head, she banished those thoughts, a tiny smile touching her face as she turned to venture out of the room, toward the patio that was bathed in the setting sunlight. It was ridiculous, how nervous she felt, almost as though this was her first date. Smoothing her hands down over her hips, she stepped out into the pink-touched sunlight, looking around for her ... her lover.

As for Ares, he, too, had changed out of his t-shirt and jeans into a dark violet dress shirt and tailored black slacks, his hair parted and carefully combed to the side. With his natural good looks and chiseled features, he could have passed for a model or a movie star, if one didn't know what he really was. When she stepped out onto the patio, he was busy plucking a late-blooming rose to offer his beloved, though the rose paled in beauty beside her.

The smile that lit her face at the sight of him was brighter and warmer than any sun, touched with a fresh intimacy that no one could take away from them now. Her gaze flickered over him, admiring the way he filled out his chosen clothing, the subtlety with which his garb hinted at the strength and control within him. Drawing in a slow breath, she moved toward him, biting down on her nerves. "You look very handsome."

He turned to face her, smiling warmly as his gaze moved over her, obviously pleased with the beautiful sight before him. He couldn't help but notice the change in her, the way she seemed to glow from the inside out, just because he'd made love to her, or so he assumed. Or was it something more than that? Could she really be falling in love with him? "Ayden," he started, in a hushed voice, almost as though she took his breath away. "You are beautiful."

Her smile flickered, shyly pleased with the compliment even if she didn't quite know how to take one with any kind of grace yet. "It's the dress that's beautiful," she argued quietly. "Some of it is rubbing off on me, I guess."

"No, it's you. The dress only enhances your beauty," he corrected her, stepping closer to offer her the rose he'd been holding in his hand. "For you, who are as lovely as a rose."

The blush that touched her cheeks was no longer innocent, but still sweet in its own way, a sign of the naive heart easily touched by sincere compliments. Her fingers brushed his as she took the rose from his grasp, green eyes never breaking the intimate contact between them as she raised the bloom to her nose to smell the delicate fragrance. "It's beautiful," she told him softly, though her eyes seemed to imply she was talking more about him than the flower in her hand. "Thank you."

"There is no need to thank me, Ayden. It is I who should be thanking you." He offered her an arm to lead her a little away from the patio and the servant who was hovering, awaiting his master's instructions. "Do you like it here?" he asked. "Could you see yourself living here?" He had promised not to pressure her or mention anything about becoming immortal, but he had not made any promises regarding this place.

Her hands curled into the crook of his elbow as he drew her away from the one pair of ears that might still overhear them, her smile turning with wry amusement at his questions. He was almost like a child, she realised, in wanting everything now. It was rather an endearing flaw in his character. "Maybe in a year," she answered his question honestly, looking out across the bay that lay dappled with setting sunlight. "I do like it here. It's very easy to imagine living here, with you. Someday."

"I know you would miss your family, but we can visit as often as you like."  With a God for a husband, visiting her family would be as simple as snapping his fingers. They'd never have to deal with the crowds or airports or security checks. They could go wherever they wanted anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. He smiled, pleased with her answer and lifted a hand to touch her cheek. He had promised her and himself that he wouldn't get too far ahead, that he wouldn't talk about the future, but it was hard to resist when all he wanted was her. "You don't know how happy it makes me to hear you say that."

"As happy as you were this afternoon?" Losing that innocence had not made her any less apt to tease him, it seemed, the sparkle in her eyes matching the impish curve of her lips as she echoed his smile, leaning into him as he touched her cheek. "I forgot to ask if there was anything else I should have done, to make a proper sacrifice to my lord Ares."

Perhaps she should not have asked such a thing, as the smile faded from his face and he sobered, taking her question all too seriously. "You could give me your heart," he replied softly. "And I will promise to always keep it safe."
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Ayden

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Re: Greek Sunset (AU)
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2014, 08:45:50 AM »
She bit her lip, again caught between the desire to please him and the need to tell him the truth. "Will you take it in installments?" was what she eventually said. It was not a definitive yes, but there was no hint of a no in that reply. She was falling, but Ayden was a stubborn creature at heart, like her brother. She wouldn't be rushed into giving up the only thing that was truly hers, even if it was a foregone conclusion.

He didn't want to start an argument, but he sensed there was something that was holding her back, some fear or maybe some doubt. Yes, it had only been a few days, and he knew he was probably being impatient, but he wanted to know what it was that was holding her back and causing her to be so careful. It couldn't just be a stubborn nature, though he knew he was asking a lot. "Answer me this, and I promise I won't ask again. Is there something you're afraid of? Is it my reputation? I know I've been with other women, but I swear to you, Ayden, I have never felt this way before. Not the way I feel when I'm with you. You're different. You're special. I don't know how to explain it." He frowned a little, realizing what he was saying. "I'm sorry. I really don't mean to rush you."

