Rhea’s golden hair cast across her shoulder as she nodded, smiling at him for the first time in what seemed like centuries for his advise. The woman let it curtain her her face as she leaned down and kissed the hands still clasped between hers, grateful for the chance she hadn’t expected to receive upon walking into Tartarus.
She knew she’d hurt Kronos through her admittance of not doing this for him, but if there was one thing she was certain of behind the battling adoration and disgust for the man in front of her, it was that she didn’t care. She still wanted him to suffer at the thought of everything he’d done to her, and had acted on this need those years ago. However, had she known it would cost her siblings at the time….
Kronos was her greatest love and her greatest enemy. It was a complicated, convoluted relationship that constantly had her grappling for understanding. The woman chuckled against his knuckles, leaning back to look up to him. “Constantly at eachother’s throats, unable to do anything because of a brutal love…this is marriage.”
Even though admittance of laying with Mnem had hurt her, it was something she would have to mull over and cry over later. Rhea knew she’d betrayed him all those years ago and was not surprised by the infidelity. She stayed quiet about it and instead put her mind to convincing Mnem of her sincerity in their mission.
When he spoke her what should happen should she betray him once more, Rhea smile disappeared once more into the somber grimace of before. Teeth clenching, she looked down and traced her thumb across his knuckles as she tried to figure out the right words to choose for such delicate conversation.
"I will not betray you, Kronos….but should you ask of me to personally harm my children—our children….you will have to kill me before making such a request,” Rhea whispered, expression hardening. She released his hands and smoothed out the skirt of her gown. “I will help you with anything you request, but should you want a fight…it is yours to burden.”
"It didn’t used to be," he reminded her, wishing that there was just a bit more light in the cell so that he might see her eyes properly. "Our marriage was happy before, nothing brutal about it. Perhaps one day it will be without hatred and bitterness again." But not today, and not any time soon. The two were still licking their wounds like dogs, shying away from another fight despite the need for another itching at their fingertips. Kronos wanted to trust that Rhea would at least keep her word where their siblings were concerned, and if they only fell further apart because of his intentions for their children, then so be it. He would put an end to their rule once and for all, no matter the cost this time.
Rhea’s reaction certainly wasn’t what he’d hoped for when he’d mentioned Mnemosyne, but what did he expect? The woman had spent the last three thousand years despising him with every breath she took. Why would she be bothered that he’d been with another woman? He recalled clearly the few times he’d slept with other women during their youth, too wild to be tied down at the time. He’d been certain Rhea would kill him, the freckles dusted across her tiny nose more obvious than ever when she’d yell at him for sleeping around. He wondered if they still stuck out so badly when she got upset, and with that thought Kronos pulled her close to the cell door, leaning down and somehow managing to bump her with his own nose before his lips found the bridge of hers with the breath of a laugh escaping.
Her hardened exterior didn’t do much to calm his fear that once again he’d have a dagger in his back by her hand. ”War and death are no place for a lady such as yourself,” he said steadily, slipping his calloused fingers between hers as he attempted to get her to lighten up once more. Things had been… almost normal between them only a few moments ago, and Kronos wasn’t ready to let that go again. ”I would never ask you to kill our children, Rhea. I want you as far away from it all as I can get you while still having you at my side when the day is done.” But would she stay? When he’d killed their children and had their blood on his hands, would Rhea be at his side still? He swallowed the thick bile of doubt rising up in his throat, a shaky breath making its way from his mouth.
