Who: Helios and Hephaestus What: Old run-ins after being 'kicked out' from Rhode's apartment When: Thursday night, May 17, 2012 Where: Streets of NY, back toward's Helios' apartment Warnings: None
This situation had escalated out of hand, for Holden it was a fight he wasn't willing to fight. Rhode had a husband. It was fair to neither of them for her to destroy her vows because of latent feelings she had lingering for him. He knew she was lonely, but being an adulterer was not a path he was willing to continue down any longer. He had very strong misgivings about broken vows. Holden would not be the other guy. Rhode was confused, she had to be.
He wanted to believe her stories, it explained why they continued to end up so close, but he just couldn't remember it. When these lapses in memory hit, sometimes it was with a slight fog. Others it was a head-on collision. Right now he was angry and very guilty. It clouded his mind from any true memories he had, masked his feelings for Rhode. When he'd awaken that morning, the headache he felt was massive. It was as if his skull had been split all the way down (which was partially due to their scuffle). Rhode's aggression had seeped over to Helios. He was costing Rhode her happiness without realizing it. If he knew right now, he'd hate himself for ever putting her though this. It wasn't going to be easy until things decided to stick.
Rarely did Hephaestus go out walking without a specific destination in mind, mostly because his leg started making its displeasure known after half a mile or so. He'd only gone out to get a few things for the house, and he was starting to regret not calling for a taxi.
He felt the other Greek before he saw him, a warm presence at the back of his mind that was both familiar and jarring. When he first met Helios, he'd resented him for telling him akl about what Aphrodite had been up to. Now, he realized that the Titan had done him a favor, Aphrodite had never been good for him and he was better off without her. He raised his hand and called out, "Hello, Helios. What brings you out this way?"
At other times when his memory had lapsed Helios had been able to come to terms with what others were saying about him. He could believe them. This time while like before, was a longer stretch of memory loss. He was frustrated and angry, too much so to see what for so many fellow immortals was truth.
Helios looked over his shoulder, a confused and sour look on his clean-cut, chiseled features. He may have even met this man before, but as it stood he couldn't even conjure a face. "It's Holden Colossi," he corrected.
Well, that couldn't be a good sign. He didn't even seem to know who Hephaestus was, and the two of them had known each other for a very long time. "Perhaps it's my mistake," he said, raising an eyebrow. "You remind me very much of an old friend of mine."
"That seems to be the running theme today." His brows narrowed over his eyes, not sure how to approach. The man was on a cane, hardly a threat to him, but there was a tug telling him to back down. It was the respectful thing to do with an elder.
"I'm sorry, I do not mean to be so rash." His mood was just heavy. The man still eyed him as if he was certain of his true identity. The same way Rhode looked at him.
"Are you a friend of Rhode?"
Hephaestus waved away the apology. "Believe me, I'm used to it," he replied. "Much worse has been said to me at much less provocation."
He stopped at that, thinking the question odd. But then again, this whole incident was shaping io to be pretty odd. "Rhode is my uncle's daughter," he said at last. "She and I have been close for years, her father isn't the easiest to get along with. How do you know her?"
It was a topic he didn't feel needed to be broached with a stranger, but when the man said he knew her suspicions went down. There was still an uncomfortable vibe threading through Helios over he and Rhode's argument and where it left them.
He held out his hand to the man to shake. The jolt was obviously there that Helios was an immortal, but he didn't see it clearly. "She is--" he paused, "a friend. Things have become complicated." He released Hephaestus' hand. "She is a married woman and I refuse to get in the middle of it." As much as his body seemed to say the opposite.
Hephaestus swallowed a sigh. "She's a good friend to have," he said carefully. "Fiercely loyal, and she loves just as fiercely. The marriage got off to a bit of a...rough start, but you made a go of it." He rummaged in his pocket and pulled out a small bag with a few pieces in it. "I made this for her because she seems to be at the lowest point a person can be. The list of people that girl can trust is already short, and with you stricken from it, it grows ever shorter." He curled the necklace into Helios' palm. "So she, and all of us, need you to remember."
"She's confused," Helios started, feeling threatened by her and her friend's desire to conform him. The jewel was delivered to him anyway, placed in his hand. He gave the man a look of exasperation. He wasn't sure what he hoped settling it in his palm would do. It didn't give him a rush of any thoughts, but the energy was definitely there. A warmth.