"No, I know." She folded his hands into hers, wishing there was some way to help him understand why she wasn't jumping head first into what he offered her. "I've never been in love," she tried to explain. "I don't know what it feels like, but I do know it takes time to put down roots. I know it doesn't make any sense to you, but I'm trying not to make a stupid decision. I'm trying not to lie to you. When I know how I'm feeling, when I'm certain, I'll tell you. But until that happens, I'm not going to lie to you. I'm not going to hurt you by saying something that I'm not sure of. I'm not just protecting me by taking my time, Ares. I'm protecting you as well."

He frowned a little at her answer, but was glad that at least she was willing to try and explain her feelings to him. Though he might be immortal and had witnessed thousands of years of history, he was not himself human and could not quite understand what it was like to be human. This was part of the problem between them - that no matter how much she tried to explain, he could never really understand what she told him because he had never been human himself. "But... What if you never feel that way?" he asked, more to himself than to her. What would become of him then? "I know you have a... a boyfriend," he said, stumbling over the word a little.

Ayden sighed softly. "Do you really think I could do that anyone?" she asked, a little hurt that he had not considered what she might do in the wake of the agreement they had made before the battle with the Fates. "I don't have a boyfriend. I ended that the same day I agreed to have your children. He's my friend, but we were never gonna be lovers. And as far as never feeling that way goes ... have a little faith. I gave you something today that means a lot more than it might seem to, and I'm still here. Stop reaching for the future and try enjoying the moment."

"I'm sorry," he found himself apologizing again, feeling a little ashamed of himself, wondering if he should try and explain better why he kept circling back to this same thing, but maybe this wasn't the time. He knew it wasn't fair to compare her to any of his other lovers, but he had lost the love of another once long ago, and he feared it might happen again. She wasn't Aphrodite; she was Ayden, and he wasn't going to let anyone take her from him, unless she made that decision for herself. "We probably should eat before it gets cold."

"Ares." Her grip on his hands wouldn't let him draw away, even as he changed the subject, those green eyes seeking his with pointedly tender sobriety. "I made you a promise. I keep my promises. But I never thought, when I agreed to your terms, that I would ever want to be the mother of your child. I do want that. How is that not a lifelong commitment?" She reached up, stroking her fingers down his cheek for a brief moment, rising up to kiss him just as swiftly. "Like I said ... have a little faith in me."

"I do, Ayden. I have faith in you," he assured her. "Just know that I am not my father. It is why I have never married all these years. I have never found anyone I wanted to spent an eternity with, until now." He smiled into her kiss, linking his fingers to hers. "Let us eat before Dareios grows impatient." Dareios being the servant who had been charged with serving dinner.

"Eternity is worth waiting a little while for," she promised him quietly, and again there was that subtle hint that his patience would be rewarded, in time. Hand in hand with him, she smiled, turning toward the patio and the man who was waiting patiently for them to sit down to their meal. "Let's not keep him waiting then," she agreed, giving him a gentle tug. She lowered her voice, despite the fact that no one she had met thus far understood English. "Uh ... he's not going to be here all night, is he?"

He couldn't argue with that. He had waited what seemed like an eternity to meet someone like her; he could wait a little bit longer for her to be his. He chuckled a little at her question as he led her back toward the patio and the patiently waiting servant. "No, I intend to dismiss him as soon as dinner is served. That is, unless you would like him to stay," he added, with a hint of teasing.

She blushed at his teasing, surprising herself with how easily she had begun to read his moods and methods. "I doubt you would want him within earshot tonight," was her answer to that. "Or any night you spend with me." There was no mistaking her intent - their dalliance this afternoon had been a beginning for her that she meant to keep up, if he would allow it.

"You're sure you don't want a chaperone?" he teased back, confident the servant understood little if any English. "I cannot promise what happened earlier will not be repeated if we are alone together."

"I'm counting on it," she shot back with mischievous good humor, raising his hand to gently nip his knuckles as they stepped onto the patio once again. Language barrier or not, it didn't take a genius to know he was in the presence of new lovers - doubtless Dareios was as anxious to be gone as they were to be alone together.

He chuckled again at her reply. "Shall we skip dinner and go straight to bed?" he asked with that same teasing, amused gleam in his eyes. Though Dareios understood little English, from the brief smirk on his face, it seemed he at least understood part of what was going on between them. Ares paused as if waiting for her answer before deciding what to do next.
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Ayden

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Re: Greek Sunset (AU)
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2014, 08:46:29 AM »
"Don't you dare!" Ayden laughed, poking a finger at what she suspected was a ticklish rib but hadn't yet had the opportunity to find out for certain. "If we're going to make the most of being alone, then I insist you feed me first. Besides, I don't want to waste the effort your people have gone to. It would be rude."

He smirked as she poked at a rib, which proved nothing regarding his ticklishness. "True, it would be a waste of good food, and I wouldn't want you fainting from hunger. I have plans for you later." He flashed a playful smirk before letting go of her hand to pull out a chair for her, like a perfect gentleman.

"Being with you is certainly an education," she teased him in return, her smile widening to a giggling grin as she set herself down in the seat he offered her, self-consciously brushing the hem of her dress back down from where it had fallen significantly higher on her thighs than she had expected.

