Who: Helios and Rhode What: Rhode teaches her boy to swim some more. When: New Year's Eve Where: On cruise ship Warnings: FLUFF
The new year was about to reign in. The ship had a fireworks display set for the crew to see as they slowly sailed across the Alaskan waterscape. Helios' new year would not be complete until he woke the next morning to see the sunrise. That was truly when a new beginning set in. For now he sat on the edge of the ship's pool dipping his feet into the frigid water.
While the rest of the crew and those on board the ship huddled to watch the fireworks, Helios would make his own, spending the time with Rhode. The get away couldn't have been better. He still forgot things like what kind of cereal he ate in the morning, what time dinner was set, but the more time he spent with Rhode the more he remembered of their past.
It was the last day of their swimming lessons. As he dropped off the side of the pool, sliding into the water he shivered. He would never be used to the cold water.
Rhode slid into the water with Helios, barely making a splash or ripple. For a sea nymph, it was like a second skin. The only way to track her movements were her dark suit and hair.
"Honestly, you'd think the 'heated pool' would be a bit more heated," she sighed, lazily swimming on her back in circles around Helios. "Remember when we used to swim in the Aegean? Perfect temperature all the time." She came to a halt in front of Helios, floating in place. "Now, darling, do you want to try the backstroke again? You're getting rather good."
She moved like a fish. A beautiful fish, glistening even under some man-made pool. His hand reached out to graze her arm as she slid past him.
"I think we got ripped off." His skin glowed against the water, a stark contrast to it's bright blue color. It was enough to warm the spot he stood in, his shiver's dancing away. Sometimes his skin was like a heater, not enough to burn, but like an electric blanket on a cold night.
When he'd first started to take Rhode's swimming instruction the deeper end of the pool made him flail. A giant Titan not afraid of the deep waters, but not able to hold himself from going under. Now he was becoming a pro. At least Rhode told him as such. Falling onto his back gently he let his body raise, relaxing his muscles and letting the water carry him.
She snickered. "Perhaps a little, but everything else has been lovely so far, so I'm more inclined to forgive them this little thing." She reached up to tap him on the nose, never breaking her pace.
She floated on her back, using her legs to propel herself to the outside edge of the lane they were in, so that she was floating next to him. "The trick to going in a straight line is to raise your arm straight out of the water, close to your ear," she told him, swimming a few lengths to demonstrate. "Imagine it's like a wheel. It cannot deviate from its path, or it will bring disaster. Try it with me."
He turned his head to watch her propel easily against the soft jostle of the water. He relaxed again, set his head back, the drum of water against his ears. He closed his eyes a moment before following her lead, mimicking her every move until he sailed past her slowly.
He could hear his heartbeat against his chest, a drum in his ear. It was calming. He tread towards the middle of the pool where he lay in between the shallow and deep end.
The water parted easily around the pair of them, the only sounds their arms leaving and entering it. She couldn't really see him, but she could feel his warmth slowly radiating through the water. She stopped and watched as he tread water, easily coming up to where he was with a few kicks.
"You're doing so well," she told him, leaning in for a quick kiss. "Honestly, they should just fire all the swimming instructors and replace them with sea nymphs. Gods know there's more than enough."
"I don't know, I might get a tad jealous if all your students are there just to see you in a bathing suit." He teased, knowing he'd never been quite the jealous husband. Titans weren't as wound up as the Olympians.
Closing his eyes again he let the water drift over his face, it's waters much more soothing than the drowning that took him from this world. He peddled a few more paces where he floated on the deep end, his thoughts traveling back a little too deeply. When his feet started to sink down they didn't touch the bottom of the pool, his eyes shot open and he lost his balance. That serene peace he'd had for a moment was broken. He hadn't done that since their first day of practice.
She grinned and tapped him on the nose. "I'd get one of those big floppy hats and a big cover up," she teased. "It'd be fine."
She watched as he gave himself over to the water, not really paying attention to when the water started to get deeper. She opened her mouth to call out, but he was already overbalancing, and she was there in an instant.
"It's alright, love, I'm here," she said into his ear. "You're fine. You're not drowning. But we can stop for a bit, if you want?"
Helios nodded, his arm wrapping around her small shoulders, holding onto her to regain his balance. The water had started to fill up into his throat, he hadn't been able to breathe. The instant she showed that feeling passed. He swam back to the the shallower end, back slapping up against the tiled siding, then hoisting himself back to pavement. He sat there again, only his feet in the water and fell onto his back with a thud. He took deep, calming breaths.
"Well, wasn't that embarrassing."
She helped him back to the shallow end, leaving the pool in one smooth motion and grabbing one of the fluffy white robes she'd brought from their stateroom. She wrapped one around his shoulders, then slipped on the other one.
"It's alright, love," she reassured him, taking his hand. "The first time I visited San Francisco, they had a minor earthquake. Barely shook the ground. But I started to panic, because it just reminded me so much of the worst day of my life." She rested her head on his shoulder. "We all have our hangups."
"Sometimes I never remember it. Other's it's as if it was yesterday." He sat up, not at all offended in her reassurance like most Greek men who preferred to not be fussed over. He ran a hand through his wet hair, those amber eyes lighting up just for her. He grabbed her chin softly between his fingers with a delicate kiss.
"I remember the sun never rising and I couldn't breathe."
