Notes: If you haven't listened to, and/or watched the music video for Blackpink's "Kill This Love", I highly recommend you do so either before or after reading, as the fic is based on the lines, and a few of the visuals of it!
If you haven't ever watched a kpop music video before, though...prepare yourself.
Also, fyi, I am very new to the world of kpop myself... I deeply apologize if I didn't do the song justice!
I might edit this later, as there were definitely lines I missed that would work well...I just got kinda tired of editing it and decided to post it XD
I am a big fan of Greek Mythology (though I don't know it super well), and adore retellings of it, (as well as retellings of classic literature in general). But the two characters I've never liked in other retellings + the original myths are Zeus and Hera.
But Rachel does such a great job with the characters in LO she managed to create a version of both Zeus and Hera not only do I like, they are in my top favorite characters of the series. I've wanted to write a fic for Lore Olympus for a while (as well as something using "Kill This Love" as a prompt), and I decided to write one about them, both because I don't think there are as many fics about them, and to honor what a great job she's done with these characters, and how much she made me like them (and because the song fit too well with her!)!
Hera kept glancing from the road to the speedometer, the dial sneaking steadily upwards: sixty miles an hour to seventy in seconds.
She leaned over and took a cigarette from the pack, putting it between the fingers of the hand on the steering wheel. She took out the lighter and clicked it open, lighting the end, then closed it again and set it back down in the cupholder while she breathed in.
Smoke never tasted so sweet as when she was angry with him.
"Good to see you again, Bunny!"
"It's only been a few days!" She laughed, "And who's Bunny?"
"You are!" Zeus took her hands and gave her eskimo nose kisses. "Who else?"
The golden girl smiled, big and bright—
—the kind of smile one can only give when the world itself is big and bright. When one lives in a realm of hope, where beings keep their secrets, and their promises, and no one lies, or steals, or cheats.
She breathed out, smoke billowing like her mouth was the gates to the Christian's hell—(they say hell hath no fury right?).
Sometimes she wished she had Zeus's power; that she could set the world on fire with a glance.
The world was nothing but streaks of light across her vision. Not trees, people, and buildings; not distinguishable as life or meaning, just lines of color as she flew by. Maybe things were better that way. She could dance in the in-between, reach up and grab the ribbons, twirl around with them in beautiful absurdity. Only absurdity was beautiful; truth and sanity were far too ugly.
"Don't 'Bunny' me!"
She took another long draft, letting the smoke's medicine filling her lungs.
Breathe out, feel the negative emotions leaving your body, all the meditation gurus say.
What a load of bullshit that was.
For every soothing inhale there was always an exhale that felt like it was clawing its way out of her throat. For every sweet hello there was a bitter goodbye, full of curses at his back, in return. For every incredible high there was a unfathomable price. That was the rule to life; what goes up, must come down.
And she had risen too high, once upon a time.
The test of life had no answer, let alone a right one. Even the gods were slaves to fate, and emotion.
The tires screeched hellishly as she rounded corner.
Hera walked around the corner.
"It just—I feel like the world's on fire when I'm with him! You know?"
The queen stopped. It was that nymph's voice. The one who came by earlier.
"Ahh I'm so jealous! Tell me more! Tell me!"
"Well he just…I don't know! When he kisses me the whole world just kind of…stops. You know? And when he listens…I feel like he's actually listening."
"Ugh, too sappy! Tell me the dirty stuff!"
"Oh stop! I'm not gonna tell you about our sex life!"
Hera rolled her eyes, beginning to walk away when—
"Well he is the king of the gods. You're right; It's better if I imagine."
The queen froze.
"Eugh I don't want you imagining me in bed with him!"
"No, I'm imagining me in bed with him!"
Hera couldn't hear them anymore. Couldn't see the world in front of her. She was staring at a space before her eyes only she could see; a space, a memory, where the world was wide and she and Zeus were the only beings in it.
That space was shattering piece by piece.
Her breath was shallow in her chest, her blood pumping her ears.
