the title comes from everytime you go by ellie goulding.
and the damage you had done
"You will always fall in love, and it will always be like having your throat cut, just that fast."
-CATHERYNNE M. VALENTE
Love is not for the weak, the gods once whispered.
Love will break you and tear you and destroy you, will catch you by the most delicate thread of your soul and rip it apart from you, as quick as the flutter of a butterfly's wing. It will delve into your dreams and plague you with nightmares, will cast a shadow over the very essence of your heart, will rip away the blanket of sanity and reason that allows life to survive and go on.
Love is not for the faint of heart.
When the war against Saturn has finished, the last hard battle fought and won, Reyna allows herself a breath of relief, a moment to savor her victory. She gazes at Jason as he raises his sword, sticky with ichor, in a gesture of triumph, and the pride in her heart swells so much she thinks it will swallow her whole.
Jason looks her way, and his smile is as golden as the rising sun.
Sometimes, she doesn't know if she has a heart, because it has been buried under layers and layers of broken promises and betrayals and lies and deception, and the need to shield herself from that, from those weaknesses, has caused a wall to form; and the cracks in that shield of strength have all been filled with assertions of strength and dominance and independence that can create no room for sentiment, for love.
Jason changes that.
With bright eyes and an infectious laugh and best of all, an understanding of her coldness and solitude, an acceptance of her past - how can she not fall in love?
After all, she is still human, no matter the exterior of stone.
At night, Reyna dreams -
Of the sister who abandoned her, of the witch who molded her into what she is, of the woman with cold eyes and thin lips who calls herself a mother, of the father she never knew, of the gods and goddesses who have turned her into a pawn in their games, fighting desperately for survival, fighting hopelessly against elimination from the match of life.
The night of their victory, though, is different. Jason is in her dreams, a golden and bright presence that threatens to consume her life -
She hopes he will also be in her future.
Jason's gaze is sharp and knowing, face gilded and handsome like a Roman bust, mouth curved upwards in a perpetual half-smile. There is something, however, that strikes her as unsincere no matter how much she tries to avoid it.
He is a son of Jupiter, and they are not known for their truth, their honesty, their fidelity. Even in the early stages of their relationship, she watches closely for any signs of straying. Not jealousy, not envy, not fear, she tells herself.
She is used to disappointment, though, and when he leaves her, disappearing unexpectedly in the middle of the night, there is a sickening feeling in her throat, a bitter weight dragging down her chest and tainting her mouh. Reyna is a queen; that will always be a fact of life, just as the sky is blue and Hylla is her sister. But there are times when she imagines becoming dethroned, when her scepter and her crown disappears.
When Jason leaves, that is exactly what happens.
(The truth has always been twisted:
Jason Grace wakes up on a bus in a desert land, hand latched on to the wrist of a girl with kaleidoscope eyes and a too-bright smile. But he does not instantly, without a second thought, fall in love with her.
He fell in love long before, with the idea of such a girl, because sons of Jupiter are fickle and faithless, and he is no different.)
Reyna watches him return, his expression completely indifferent towards her, his attention latched entirely on the Aphrodite girl. Reyna watches him, face still and passive and silent, and her lip curls, curls in ridicule and anger and jealousy and contempt, because she knows she should have seen him for what he truly was and is, and if that child of Aphrodite wants him, who is she to stand in the way?
The daughter of Athena watches her with poorly-concealed pity, and Reyna unthinkingly bites down on her mouth at the rush of memories flooding her mind from this reminder of her past, draws blood, and does not wince.
I am a queen, she chants to herself, her bruised lips curving over the soft syllables of the silent mantra, like a prayer, like a song of worship. I am a queen.
And a queen is not weak.
Reyna does not hate Piper McLean. She does not dislike her. She feels no emotion towards her, none at all except jealousy, because the girl with the bright eyes and sleek hair had taken away another dream, another promise that was Reyna's.
There is a sickening feeling of jealousy and envy that coats her gaze when she looks at Piper, and no matter how much she prides herself on being cold and stoic, there is the faintest look of contempt in her stare towards the Aphrodite girl.
They abandon her - Jason and Hazel and Frank and the Greek diplomats, and by the gods, curse the gods, what has she done to deserve this?
She curls her shoulders straight, arranges her features, inhales sharply -
I am a queen.
(Tomorrow, she will pound his memory to sand and dirt, and there will be nothing left of him, of her failure, for her to remember. Tomorrow, she will empty him from her mind, because she is a daughter of war, and disappointment is not an option. Tomorrow, she will put on her armor and ascend the steps to the Senate building under the heavy gazes of a hundred Romans, head held high and graceful, because she is a queen in name and right, and has no need for an unfaithful king. Tomorrow -
Tomorrow is not today.)