He said a few words in Greek to the servant, instructing him that they would no longer be needing his services once dinner was served, and the man replied with a nod of his head in acknowledgement as well as a few brief words in return before he went about pouring them each a glass of wine. Ares settled himself in the only remaining chair and turned to face his dinner companion and lover with a soft smile. "So, tell me something about yourself that I might not know."

There was very little he didn't know, considering he'd been watching her ever since her brothers had died saving the world from the Apocalypse, but he thought there must be something about her he didn't know, as well as things she didn't know about him.

She stared at him with smiling disbelief at his gentle inquiry, laughing a little as she tasted the wine that had been poured for them. "How am I supposed to know what you don't know about me?" she asked him playfully over the delicate rim of her glass. "Haven't you been the devil on my shoulder for the last three years?"

"The devil," he echoed, musing quietly to himself. "No, I think not. Not the devil. Not an angel either." The mention of that caused a small frown to touch his lips again, though he did not really want to discuss Gabriel just yet. "Watching someone is not quite the same as knowing what they are thinking, Ayden," he explained, leaning forward and steepling his fingers in front of him, while Dareios went about scooping various foodstuff onto their plates, the aroma of which would make the pickiest stomach growl. "I know very little of your childhood or anything that happened before..." He broke off, not wanting to remind her of her brothers' deaths, though it was probably too late.

"It's a figure of speech, Ares, nothing more," she pointed out gently, her attention distracted from him for a moment to watch the various foods filling her plate. Though the grief she felt for the loss of her brothers was still potent, she sidestepped the welling sense of loss rather than dwell on it. Now was not the time. "There's not that much to tell," she said, though that was patently absurd. If nothing else, there was a story behind the scars on her arms that she would have to share with him at some point.

He sensed some apprehension and reluctance to his question and wondered why. Was it just that she felt awkward talking about herself or had something happened in her past that she didn't want to discuss? "Share with me a happy memory," he prompted, not wanting to stir up any bad memories. He only wanted to know her better.

She smiled, the expression soft on her face as her eyes turned to the past. "My mom is my happiest memory," she told him, fond nostalgia in her voice for the woman who had raised her single-handed. "It was just me and her, my dad never really figured into things. She worked really long hours, and she gave up almost everything for me. My favorite time was on a Sunday, because that was her day off, no matter what, and we'd spend all day together. She'd help me with my homework, or we'd go out. We'd just be together, you know? My whole world revolved around my mom. I won't ever know anyone as brave and kind and strong as she was."

He sipped at his wine while he listened to her speak of her mother, realizing how much she must have loved her and now missed her. Life really was too short in human years. "She sounds like a lovely woman. I wish I had known her. I am sorry for your loss, Ayden, but I am glad you have good memories to remember her by." He reached across the table to touch her hand in sympathy and reassurance.

Her fingers curled into his as he reached for her hand. It was odd, how her brothers' deaths were so unresolved in her heart, but her mother was at peace there. "I miss her," she confessed softly, without tears, but deep sadness. "In the end, she gave up everything for me - the man she loved, her hopes and her dreams, even her life. I wish she could have seen me graduate, seen me get into Stanford. She would have liked you."

Perhaps it went without saying; perhaps it didn't, but he needed her to know that though her mother was dead, she was not gone completely. Where was she, though? Where had her immortal soul gone in the afterlife? Had she made it to heaven or was she one of those who was waiting in hell for the conflict between heaven and hell, gods and demons and angels to be settled at last? What of Sam and Dean, for that matter? What of Bill? What of all those who had passed on since heaven was in turmoil and Hades had taken control of hell? In that instant, he knew he would have to somehow convince Gabriel to help them and to take control of heaven. He was the only one who could re-establish order out of chaos. "Do you believe in the immortality of the human soul?" he asked her, wanting to give her some shred of hope, even if he couldn't know for sure what had happened to Ayden's mother.

"I don't know," she answered him honestly. "I used to, but it was all tied up with that fairytale of heaven and angels and all the good things in the world. I know that there is such a thing as a soul - I've seen enough people die to know that the body is just a machine, just a vessel to hold what makes us who and what we are. But I don't know what happens to that soul when it leaves. It's just ... gone."
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Ayden

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Re: Greek Sunset (AU)
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2014, 08:47:07 AM »
"There are a lot of theories," Ares started, glancing almost absentmindedly at Dareios, who was standing quietly nearby, as silent as a statue, waiting to either be dismissed or be given further instructions. Ares turned his attention to the man, speaking to him once again in Greek to let him know that his services were no longer needed for the evening and that he was free to go.

Ayden glanced up, surprised with herself for not having noticed that Dareios was still there, watching and waiting for further instruction. She blushed a little, more ashamed of forgetting he was there than embarrassed to have been talking about an issue that skirted the very edge of what normal people were aware of.

The man nodded to them both, excused himself in Greek, and wished them both a good night, surprising Ayden by addressing her personally. "Good evening, ero̱m?ni̱," he told her in polite but broken English, before nodding again and leaving them alone to return to the villa.

