Ares was in a foul mood and suffering from a splitting headache when he arrived back on the island with Alena. "Go inside." He said gruffly and pointed
toward the cliffs and the cave above.
"Please, Alena, just do as I ask. Go."
She didn't want to leave him here, alone, on the beach but it didn't appear Ares was wanted company, not hers anyway. In the face of his Father and
the other Olympians, Ares stood tall and strong. He'd come to her aid just as he said he would and kept his promise. Alena was stunned. When Zeus said
he would return Ares' property and his station to him, she felt sure the God of War would sell her down the river. She wanted to thank him, wanted to
ask why he had done it but she held her tongue. "Yes, my Lord." Hiking up the hem of the dress, she turned to make her way up the long strange stairs
leading from the beach to the top of the cliff. With a heavy heart, she walked a few steps until she got to the base of the stairs and there she
turned around. Ares was sitting on the sand facing the water and the setting sun. He had thrown off the belt with the heavy sword and his thick
leather vest; they were in the sand next to him as he sat there with his head down in his hands. She could not leave him there. Quietly coming up
behind him, Alena sat down, wrapped one arm over his left shoulder and the other under his right lacing her fingers together and pulling him backward.
Alena expected him to balk or to fight but, instead, Ares settled backward into her arms, rested his head in the crook between her neck and shoulder as
he let out an exhausted sigh. "I'm sorry I'm so much trouble, my Lord." She whispered as she nestled her face into his hair.
Letting the softness of her touch and the warmth of her body comfort him, Ares closed his eyes and drew in the peaceful shelter she offered. "It's not
you. It's Them."
The Olympians were quite the Divinely Dysfunctional Family. Alena had never seen or heard so much bitter bickering from one clan. If that was her
Family, she might be damn happy that she lived in Exile on a beautiful island such as this. "They're awful." She whispered in his ear careful not to
let any prying ears overhear. Ares gave out a deep chuckle and then another sigh as his hand rose up to caress her arm. She thought of how brave, how
daring, and even dashing, Ares had been as he stood there telling all of them they could not have her. When she listened to him speak of Artemis,
Alena nearly cried. Then she had been stunned into silence having expected the God of War to hand her over, maybe not with ease but readily enough, in
return for his crown and scepter. "Thank you for keeping your promise."
"You expected this chauvinistic pig to do less." Ares mused still with his eyes closed. "Everyone does."