"I know the feeling," she agreed. "Thousands of years ago can come rushing back to the present because of something so utterly random or mundane. But I've learned to sort of deal with it. And now you have me to help you with it."
She kissed him back, to remind both herself and him that they were firmly in the present, and that nothing short of an epic disaster was going to drive them apart.
"I remember the ground cracking under my feet," she replied, voice barely above a whisper. "The sea was boiling and the waves had to be at least 15 feet high. He was so angry. And then the statue fell...I just knew things would never be the same."
It made him angry to think about. Leaving her alone, when he'd been so happy. Not being able to say goodbye had felt awful. Poseidon hadn't just taken him away, he'd crushed a million lives with that quake. Helios had already known his days as a Titan were slipping, but Poseidon had made it painful.
Now Helios was just a piece of the Titan he'd been before. He felt incredibly old some days, the rest of the time he didn't think he was this ancient fragment of the Greek pantheon. It was like a tidal wave coming through and wiping his memory clean, over the years it became easier for it to erase everything.
He gave Rhode a heartfelt look, a soft touch of his hand across her cheek. "I never wanted to leave you. Things are still different." His smile was soft, almost heartbroken. His nose nuzzled hers softly, teasing her with another kiss. "I love you," he whispered.
She squeezed his hand, knowing what he was thinking even without him saying it. It hadn't been his choice to leave her in the first place, and she knew that. It was something she still hadn't forgiven her father for, quite frankly.
"I know you didn't," she said softly. "My father made you leave, because he's a jealous, bitter man who can't deal with things. And he knows I'd have no problem turning my back on him should he try anything else. And I know things are still different, love, you've only been back in my life, in all of our lives, for about a month or so. It's going to take time." She touched her forehead to his, kissing him in return. "I love you too."
His skin was now completely dry, as was hers just by the warmth he emitted. He moved sitting cross-legged, pulling her into his lap so that his arms folded around her. She could feel his heartbeat against his chest as he settled her back against him, laying his chin on her shoulder.
"You're father is a bully. It took me long enough for you to warm up to me, the least he could do was give me warning," he gave her a teasing smile and a kiss on her shoulder.
She went into his embrace willingly, knowing that she'd easily fit into the circle his arms made, because yes, she was just that tiny. But that was OK. It was warm and soft and made her feel safe.
She snorted in amusement. "That's an understatement, love. And if you'll recall, I warmed up to you just fine, once I got past the knee jerk reaction of 'oh my gods, he could break me in half'. But he doesn't give his own children warning, so I'm not really surprised." She tapped her fingers over his arm like a keyboard, connecting the freckles.
He enveloped her easy, her tiny form disappearing behind his arms. He pulled her in close, kissing her neck. They were bound to keep this newly wed curse a little longer. The woman of his dreams was real, there was nothing better than that.
He nudged his nose on her shoulder, laying his cheek there while he played with the fingers of her other hand. "It took you a little while," he corrected. "Titans are the big guys. I don't think you liked the idea of marriage at first."
She laughed, a wistful sound. "I looked at my parent's marriage, and I swore mine would never be like that. If it meant swearing off being married at all, that's what I would do. I thought marriage meant being chained up and not having my own freedom. I'm a daughter of the sea, there is nothing I hate more than being chained up against my will. I would have fought you, tooth and nail, if you'd done that to me." Her voice had darkened as she spoke. For all that she loved her husband, and gods knew she did, if he had tried to bend her to his will, she would have lashed out with every ounce of fury she possessed.
She kissed his hand. "Luckily for both of us, though, it didn't end that way. I came around."
"I never had any intention of chaining you from who you were. Having a dutiful housewife gets kind of boring?" He twisted his brows with a laugh. "You were beautiful just as you were," he pulled her in tighter. "You are no cakewalk babe, but I have always adored you just the same." He could stand up to her, he had a sense of humor and wasn't just a domineering husband. There was no use for that, and that was probably Poseidon's problem with Helios. Other than taking away his favorite daughter, Helios was actually a good guy.
She laughed. "Well I know that now, but at the time, I didn't. And then I found out you were a better husband than I could have hoped for, and things eventually calmed down. I know I can be tempestuous as times, but we're OK. Because I love you, still do. Always will, if we're being truthful."
"Hard telling a girl of Poseidon that her husband can be a good guy. You had to find it out on your own. I was okay with that." He kissed her again this time right under her ear. "I hope so," he laughed, "otherwise things would be a little awkward." Those kisses ran down the length of her neck.
"Yes, well, we tend to be a stubborn bunch," she said lightly, as if that weren't a huge understatement. "We do things our own way, or we don't do them at all. I guess I wasn't an exception in that regard."
"Just a little," she laughed, tilting her neck so he could get at her shoulder and collarbone if he wanted.
"Hardly," he teased pulling her hair back to let those lips deviate down the trail she offered. "But that's okay, it makes every day not like the other. I like a little black in my coffee anyway." He smiled against her skin, enjoying the open air and time alone.
"True, at least we're never boring," she agreed, a devious little smile on her face. "I think if we were, I might have up and left centuries ago and not looked back. I hate stagnation, it's stifling." She tipped her head back against his shoulder, twining a few fingers in his hair.
"Good thing for me I actually dig my wife and wanted to keep her around." His eyes closed reveling in the moment, because deep down he knew something was bound to try and take this away from him.
"We're alone. Everyone else is out there watching the fireworks hit the sky." Night time was when he liked to hibernate.