She stared after him as he left them, turning wide eyes onto Ares with a vague accusation lurking beneath her surprise. "I thought you said none of them spoke English," she protested through a half-smile. "What did he just call me?"

Ares smirked in obvious amusement. "He called you mistress," he said with a small shrug. Mistress of the Villa, to be exact, just as he was the master. "I gave them instructions to treat you with the same respect they give me."

"Mistress, huh?" She laughed, the look in her eyes a teasing mixture of pleasure and embarrassment. "Something tells me I won't ever be forgiven if they don't see you get married." Before she could say anything else, or fraudulently commit herself to a marriage she hadn't reconciled herself to yet, she turned her attention to the meal in front of her, filling her mouth with more enthusiasm than finesse.

He shrugged again, as if what his servants thought wasn't really all that important. "They seem pleased that I've brought a lady home with me for a change. The truth is, I don't stay here very often, and I rarely have visitors, so having you here is a bit of a treat for them."

There was a pause as she chewed and swallowed, washing down her extraordinary mouthful with a gulp of wine. "It's a bit of a treat for me, too," she pointed out. "I'm gonna have to learn how to speak Greek, if only so I can say hello to them properly. It feels weird being waited on when I don't understand a word being said."

"You will learn in time," he assured her with a warm smile, knowing that if and when she ate the food of the gods and became as immortal as him, learning new languages would come easily to her. He picked up fork and knife and cut into the lamb, which was one of his favorite dishes. They had been discussing heaven and hell and the immortality of the human soul before he had sidetracked them by dismissing Dareios.

She hadn't forgotten, nor had she deliberately changed the subject. Ayden just never really thought about what happened after death; she was too busy being alive to have considered it much. "So what does happen to a soul when someone dies?" she asked him, trusting that he had an answer for her.

Her question brought another frown to his face, and he momentarily paused in his slicing of lamb to consider a response to a question that had no easy answers - at least, not anymore. "It depends," he replied, keeping his attention fixed on his meal. "Things have changed."

She studied him for a moment, a little alarmed by his frown. "I don't have to know," she told him softly, though naturally now she was intensely curious. What if something bad was happening to her mom and her brothers right now? "It's just idle curiosity."

"Before Hades, most souls went to heaven," he replied, between bites of lamb and potato. He raised his head to regard her from across the table, knowing she was more than likely curious what had happened to her brothers and her mother in the afterlife. He had brought up the subject; it was only right that he answered her question, though he could not know for sure. "Heaven is in turmoil, Ayden. You can blame Michael for that."

She flinched at the mention of that archangel's name, fighting to keep the reaction as small as she possibly could, but it was still stark on her face in the moments before she took control of her expression once again. "Well, I figured there was no one in charge anymore," she admitted a little awkwardly. "But ... well, people still go to heaven, don't they?"

He lowered his fork and knife to regard her and seriously consider her question, wondering if she really wanted to know the answer. "I don't know, Ayden. Hades is... he's stealing souls, twisting them into abominations. Part human and part demon, but I don't think he has access to souls in heaven. Your mother, your brothers, they died before Hades started this madness. I can't imagine them going anywhere but heaven." He paused a moment again, as if considering how much to tell her. "There is one way to know for sure."

As he spoke, her brow furrowed into a deep frown, remembering a death not so very long ago. Bill Harvelle, who had saved Nim's life and been killed for his trouble ... was he now one of those terrifying, mindless hybrids that had taken his life in the first place? But more frightening still was the possibility that the original Dean and Sam might not be getting the peaceful, happy afterlife they had earned with their sacrifice. That her mother might be in danger of having it all taken away. "What way?"

Only one word was necessary to answer her question, but he knew she wouldn't like it anymore than he did. It was the only way, however, to find out what was going on in heaven, and to restore order. There simply was no one else who was even close to being able to accomplish such a thing. "Gabriel," he told her simply.
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Ayden

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Re: Greek Sunset (AU)
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2014, 08:48:00 AM »
"Should have seen that one coming," she muttered, just loud enough for him to hear. The more she thought about Gabriel, the more she realized that he scared the ever living crap out of her. He did, quite literally, hold her sanity in the palm of his hand, and he obviously resented the fact that she and her family were allied with certain of the Olympians. She didn't trust him to tell her the truth about anything. "Well, then, I guess I'll never know for sure," she shrugged, prepared to dismiss the concern than invite Gabriel to pass comment on her life and her choices. "Can't always get what you want."

"I need his help, Ayden," he continued, figuring he might as well come clean with his plans - and his mother's plans. She was going to find out sooner or later anyway. "And he's the only one who can restore order in heaven." At least, as far as Ares and Hera were concerned.  There were plenty of other angels, all of them probably vying for control, but there was only one archangel left, and Gabriel was it.

Ayden bit her lip, her appetite forgotten for a moment as she tried to work out where he was going with this. Did he need her to call the archangel for him, or was he just telling her what was necessary for the balance of heaven and hell? "He can't find me if I don't call for him," she said, unprompted. "Cas put some kind of Enochian junk on my ribs that means angels can't see me."