They were destined to be like this he supposed, walking on pins and needles just to be around each other, always wondering what the final straw would be this time. Kronos hesitated before speaking again, the usually confident and clear voice nothing more than a whisper mixed with a slight stutter. ”You know, we… we could have more children. Ones I wouldn’t have to eat,” he added, trying to keep his tone joking so she wouldn’t be offended. Or, at least, that’s what he was going for. ”The prophecy was fulfilled, so there’s no reason why you couldn’t bear my children once more…”
"…The prophecy was self-fulfilling… He planted the seed of fear in your heart and steered you towards the…monstrosities you committed. You are as responsible as I am, Kronos… Oh if he’d been silenced and such words had never reached your ears," Rhea whispered, fingers tightening on his hand as he kissed her forehead. Even after all these years hidden away in the deepest cell of Tartarus, his lips were warm and soft on her skin. She could never forget his lips…
"I know that you do not, will not trust me…and I admit that it is a mutual quandary… I truly understand what drove you to this madness but I will never forgive for it…," Rhea murmured, passing her other hand through the bars to cup his cheek, nails brushing lightly against his stubble. Rhea had long ago given up the battle between her love for the man and the hatred of his deeds. All she could do was try to rekindle what little was left of the people they were before and try to light a new fire, a new life…
Rhea wasn’t foolish enough not to see the coming war between the Olympians and the Titans. It was inevitable. And despite her love for her children, she was angry with the mistreatment of her siblings. A bitterness dripped from her words as she spoke again, watching her stroking fingers with narrowed eyes. “… I do not wish to make amends to you. I wish to help the others… I had hoped that Zeus might have shown mercy to the Titans who did not participate in your war… but I was wrong. His ruling was cruel and he lied to those he promised leniency…”
"….Mother Gaia fought for our release, did you know? Zeus crushed her… If I trust anyone still, it is Mother. Even if you continue to see her as a traitor, you know she has always been correct in her actions. When Father needed to be struck down, she enlisted you. When your paranoia overwhelmed you, she enlisted Zeus. If she does not agree with Zeus’ rulings, then all is not right…"
Taking his hand from her cheek and leading the other before her, Rhea clasped her hands over his. If the walls would have allowed it, the titaness would have begged on her knees. “You have said you will return for me, and I am grateful. However, I beg you allow me to help you further… if only to prove my loyalty to my family.”
Rhea was careful in her word choice. If at all possible, she’d find a way to protect both sides of this coming war, to the best of her ability.
Kronos hated it when his wife was right. When he’d let himself become overwhelmed with terror, Gaea had put an end to it just as she’d done to her husband. In some regards, he supposed he should have been thankful for not being castrated like he’d done to his own father. Then again, getting sliced into pieces and having to slowly reformed in the pits of Tartarus wasn’t quite the most enjoyable process, either. It had taken a lot of energy for that to happen, and several hundred years.
"And so here we are," he rumbled lowly, face contorted into a scowl so distinctly characteristic of him, "Stuck wanting to be together without a way to forgive or trust one another. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of such a relationship," he added with a chuckle, pressing his forehead to the cool metal bars of the door between them. He pursed his lips as her fingers scraped along the scratchy stubble on his cheek, remembering clearly when they’d awaken in bed together in the morning and she’d do the same sort of thing. Old habits die hard, he supposed.
"Of course he was cruel," he sniffed indignantly, the unspoken, He’s my son hanging in the air like an unlit stick of dynamite. ”I… will keep in mind that you’re not doing this for me.” Was she really not? Kronos didn’t know how to take that, truth be told. ”If you want to join the cause against our children to avenge our siblings, you’ll have to speak with them. I may be the leader, but I cannot control their emotions. If they reject you, Rhea… there won’t be much they’ll trust you to do. You’d essentially be wasting your time.” He was surprised as she seemed to be begging him all of a sudden to let her help, stiffening slightly. When was the last time someone had begged him?
Right, the last time he’d eaten one of their children. He could still remember Rhea’s broken sobs, her shouts of I hate you, you’re a monster! echoing throughout their abode.
Kronos shook the thoughts quickly before he cast himself further into anxiety and anguish. ”Start with Prometheus. Plead with him to forgive you, to trust you. When you have him on your side, Mnemosyne will be easier to convince, and she’ll be your toughest obstacle. I have… taken solace in her, admittedly.” He was almost smug as he told Rhea he’d been with their sister all these years, but he managed to hide the gloating tone that threatened to tinge his words with ego. ”She’s been on my side from the start, and her feelings are as great as mine on the matter—but there is no “true love” working in your favor for Mnem, so you’ll need to soften the blow with Prometheus’s trust… and mine,” he added with a sigh. ”I will give you one chance, Rhea. Should I find you’ve betrayed me again…” The words didn’t need to be spoken. He would destroy her, no matter how in love with her he still found himself to be.
Despite her best efforts, threatening tears spilled over as he cupped her cheek, curving down her cheek and the crook of her nose. A pained half-laugh, half-sob left her lips as he complimented her, closing her eyes with the shake of her head. “You’re still too charming for your own good. I’ve aged without the sun,” Rhea murmured, turning her cheek into his hand. Reaching up, she placed her own over his, lacing their fingers.
"I know…that they won’t trust me anymore, for good reason. But…I.. turned against you. Only you, my love," Rhea murmured as she opened her eyes, gaze flickering back up to his which was far too close. A painful longing begged for the wall between them to vanish, missing the man in his entirety. She didn’t care if he felt uncomfortable or angered by the endearment. It was true, would always be true.
