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Thread Contributor: SethHell's Belle
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#41
He had told Belle who he was, he hadn’t minced his words. He was Seth, sometimes called Set. He was Hades, and he had once been Nergal of Mesopotamia. He had gone by many, many names in his long history, but here and now he was once again Seth. Others might accidentally harm someone like Belle, but Seth was a careful deity; he hadn’t done something like that in eons, and he doubted that his control would slip that much anytime soon. Perhaps in a time when he had been losing himself, but even those days were so very far in the past…

Belle’s lack of fear was enticing. It was rare, to find a human who knew him for who and what he was, recognized the fact, and still did not fear him, fear what he might do, or what he would inevitably one day bring.

James had been an intelligent man. The token of his affection that he’d given Belle was one that would keep her alive, protect her, and it would do a very good job. It was impressive, that a ghost had been able to obtain such an artefact. Seth was both impressed and pleased. He kept exactly what the ring was, what it could do, to himself, not to hide such things from Belle, but both because he hoped she wouldn’t have need of those features, and because he didn’t want to unduly frighten her.

Seth smiled as Belle moved to return to work, “Don’t burn your turnovers on my account, Belle.”

It was time for him to let her get back to her life and work anyway. And time for him to spend his free hours on a new project. He didn’t even seem to pay attention as he finished the remains of his shake, the glass simply blinking away, clean and sparkling and appearing in its place in the cupboard, the plate doing the same, the refuse simply disappearing to dispose of itself. The table looked freshly wiped down as he stood, leaving behind several burnished gold coins, engraved with a difference face than Seth’s, but one that resembled it in some small, strange ways. He tapped the top coin with an almost fond smile, and then placed a simple charcoal gray card on the table, leaning against his payment for the meal.

It held a picture, in a coppery red color that glinted against the gray of the card, of a creature with long squared ears, a long slight turned down snout, a canine-esque body and a forked tail. It resembled a giraffe, but it was certainly not one. There were no instructions on the card, no phone number or address.

When Belle returned to the table, all she would find would be the payment, the card, and the fact that everything he had touched or partaken from had been immaculately cleaned and returned, ready for use again.

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#42
They came together, they parted, they had other loves, and returned. This was supposed to be the beginning of their cycle once again.

He how ever had become...distracted.

She did not need to look into his mind, or touch his being to know it, she could feel it in the wind, in the vibrations between them.

Adhira knew her mate.

Her memories of him of the time before she came so close to human were faint sparks, lost along with so much of what she had been before her second GodHead, Demeter had breathed her last in a final desperate gamble eons ago now, the lingering traces of Masana that remained formed the core of her. Who she had been created as still affected her no matter how distantly even now.

The inescapable truth was that she had been the Goddess Adhira for exponentially longer than she had any other name.

Adhira had been almost human once. If Demeter no longer existed in any measurable sense; the Human she had once almost been was still very much a part of her.

And Sunehri remembered Aryan.

He rounded a corner and met a memory.

She stood, half smirk tugging at her lips, hair curling in the damp sudden rain, leather clinging to her body. Gone were the embroidered saree and gold she chose as Adhira, the elegant, carefully parted hair, the Goddess. What stood before him was a woman who remembered being a thief.

Sunehri ducked into a doorway, tempting him with a glance.

She knew Him, knew he would follow.


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#43
He loved her; that should never, ever be questioned, not in the past, not eons on the future, and certainly not now.

He had gone seeking after an item, something that was of his bailiwick but not of him. An artefact that had called out to him and snagged against his power. He hadn’t gone seeking a person, especially not a sweet woman who treated him like she treated everyone. Someone who didn’t fear him, wasn’t caught in a state of awe around him.

Belle reminded him of those few humans who had found him and Adhira when they had been so close to mortal. Almost fellows, if not quite. It was a wistful, nostalgic man who left Belle’s little shop, turning to head down a quiet alley, looking up into --

The past.

Aryan recognize Sunehri immediately, the god’s eyes glittering in the dim light of the alley as his head dipped forward, recognition on his face as he moved forward, half following, half chasing the woman he loved. There was never a question as to if he would follow. He would, of course he would, he had always followed, and he always would.
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#44
She danced, and the world danced with her, she smiled, she tempted, she touched him only to retreat, framed by wire she beckoned him to her. Sunehri was just as arrogant as Adhira, sure in her beauty, the first time she had danced for him it had been a trap, and she had known in her bones he would not, could not turn away. When she was Sunehri she had all but forgotten she was a God, when she had pulled the trigger she had expected to die rather than betray him as she had been blackmailed into. Sunehri and Aryan became Adhira and Seth, the small cafe became a bed and breakfast, and the island their home and refuge.