"Sigils," Ares corrected, apparently knowing all about the marks the angel Castiel had carved on Ayden's ribs, as well as Sam and Dean's. "Not now. I don't need to speak with him now, but soon." He hadn't brought her here to discuss the mess the world was in, but she had a right to know what he had planned. "I spoke with my mother recently," he started. "When I was in the Amazon. My father wants me to finish what we started, put a permanent end to the Fates. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to do that, but I need Gabriel to help me find the Spinner. I am going to offer him a chance to redeem himself, to take control of heaven in exchange for helping me find Clotho. He is the last of his kind, Ayden. If Gabriel can't restore order in heaven, I am not sure anyone can." He told her all of this honestly and matter-of-factly. As much as he'd like to keep all of it from her, he wanted to be honest with her; he owed her that much. If she was going to be his consort one day, he was not going to start their relationship based on lies.

She listened, taking this all in thoughtfully. She could see the wisdom in the idea, however much she hated the thought of Ares going after the last of the Fates without her help. "It makes sense," she said reluctantly. "He's got the power to do it, and let's face it, his sense of self-preservation won't make him stupid enough to say no. It won't be an easy alliance, though. He obviously hates you."

Ares shrugged, unperturbed by this bit of information, which came as no great surprise. In a way, he felt almost sorry for Gabriel. Though Ares might not be basking in his father's favor at the moment, he was taking steps to redeem himself in his father's eyes. "Enemy of my enemy and all that," Ares remarked, offhandedly.

"Is an *ss," she completed the platitude, but there was a faint smirk on her lips as she did so. It wasn't that she wasn't grateful for Gabriel hovering over her, not at all. She just wished it had never started. "Thank you for telling me. I know you didn't have to, but I appreciate knowing."

"Of course I had to," he disagreed. "I want no secrets between us, Ayden. No secrets and no lies. I will need you to summon Gabriel for me before we return to Sioux Falls. Hopefully, he will listen to reason." Otherwise, Ares was on his own, and looking for Clotho would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Of course, if Ayden had been in complete control of her visions, she would probably have been able to pinpoint Clotho for him herself, but that control was likely still several years away for her. She had to go along with his decision to involve Gabriel, and trust that neither one would do something stupid and get themselves killed. "But that won't be for another day yet, will it?" she pointed out quietly. "I don't want worrying about him to get in the way of this. We don't have much time together."

There was that smile of his again, as warm and bright as sunshine on a sunny summer day, but there was some sadness behind it, some worry. They only had one more day together before he had to return her to Sioux Falls, before her brother and his wife returned from their quest, before her family got worried and started searching for her. "That is why we are here, at the guest house. So that we can be alone to enjoy what remains of our time together." He didn't mean for it to sound so final, but they both knew the danger that awaited him.

"Good. There are all kinds of things we can do with that privacy, after all." A decidedly cheeky smirk flickered across her face as she returned to her meal, though her appetite was close to sated already. The food was richer than she was used to, prepared in more olive oil than her stomach had been subjected to thus far. It was unspoken, but she was trusting him not to close the deal properly until after he came back from his admittedly dangerous solo mission. He was a god; surely he had control over whether or not his sperm scored a home run or not.

"Such as play chess?" he asked, teasing her back, showing that he did possess a sense of humor, even if it was rare to show itself. He was just about finished with his dinner, as well, though the wine was another matter. Coffee and dessert could wait a while. The sun was starting to set, setting the sky on fire in varying shades of gold and orange and red.

She giggled softly even as her gaze slipped from his, turning to look out over the bay as it lit up in flaming hue to match the brilliance of the sky. "I don't know how to play chess," she told him a little shyly, absentmindedly running the tip of her finger around the edge of her wine glass. "I could probably manage Snap, though, if you've got a pack of cards."

"Snap," he echoed. "I'm afraid I am unfamiliar with that game, but there may be a deck of cards at the villa, if you want to teach me." He assumed she did not. There were, after all, much better things to do when they had so little time left to enjoy together. He drained the glass of wine and rose to his feet. "Walk with me?" he asked, offering her a hand.

The smile that crossed her face as he offered her his hand was filled with the very recent memory of the last walk they had taken together, her fingers sliding easily into his grasp as she abandoned what was left of her wine to rise onto her own feet and join him. "I think I can live without playing games."
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Ayden

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Re: Greek Sunset (AU)
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2014, 08:48:39 AM »
"No games, Ayden," Ares repeated, as if to reassure her once again that he was committed to an honest, open relationship without any head games. He smiled as he took her hand in his to lead her toward the beach and the setting sun. No more talk of death or the afterlife or Hades or Gabriel or his plans for Clotho. Aphrodite may have taught him how to love, but Ayden was teaching him how to live.

With her fingers linked between his, Ayden let him lead her away from the small guesthouse, down through the immaculately kept garden that surrounded the little building. "You know ... even if you were just mortal, like me, even if you didn't have all this to wow me with," she mused quietly as they walked, "I don't think I'd feel any different. I'd still be falling."

