Greek Myths: Hephaestus & AphroditebySelena_Kitt©
Hephaestus limped toward the anvil where Arges was using his heavy hammer, carrying a delicate chain tented in his fingers, and he held it up for Arges to see.
"Do you think she will like this one?" Hephaestus asked him, offering it to the Cyclops.
Arges blinked the single eye in the middle of his forehead and sighed. "Why do you keep offering these things to her?"
"She is my wife," Hephaestus replied, frowning.
Arges took the necklace from his hands and it glowed immediately, shining a deep silver color. Hephaestus smiled at his handiwork. Arges was the Cyclops that brought brightness to all the metal work here, making it shine.
"Thank you," Hephaestus replied, taking the chain back, admiring its delicate workings and now shiny veneer before tucking it into his pocket. He patted it. "I know she will like this one."
Arges sighed, watching Hephaestus limp away.
He could hear Aphrodite's laughter in the hallway, floating through the walls. Hephaestus smiled, running a hand through his hair and patting his pocket again. He stood outside for a moment, hearing more voices inside.
"But Thalia, have you seen him dance?" It was Aphrodite's voice—she was talking to one of the Graces. Hephaestus always felt uncomfortable in their presence, like a clumsy interloper. He hesitated, his hand raised to knock. Perhaps later, when she didn't have company.
"Ares dances like no other!" It was Euphrosyne, her voice joyful, as it always was. "Such grace and presence I've never seen in a man."
Hephaestus swallowed hard, taking a step back on his lame foot. Later. Definitely later. He turned to go.
"That isn't all he does like no other," Aphrodite said, her voice lowering. He heard them titter and squeal. His face burned and his fists clenched.
"What of your husband?" Aglaia asked, her voice clear as a bell above the others.
Hephaestus opened the door without knocking and found the three Graces surrounding his wife at her vanity, adorning her hair with flowers.
"Oh!" Aphrodite smiled, holding her hand out to him. "Hephaestus, come, Aglaia was just asking after you."
Hephaestus limped toward her, glancing at Aglaia by her side. The Grace, ever Aphrodite's favorite, was sitting next to her on the padded bench, her curly dark head resting against her mistress' shoulder. She was watching Hephaestus with her large, dark eyes and it made him feel even more ungainly and slow as he advanced.
"I have brought you something," Hephaestus said, meeting his wife's cool gaze. Her eyes were a clear, deep blue, and they were veiled to him, as always. He ducked his head, clearing his throat.
"Well?" Aphrodite asked, holding her hand out. Hephaestus dug into his pocket and pulled out the fine chain. The Graces gasped in unison as he held it out to his wife.
Aphrodite took it from him, holding it up to the light. "It's very similar to the one you brought last week—almost the same." She put it on the vanity table and turned to smile at him. "Thank you... husband."
Hephaestus nodded, looking for something to do with his hands. He tucked them behind his back, rocking a little on his heels.
"Have you finished the corset that I asked you to make?" Aphrodite inquired, entangling her hand with Aglaia's and kissing the inside of the young woman's wrist. He watched his wife's mouth, his eyes hungry.
"Almost," he replied, looking at the smile of pleasure of Aglaia's face as she basked in the goddess' attentions. He knew how she felt.
"Perhaps that will be the next gift you bring to me, then?" Aphrodite tilted her eyes up at him and then turned them toward the large, luxurious bed resting in the corner.
He flushed, his body responding immediately. "You will have it. Soon."
Aphrodite turned and tickled Aglaia under the chin. "Will you show my husband to the door?"
Aglaia stood, smiling at Hephaestus as she approached, taking his arm in hers. "You are a master craftsman," she told him as she turned him toward the door. Hephaestus glanced over his shoulder at Aphrodite and she waggled her fingers at him.
"Th-thank you," Hephaestus stuttered. Aglaia pulled the door open and eased them through. He followed her, seeing a last glimpse of Aphrodite before it swung shut. His heart lurched at the sight of her—such beauty!
"Hephaestus," Aglaia turned her face up to his, her eyes soft. "That was the most beautiful piece you have made for her yet."
He shook his head, avoiding her eyes. "It was nothing. A trifle."
"She doesn't deserve you," Aglaia said under her breath. Hephaestus lifted his eyes to the Grace in surprise.
"What... what did you say?"
"Nothing." Aglaia touched his arm and smiled. "She would want me to thank you. It is a lovely gift, a beautiful gesture."