The titaness’ nose wrinkled."Father’s blasted prophecy… If only you’d have slit his throat with his manhood. You know I wanted a family, more than life itself…. and I’d thought that, perhaps, we’d have found a way. What you did to them… it was—" The woman lost her concentration, teeth clenching as new tears spilled over her lashes.
Sighing deeply, the woman pulled her cheek from his palm to kiss his fingers. “I missed the King I fell in love with. What you’d become terrified me… It was…it was worse than Father. Even mother, who helped me in saving our youngest son, saw it.”
"You’d look beautiful if a thousand years were to show on your face, Rhea." He took a deep breath, letting the stillness of the moment wash over him. The dampness of her tears made his heart shudder and convulse, pained by the knowledge that ultimately he was the reason for her tears. ”As for being charming, you should know by know that I’m nothing but, my dear.” And it was true. Kronos had always enjoyed flattering women, particularly his sisters, and he was exceptional at it.
Kronos wiped away her tears and sighed quietly, a sound so simple echoing off the walls, ricocheting like a bullet. ”Don’t cry,” he pleaded with a frown, brushing some of her hair behind her ear. ”Rhea, I… I haven’t yet forgiven you. Don’t start to think that you’re in the clear just because there have been so many years between then and now. But… I’ve missed you. I’ve missed having my queen.” He pressed his lips to her forehead, scowling into the darkness. ”… I’ll be leaving this place soon. I cannot tell you when, for even I don’t know the day, but… when I’ve escaped, I’ll come for you. As angry and as hurt as I am, I could never leave you to rot here alone…”
He scoffed and made a slight noise of agreement. ”I really should have just killed the old bastard when I had the chance. I was too nice as a child, though, I suppose. Look where it got me—standing here with a cell door in between myself and my sobbing wife, a woman I’ve never stopped loving but can no longer bring myself to trust.” Kronos tried to shush her as her tears came quicker, smoothing his palms over her cheeks to brush the tears away. ”… I wanted a family with you, too. More than anything. Rhea, I did what I did so we could be together, not because I hated the idea of having children. I wanted us to stay in power together, to keep the rule of the Titans strong. Look where your actions have put us—in the deepest pits of our son’s Hell. They never cared for you despite helping Zeus take over my throne—if they had, you wouldn’t be stuck down here with me, now would you?”
Studying her figure as best he could, Kronos lost himself in the feeling of her warm lips against his fingertips. ”I… perhaps I went a little extreme with my actions.” It was clearly difficult for him to admit such a thing, for Kronos never said he was wrong, even when it was the truest fact in the world. ”I didn’t mean to scare you, Rhea. I was just paranoid, fearful… I let myself give into the fear that stemmed from the memory of what I’d done to our father.”
Because you’re going to wear yourself out before we even manage to get out of here. We only harp on it because we care, you can’t begrudge us our worrying. [Smiles slightly, despite the fact that her concern is still there] I suppose we can’t ask you to stop if you feel it helps, I can’t say I haven’t taken to lashing out at the walls. Just as arbitrary an action, in the end. [Sighs, gripping his hand and covering it with her opposite, running her thumb over his knuckles as she nods] Of course. I’d like nothing more than that. You know I’ve missed you.
I think that would be best. [Smirks after a moment] They do say practice makes perfect. And while I’m sure we’ve all kept our skills, I’ll admit I could use some flexing. The smaller their forces are in the long run, the better. We could take them easily when their numbers have been allowed to dwindle.
I don’t, I don’t. I just think you two worry far too much about me for your own good. You, however, shouldn’t be striking solid walls. You’ll end up damaging those beautiful hands of yours. /scowls and lifts her hands to his lips, kissing her knuckles delicately/ I’ve missed you as well, Phoebe… more than you know.
/grins/ My point exactly. I’m glad you understand where I’m coming from. I’ve dealt with quite a few imbeciles in my time here, and to know that my siblings are as sharp as the day we were cast down here eases my worries a bit. I’ll let you have the first pick of the hunt, sister.
Your memory is not as good as mine, but what you can remember I would gladly hear [giggles]. Thank you dear brother, you flatter me. I enjoy your company too and I assure you that it is not one sided, I think I would have gone insane without your company. [Smirks] We were discussing our plans to leave this place, and mocking the mortals who’s souls scream for mercy in the most unoriginal ways. They should not have committed horrific acts and landed themselves in this realm in the first place, they won’t receive mercy. Prometheus, Oceanus… I tried to find Epimethius, but his mind was closed to me.