"Does it matter?" he asked, turning a curious glance her way as he led her past the neat rows of flowers and shrubs to a path that led to the beach. "That I am... what I am?" he mused, though as far as he knew, there was no chance he'd ever be human like her. "I have watched humanity through the ages, Ayden. This..." he said, giving her hand a gentle squeeze to emphasize his meaning. "I envy this most of all."

She looked up at him, her thumb stroking tenderly over his own as she smiled gently. "You don't need to envy it anymore," she assured him softly. "You're living it. And no ... it doesn't matter what you are. It's who you are that matters, and that isn't going to change. Is it?"

He stopped as they reached the end of the path, just before they stepped out onto the beach and he turned to face her, drawing her toward him. "Dearest Ayden," he said, brushing a fingertip against her cheek. "You are so lovely, so young, so good. You have a pure soul, do you know that? Your brothers must have loved you much to give their lives for yours."

Loving though his expressed sentiment was, it brought a sad frown to her face to be reminded of her brothers and their death. Worse, it laid a veneer of guilt over her heart. They hadn't died for her, had they? They couldn't have. She'd only been there to give them a little extra strength, that extra boost they needed to do what had to be done. But despite her frown, she forced herself to smile in answer to Ares' compliment, her hands coming to rest against his chest as she looked up at him. "I don't feel very pure," she confessed to him. "The inside of my head is the dirtiest place I could imagine sometimes."

"I do not mean that kind of purity," he told her, unaware that he might have saddened her with the mention of her brothers. Though there was certainly grief in knowing she might never see them again, they had died an honorable death, and even the Olympians agreed that they were heroes. He smirked a little at her statement, unable to resist teasing her a little. "Do any of those thoughts include me?"

The tease worked, easing her thoughts away from the brothers she had lost and the guilt she now felt for that loss. Instead, she found herself smirking back at him, leaning into the lean strength of his core as the shadows lengthened into dusky darkness around them. "All of them," she promised him, equally teasing, but with a seriousness that suggested she wasn't being untruthful with that tease.

"Indeed?" he inquired, his curiosity growing. For one who had only just lost her virtue, she was bold in her claims, and he was intrigued and curious to know what fantasies she might have about him. "Remember what I said about secrets?" he prompted, tapping her nose with a finger.

She somehow managed to produce an innocent expression to present to him, knowing he was going to want to know details now. "What?" she asked him artlessly. "How am I keeping secrets? My dirty thoughts are all about you, there's no secret there."

"Yes, but what kind of thoughts? I have never known anyone to have... thoughts about me. Apollo, perhaps, but not me. I am curious." He was not going to give up that easily, it seemed. Not until she at least gave him a small hint as to what she'd been fantasizing about. "I have been with you all this time. When have you had time to think about me?"

She grinned. "I was having naughty fantasies about you the day we met, remember?" And she was pretty sure he knew it, too. Still, she surprised herself, reaching up to draw him down to her level. Her lips brushed his ear as she whispered a few details to him involving silk scarves, a blindfold, and the element of surprise.

He arched a brow as she pulled him down to whisper sweet nothings that were anything but nothing in his ear, surprised but not so very surprised by her admission. In all his thousands of years and his many lovers, no one had ever suggested seducing him in such a way. In fact, it was usually him who had done the seducing, not the other way around, with one possible exception. There was one thing he didn't quite understand, however, and he couldn't help but ask, his curiosity piqued. "Yes, but for you or for me?"

He eyes twinkled in the fading light as she met his gaze, close enough to feel his breath against her face, that sweet sense of anticipation and nerves fluttering deep in her belly. "Sometimes it's you, sometimes it's me," she confessed, the heat radiating from her cheeks more telling of her blush than the color that had spread over her skin. "Does it matter which, so long as it's fun?"

"Fun," he repeated, somewhat amazed. Though he might be more experienced at the art of love, it seemed there was a thing or two she could still teach him. "I have never thought of it as fun before," he admitted, finding her blush both telling and adorable.

"Really?" She seemed genuinely surprised by that admission, tweaking his lips with her fingertip as they lingered together at the very edge of the beach. "Why would people do it so much, if it isn't fun to do? Just because you enjoy it doesn't mean that it has any less meaning or potency. Isn't that why people try so many different ways and places and methods? To keep it interesting and enjoyable?"
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Ayden

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Re: Greek Sunset (AU)
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2014, 08:49:18 AM »
"I suppose," he replied, uncertainly. His own conquests had not been all that unusual. He wore a thoughtful, puzzled look on his face, wondering if there was something he'd missed all these years, something that mortals knew of lovemaking that he did not. Perhaps it had been too long, after all. Almost in order to save himself from embarrassment, he took hold of her hand again and started onto the beach.

Drawn along once again, Ayden leaned into him as they walked, stroking her free hand against his arm. "Did you know there's only two animals on Earth that have sex for reasons besides making more of themselves?" she mused quietly, not entirely sure where she was going with this comment, or that she was right. "One of them is a chimp, but they don't have sex for pleasure or to bond. It's an alternative to fighting for them. Humans are the only ones who indulge in sex purely for the joy of it. Isn't that odd?"