Hephaestus tilted his head, a smile playing on his lips. He had always felt so uncomfortable in the room with all of the Graces, but this one was different. Maybe it was just that he felt less obviously disfigured when they were standing alone together.
"You are very gracious," he nodded at her.
Aglaia laughed, a light, sparkling thing, squeezing his arm and turning back to the door. "That's what I am."
Hephaestus glimpsed Aphrodite again as the door swung open and then shut. He took a shaky breath, leaning his forehead against it, pressing his hand there, as if he could reach her, his wife, the most beautiful goddess in the world. He could hear them talking.
"Is he gone, Aglaia?"
"Yes. He was very sad." Aglaia's voice was low.
He heard his wife sigh. "So whose turn is it? Euphrosyne, do you want this one?"
"Oh, may I have it?" he heard Aglaia say. "Please?"
He remembered the fine, detailed work he had done, the hours he had spent.
"So, when will you see Ares again?" Thalia asked.
Hephaestus closed his eyes, feeling his chest growing tight. He turned away from her door and limped down the hallway.
"Is this what I think it is?" Aphrodite took the beautiful woven pouch from him, her eyes brighter than he had ever seen them before.
Hephaestus smiled, watching her pull the drawstring and open the bag, lifting the golden corset from its wrapping. She gasped, holding it up, watching it shimmer in the light.
"You have outdone yourself," she whispered, moving to the full-length mirror and holding it up against her body. Hephaestus sat on the edge of the bed, his eyes drinking in the sight of her. He loved making her happy. Nothing shone so bright as his Aphrodite when she was pleased.
"Will you put it on?" His voice was hoarse and he met her gaze as she turned toward him. She looked from him to the bed and back to the mirror, the smile gone from her eyes, but not her mouth.
"If you wish." She slipped the gown off her shoulders, letting it fall to the floor, revealing her nude body underneath.
He stifled a groan at the site of her. She never failed to move him, her long honey-colored hair spilling in waves down her back, the gentle slope and curve of her form. Aphrodite lifted the corset, studying it with loving eyes before wrapping it around her body, holding it together in the back as she admired her reflection.
"What do you think?" She winked at him.
The corset was made of the finest metal mesh, a beautiful golden color that made her glow even more than he thought possible. It was just for her waist, leaving her breasts and nether-regions exposed. Hephaestus stood, limping toward her and standing behind her at the mirror. He winced, seeing his face appear over her shoulder—such ugliness next to her fine grace and beauty.
"Let me fasten it," he said, his hands moving down the soft skin of her shoulders. He pushed her hands aside, beginning at the bottom, lacing the seam together through the small eyelets with the finest, yet strongest, golden gossamer thread. His fingers were large and calloused from his anvil, but still incredibly deft and gentle.
"You will have to teach Aglaia to do this." Aphrodite held her hair piled up on her head, holding herself still and straight for him.
Hephaestus could have fastened it much more quickly, but he took his time, kneeling at first, his eyes drinking in the rounded swell of her bottom, the long, gentle curve of her legs. He stood to lace the rest, pressing a small kiss to the middle of her back as he did.
"Now, tighten it," she said, looking over her shoulder at him, tendrils of her hair escaping her grasp. He smiled, pulling at the golden stays, watching her already small waistline shrink, accentuating her curves.
"Beautiful," he murmured, tying the lacing at the top, his hands slipping down over the indentation of her waist, his fingers brushing the fine mesh of the corset.
"Will it really make anyone fall in love with me?" she asked, turning back and forth in the mirror, trying to see all sides.
"Silly woman." Hephaestus shook his head. "Everyone is already in love with you."
She wrinkled her nose at him. "Not everyone."
"Your husband is in love with you," he said, coming to stand next to her. "And to answer your question, yes. This corset will make any man, mortal or immortal, fall immediately in love with you."
Aphrodite turned to face him, putting her arms around his neck. "It is a kind and generous gift." She kissed his cheek. "Thank you."
"You are welcome," he whispered into her hair as he held her, breathing in her scent.
"And you shall be rewarded," she murmured, tilting her face up and pressing her lips to his. He had forgotten how sweetly she tasted, the memory flooding back as she opened her mouth to him, allowing him in. He explored her with his tongue, his hands tangling in the silken tumble of her hair, groaning as he began to feel her soften against him.
"You have something else for me," she whispered, reaching boldly between his legs and squeezing. He hissed through his teeth, his eyes closing as she rubbed him there.
"Yes," he growled, nudging her toward the bed and then pushing her prone. She lay spread out before him, the golden mesh of the corset nearly matching the color of the hair spread out on the pillow—and the curly hair between her thighs.