"Mama?" Ares' little voice brought her back to the world. "Mama, you're hurting me."
She immediately let go of her son's tiny hand. "I'm so sorry sweetheart!" She crouched down and took his hand in both of hers, this time with the most gentleness she could muster, and kissed his fingers. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah…'m okay." He took his hand back and rubbed it.
He looked at her apprehensively.
"…Are you okay, mama? …Are you angry?"
She whizzed passed broken stop sign, catching her reflection in the rear view mirror; her hair in tattered locks like rags about her face, eyebrows permanently furrowed, lip permanently pursued, blue eyes dim and hollow, with nothing of the brightness they once contained; only a few lingering sparks of electricity in an abandoned power plant.
Such ugly words.
"I just…" the golden girl pushed her hair behind her ear sheepishly, her eyes bright, "I feel like the world's on fire when I'm with him…you know?"
"Can't say I do," Aidoneus muttered softly.
She put her gently hand on his. "Don't worry, I know you will one day." She grinned.
And what made it better was that she really meant that.
He tried to smile back.
"So what's that…like?" he asked softly.
"Well…when he kisses me the world kind of …stops. It feels like there's nothing and no one in the universe but him and me. We can talk about anything. And when I talk it feels like he actually listens. He always makes me laugh. When I'm with him…it feels like nothing else matters…"
She hated that word: okay. It was too simple, too easy; one could always throw it out as an answer. It didn't mean, I'm doing very well, or I'm doing poorly—(though it could mean either depending on the context). Okay was just, 'fine', 'alright'. Okay could mean you were doing wonderfully, having a great day, and okay could mean you would rather be dead, and either way people would smile and say good! I'm okay too!. Okay was never truly satisfied, never fully living. Just existing. 'Okay' was a word for ghosts; for those who are neither dead nor really alive, neither sinners nor saints. Just floating through the world, caught in between.
She was always okay…and she was never okay.
She rolled down the window, cool air rushing in to the car and scooping up all the smoke, taking it out into the night, giving it to some other lonely Goddess who needed it.
"Ugh, this again? I thought we were done with this…Just leave it for now. You'll feel better after lunch."
And, anger, anger was a fire that blossomed like a rose high, and bright, and scorching for a while, eating everything it saw. Then it dwindled. Sometimes it could be lit again by a passing breeze, if the embers were still fresh enough. And sometimes that relight could touch a passerby leaf or bush, and from there desecrate forests and cities. But often, even then, once it had finished blazing it would wither and die. Anger burned white hot and violent at first, but eventually it would fade, and the world would be left to deal with everything it blackened in its wake.
She sometimes had a vague image of smashing Zeus's head in, of him clutching his big ugly skull, golden trails of blood intermixing with his violet hair, draining down his cheeks. And there she was, holding the stem of glass, half of the vase, in her hand, the rest of it in pieces all over the floor before them. Sometimes. Sometimes it felt good to take out all that anger out on innocent paintings. Sometimes she had to destroy something, before it destroyed her.
"You're acting crazy." He had said.
Crazy, was she?
Crazy for believing visions in her head, which were always right in the past? Crazy for being angry? For kicking him out? No.
Crazy for staying with a being like him?
Yes. If she was crazy, that was why.
If I'm crazy, well, then…
She smirked, taking a long draft, and letting it out, grey wisps filling the air around her.
Thanks, baby, I owe it all to you.
She had a faint recollection of being sane once. Before him. He always made her crazy, be it when she was first fell in love with him, or when she rose in hate for him. But there was a time, when, before all this, she was a sweet, naïve little golden girl in the forest, with her sanity in tact, who loved animals, and taking care of broken things, her innocence still put together.
He thought he knew crazy. He hadn't even scratched the surface.
But then that impulse would fade as quickly as it came, and she was left with guilt for even thinking that way. She'd never do that. She might burn his picture, but she wouldn't actually hurt him…would she? She hoped it would never get that far.
No. That was anger. The boiling thing rising inside her that made her want to smash, and spit in, his face, and burn paintings, that was anger. Anger rose, vehemently, but in the end it dissolved.