"I suppose," he repeated, with that thoughtful look still on his face. She wasn't precisely correct. The Olympians made love for pleasure, but they weren't the same as humans or any other living creature on Earth. "Did you know that Lucifer fell from heaven in part because he wanted to cavort with mortals?" It might not be a completely relevant question, but there was a good chance she didn't know that little tidbit. And once again, he didn't realize that Lucifer was as naughty a word as Michael.

She stopped abruptly, sighing as he mentioned yet another angel that had done a great deal of harm. "Baby," she said quietly, so careful not to sound sad or angry that she didn't even notice the endearment she opened with, "mentioning the things that murdered my family is kind of a mood killer, you know? Probably best not to bring them up in conversation at all, unless you want me to cry all over you again."

"It is?" he asked, arching a brow at her, clearing not having considered this before. He had only been mentioning what he thought of as fact, not realizing how it might have affected her until she pointed it out. He frowned, looking a little ashamed and embarrassed at his mistake. But of course, mentioning Dean and Sam and those who'd been responsible for their deaths would be painful for her. Why hadn't he realize it earlier? "I'm sorry, Ayden. It didn't occur to me."

"I know." She squeezed his hand, managing a faint smile to try and reassure him, but her eyes slid away, turning to look out over the sea as the sun dipped below the horizon, leaving the sky painted with fading red and orange. It was hard not to remember the moment she'd lost everything whenever certain names were mentioned, and for a moment her vision swam, tears threatening to fall and reopen old wounds she had been ignoring for years. But she wouldn't do that, not to him. He hadn't known.

He circled her in his embrace, easing around behind her to wrap his arms around her waist, leaning close to touch his cheek to hers as the sun dipped lower on the horizon. "Your brothers and mother must be in heaven, Ayden. I'm certain of it," he told her quietly in an attempt to comfort and reassure her. "I know it is hard to believe, but I have lost some loved ones over the years, as well. Children, mostly. One of my sons was killed in battle." Though he may not have been the most faithful of lovers, let it never be said that Ares had not been a loving father. He loved each of his children and still felt the loss of those who were gone. He wanted her to know that, though he was immortal, he, too,  had suffered his share of grief.

She leaned back into his arms, forgetting the beautiful view as her head turned toward his, eyes closing, resting her forehead against his jaw as she smoothed her hands over his arms at her waist. "No parent should ever have to bury their child," she murmured, not wanting to spout condolences, or express an apology for his loss. To her, they always sounded false, the platitudes that people clung to in the wake of a bereavement. Her palm gently touched his cheek as she breathed him in. "I didn't mean to suggest that you don't know how it feels," she added quietly. "I just ... it's still raw, and I'm still scared. It's just something that's going to take time for me, that's all." She sighed impatiently. "Everything takes time."

"If you wish to talk about them, I don't mind listening," he assured her as he held her close, the last rays of daylight quickly fading below the horizon, the sun seemingly sinking into the ocean. "You will be safe in Sioux Falls," he reassured her, not quite realizing she was probably more scared for the safety of her loved ones - himself included - than for herself. "It gets easier with time, but I still miss them sometimes."

"What's the point in being safe if no one else is?" she asked quietly, but there was no rancor in her words. It was just a plain statement of fact. But he had helped her greatly by pointing out that her visions were as useful when they didn't come as when they did; she wasn't so inclined to worry quite so much. "I don't think I'll ever stop missing my mom, and Sam, and Dean. I mean, the old Dean. This Dean is still my brother, but it's not the same."

Ares listened quietly and patiently while Ayden let go of some of the grief and the worries she'd been carrying on her shoulders, understanding her grief as much as he could without being human. "Give him time, Ayden. He is not of this world. You are as much a stranger to him as he is to you, perhaps more. He has lost everything, just as you have. But you can find strength in each other, and perhaps in time, you will become as close to him as you were to the Dean you lost."

"I hope so," she breathed out carefully, turning her eyes to the last of the setting sun's rays as they faded over the sea. "I let myself get my hopes up, even though I told myself not to. Dean, my Dean ... he needed me, he needed to have a little sister to look after, and Sam did, too. But this Dean ..." She shook her head, unhappy with herself for even feeling this, much less sharing it. "He doesn't need me. He's got Nim, and Ellen and Bobby. None of them need me; I'm just another person to worry about, another person who can get hurt. More responsibility, on top of everything else."

Ares arched a brow, realizing something that perhaps Ayden had not, something she might not be able or ready to realize. "You're wrong, Ayden. He does need you, and for the very same reasons that you need him."

She frowned, twisting her head to look up at him in confusion. "What do you mean?"
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Ayden

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Re: Greek Sunset (AU)
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2014, 08:50:39 AM »
It seemed glaringly obvious to Ares, but sometimes it was easier to see things from the outside looking in. "He is your brother by blood, whether either of you wishes to acknowledge that or not. He lost his brother, just as you lost your brothers. He has no living relative in this place, but you. You are the single remaining link, the only one left who shares that same bond of blood. The only difference between this Dean and the other is that this one is just as alone here as you are." Yes, Dean had Nimue and Bobby and Ellen, but none of them shared the blood bond that Dean shared with Ayden, whether either realized it or not.