She smiled, a lazy, dreamy smile, reaching her hand down and spreading herself for him, showing him her treasure. He knelt before it, transfixed. Leaning in to kiss her, he edged his tongue past her flaxen tendrils, like plowing a golden wheat field, searching her fleshy furrows for the swollen pink kernel hiding within. Aphrodite moaned when he found it, his mouth covering her mound as he began to bathe her with his tongue.
Her hips moved with him as she threw her hands above her head in complete abandon, her eyes closing. Hephaestus was skilled in this trade, and his fingers worked their way into her flesh as he licked her, feeling the velvet lining inside. His erection throbbed, aching to be buried inside of her. Still, his mouth endeavored to complete its task. He was never one to leave a job unfinished.
"Yes," she moaned, rolling her hips in circles now, urging his tongue to follow that pattern. He accommodated her, rewarded with the sound of his name on her lips, her hands grasping his hair, pulling his head into her. "Oh, Hephaestus, please!"
He was dizzy with the sight of her pink nipples rising with her ragged breath above the cups of the golden corset, and he reached for them. Aphrodite moaned as he kneaded her flesh, tweaking the rosy buds of her nipples, rolling them, pulling them. His erection was a steel bar pressed against the side of the bed but he kept his mouth fastened over her sweet spot, urging her toward ecstasy.
He felt her begin to swell, breaking like a wave against him, her body shuddering and trembling under his hands and mouth. He hung on, unwavering in his attention, swallowing her honey like ambrosia.
When he moved on top of her, Aphrodite shrank back with a grimace. Hephaestus stopped, feeling his manhood beginning to wane. When she saw the pained look in his eyes, she touched his cheek, giving him a small smile.
"Let me," she said, sliding out from under him and pushing him back onto the bed. She unfastened his breeches, finding him with her hand. His eyes roamed over her as she knelt above him, the sun gleaming off each link in the mesh corset, blinding him with lust. It truly was too much to resist.
Her hand was skilled, a smooth, steady motion, bringing him close to a precarious edge. He moved his hand to cup her mound, sliding a finger into the soft, wet crevice he was longing to enter. She worked his shaft, and he struggled to defy his body's response, wanting it to last forever, wanting to plunge inside her slick depths, but he could feel himself nearing his limit, the pleasure too intense to hold onto any longer. He moaned her name, thrusting up until her hand was overflowing with his seed.
He saw her smile, and felt her grip tighten around him, milking his shaft, making him thrash and growl and dig his fingers deep into her flesh. He closed his eyes, spent, and felt her slide away from him. His heart was beating hard in his chest, and he breathed deeply, allowing his body to relax. When he opened his eyes, longing to pull her to him, he found that she was standing in front of the mirror, looking at the corset he had made her.
"You're beautiful," he told her from the bed, his voice hoarse.
She smiled, running her hands over her hips. "And now, I'm irresistible."
You always were, he thought as he drifted off to sleep.
Hephaestus sat watching his wife, his hands clenched into fists under the table. His eyes followed Ares, who was touching the golden corset, fingering the fine mesh.
A hand slapped him on the back. "Quite a party, Hephaestus!"
Hephaestus turned to see Hades standing behind him, his eyes on Aphrodite as well. "All to show off the girdle?"
"It's certainly making an impression," Persephone remarked dryly, putting her hand on Hades' arm. She smiled down at Hephaestus. "Your wife is certainly lovely."
"Yes," Hephaestus agreed, frowning and rubbing his bearded chin. Aphrodite had outdone herself tonight—there was no man or god here who hadn't approached her. He knew part of it was the corset, of course, but the sheer, tight black material she wore underneath didn't hide any of her assets.
"Aidon, dance with me." Persephone looked up at her husband, calling him by her familiar name for him. He smiled and nodded down at her, taking her arm.
Hephaestus watched them walking toward the dance floor. They were clearly in love—he could see it in the way they looked at each other when Hades took Persephone into his arms. It surprised him to see them here. Hades rarely left his dark realm. Aphrodite had something to do with it, he was sure. He knew she had invited everyone on Olympus, and as filled as the room was, he guessed that very few had turned down the invitation.
Hephaestus took another drink from the mug in front of him, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand. He was alone at this end of the long table. He saw his father, Zeus, in some sort of debate with Poseidon in the corner. He watched them arguing for a moment, letting it take his mind off Aphrodite dancing with Ares—his own brother, dancing with his wife. His face burned, and he took another swallow from his mug.
