Real Beauty

Love is a beautiful thing. 

She is born of sea-foam, the last daughter to a mad king. She is Love, she is Beauty, she is everything her father wasn't. She is given many names, but Aphrodite is constant. 

She spent many years alone upon her beach, as War unraveled in the Heavens above, Olympian versus Titan, God against God, her peace and solitude far from its violent reach. 

Aphrodite is happy, but she is also lonely. Her days are filled with seashells and ocean breeze until one day, when someone approaches her slowly. 

His name is Hephaestus. His face is unconventional, his leg is weak, but she doesn't see that. She sees his cane, artfully craved from sturdy metal and wood, marveling at the technique. He stammers out words, undercutting his work, but the blush on his face makes Aphrodite smirk. 

She learns soon enough that he is a true artist, a man of passion and inspiration, taking something plain and making a beautiful creation. She marvels at him, causing the blush to come back. Why would someone so beautiful look at him like that? 

Once the War has ended and Zeus reigns, Hephaestus takes her to Olympus, a new goddess gained. They crown her the Goddess of Love and Beauty, and she is happy in her duty. 

The other gods, she finds out, are all too aware of this beautiful status. They lust for her, they do everything they can to get her,  but she never deters. Ares especially, he is so cruel, so violent, so callous. He insists Love and War are meant to be, two sides of the same whole. But Aphrodite is no fool, if he knew was she knew, he'd know how much she hates him, right into the depths of her soul. 

The gods are jealous things. They refuse to believe she'd marry Hephaestus so willingly. They were Gods of the Sea, of Trade, of Music, of War, how could she chose him over kings? Aphrodite ignores them, wondering why they act so cynically. 

During her first pregnancy, her husband dotes on her day and night. Despite her changing body and a heart full of emotion, she always give Hephaestus a smile that is always so bright. Sometimes they got back to the beach they met, cooing over her swelling stomach as they look out over the ocean. 

It's an intense labor, long and slow, but as their son finally screams his first breath, the early morning rays make him glow.

Hephaestus notices first, that their little boy has his weak leg, and he frowns. He remembers his strong younger brother knocking him over and stealing his cane, assaulting him and laughing at his pain. He thought about the nights he'd lay away as Aphrodite slept next to him, praying their child wouldn't be like him, but it was in vain.

Aphrodite doesn't see that though. She sees her perfect little boy, with his healthy lungs screaming for attention. The Fates come later,  Hephaestus feeling a sense of apprehension. But the Fates do not notice, and break the tension, proclaiming their son a God of Love and Beauty. "Beauty is not always what is conventional" as they mention. Perhaps they said that to be intentional. 

They name the boy Eros, their little God of Love. He is far their only child, but he is their first, the start of their family that they're so proud of. 

As time passes, the other gods begin to make up stories of Aphrodite, of how she is as cruel, of how she is loose, that she hates her husband and subjects him to abuse. Even that their children are his, as they sometimes accuse. Aphrodite pays them no mind. They do not understand love and beauty like she does. To her, they are irksome little flies, whose lies are nothing but an annoying buzz. 

Aphrodite is Love and she is Beauty, and she does not see it through Hate, War, and Violence, she see is through her husband, who makes Art through his fiery passion and skill, which has kept her heart beating and enraptured still. Sometimes she remembers the beach, with the sand between their toes, wondering how she got to lucky to find someone so wonderful to adore.

Let them tell their lies, but Aphrodite knows herself and what she stands for. She loves Love, especially towards the man she cares for.  

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