It had been much too long since Hera had had Hebe all to herself for a day. Yes, she had taken her darling daughter shopping and to lunch and to talk about everything and nothing. However, Hebe had mentioned things hadn't exactly been the best between her and Heracles. A part of Hera was glad because that meant she could have Hebe to herself more often. But then part of her that presided over marriage, that damned gnawing part of her, made her want to fix things between her child and her husband. There had been a time when Hera wanted nothing more than to destroy Heracles, and she had done just that. Nowadays she felt more relaxed and less of a desire to hurt the once-hero. There was no satisfaction in destroying him a second time when the first time had been so delicious. If it meant her daughters happiness to help work things out between them, so be it.
Hera took a sip from her teacup, then carefully set the delicate piece back onto the saucer that lay on her desk. "And how are things with Heracles?" she asked, more with concern for her daughters well-being than Heracles.
Hebe hesitated, looking down into the hot, dark liquid. She frowned, hating the way it made her face feel. Youth was meant to be cheerful and happy, not sad and desperate to be loved. But her mother loved her. Her father loved her. She knew that, and that gave her hope. She shrugged, "Okay, I guess," she said unconvincingly.
Hera's eyebrows raised sharply as she eyed her child, "Just 'okay'? Have you spoken with him about your feelings?"
Hebe shook her head before taking a sip of her tea. It gave her something to hold on to during this remarkably awkward conversation. "No," she said with a sigh, then finally made eye contact with her mother. "He tried once... to be romantic", she explained. "But he doesn't really talk anymore. Well, he never really talked much before. But now it's like there's this locked door and I can't get through because he won't pass me the key to get inside. And I feel like I'm giving everything I have and he's just sitting there silently while I exhaust myself."
Hera sat silently, listening to her daughters every word. She nodded throughout, treating this much like one of her usual sessions. This one, however, actually meant something to her. This one was personal.
"Momma," said Hebe, looking down with a heavy sigh. "I don't know how much longer I can do this." She paused, a significant part of her not wanting to say it at all, "If I can't get through to him, I can't stay with him. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just... move on."
If ever there was an opportunity for Hera to break apart Hebe's relationship with Heracles, it was now. Her daughters words surprised her. She had never known Hebe to give up on anyone, Heracles least of all. Her breath caught in her throat as she sat up straighter, thinking of a response. She wanted to tell Hebe to move on, to find someone new, or even to come live with her and be her baby girl again. But she also wanted to help. She didn't want Hebe to give up.
Hera cleared her throat and leaned forward, "My darling child. Don't let this rough patch be the end of something that used to be so sweet and beautiful." Hera blatantly ignored her own involvement in destroying Heracles in the past. "Talk to him," she urged. "Only if he refuses to open up and truly be with you again should you move on."
Hebe nodded, accepting her mothers response. "Okay," she said quietly.
Hera smiled and clapped her hands together, "Now, let's finish lunch and then we'll go shopping."
Hebe simply nodded in response, slowly picking at her salad.