I cannot answered those questions brother, she is as much a mystery to you as she is to me. Thank you Kronos, you are too kind. I would not like to come here. Of course I shall remind you, we shall find the most skilled smiths and have them build impenetrable cages for our captors. [Smirks] Slaughter them perhaps, but not in front of the mortals… how much do you believe the world has changed since our imprisonment?
/he won’t admit that he’s relieved to hear she feels similar about him when it comes to needing each other, but the look on his face is more than enough to give it away, really/ Be careful when speaking about the plans, alright? One slip and someone detrimental to the plan might overhear what you’re saying. /smiles a bit at her adamant judgment against the tortured souls/ Perhaps you’re right. However, we did nothing wrong, and look where we’ve ended up. Sometimes people are wrongly punished. Well, hopefully he’ll open up soon. It’d be a shame for him to miss out on this.
/the question has him thinking for a long moment, brow furrowed/ I… I can’t be sure. I’d say quite a bit, but I don’t now the extent of the changes… /shakes his head/ I supposed we’ll find out soon enough, though. Hopefully the culture shock won’t send anyone into a fit of madness. /chuckles/
Prometheus was ecstatic hearing the news that soon the Titans would be free and in turn, he would too. Then maybe his brothers could finally return to their rightful home and would no longer have to hide from Zeus. Thankfully Prometheus didn’t have to hide but that didn’t mean his life was any easier. Constantly living in the shadow of gods that didn’t deserve the power they had was near torture for Prometheus. He knew the power of the Titans and the only reason they weren’t ruling was because they were trapped in Tartarus. The moment they were free, it would be easy to regain power.
Laughing, Prometheus clapped Kronos on the shoulder. “Of course, old friend, I cannot imagine a place I would rather be than by your side taking back what is rightfully ours. Just tell me what you’d like me to do. Whatever I can do to help, while I’m out here, I shall do it.” The Olympians had ruined humanity, tortured his family, and taken away his friends; Prometheus would do whatever it took to get revenge. “I spoke to your son the other day, Poseidon. He seems to think that we’re the monsters,” He spat the words bitterly.
Kronos rolled his eyes at the mention of his son’s thoughts, heaving a sigh. ”It’s a shame to know that none of my sons turned out to be worthy of being called my child. Perhaps my daughters are less embarrassing—after all, Demeter did almost wipe out all life on the planet after her daughter was raped and kidnapped by Hades.” The malicious smile that came to his lips said that despite the hatred he held for his children, he was almost proud of Demeter for her actions.
"As for what you can do, Prometheus, I need you to lie a little. Tell my children that any fear they have of our escape is unbiased and silly, and hopefully Zeus will take it in stride as your honest attempt to calm his fears and get on his good side—and heed you if we’re lucky. The girl Persephone told me Hades plans to reinforce the guards in Tartarus, and I’d really hate to put it all on Mnem to essentially wipe our an army on her own."
If Rhea hadn’t been keeping up the facade of insincerity and disgust, she might have sobbed as his hands enveloped hers. How many times in their years of imprisonment had she cried for the titan she had known all that time ago? Kronos may have done unspeakable things but he had, at one time, been her everything. Even as children she remembered never harboring any sort of ill-will for the boy…
But even now, after so many years locked away, she wasn’t sure if he would ever return to being the King she’d have done anything for. Even after being imprisoned in Tartarus, they’d fought and treated each other with the utmost animosity. Every time she was foolish enough to return with the the hope of seeing her husband, she’d be met with the monster and the two would be reduced to biting words and meaningless threats.
After a while, Rhea had given up visiting him all together.
While it stung when he pulled away from the bars, being called a traitor was like a dagger to her heart. Even after he’d become paranoid from the prophecy of his defeat, she’d stood by him. When he’d demanded their first child, she’d obeyed if only because of her love for him. Again and again she’d chosen him over the children he was robbing her of, and only when she’d decided to spare their final child did she betray him.
An old anger coiled back to the surface and forcing Rhea to bite back the bitter, poisonous words she was all to prepared to lash at him with. No. She didn’t come here to fight him…
"Kronos. Please," She begged, reaching through the bars as far as her slender arm could pass, the fabric of her gown’s sleeve spilling over the end. Her fingers brushed his arm, out of reach to get any sort of significant hold on him. “I…I want to help you."