He ran a thumb over the necklace. "You're expecting me to give this to her aren't you?" The energy surrounding it (whether it was out of Hephaestus' love or undeniable talent it was evident) grew stronger.
"Perhaps," Hephaestus said. "Or perhaps you are the one who is confused. Both of you, stubborn as the day is long. She talked with me, you know. She would scream and rage about being given away, up until a week before you were wed. Then she drew herself up and said, 'Can you make me look like a queen?'. And I told her I would make Hera herself jealous. There was no one lovelier on that beach that day."
"And yes," he went on, looking at Helios with dark, piercing eyes. "I'm expecting you to give it to her. It is, after all, for her. And these," he added, passing him the bag. "And think about what I've told you, perhaps."
"You should give it to her yourself." As Holden or Helios he was stubborn. He did pause in his protests, catching that dark look the elder man gave him. Though, in truth, Helios was much, much older. The way the man spoke, it interested him.
"She did not wish for her marriage?" That struck him. There was even a tingle that ran down his back. Perhaps this was a marriage who's vows had been broken before he'd come into the picture. Holden huffed, stuffing the bag in his coat pocket. "You speak to me like a friend. As if I'd done something you could appreciate."
"Don't you sass me, boy," the smith god rumbled. "Besides, it will mean more coming from you, once you've figured it out."
He shook his head, adjusting his stance so all his weight wasn't on his bad leg. "Not at first," he answered. "Zeus gave her hand away, you see, and if there's one thing that runs deep in the women of the sea, it's their stubbornness. Free will, too, come toand think of it. They will make their own choices, or there will be Hades to pay."
"I didn't think much of it at the time," he sighed. "You had told me my wife was cheating on me, and I just...didn't want to hear it, I suppose. But it actually turned out to be for the best."
Helios' lips pursed ready to throw some kind of stubborn quip. Annoyances aside he listened, like a kid hearing his grandfather's story for the first time. He wanted to add, 'but I asked for her first' and stopped himself. It was as if the words had slipped in without him knowing. Why would he think that? Or even want to say it?
The next thing was definitely something he would have done. He couldn't place this man's face, his name, nothing, but his retelling of his own story was within Holden's character. "I'm adamant about vows and promises." He paused finding the words flooding his mind but no idea how to release it. "That sounds like something I would do for someone I respected. Secrets should never be kept from the one's that deserve to know them."
"Oh, I know," Hephaestus said calmly. "Which is why I was only angry for a little while. I think I knew, I simply...didn't want to see. You just opened my eyes. And in the end, as I said, I was grateful. So I'm going to further exemplify my old man stereotype and give you some advice." He looked at him from under dark brows. "Are you ready? This too shall pass. I know it seems like everyone around you has gone mad, and that honor doesn't exist anymore. But it does. And you will remember everything, and things will go back to the way they were."
Holden looked at him curiously, his bottom lip puckered as he thought over those words. "I do think the world around me has gone mad. And yet, I feel like I'm out of my own skin half the time." He wished it didn't have to be this way, he went though these spells often. "I've never felt complete. Not in a long time." In one split second he felt he could actually believe what his elder was telling him.
Hephaestus nodded. "It's not an uncommon feeling, I assure you," he replied. "I feel like that quite a lot myself, but that may be because I simply refuse to put up with the nonsense my family likes to engage in more often than not. I think they forget they aren't the ruling class anymore, whatever they may believe." He shrugged.
"As for feeling out of your skin, I have a friend who may be able to help you remember, if you were so inclined."
"I have no family." In fact Holden didn't even know of his parentage. He didn't know of any siblings. No one. In fact he felt as if he really was all alone.
"What kind of friend?'
"That sounds like a terribly lonely life," Hephaestus said quietly. "Everyone ought to have some sort of family, even if it's just one they make for themselves."
"She's a nurse by trade," he replied, privately thinking he'd owe Lethe one very large favor if she agreed to help him. "She works in a facility that caters to those suffering from Alzheimer's. She knows more than a few things about preserving memories, and while it may not be guaranteed, wouldn't it be better than feeling as though you were wandering about in a fog?"
"It has been very lonely. It's always been that way." Except the times that he actually remembered his real self and what he'd lost. Then he was even more sunk inside himself.
"Doctor's haven't seemed to ever be able to treat me before." With a latent sigh he nodded. "But, I don't see where it would hurt in trying." It was obvious by the light prick of water against his eyes that it really struck him deeply. That even without realizing it, Rhode's unhappiness afflicted him.