"And in a few months, he'll have baby Sam," she pointed out, neatly forgetting that through Dean, Sam was just as much her blood as anyone's. She snorted softly, shaking her head with a smile. "I'm sorry, I'm getting all maudlin and depressing. Maybe this is why no one ever lets me drink wine."

"Baby Sam, your nephew," Ares reminded her, refusing to let her forget that she was as much a part of the family back in Sioux Falls as any of them. But with any luck, she would realize it for herself in due time. He smiled and brushed soft lips against her cheek. "There is no need to apologize. Only promise me something. Promise me you will give your brother a chance. Promise you will give yourself a chance to get to know him."

Ayden eyed him suspiciously, a soft smirk coloring her expression as she looked up at him. "You really do know me too well, don't you?" she accused affectionately. Only someone who knew her habits could possibly know that she was putting distance between herself and her brother, just to avoid getting hurt again. "Maybe I should let you make all my decisions for me."

He shrugged, a soft smile on his face, a little amused by her statement. "I do not wish to tell you what to do. I only think you should give your brother a chance and try to get to know him better. He is still your brother, even if he is from another world. Not many people get a second chance, Ayden. Do not waste the opportunity to make him part of your life again."

"Yes, mother." She nudged him gently, teasing her way out of what could have become another upsetting conversation. But one thing Ayden had learned was how not to wallow. So life was s*** - so what? There were good parts of it, too. She turned in his arms, lips seeking his in a slow, tender kiss. This was definitely one of the good parts.

"I am not-" Any denial was lost on his lips as she turned to face him and press that slow tender kiss to his lips, which he returned with equal fervor and feeling. Whatever he'd been about to say was sidetracked by that kiss, all intelligent thought evaporating beneath that kiss.

Gently, she drew back just far enough to look up at him with clear, honest eyes, showing him everything she was feeling, even the sweet confusion that came with those feelings. "Dessert will keep, won't it?"

"It will keep,"  he assured her with a soft smile, holding her loosing about the waist and looking down from his height into those lovely green eyes of hers that were not so much different from his own.

For a long time she looked up, answering his gaze with her own, soft and quiet, reveling in the sense of closeness that came with the darkening sky above them. For the first time, there wasn't anything in her mind but this moment, this heartbeat, this breath. This beautiful man who loved her, looking down at her as though she was the only thing worth looking at in the whole world. "Good," she murmured softly, a slow smile creeping across her face. "I think there's something else I want to do, instead."

He smiled a little, wondering what it was that she had in mind, though there were only so many things they could do there on the beach with nighttime creeping in. "And what would that be?" he asked, his fingers twitching against her back, as though they were anxious to be busy doing something more than just holding her close.

She might not have noticed that antsy twitch of his fingers had the dress not been cut low in the back, allowing her to feel every press of his hands against her flesh with acute awareness. Her own fingers teased in and out of his hair as she held his gaze, fairly sure he knew what she was alluding to. "I know I'm damaged goods now," she said impishly. "Does the God of War accept sacrifices from non-virgins?"

"Damaged goods?" he echoed, looking appalled. "You are nothing of the sort, and I do not wish a sacrifice from you. You have already given me the greatest gift any woman could give." He moved to drop down onto a knee before her, his hands moving to her hips as he looked up at her, as though he was kneeling in prayer to worship at her feet. "Will you accept my heart in recompense for all you've given me, sweet lady?"

She stared down at him in surprise, reminding herself all over again that he really wasn't familiar with the concept of teasing and being teased, and certainly not with self-deprecating humor. Her fingers combed through his hair once again, leaving that neat parting in tousled disarray as she smiled down at him. "I thought I already did," she assured him softly.

"Well, then..." he started, standing and moving to sweep her off her feet and into his arms, careful of her dress. It was November, and it would be getting chilly soon now that the sun had gone down. The beach was no place to fulfill her wishes, at least not until the warmer months. No more talk. They had talked enough, and with only one day left before she had to rejoin her family in Sioux Falls, there was no time to waste. "There is no time like the present," he said with a smile on his face.

Ayden's laughter touched the stillness, mingling with the gentle swell of waves on sand as Ares lifted her to him, her arms curling about his neck to steady herself as they shared their smiles in the growing darkness. No, there was no time like the present, but what was becoming increasingly obvious the closer they became, was that there was no present he could give her that meant half as much as time. Time to learn how to be in love, time to become a little sister, an aunt ... time to learn how to be Ayden, the girl, before the time came to become Ayden, the wife and consort. A year seemed like too much and not enough in one fell swoop, but it was all she had asked for. She was determined not to disappoint him, one way or the other, no matter what.

[size=9]((Ah, love. Even if she won't admit it yet, it pretty bloody obvious, isn't it? All the thanks go to Ares' player, who is awesome!))[/size]
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