"I can’t trust you," he murmured, aching at the brush of her fingers on his am. He wanted to. Rhea was a part of his soul that he’d been missing for a long time, but he was too afraid to let it return to him. ”You were the reason everything fell apart.” It wasn’t entirely true. It was his own to some extent, but could also be placed on Zeus’s head as well as the Fates. ”You were to be by my side always, and you chose our child over me knowing fully what would happen to me.” Kronos turned to face her despite himself, wishing there were no bars between them. ”Rhea…” Her name was like acid, burning him from the inside out as he spoke it.
When was he going to let it go? He couldn’t keep hating her forever, could he? Rhea, the only woman he’d ever truly loved… his own flesh and blood, his queen—he made a noise of irritated frustration, bringing his hand up to cup her cheek through the bars of the door. ”All these years I’ve tried to hate you, tried to justify wanting you dead along with those wretched children, but…” His thumb caressed her cheek, even more gentle than his touches had been so many years ago. ”But I love you, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it.” The admittance was somewhat grudging and forced as though telling her that was a mistake. Perhaps it would be.
"I want you to be my queen, but how could I let you back into my life after what you did to me? To our family?” Even if he were to forgive her, he doubted the other Titans would be so gracious to their sister. Zeus had been the one to throw them into Tartarus with Kronos, and as far as they were concerned (and from what Kronos had been saying all these years) Rhea was the one who’d started it all. The Titan Lord drew her closer until their noses were touching through the cell, his breath sweet against her skin as he searched her face in the darkness. ”… You’re as beautiful as ever, I can see that even without light…”
Then what other reasons are there, dear brother? Do tell. [Smirks] Not much, there is not much to do in this cell, other than pace and count the cracks on the ceiling, though I have discussed much with Tethys and last night I dream walked for the first time in a decade.
[Frowns] Mother is… certainly complicated to understand. She must surely have known there were other ways to get what she wanted, she did not need to set Zeus up against us [sighs in frustration]. That sounds like an excellent plan to me, though even to witness it, I do not think I could re-enter this lace once I had escaped it. The fear of this place has almost consumed me. [Laughs] Now you sound like your old self.
Shall I recount the list to you? I’m afraid I might forget a few things, but I’ll give you a brief version. You’re beautiful, intelligent, a great asset to our cause, you’ve been there for me throughout everything, I quite enjoy your company, and I don’t think I could have made it through the years without you. /arches a brow inquisitively/ Is that so? What were you and Tethys discussing, might I ask? And who were you pestering last night? /gives a teasing smile/
The question is what did mother want? What did she hope to gain by setting me up to be overthrown as she had me overthrow my own father? Fear not, sister, if you’re uncomfortable with returning I shall not force you. Who knows, perhaps I’ll bring out my children to witness the slaughter of their kin as a grand spectacle on the surface. Remind me to set the best smiths in the world to making cages for my children and their precious family when we’ve escaped.
[furrows her eyebrows] How can you expect me to have a pleasant opinion of you when you’ve done nothing but threaten my family? Am I suppose to stand idly and watch you hurt the people I care about. If my opinion is what gets me killed, so be it. It will never change, not for someone who is willing to murder his own children.
Prophecies come with triggers of it’s own, have you ever thought that everything happened because you ate them in the first place? We always have a choice and you made yours. [stills and tries to stay composed] You’re not going to leave here and if you do, it’s not my husband whose going to be the one getting slaughtered. Your ignorance is what’s going to get you killed Kronos. Now, if you excuse me… I have company to attend too.
Oh, I don’t expect you to think I’m pleasant, child. I just want you to realize that I was not always so bitter, and I was by no means a cruel ruler. You’d do well to remember that originally I didn’t kill my children. I swallowed them whole and let them grow inside of me, for even I could not bear to kill my children when they had yet to wrong me. Now that I’ve been wronged, I will have my justice—for that’s one of my domains, you see. I’m the Titan Lord, King of the Earth and all that surrounds it, but also the one who upholds lawfulness and justice.
Certainly not. I did what I had to do, and it was Rhea who caused the prophecy to be put into motion, not me. If she’d given me Zeus instead of having my mother raise him, she and I would still be ruling this Earth together, and the Titans would be as powerful as ever. /waves a hand dismissively/ Go, child, entertain your guests as you will.
Zeus. You obviously know him.
Ah, yes, dear Zeus. /a crooked, cruel smile slips onto his lips as the name comes into the conversation, Kronos’s fingers drumming against the doors of his cell like he’s impatient for something/ I know my son well.