"Hephaestus?" Aglaia nudged his arm.
"Yes?" He looked up at her, and suddenly felt lighter.
"May I join you?" She sat beside him without waiting to hear his response. He made room for her on the bench, nearly falling off the other edge as she sidled closer, her thigh touching his. "So tell me about your work—what else have you made, besides the lovely jewelry and the blinding corset for my mistress?"
"Oh, many things," he said, straining to see where Aphrodite had disappeared to. Athena and Artemis were in his line of vision on the dance floor as they swayed together to the music.
There she was, still dancing with Ares, her head resting under his chin. He saw the way Ares ran his hand over the sides of the corset, down over her hips, and he remembered what it felt like to touch her.
"What things?" Persephone asked, sitting across from them, still out of breath from her dance. "Aidon, will you get me some ambrosia?" She smiled up at him as he came to the table, and he nodded, turning to go find some.
"I was just asking Hephaestus what other miraculous things he had crafted," Aglaia said, resting her chin in her hand and looking at Hephaestus. Persephone looked between the two of them for a moment. Hades returned with two chalices full of ambrosia, placing one before his wife.
"Didn't Hephaestus make your helmet, Aidon?" Persephone asked as he sat down.
Hades grinned. "I love that thing. Put it on, and I'm invisible!"
"You made an invisibility helmet?" Aglaia's eyes widening. "That's remarkable!"
"I'll say," Persephone snorted, wiping a strand of blonde hair out of her eyes before taking a drink. "He uses it for all sorts of naughty things—don't you, Aidon?"
Hephaestus chuckled. "I can imagine."
"What else have you crafted," Aglaia asked, putting her hand on Hephaestus' arm. He looked down at her slender fingers, but he didn't pull away. Her hand was tiny and warm and soft.
"He made my bow," Artemis said, coming to stand behind Persephone and Hades. Athena was following her, carrying two chalices. "I'm sorry, I couldn't help overhearing."
"Oh, join us, Artemis!" Aglaia smiled, extending a hand out to her. "And Athena, you are looking so wild and untamed tonight."
"Is that a compliment?" Athena asked, following Artemis around the table to sit on the other side of Aglaia. She patted Hephaestus on the back as she passed. "Hephaestus made my spear, as well."
"Is there anything you didn't make?" Aglaia asked in wonder.
Persephone nudged Hades and smiled up at him. "Perhaps only the stars and the moon?"
Hades chuckled. "Didn't you make Poseidon's trident, too?"
"Oh, and Demeter's sickle!" Artemis added. "Where is your mother, Persephone?"
"Hera's throne, too," Athena said.
Zeus and Poseidon had heard them talking, and both of them came over to stand by the table. Hephaestus looked around him, amazed that a moment ago, he was brooding alone, and suddenly he was surrounded by people, all praising his work. He glanced at Aglaia, her eyes shining up at him, and he knew it was all because of this little Grace.
"Did I hear my name mentioned?" Poseidon asked.
"We were just trying to decide which of Hephaestus' creations was the best," Hades remarked, tipping back in his chair and lacing his fingers behind his head. "What do you two think?"
"My thunderbolts, of course!" Zeus said. "No question!"
"Well, there are all twelve golden Olympian thrones to consider, too," Athena added.
"I'm sorry, everyone," Aphrodite slipped between Zeus and Poseidon, Ares following close behind her. "But the most wonderful thing has to be my corset." She turned and smiled at Ares, whose eyes were on her waist.
"Tell us, Aglaia," Persephone murmured. "You are the Grace of Splendor. Which of these things is the most splendid?"
Aglaia glanced at Aphrodite, and then looked around at each of them. Hephaestus turned to watch her, and he noticed for the first time that she was wearing the necklace that he had brought for his wife that day. She was fingering it as she thought, her face serious.
"I have watched him work," Aglaia said softly, taking Hephaestus' hand and turning it over in hers. They were rough and calloused and large compared to hers. She stroked his palm with her fingertips, her eyes meeting his. "There is magic in his hands. He is a true artist. He holds the image of love inside himself, and he molds every object of his craft to its vision."
Hephaestus stared at her, transfixed.
Aglaia glanced at Aphrodite. "He has been rejected again and again, by all of you—by even his own mother and father." Aglaia turned her eyes to Zeus for a moment and Hephaestus felt an incredible heat coming off of her. "Yet still, he doesn't reject the world. He has learned how to craft ugliness into beauty—how to see the beauty in it all."