As I sat there, surrounded by family, I knew this was the best present I would receive that day. To simply be there and have a home, a love, and a family. We continued to share gifts and tease Apollo about his for the remainder of the afternoon.
Amphitrite and I had known each other since before the great war. The ebb and flow of the tides and the pull of the moon were inevitable. Then, in an effort to protect herself, she lost herself in the foam, and I could no longer reach her. I smiled warmly when she caught my eye as I entered. She was the epitome of beauty, a queen in her own right.
How hard could this really be? I know I wanted to pick the right one. It had to be perfect, and the right fit for Atë. I walked up and down the display, looking things over. And then I saw it, right in the middle of the pack. It was brilliant. My smile spread from ear to ear. I hoped she would love it.
I spent hours in the caves, an ocean of souvenirs surrounding me. No, I was not relinquishing my motherhood. No, I was not leaving my children, nor Endymion, but I was moving, changing, evolving into a new phase in my life. And although it was a new and exciting stage, all changes come with a level of release and pain.
Artemis had asked me to move in with her. I was still trying to fathom all that encompassed for me. I sat on a tufted stool, looking around at my boudoir. My head spun as I took in the material things surrounding me as the weight of this major life change sat on my chest like a boulder.
Mmmmm. Finally. A tranquil moment. No questions, no prodding, just calm water forgiving the weight of the world. As my body welcomed the relief, the scent of oakmoss settled my soul. A hint of neroli diffused my thoughts, and the aroma of spruce took me home. Home. It’s been almost a year since I left. A gentle breeze stirred the forest as I lay beneath the canopy. Serenity eventually occupied my body. Stillness was achieved.
His skin matched his jeans, rough and stained from manual labor. I looked up at him, taking in his aura, and offered a genuine smile. This is the epitome of a diamond in the rough. I can work with this.
I began to glow in sheer joy as my heaviness and exhaustion began to lift. I caught a glimpse of Persephone’s face out of the corner of my eye, her love and comprehension evident. “Maybe I don’t need to find my own place. Maybe I already have…”
“As they do me,” I kept Sel’s gaze a moment longer and kissed her forehead. “You and I are bound, we always have been. I am sorry for being away for so long. But hopefully, we can now work to heal the oceans of the world. And not all mortals are ruining us.”
“Selene! How are you?” She perked up as she caught sight of me. I hadn’t seen her since we returned from the quest, and I was relieved to see a friendly face, albeit it was not the complete quiet I was seeking.
Gods, give me strength. I looked down into her eyes and saw a fire there I hadn’t noticed before. A stray strand of hair had come loose and was hanging in her face. I reached up and tucked it behind her ear, letting my hand gently cup her face for a moment before pulling away. “I don’t want to see you get hurt,” I said quietly.
I tried to pull away from his touch, but not with much effort. I looked up to catch his eyes and showed him the battle. He pulled me into his warm embrace and held me for a while. I didn’t cry, but his warmth filled me, and I felt more whole than I had in centuries. When I pulled out of his arms, we were both glowing slightly.