Beauty Divine, Pain Be Thine FINAL
Final few chapters of Aphrodite's journey.
Aphrodite walked back out to the training area just as everybody was putting away equipment and heading to dinner. Not in the mood, she turned and walked the opposite way, back to her room. She sank down on the bed and put her head in her hands, sighing. She felt awful for giving Ky the impression that she had enjoyed training with him as something more.
Her head snapped up at a quiet knock, and she called, "Come in." Dom, Tristan, and Shea all filed in to the room.
"You alright?" Dom asked.
"I'm fine," she said, then hesitated. "..Well, not really. I mean the wound is very minor. But I have to tell you something, Dom."
Dom gave the others a look, and they quickly nodded and went to stand outside the door. He climbed onto the bed beside her, and asked, "What's the matter, honey?"
"I feel awful. Please don't be angry with me. I fear I may have misled Ky into thinking I had feelings for him. When I went to his office for bandages, he kissed me."
Dom shifted uncomfortably. "And did you kiss him back?" He asked, gentle as always.
"No. I pushed him away, and told him that I--" Aphrodite paused, realizing she had said once before that she thought she loved him, but she had never said it definitively. She took a deep breath to steel herself. "I love you. My heart belongs to you, and nobody else."
He cupped her cheek and said, "I love you, too. And I'm not angry with you. You didn't kiss him, and you told me right away.." His voice trailed off and his eyes went distant, a frown forming on his face. "I... I have to tell you something. Hold on." He rushed over to the door to bring Tristan and Shea back in. "We have to tell them, T. We can't keep hiding this from them."
Aphrodite felt something grip at her stomach and squeeze. "Hiding what? What's going on?"
Tristan sighed, looking at Shea. "It wasn't coincidence that we all met. We were sent by Hera to search you out and report back to her with your loca--"
"What?!" Shea and Aphrodite screamed at the same time.
"Please," Dom interrupted, "let us explain. Please!"
Aphrodite pulled her friend onto the bed beside her, putting her arms protectively around Shea. Anger rose in her chest and she glared. "You have one minute."
Dom launched into a rant at high speed. "Hera found us wandering around Greece. She figured we were someone you would never suspect, and hired us to find you and spy on you. As far as she knew, you had been hauled to safety by Shea, and she lost you. So we started in the direct area where she thought you might be, and it took us a while to find you. But, then I met you and something hit me, and I felt myself being pulled to you, and I just knew. I knew who you were, and I knew that I could never hurt you. I told Tristan, and things just got complicated, because I wanted to tell you so badly, but I was afraid you would run and I would never see you again. But then you started trusting us, and Shea and Tristan, and... and we just couldn't tell you. But we never told Hera anything, I swear it."
The girls stared, agape. Shea began to weep. After a moment, Aphrodite shook her head, the anger slowly fading, replaced by hurt. "I haven't felt anything malicious from them since we met. Just a.. strange pang, like an electrical current connecting.. I feel no dishonesty or hate. But I do feel Tristan's intense love for you. I believe them," She said to Shea, who took a moment to glance at Tristan, who stared at her earnestly. Shea looked back at Aphrodite and nodded her head, calming herself. "But you should have told us. You can't just omit things like that and call yourself honest."
Dom knelt in front of her. "I know. I'm so sorry. But do you remember that day, on the beach? I meant every word I said to you. I swear. Aphrodite," he said, taking hold of her face once again, "I would follow you to the ends of the universe. Even if it means my death, I will spend my life protecting, loving, and serving you."
Tristan offered his hand to Shea and, when she hesitantly accepted, gently lifted her to her feet. Running his fingers through her hair, he whispered to her, "I would never betray you like that, Shea. I promise, I would do anything to keep you from harm. I'm a man who keeps my promises, remember?" Silent tears were falling from her eyes, but Shea let out a small chuckle at the memory of their first shower together.
"Don't ever lie to me again," She chastised. "Don't break my heart. You're the only man I've ever wanted to be with, and I don't want that to go away."
"Never. I have seen every piece of you. The pieces you show the world, and the pieces you hide. I love every piece of you. Every single, beautiful piece." Tristan looked into her eyes with an intensity she had never seen. "I will never let you go. I promise." Shea smiled and exhaled. They clutched each other and kissed, at the same time Aphrodite and Dom kissed.
A knock came at the door, then, and Chloe's voice called, "Ally? Can I come in?" Aphrodite went to the door and allowed her entry. Chloe looked around and nodded a hello to each of them before asking, "Are you alright? I went to Ky's office after dinner when you didn't show. He seemed a little upset and told me I could find you here. Amara finished before me and left to go lay down, so I figured I'd check on you."
"Sister!" Interrupted a voice loudly, causing all of them to jump and gasp. An apparition of Athena shimmered into the room, a look of urgency to her.