This was more than just anger.
This, this feeling; this dull resounding ache at the back of her consciousness like an unending death knell; this thing that bored a hole in her stomach, making her feel constantly sick; this thing that hung as a weight in her chest; this thing wrapping around her, chaining her wings; this thing that stained her eyes with sleeplessness; this thing that broke into her mind and ransacked her thoughts, tainting all those happy memories, making them seem diluted with lies, and sickening to think of, and never, ever left her house—
This was heartbreak. Eternal, infernal, heartbreak.
She was on a long stretch of road now, out where nature still bloomed and she didn't have to look at anyone's faces or talk to anyone. The ribbons of light still outlining the air—(was it two hundred now? She'd lost track.).
Everyone always told her she was lucky. Not everyone got to be the wife of the king of the gods. Just her. She was lucky she had a husband who was powerful. Who was rich. She was lucky she had a husband who adored her. Who doted on her. Who listened to her. Who she could talk to. Who made her laugh.
Not everyone had that. Some had husbands who were poor. Who were weak. Who didn't love them, and whom they didn't love. Husbands who didn't dote on them, or give them so much as a wanton kiss. Who fixed a permanent scowl on their faces. Who they couldn't talk to. Husbands who lied to them, and cheated on them.
She was lucky she didn't have that.
Not everyone got to be queen.
Lucky her. So lucky he chose her. So lucky she got the crown. No one else.
No one but her.
So lucky she had that handsome face to wake up to every day.
(Every damn day)
So lucky could talk to him every day. So lucky could kiss him, and hug him, and make love to him.
(Sometimes she couldn't even look at him.)
So lucky she had Zeus. That goofy, dumb, brave, arrogant king as her better half. So lucky she had a husband who was so sweet, and kind, and gentle, and funny, and patient, and forgiving. So lucky she didn't have had a cheating, lying, conniving, backstabbing little weasel for a husband, who put that crown on his head, and walked into his office like he owned the world—!
And he was the one person who could say he did. Including her. Sometimes she couldn't say a word against him.
He owned the world. Along with every fucking girl in it.
And he did fuck them.
After it all, what would he say?
We all lie, so what? Something like that.
Him; the illustrious king with his throne, and his lightning. Her; a jealous queen with a stolen crown.
The only one to blame was herself.
"I just feel like everyone's lying, everyone's—!" the golden girl cried, her hands over her eyes.
Someone took her arm, someone whose grasp was gentle.
He put his finger on her chin, tipping her gaze up to him.
"I'd never lie to you." Zeus said, giving a gentle smile.
And what made it better was he meant it.
She returned the smile, placing her hand over his. "Nor I to you."
That naïve little ray of sunlight darkened by his moon.
We've both lied, so what? That would surely be his excuse.
"You know what?! Why don't we talk about you for a change?"
He'd said he was sorry before. He'd promised to be better.
And she believed him, then.
He'd spent enough time telling the truth that she believed he meant it when he apologized. When he made promises. When he spoke to her, she thought he meant the things he said.
I cheated on you, I'm sorry.
I lied to you, I'm sorry.
Now she questioned everything he had ever said. His apologies, his promises, his compliments, his kisses. Were those words so long ago just another lie? His promise to never lie to her, was that just the first lie of a thousand? As numerous as the hours they spent together. Did he ever intend to keep his words back then?
That was the unfortunate thing about lies; they could reside in even the most sincere of promises.
(I'm not sorry.)
Long ago she'd wanted him to apologize. She'd been more than desperate to hear those words falling from his lips.
Now she knew they meant nothing. They could, and usually would, be just another lie. And, even if he meant them, they wouldn't fix this aching hole he'd left in her chest.
She remembered herself at her wedding; them, the picture of a perfect, royal couple, his violet a compliment to her gold. Both of them practically shimmering, wearing traditional wedding attire—(though impossibly embellished and adorned)—and those goofy, light-filled smiles. The whole pantheon applauding, smiling, wiping away tears at their back.