Sunehri had been used by Apollo to hunt his brother, the opening of a war she had not yet understood, or perhaps willfully forgotten as she diminished beyond finding.

She remembered this moment. Just as she remembered the basket ball court, rain drenching them both now.
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#45
It had been so very long ago for them that they had been Sunehri and Aryan. They’d been Adhira and Seth for the vast majority of their lives now. When they had been so near to mortal, in a time when Seth’s own recall of his godhood had been fuzzy at best, when all he knew was that betrayal was inevitable, from friends and family both, he had been cautious, untrusting, and angry. They had been thieves then, alone in the world.. And then they had found each other. He may have been cruel to her in that lifetime. Not for the sake of being cruel, never that, but he had been lost, knowing only that he could not be betrayed again, even if he couldn’t remember the betrayal that had nearly broken him so.

In the end, they had been happy. And eventually, they had found themselves on an island with their home, the island a sanctuary from the war that had raged around them…

He loved her as hopelessly now as he ever had, he knew. When she danced, he watched, he gravitated toward her, as unable to turn away today as Aryan had been, watching Sunehri. For just a moment, Seth understood the dangers in that, and glanced to the side, but then he offered Adhira a rueful smile and moved to her. The alley around them filled with music, and their surroundings melted gently, not into exactly the way that alleyway had looked then, it retained most of itself here, but it was enough.

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#46
Adhira/Sunehri bounced the ball to him, pulling dripping wet hair behind her shoulder. The first time this had happened she played for the chance to enter his world. This time she played to remain.

Adhira was not concerned with losing him in the long term, but knowing he was hers in the ages was cold comfort in the moment. She had anticipated this reunion, and perhaps that had been the problem. They both knew the cycle. And as they as questioned the little goddess, did that make it less?

Did she want him happy? Yes. But the sweet little red head might do that for a time, but she would die as all the others, her life and his grief would delay their reunion.

So she tossed the ball to him and waited for him to speak.

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#47
She didn’t need to play to remain in his world, in his life. Sunehri had played to enter Aryan’s tutelage, yes, but that hadn’t been how it went, had it? He took the ball, his smile small but genuine. He loved her, he had loved her for longer than he hadn’t, far, far longer.

Bouncing the ball a few times, Seth considered what they were remembering here, who they had been then, and what they had since become. “You remember the outcome of our last game, don’t you?” The question was asked before he could second guess himself, holding the ball and looking at it momentarily before he turned toward her. This wasn’t a simple ballgame, and it wasn’t because she was jealous, was it? Seth frowned; they both knew the cycle, and he hadn’t left her! His temple was purposely next to hers, as incongruent as that was, because he had wanted to be close to her. He had missed her.

He moved, game forgotten, the ball vanishing as he moved to stand before her, “Why, my love?”

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#48
“You cheated.” Sunehri’s Voice was just slightly different than Adhira, younger, more Arrogant in a odd way.

Seth brushed aside their history, mist blown away by time drifting around them.

“Because I know you.” This was not Sunehri’s anger, but Adhira’s grief. “And I wanted to remind you that I am here.” Her palm slid over his cheek, cupping his jaw. “And I have missed my husband.”

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#49
“I played to win.” He smiled to her, the same smirk he had so often worn as Aryan, “But I still chose you in the end.”

Their past might have returned to the past, but that didn’t mean he didn’t remember, that he didn’t cherish it. And it certainly didn’t mean he loved her any less.

When she reached for him, he moved into her embrace as surely as the dew clung to leaves. You are here, now, but you are sometimes so far from my reach.” He tired of the chase, he wanted to just be with her, not have to fight and struggle again and again only to have it break apart in his grasp over and over. Each time it hurt less, and it shouldn’t. He should not, at the peak of his joy, think that soon things would be over again, that he would need to move on once more.

She missed him. He didn’t disbelieve her, as mercurial as she was, as she had been for so long, he knew she loved him, that she missed him while they were separated as much as he missed her. The tide and the shore, the stars and the expanse, the light and the shade, they were part of a whole. “And I have longed for my wife.” He moved, gentle as he ever was with her, hand cupping the back of her neck, supporting rather than holding as he leaned to kiss her.

“I am tired of feeling only part of a whole.”
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#50
“We each have our own responsibilities.” she reminded him gently.