In other countries, at weddings, they said they'd be together in sickness and health, till death did them part.
Did this count as sickness? As death?
Didn't he break that promise? Did her promises matter after he broke his? Was her faith and faithfulness worth nothing anymore?
She now imagined herself in a black dress, standing at the back of that ceremony with a bow, and an arrow made of adamant, laced with the venom from a certain many headed monster, its gleam reflected in darkened gaze. She breathed out as they spoke, and loosed that arrow, shooting that girl in the back. Olympus shouted in vain, as she watched all that gold flow out of her past self, those blue eyes fade to a cool grey, keeping her from making the biggest mistake of her life. And she'd look at Zeus' horrified face and think
(I'm not sorry.)
That was surely better than this. Better than dying slowly, the blue in her eyes dimming day by day into lifeless grey still animated somehow, better than that gold leaking out of her with each forsaken sunrise she woke up next to him.
Would he be happy then? Without her? He could fuck around with whoever he wanted.
Would she be happier, dead, without all this?
There was no way she could have known, back then what their lives would become after a few millennia. How that god who held her hands and said he'd never lie to her, who hugged her and kissed her, and seemed so in love, could become dissatisfied. That lust would overtake him; he'd keep wanting more and more, gorging himself on it. She had no way of knowing that she wouldn't be enough one day.
She was young, and innocent then, and didn't know better.
She couldn't forgive herself for that.
Something flashed gold in the headlights before her, and for a second her mind manifested before her; she saw that golden girl still, her own hair draining down the street like liquid, that white wedding attire—old, ragged, covered in burns—her own naïve eyes, still full of light and life, staring up at her, terror overtaking their innocent frames. And her own eyes boiled.
The sound of breaking glass was like a cooling rain upon a fire that had been left raging too long.
Zeus was doing important business work. Focus was imperative.
Someone knocked on the door. "Your majesty."
He fumbled with the spinner he was playing with, dropping it on the floor, sitting upright. He folded his hands on the desk, clearing his throat, trying to look professional.
"Yes? If it's Hermes wanting to install racing tracks in the sky again—"
"Uh, n-no," the messenger poked her head in the door, looking nervous, "It's… about your wife."
He blinked, then sighed, leaning back in his chair. "…What's does she want this time?"
"Um…" she swallowed, avoiding his gaze, "S-She's been in a car accident."
Do you guys have any ideas for what song I could use for Zeus for the next chapter? (I want the next chapter to be framed like this one-based around a song, but for him, and from his perspective.)
Let's see...In the simplest terms, I'm looking for a song about someone who knows they've made mistakes and/or hurt someone, and wants to do better.
It doesn't have to be kpop, it can be anything XD
I'm not sure if this fic makes it seem like I hate Zeus and think she should ditch him or something...I really really don't. That's kind of the point; I actually like him a lot, and am very excited to write his chapter. Hera is just (understandably, and rightfully so) really angry with him for treating her so poorly. and I was trying to convey that to the best of my abilities...but it does make him seem pretty douchey (and, let's be fair, he definitely can be). Their relationship is broken indeed...but I hope it's not beyond repair. (though...the myths don't give me much hope...).
Speaking of the myths, I know Zeus and Hera might not have been in love in the way I describe in this. I'm not very familiar with their early relationship in the myths, but let's just say I know them getting married certainly wasn't all sunshine and roses. And Rachel's been pretty accurate to the myths in her own way, so it may be true of them in LO too. But when LO Hades was talking about them in the past I kinda got the impression maybe they were at least somewhat in love, so I decided to go that route.
Also, I don't know if using Ares' in the memory places things to early, I might change it to Hebe later...I just like the symbolism of using Ares, especially as I have him acting very differently then we know him as.
I might decide to alter parts of this fic if and when she reveals more about their early relationship though, especially if this ends up being super inaccurate...
Sorry, I'm rambling now XD
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this fic! If you did, I'd really appreciate it if you'd leave me a review!