When they had been just nearly human things things had been...simpler, the thousands of voices crying for them, silenced or ignored. Now with power over trillions in untold universes, birth, death, war, chaos, storms...they were called upon endlessly.

“And you are distant from mine.” both of her thumbs now stoked slowly across the angled planes of his features. “You wish to be the center of someone’s existence?” She understood that desire, the brush of all consuming love that mortals could give. That you could return for that brief moment of time.

She was going to lose her mate because of her godhead was that the lesson here?

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#51
Sometimes, Seth wondered whether mortals realized just how lonely a singular god would be. Belle’s belief was in only one god who ruled over everything. Perhaps the god had no romantic interests at, no such distractions, but still… How terribly lonely that would be. At least Seth had had Adhira all these millennia. It would be the ultimate cruelty, to forever be alone, no matter how many mortals walked the earth.

Adhira was right; when they had been nearly human, gods without legions of followers, worlds full of mortals to look after, they had been able to focus more entirely on each other. But they had chosen to travel and conquer, to spread themselves throughout dimensions, and now they were so much more than they had once been.

She asked a difficult question. It was so much responsibility to be the center of someone’s world; to hold everything they were… He quirked a smile, “Were that someone you.” He had loved Adhira for so much longer than he hadn’t now, remembered loving others, Persephone, Nephthys, Ereshikgal, and countless mortals, but Adhira outshone all of them. Loving a mortal was like loving a cat or dog… You knew they would die, and so soon, but you loved them anyway, and mourned when they passed every bit as much as you knew you would.

He moved to her, offer her his arm and murmuring, “Come with me, there is a place with good food where we can dance. Like we used to on the island. It’s just one evening.” Their followers could wait. Prayers did not always need to be answered, and a few hours for themselves was hardly asking too much, was it?

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#52
Jade eyes turned up to his, when he had fallen in love with her they had gleamed with merely human splendor, now they shone brilliantly, galaxies rose and fell in with in her shining gaze.

Did he miss when she could not stand the sunlight? When weakness narrowed her focus to the moment?

It was not the first time she considered renouncing her divinity, or at least the majority of it, to be the wife he truly craved and not...what she had become. Each time through her selfishness overwrode that thought, she had too much, loved her godhood, her followers, her power and...truly, her hard won untouchability. She had been weak, driven, hunted. Now she was the hunter.

Her hand curled around his arm; the little goddess split her self into three, and while adhira had many avatars they were...not distinct personalities, they were simply portions of her whole as any god could.

Yet...what if she ripped her love, her core, that which she had been made to be; a wife, and made a fully formed Other.

One for whom there was no other priority but her Mate’s happiness.

Adhira lowered her gaze, hiding the prickle of tears.

“I would like that.” she murmured.

Why did the solution always hurt so deeply?

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#53
Surely she knew him better than to believe that to him, her eyes were any less beautiful the day they had fallen in love, nearly mortal, as they were now, or had ever been prior. Stars, worlds, galaxies, they had never been necessary for Adhira’s eyes to draw him in.

He didn’t miss her aversion to the sunlight, no. But he missed being able to while away hours together. He missed having time, days, to devote to her. Seth didn’t just want a wife who would prioritize his happiness; he wanted to be able to prioritize hers.

But ruling the dead was sort of a full time job. Multiple full time jobs, actually, and the gods he had once leaned on to help him had been gone for millennia.

It did make him wonder; was she right? If they could have children who could help them, if they could create a pantheon based on peace and respect for each other, would that be such a terrible thing? The answer was a simple one: no. But Seth worried that such a thing wouldn’t end in peace; it would end with him having to kill family yet again, more children slain, and Adhira furious with him once more.

So lost in his own ponderings, Seth blinked in surprise at Adhira’s answer, it being an unexpected one. They were gods, after all, and what use did gods have for dancing? “You… Would?” He smiled widely, not entirely unaware that there was...something...amiss, but unsure what it was, “Then come, my love. Let us pretend, just for a few hours, that neither of us hear the calls.” They had earned a short respite, hadn’t they? And that was, in the end, all Seth truly wanted; a few hours every now and again.

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#54
Why would she say no? Especially tonight, when she had taken the effort to recall the mortality they had once shared.

Yes they both heard the cries of their followers, the unending litany of prayer, plea, and promises. Yet she more than he had always been a fickle goddess, even her original bailiwick was one that she fulfilled at her whim.

Adapting to the Mother Goddess to his Patriarch of their words had been a new mold for her.

No he never needed her divinity to love her, and that very thing now drove them apart.

Adhira felt the choice settle into her bones, tonight she would be his and only his and his joy would be the catalyst.

“Of course.” Resting her head on his shoulder Adhira let him lead them away, “I always loved to dance with you.” Would she remember her love for him? Or would it been torn away as well?

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#55
Why would she say no? It was a question with myriad answers. He had obviously done something wrong (namely, he had gone and spoken kindly to a mortal woman. How dare he, hm? God of the dead and dying, lord of storms and deserts, he wasn’t supposed to be social, now was he?), because here was his wife, come to collect him. Not that he minded her presence! He was thrilled to have it, and that joy was a source of irritation in and of itself.

She might be fickle, but Seth had ever been dutiful. His time was usually spent working. His core domain was one that needed nearly constant work, making his free time precious. There were times when he resented just how much time and effort it took of his to keep his kingdom running, leaving him with so little time for himself. So little time for his mate.

Adhira had never needed divinity to have nobility. Even as near to mortal as she’d been, she had been a creature of grace and beauty, able to captivate him as entirely then as she did now, if a bit differently.

He didn’t rush toward their destination, they had time for now, and so he strolled with his mate, enjoying her company, enjoying the feeling of being whole, if only for the moment. She leaned against him and he moved to hold her lightly, head tipping slightly to the side toward hers.

And then suddenly, he was blinking, frowning at her, “But no longer?” It was the use of the past tense; it was the way the small hairs on his neck stood on end. It was how he felt static in the air, the way he did just before a storm. He could smell it in the breeze; something wasn’t right. But he didn’t know what it was, and that, perhaps more than anything else, troubled him.

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#56
IT was not at all that he had spoke to a mortal; it was what had changed when he had; she had felt the shiver in the bond between them, as a drop of water on a spiderweb, the most minute vibration, a warning that she had ignored in the past. A warning that she had refused to overlook today.

It had been dawn, the sun rising against their backs when Adhira had played her game with memory, Hub itself was accommodating in that respect, it liked responding to the will and whim of its inhabitants, easily sliding the appropriate buildings to satisfy her desire into place for her little dance. Now it continued its accommodation, slipping the brough that Seth needed with in easy walking distance, shifting the dawn light for the twilight both gods prefered.

Adhira let the world shift around them, relaxing into his side with the easy familiarity of time. They might never been ‘new’ to one another but by that same token they would always fit, simply and with out abrasion.

The past tense had not been intentional, perhaps a mental slip when she made her choice to in effect split off the part of her that DID love dancing with him, because all to soon she would likely if anything view him with distant affection.

The arm around his waist tightened, “Always.” she promised, because that part of her would always love him, and how they moved together, dancing, fighting side by side, making love, chasing through the clouds. For her this perhaps marked the end of ‘her’ as she was now, and as she once had proposed, if she was to spend her final night, it would always be with him.

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#57
Seth knew that the truth was that he had done more than speak with Belle. He had relaxed, for the first time in a very, very long while, and around a mortal. He knew, he understood, perhaps subconsciously, but he did know that she had felt that, had sensed it.

Strangely, he didn’t actually regret his visit to the cozy little cafe. He liked the lovely woman who ran it. But as sweet and dear as Belle was, she wasn’t his mate. She wasn’t Adhira.

It was a rare thing that Seth truly paid attention to the passage of time. Oh, he felt it go by, he could focus for a moment and know what time it was, what day, year, century, millenia…. But in Hub, that sometimes….flickered. Time was what you made it to be. So when the day slid into evening, to night, Seth looked up, blinking at the darkening sky for a moment before smiling gently. He hadn’t always loved twilight. His origins had been to protect the sun, to herald the day; morning twilight, the sky with clouds and storms, life-giving rain. But as his mate had waned, he had chosen to do so as well, to dwindle away to near mortality. When she had no longer been able to bear the sun, Seth had locked them both away from it, shielding her from its glare. The time of day that she loved had become his favorite time of day as well. Now, he only remembered loving the sun; as Nergal and Hades, he had rarely seen it, as a mortal, he had all but shunned it. So yes, the quiet twilight earned a smile, and the feeling of his mate leaning into his side earned a quiet but thoroughly pleased hum.

There had been a time when Seth hadn’t danced. Not that he hadn’t wanted to, not that he hadn’t known how, but who would he have danced with? And as much fun as some might have dancing alone, that had never been a draw for Seth. To hear Adhira say that she always loved to dance with him… He didn’t just kiss her, though he did do that as well, but it was a caress that was far more than the visual; his aura brushed hers.

They were gods, immortals; why would there ever be a final night for them?

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